The Honorable Judge Kenneth F. Reilly – A Remembrance

I first met the Judge when I attended one of his live training seminars in Chicago, IL in August of 2009.  It was well attended and the Judge went through his prepared material like the professional that he was.  As I left with my two training completion certificates – one for the four hours of RCRA training and another for the four hours of HazMat Employee training – and a head full of information, I couldn’t help but think that I could conduct a training session like his.  Unlike the Judge, I didn’t intend to go it alone; instead I thought of it as a project for me with my employer at that time, Fehr-Graham and Associates.  Looking back, it was the Judge’s confidence and knowledgeable presentation of the material that made it look so easy, like it was something I could do.

I later had the privilege to have a short conversation with the Judge prior to his preparation for the next day’s training.  During our short time together he was polite, open, and engaging.  Keep in mind that he knew he was speaking with someone that wanted to enter the same market as his and could become a competitor.  The fact that he shared anything with me at all speaks to his generosity and kindness.  The conversation further reinforced my belief that a training service was something that Fehr-Graham could accomplish, with me as the training provider.  To this day, I still use some of the tips and techniques I learned from the Judge during our meeting.

Fast forward a few months to November 2010, and my plans had changed; I intended to leave Fehr-Graham and start my own training business:  Daniels Training Services.  Once again, the Judge was my inspiration.  I don’t know how he ran his business, but it appeared to be largely a one-man operation; which is what I intended for myself.  The fact that he had gone up against some of the big corporations that provide training and had carved out a niche resonated with me; I thought with hard work and time I could do the same.  I had – and have – however the advantage of the internet with all its free or inexpensive resources to assist a regulatory compliance business like mine.  It is notable that none of these things were available when the Judge started in the late 1980′s.

In the one and a half years since I started this business, the Judge has been the yardstick to which I measure my success and my guide to how I operate.  ”Is my website ranked as high as his?”  ”What cities is he scheduled to visit?  And when?”  ”What would the Judge do?”

Like anyone who ever strove to accomplish something, I’m sure the Judge had his critics – I was one of them at times – but those criticisms, and any remaining critics, fade to irrelevance when compared to his creation of a business that was recognized nation wide.

I had hoped to meet the Judge again and, if possible, have another conversation.  My questions would have been different, reflecting my hard-won experience over the intervening years, but I suspect he would have been the same:  polite, affable, professional.  The truest statement I can make and, I think, the best compliment I can give to his memory is that I wish I could talk to Judge Ken Reilly just one more time.
Daniel Stoehr

“I am writing to extend my thanks and appreciation for your informative Hazardous Waste Management and USDOT Security General Awareness training. My company has recently undergone two unannounced audits by government agencies within one week of one another and I am glad to report we were issued zero findings or fines. It is my strong belief that my attendance at your annual seminars and the knowledge I’ve taken from the seminars have been the premier reasons for having been found in compliance. Additionally, the training session certificates and accompanying materials were thoroughly reviewed during both USDOT Hazardous Material Shipper Security Plan and NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection Hazardous Waste Program inspections with very positive comments. Please accept my gratitude for providing relevant information to those who keep their coworkers and neighbors safe. Our nation is cleaner, safer and stronger because of your dedication.”
Thank You, Edward Szybowski S, H & E Coordinator, eszybowski@ispcorp.com, ISP Chatham

“Hi Judge,

Just wanted to let you know that earlier this year we had to change our status from SQG to LQG mainly due to growth in business. I have a good plan to get back to SQG and company support for the capital needed to bring the plan to completion. Of course the status change generated an inspection on the same day that we were performing our annual RCRA and DOT training to all of our hourly and office employees. Anyway, the inspector went through everything pretty much text book to your training and checking out everything. Thanks to you we were prepared and everything was in order. The inspector was very complimentary and there were zero NOV’s or fines issued.”
Kent Woods, Plant Manager, Ridley Feed Ingredients, Medota, IL

“I attended your training seminar in Newark just last week. Yesterday, the receptionist paged me. An inspector for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Compliance and Enforcement was here to perform an on-site RCRA audit. The outline was exactly how you laid it out. I explained to the inspector that I had just completed my annual training with Judge Reilly last week so I was fully prepared for the drill. He inquired if you were the Judge from Texas. I said that yes you were, did he know you? He said that he had been to four other sites where you had trained the personnel and in his experience they all performed excellent. Needless to say, our owners were delighted with the outcome of the audit and I can only once again Thank You for your continuing commitment to this training. You are a credit to the teaching profession and I can heartily endorse the results that can be obtained from your training.”
Rob Whitehead, Plant Manager, Craig Adhesives & Coatings Co., Newark, NJ

“Hi Judge,
Guess who showed up?
My Inspection went off without a hitch. He dug into everything, training, manifests, haz barrels, labeling, YOUR BOOK!, and all was acceptable. Thanks to you, no violations.”
Daryl George, Seagrave Fire Apparatus, LLC, Clintonville, WI

“During the past five years as General Manager of Perma Treat Corporation, Durham, CT, I have attended your RCRA Training Seminar held annually in Windsor Locks, CT. I’d like to take a moment to describe an incident you might appreciate. In October a Connecticut D.E.P. Field Inspector showed up at my facility to conduct a full blown audit and inspection involving the management of hazardous waste. The inspection went as others had. Nervousness on my part, direct curiosity on theirs. This inspector had not been to our facility before. As I know you’re aware, you can never by certain what an inspector is really thinking. What I can be certain of is what happened when we got back to my office. The inspector asked directly: who at your facility is trained, and what methods are used to administer the training. As I turned to my bookcase I remember saying to myself – Okay Judge, earn your keep. I pulled your training manual out, handed it to the inspector, and said that three out of our sixteen employees attend your seminar, and six others are trained in-house using your manual as our Bible. The inspector reviewed your manual for 25 minutes, looked up and shook her head. I asked her if there was a problem. This was her response: “This is the best training manual I’ve seen in 11 years with the D.E.P. It’s really very good. It’s both a training aid and a reference guide.” I proceeded to tell her all about you and your teachings. The inspector informed me that she would be recommending you to any Connecticut companies she dealt with who showed a need to improve in any aspect of RCRA and hazardous waste management. Needless to say, Perma Treat came away with no N.O.V.’s, no penalties, and no fines. How much was directly attributable to you? I’m not sure. What I do know is the price of 3 admissions to your seminar, weighed against a clean D.E.P. RCRA Inspection Report makes it feel like it was free. Thank you Ken, from both myself and my company.”
Donald G. Ponko, General Manager, Perma Treat Corp.

“Thanks again for the inspiring seminar. You obviously are dedicated to your work. I enjoyed your depiction of the changing political atmosphere surrounding environmental regulation and enforcement. I’m sure all this knowledge will help make a better environment for us and keep those of us working in this field from incurring fines or finding themselves facing prosecution.”
Frank P. Goldschmidt Jr., Manager, Manufacturing Engineering, Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Company

“We met.. at the Independent Liquid Terminals Association convention during which you made an excellent presentation, … most enjoyable (sometimes frightening) and attention getting.”
A.G. Tucker, President

“I have attended other Seminars prior to yours, and although they covered the same material, I did not get as clear an understanding of the subject. Recently, we were audited. There were no NOV’s or fines. — the reason the audit went as it did was due to the training I received at your Seminar.”
Thomas J. Ullrich, Mgr. Quality Assurance – Aerco International, Inc.

“Your seminar on July 11th was my third and again I came away with valuable information which I can put to use. Shortly after your seminar, we were audited. Needless to say we had no violations or fines. Feeling good about my accomplishments, I went to management with the good news. These were the same people who had questioned the fee for the seminar. After explaining how much fines could have been for violations, they now saw what a sound and reasonable investment it was. From my viewpoint, I had saved the company money and proven the value of training.”
James P. Donegan, Area Safety Supervisor/Emergency Coordinator/Environmental Liaison – Inchcape Testing Services

“I sincerely enjoyed the RCRA seminar and the insight you provided the students that day. You gave us a wonderful basis for the regulations, which helps industry understand the reasoning behind the regulations. All too often, industry views such regulations as overly burdensome and unnecessary, but you provided us with information to justify these requirements. The RCRA regulations are very serious business and I feel much better knowing that I received training from someone so knowledgeable in the “environmental world”. Thank you very much.”
Bridgette J. Laukjuff, Environmental Coordinator, Conestoga

“I would like to inform you that the class I took was great. I am new at this job and you made it a lot easier. You made it so easy a new person could understand it. I would like to thank you for teaching the class. I got a lot from it.”
Connie Post, Environmental, Health & Safety Officer, Beneteau

“It was the most informative and interesting seminar I have participated in.”
Charles Bessler, DTE Energy Services

“Thank you so much for the great job you did, instructing the RCRA course.
M. S. Whitlock, Hudson Products, Beasley, TX

“I wanted to thank you very much for not retiring earlier and dedicating yourself to training people like myself. Your seminar was an eye opener for me and it was such a pleasure to learn from someone with your knowledge, dedication, and love for God and our country. You are helping us meet the governmental compliance regulations regarding RCRA, but you do much more. This was the best training program I have ever had the opportunity to attend.”
K. D. Woods, Plant Manager, Ridley Feed Ingredients, Mendota, IL

Telephone: 800-542-2826
Fax: 800-543-4076
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1685, Richmond, TX 77406
E-Mail Address: reillytalk@reillytalk.com

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