Meet Brandon Schroeder | KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Brandon Schroeder has been an electrician for over 20 years. On August 24, 2011, Brandon survived an arc flash explosion that without a doubt should have killed him.

It was late in the day, and work would be done in a half-hour. The general contractor asked Brandon to relocate a temporary power feed running all the electricity to the construction site. The task was simple: disconnect the cord, pull the cord though a doorway, and hook it back up.

But there were two problems. First, there was no main breaker on the panel, so the only way to shut off the power was to call the utility company. Second, about a week earlier, Brandon let a co-worker borrow his arc flash suit. Early in his career, no one wore arc flash suits, and until about five years before the accident, Brandon had never seen one. But he had done way more dangerous tasks than this countless times – why couldn’t he do this?

He had a decision to make, and he made the wrong one.

Today, Brandon is a professional speaker who tells his story with one goal in mind – ensure no one else makes the same choice he did. His raw story connects with audiences across all walks of life. His inspiring story has you re-think what safety means to their daily life regardless of your occupation.


brandon speaks to leaders across industries

Believe in Safety clients

Never in my 38-years of “work life” have I had the privilege of hearing a story as powerful as yours. From start to finish, your experience has humanized the challenges, pitfalls, horror, anger, sadness, determination, spirit, support, and sheer determination of what an individual, and by extension their family, friends, and colleagues go through when failure to follow safety procedures has not been followed. You could have given up, you could have ended your life, you could have wallowed in self-pity. But you ultimately chose to live. Not only that, you were given the opportunity, and a challenge, I think, to take a horrific personal experience and turn it into an opportunity to help others. Your selfless gift, and believe me, that is a gift, will no doubt have saved the lives of many people.

I commend your willingness to share your experience over and over again with the hope that through your life experience you might save others from having to live through the gut-wrenching and painful experience you did.

I have worked for 30-years in the legal department of a global wire and cable manufacturing company. Part of my job is defending the company in products liability and wrongful death cases, as well as assisting our EH&S teams with internal investigations when accidents occur in our plants, on job sites, or end locations where our products may have contributed to a loss or death.. By the very nature of my profession, I must maintain a level of professionalism and businesslike approach in defending my company. There is an expectation that one has to set aside personal emotions to work a case from start to finish. It’s a difficult balance. Your story today left me in tears. But more important, it reminded me that human life is THE most important factor in all that I, my colleagues, and all of us do day-in and day-out.

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your willingness to help others by sharing the consequences of your mistake so that they may avoid making one in their lives.

Kathy Rademacher

Brandon heartfeltly shared his story that clearly drove home the true importance of safety. We are very thankful that he shared his story to remind us that we all must believe in safety.

Overall I loved the presentation. It was very emotional and moving. I went from feeling sick from the pictures to feeling choked up at the potential loss that Brandon’s family could have had to endure. He really transported me and took me on that journey with him.

I really enjoyed this presentation because his overall message can be applied to so many things. Even if you don’t work with electrical panels, any split-second decision you make while driving, while using machinery or tools can cost you more than it’s worth. That day when I was driving home I kept thinking that if I took a risky turn, or tried to get through a light that was going red that I could ruin my life and my loved one’s.

I’ve been at other companies that think of safety as second to the work, but without safety there is no guarantee you will go home in the same state you came in to work. Since the presentation my coworkers have been more vigilant when it comes to safety, and I think it is due to his message that we are responsible for everyone else’s safety!  I think this is a positive change, and I hope the effect stays with us.

It’s easy to handwave safety. At my other companies the employees saw PPE as a nuisance and opted out of it (much like in Brandon’s story). But what they don’t understand is that a small nuisance is worth it to protect the life that you currently have. I know I personally would be devastated if a piece of debris flew into my eye and destroyed my vision, or if my husband took a risk and ended up injured or worse.

I will say that this presentation is not for the faint of heart. I left with my heart in my stomach. However I think that kind of effect emphasizes the importance of safety overall. Now when I am thinking of taking a shortcut I think of Brandon’s story, and imagine what I could be risking. No shortcut is worth risking your life!

G&W Electric

Heartfelt, impactful and inspiring! Brandon’s powerful message and courage to share his personal story is moving and will move your audience to believe stronger in Safety. A must to bring to your company and safety culture!!!

Con Edison was very fortunate and honored to have Brandon be the keynote speaker at the company’s annual Safety Conference this November where his dedication to share his story to influence others to follow safety rules and be a leader of safety made a lasting and powerful impression. Attendees are still abuzz about him!

Theresa McGee, Con Edison

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and presenting a keynote at the 2018 NSPC in Louisville, KY. Your dedication to safety in our industry will help our attendees achieve success protecting the employees that work for our association employers.

I received many comments on how impactful your presentation was and how much our attendees enjoyed the closing session. The NECA conference continues to grow each year and once again, the NSPC set attendance records in 2018. The continued success of our conference is directly related to the quality of our presenters and your contribution was a big part of this year’s success.

Thank you again for sharing your knowledge with our attendees. It is because of the professionals like you, our conferences continues to provide the finest safety educational sessions for our industry.

Wesley L. Wheeler

Director of Safety, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)

Facts, statistics, and codes, these are the things you hear about when you attend a safety talk. Many experts in the industry give this kind of talk. However, nobody can have a deeper influence than a storyteller can. Brandon takes his audience on a personal journey of becoming complacent, making wrong decisions, and the consequences of them on him and his family. Be prepared to see laughter and tears among the crowd, since his presentation invokes a wide spectrum of human emotions. Brandon shared his story at two of our Intel plants, and we are looking forward to having him share his story at our other sites.

Nader Shakerin, Manager, Intel

We had Brandon tell his story nine times to more than 3,300 people collectively. His courage to get up in front of large audiences and share his story to influence change, provoke second thoughts on poor habits, and save lives/trauma was admirable and demonstrated a clear commitment to professional and personal safety. Brandon’s story was inspiring, entertaining and engaging. We had nothing but positive responses from our event participants. I believe every attendee walked away from Brandon’s talk with the notion that a choosing the safe way is a personal responsibility and can be a matter of life or death.

Aimee Milks

Manager, Dig Safely New York, Inc.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience.  I was drawn into every moment of the story, I have seen dozens of videos in my career with Con Edison, but your story was the most effective.  Having been in some wild situations before, I understand your mindset leading up to the accident.  I think everyone has been in that situation, not fully understanding how much is at risk, but knowing the decision your about to make is wrong.  Taking that short cut because all you want to do is go home or eat lunch, or whatever it is you are looking forward to. 

 Once again, thank you very much.  I already stared getting calls from co-workers who all agree what a powerful seminar that was. 

Anthony Cotter

Con Edison

Your enthusiasm throughout the speech was like no other I’ve ever seen. I’ve never experienced goosebumps  so many times during anyones speech. I had to hold back my tears the entire time. I’ve seen a lot of people give speeches at seminars, but there has never been one that is going to stick with me like yours.

As humans we forget how special life is sometimes and we get careless with some of our actions. We are all guilty of this at times and seeing this, I will never take any kind of safety gear for granted. I’m going to be sharing your story with everyone at work and always make sure I do my part to have a watchful eye to ensure people are always using safety equipment, no matter how big or small of a job they are doing.

I have a wife and 3 kids of my own and as you said that is the most important thing in life. You’ve taken an horrendous accident and turned it into something amazing for everyone else to learn from. I already sent your info to my friend that’s in the electrician union and told him it’s a must that he talks to his boss about this. He said he sees guys cutting corners on safety way too much.

I’ve seriously never seen anything like this that has made me feel the way I did. I wish you and your family the best in the future and I am extremely grateful that I was able to be there today.

Steve Kulesza
Geneva Park District

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