From Quantico to the Job Site: How a Former FBI Agent’s Passion for Public Safety Led Him to the Construction Industry

Adam Clayton had two career interests when he was younger: the trades and public safety. Even though he enjoyed spending his summer breaks doing small jobs involving electrical work, painting, or installing insulation, he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Adam’s successful public safety career was propelled by his desire to help people, which he said was just part of his DNA. He didn’t have a real desire to climb the ladder; He wanted to make a difference and then go home to his family. But it didn’t take long for people to notice he was a natural leader, and with that came several advancement opportunities.

He was a private investigator for many years, and that led him to the FBI, where he was a task force agent. As Adam continued to excel, he completed the Executive Law Enforcement Program at the FBI National Academy, the Executive Management Program at the FBI LEEDA Command Institute, and the Management Development Program at the University of Virginia. After the FBI, Adam served as major of operations for the Durham County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina.

Adam loved every minute of his law enforcement career, but after 31 years, he and his wife decided it was time for a change. They took a year off to travel and visit their grandchildren, and when they returned home, Adam started looking for a second career.

“I knew I needed to do something new, and my interest in construction and background in public safety led me to construction safety,” said Adam. “My priority was to identify a company or government entity that had a strong reputation for professionalism and a history of stability among its peers. After some research and prayer, I landed on The Branch Group.”

He’s been a member of the Branch family for a little more than a year and is staying busy as a Corporate Safety Representative inspecting job sites across North Carolina for hazards and potential hazards. He works closely with the site superintendents and project managers to address any issues he may encounter. He also views each site visit as an opportunity to coach any laborers who have questions.

“A worker asked me one day, ‘Sir, what do you think I need to do in this situation to make it safer?’ And I think just having someone ask me my opinion was humbling,” Adam said.

Since he started with Branch, he’s been researching injury and fatal accident rates in North Carolina and the safety standards at other construction companies. According to the N.C. Department of Labor, 31% of all work-related fatalities that took place in the fiscal year 2019 happened in the construction industry.

“I had no idea the numbers were so high in this industry. The high standards that Branch consistently promotes and enforces are not always the norm at other companies, which leaves room for these types of incidents and injuries to occur,” said Adam. “Every construction company should have the same standards and dedication to the enforcement of safety regulations as The Branch Group.”

Adam is OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 certified and looks forward to learning more. As North Carolina continues growing and the need for new buildings increases, he said it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game.

“With the rising cost of medical care, a significant injury could cut deep into a company’s growth protentional,” Adam said. “And it might affect the possibility of hiring and retention of future employees because nobody wants to work for a company that has a weak safety program where they know there’s a chance they’re going to get hurt before they go home.”

Becoming the Corporate Safety Representative has been an exciting and challenging change for Adam, and even though he’s in a completely different industry, he said his goals are the same as when he was working in law enforcement. He wants to protect the company from liability, make sure his people go home at the end of the day in one piece, deliver quality service to the public, and make sure people have a safe place to live, work, and play.

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Established in 1963, The Branch Group touches on all aspects of the built environment through its four subsidiaries: Branch Civil, Branch Builds, G.J. Hopkins, and L.A. Lacy. Rooted in a history of mutually beneficial relationships with clients and industry partners, the company continues to enhance its reputation as a respected name in the construction industry within the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.

If you’d like to learn more about a career in construction with The Branch Group of any of its subsidiaries, please visit branchgroup.com/careers.