Christopher J. O’Connor, President and CEO, Humanetics Innovative Solutions

Christopher O'ConnorWinner, Manufacturing

Christopher J. O’Connor is no stranger to challenges. He still serves as a senior officer in the U.S. Army Reserves and has experience leading some of the nation’s biggest businesses. So when he was asked to turn around First Technology Safety Systems, he was not intimidated a bit.

The company manufactures the crash test dummies used to make vehicles safer. When O’Connor came on board, he found a business that needed to become more efficient. O’Connor quickly set out to consolidate worldwide operations, reduce costs and develop a strategy to help the company achieve stronger growth. As he did that, the possibility of merging with a competitor began to come into play. If integrated successfully, the two previously independent companies would form one full-service global business that would more effectively serve its clients. The integration of the companies into what would become Humanetics Innovative Solutions would not be easy. As president and CEO, O’Connor would need to develop a new management team and get employees to function as one cohesive team.

One of the keys to its success would be the discipline to stick to very rigid training standards to make sure employees were working at the top of their game. The work Humanetics did would help save lives, and O’Connor wanted his team to understand that and embrace the responsibility that came with it.

O’Connor listened to leaders of the safety industry and worked together with his people to develop a common product that could produce more reliable and consistent data. The new dummies began to ship in 2012, but O’Connor is not resting. He’s still pushing his team to find even better ways to do their work.

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