Indy 500: Driver, crew safety top priority

Inside the Race, Driver and Crew Safety Top Priority at Races Like Indy 500l Long Electric Co., Inc. Corporate Safety Director Takes Skills, Expertise to the Track INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Dave Sevier fondly reflects on 1977 as a year of life and...

Inside the Race, Driver and Crew Safety Top Priority at Races Like Indy 500l Long Electric Co., Inc. Corporate Safety Director Takes Skills, Expertise to the Track

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Dave Sevier fondly reflects on 1977 as a year of life and career moves he still finds as rewarding as he did 32 years ago.

Then a member of the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department, Sevier started working at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the Fire Crew. That same year, he started the IBEW Local # 481 Apprenticeship Program to pursue a career in Electrical Construction. Today, Sevier shares similar titles between the Indy Racing League (IRL) and Long Electric Co., Inc.: Safety Team Coordinator and Corporate Safety Director, respectively.

Sevier's work on the IMS Fire Crew continued until 1993, when a position opened on the Safety Team in 1993. With the inception of Indy Racing League (IRL) in 1996, IRL identified a need for a Traveling Safety Team. Sevier's team was asked to travel for the league to help protect drivers and crew members. Sevier graciously accepted.

Sevier is now Safety Team Coordinator and one of 32 members of the IRL Delphi Safety Team. Combined, the team has an impressive 500-plus years of experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway alone. The IRL Delphi Safety Team is comprised of orthopedic surgeons, emergency room physicians, nurses, paramedics and EMTs all with various fire and rescue certifications.

This year Sevier will work 17 total races in three countries including the United States, Canada and Japan. IRL doesn't interfere with Sevier's position at Long Electric Co., Inc., where he is Corporate Safety Director. Sevier has a seasoned tenure in the Electrical Construction industry, working from Apprentice Electrician to Foreman on various projects, to Field Superintendent and Corporate Safety Director.

His 28 years with Long Electric Co., Inc. have even come in handy with IRL; during a night race a few years ago a bank of track lights went out, prompting the display of a yellow flag because the lighting wasn't good enough to race at such high speeds. Sevier's electrical training told him the lights needed to cool down before re-firing. Fifteen minutes later, they were racing again.

"Dave's unwavering commitment to the highest safety standards is a proud representation of The Quality Connection, and it's no surprise that he carries that over in his role with IRL," says Nanci Fields, Executive Director of The Quality Connection which represents more than 2,400 of the best-trained electricians and 80 qualified electrical union contractors in Central Indiana. "A career in the union electrical construction industry enables men and women to pursue their dreams while earning a great living. Our training program prepares them for demanding roles like Dave's that require precise skill and the best safety training available."

A second generation union electrician, Sevier attests that the electrical trade has been very good to him and his family.

"The electrical construction industry is a very rewarding trade. You work inside and out, in hot and cold," says Sevier. "I enjoy being able to communicate and react with other tradesmen. Together we build things -- buildings, towers, airports, sports complexes -- and friendships."

-credit: jw/mb2

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Series IndyCar