In 2015, AEU LEAD was developed as part of the loss control division of The American Equity Underwriters, Inc., the nation's leading provider of workers' compensation insurance to the maritime industry. The goal of AEU LEAD was to help companies improve their safety programs through skill development and structured change management.
As we engaged with companies to help them strengthen their safety programs, owners and operators began to share their challenges with us. Skilled labor shortages. Ineffective middle managers. Low morale. High turnover. Lack of training and development resources. These conversations weren't about safety problems, but rather mid-level management problems.
As a result, we discovered an unmet need in industries that historically have not focused on leadership development for front-line supervisors. With a steadfast belief that middle management is critical to a business's success, AEU LEAD shifted its focus to meet that need and we've grown rapidly ever since.
Today, we are still part of The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. as a stand-alone division. We primarily work with companies in labor-intensive industries, specializing in providing supervisors, foremen, and lead
personnel with the people-oriented skills required for success in front-line leadership roles.
Director of AEU LEAD
Director of AEU LEAD
As Director of AEU LEAD, Joe focuses on helping members transform operational goals into actionable plans through a structured change management process. Prior to joining AEU, Joe was a senior consultant for E.I. DuPont’s consulting division, DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS). He joined DSS in 2011 to develop the next generation of safety practices using extensive research in behavioral sciences he’s compiled over a period of nearly two decades. His efforts resulted in the development of The Risk Factor, which is now the flagship instructor-led offering for the consulting division. Combined, Joe has 26 years of operational safety experience, the majority of which was with DuPont. Joe has been published in Occupational Health & Safety Magazine for his prominent work in safety relative to behavioral and neurosciences and is an event speaker at many leading industry conferences including National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expos, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA). Joe is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a B.S., in Safety and Risk Administration.
Woody Collins is a program manager for AEU LEAD™, focusing on helping companies transform operational goals into actionable plans through a structured change management process. Woody Collins has 26 years of experience in the maritime industry. Prior to joining AEU LEAD, Woody was a Loss Control Manager for The American Equity Underwriters, the nation's leading provider of workers' compensation insurance to waterfront employers. Woody was a Project Manager for a large repair shipyard. Woody served as liaison between the shipyard workforce and the vessel owners managing all aspects of the job starting with safety. Woody’s career includes managing projects for a large repair shipyard, co-owning a marine labor provider company and a small tow boat company, and managing the auditing process for the implementation of safety management system and training facility safety coordinators at a major new construction and repair shipyard. In his workshops, Woody is able to apply hands-on experience from his time as a production employee in a major new construction and repair shipyard with multiple locations.
Leslie Lash joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2016 as Director of Marketing. In this role, she also oversees AEU LEAD's marketing strategy. Leslie has 14 years of strategic marketing, communications, advertising and brand management experience. Prior to joining AEU, she was Director of Group Communications and Advertising for the nation’s largest wholesale broker of specialty lines insurance, AmWINS Group, Inc. Leslie serves on the Board of Directors for the Insurance Marketing Communications Association (IMCA) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a major in marketing.
Stacy Murphy joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2017 as Marketing Associate. She manages all administrative aspects of AEU LEAD workshops and other initiatives. Prior to joining AEU, Stacy was an administrative assistant for the State of Alabama Unified Judicial System for four years, and a travel agent for seven years. Stacy received her bachelor's degree in communications from the University of South Alabama.