Thorsten Scholz on a digital drive in risk management

Thorsten Scholz, CTO, explains how tech innovation, solid partnerships and a focused approach can transform safety culture in industry

Thorsten Scholz
Forwood Safety

Chief Transformation Officer

Thorsten Scholz received a BSc in Information Technology from Zeppelin University, Friedrichshaken (1993 to 1995) and is currently studying for an Executive MBA from Queensland University of Technology (2020 to 2022). 

Taking on the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in late 2015, Scholz came across Forwood Safety whilst a consultant at Environmental Resources Management (ERM). Whilst listening to a presentation on the company, he experienced an epiphany that he could make an even greater impact on the safety of frontline workers by joining the endeavour, which he did shortly afterwards. “I actually walked up to Steve Wood (CEO of Forwood) after the meeting and said, ‘I need to get involved in this’,” he says. 

With previous roles at Rio Tinto as a Global Process Architect and a Principal Consultant for SAP EHS solutions at TechniData America, Scholz understands the challenges of risk management and safety well - an understanding which has valuably contributed to his approach at being a CTO. Coming from a consultancy background, Thorsten has gained familiarity with large software packages related to health, safety and the environment. “I've always wanted to have the opportunity to help craft something really meaningful,” he explains. “That's what drew me into working with Forwood Safety, and certainly we've got a fantastic team.” 

For Scholz, his approach to IT can be summed up in one word: Quality. “We’ve implemented Agile first in the product team and then all across the rest of the business. Now, we can really scale and standardise our products, from content development to marketing while never losing focus on the business value of the outcome for our clients” he explains. Scholz is outspoken in his regard for cloud-computing and the significant impact it has had on the IT sector since its inception. From a technological standpoint, he credits the advent of cloud as totally revolutionising the ERP computing which prevailed at the beginning of his career. “When I look at the IT sector, I can say with certainty that the cloud’s introduction was a catalyst for digital transformation. We could never deliver large scale enterprise safety and risk management solutions for the front-line workers without the cloud.”

When considering the question of what makes a great leader, especially under the present conditions, Scholz believes that empowering every worker is the only way to make a company more successful, particularly when it also prizes innovation and creativity as core attributes. “I think all leaders should focus on building a great culture within an organisation. Forwood Safety has set out its core values and we all live and breathe them every day,” he says. “To drive culture and leadership in the company, empowering people is key. We don't have hierarchies or silos across the business; we work in a structured way, but there's alignment across multiple teams. The big focus is primarily the outcomes: making our clients successful.”

With a five-year strategic roadmap in place and adjustments to COVID-19 already factored into the company’s products and services, Scholz is confident that Forwood Safety will continue to thrive and establish safety principles which will endure and become industry standards. “We want to leverage technology, as well as our expertise, to make a big difference in fatality prevention in the years to come,” he concludes. “Forwood Safety has the partnerships and the cultural alignment to execute that vision. Ultimately, we believe all workplace fatalities can be eradicated.”

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Quotables

“Building a good safety culture must be a partnership”

Thorsten Scholz | Forwood Safety

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