My Story: Terri Collins | Safety+Health

My story begins with my father, who worked for a chemical manufacturer. One of his responsibilities was to develop safety data sheets for chemicals after the OSHA hazard communication standard was published in the early 1980s. He saw a need to help companies understand and manage their responsibilities and programs related to this new standard. Thus, Compliance Consultants Inc. was founded in 1987 to help companies comply with the standard and other security needs.

Growing up, I worked in the company during the summers, helping with administrative tasks. But I never really saw myself involved in the business going forward. In 2008, I was teaching in a college and I realized that I needed to change my career, to devote time to starting a family.

I decided to leave teaching to work at the CCI. At the time, the country was in recession and CCI had just lost a crucial customer. In those early days, I focused on marketing efforts: developing content for blogs, web, and email, and making sure the business got the name and customer recognition it needed. Like most small businesses, you don’t just wear one hat. Over my years at CCI, I found myself taking on more client-facing duties; search for standards; handle inspections, program development and contract negotiations; write standard operating procedures; and assist with overall business strategy.

By 2017, CCI had grown and my nephew had joined the company full-time, managing programs and day-to-day operations. He had gone to school to get his degree in occupational safety and health, and the long-term plan was for him to become a partner/owner and for me to become president. In 2020, my father retired, and my nephew and I took over the business as VP/COO and President/CEO, respectively.

Part of CCI’s growth strategy was to position the company as a women-owned business. Years in the field with clients have shown that there are far too few women in the industry and even fewer women-owned businesses. The demand to include women-owned businesses in the procurement process was growing, and there would be benefits to being part of it. In 2019, CCI received certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBEC East). It has been great to be part of this organization for the educational programs, networking, and support to help promote women-owned businesses.

A day in my life now probably includes a few hours in the field inspecting construction sites or customer facilities, writing programs and reports, and taking care of the day-to-day needs of running a small business. As my dad instilled in me from the start, “At the end of the day, what matters most is getting home safely.” I try to instill this message in CCI and use it in my community efforts to reach women considering a career in the health and safety profession or in entrepreneurship.


Terri Collins
President and CEO
Compliance Consultants Inc.
Springfield, Pennsylvania