August 1995, Maria Cosino walked into Blakeman & Associates, a Safety and HR consulting company in the heart of Navasota Texas. She was a senior in high school and looking for part time work and she found it and much more. If you ask her, she will tell you “I’ve grown up here”. What does the journey from file clerk to VP even look like?
Her early days were filled with running errands, filing safety audit reports, training rosters, OSHA logs and more. Bright and eager to learn Maria soon found herself working as an assistant to the safety consultants. Typing safety audits, training rosters and records taught more and more about how Blakeman helped their clients.
The reputation of Blakeman & Associates was growing. At that time there was also a push for safety polices industry wide. Naturally, next Maria found herself creating Safety and HR policy manuals. She is reminded of how the company has evolved over the years. “As a company we are bigger now and provide more services to our clients. What has really changed is the processes and that is thanks to technology. Doing policy manuals, I remember cutting and pasting (no… literally with scissors: cutting and pasting policies together) as rough drafts!”
“I am thankful for the technology, as far as, working on manuals. Once we moved away from typewriters, we got much more efficient. Ironically, technology is what led me to Contractor Compliance, where I am today.”
2001-2005 subcontractor and prequalification management systems started to become a popular way for companies to verify and qualify subcontractors to bid and work for their companies. The management databases like ISNetworld®, Avetta, PEC, Comply Works, Avetta all took off about this time. What Blakeman saw was an increased need for help from our clients for those accounts. Because we do their safety, training and had written most of their safety programs it was almost a seamless transition to start providing those services.
“For Blakeman, it started when a long-time client of ours [still with us by the way] asked if we could help them with their ISNetworld® account. After the first success, we found that many of our clients were in the same boat as the first. Next thing we knew we were selling a new service. And I have been doing it ever since.” Maria recalled.
She laughs as she talks about the ups and downs of the last 25-years. “It is so hard to imagine anything else, it has been a long road, but in many ways, it seems like it has just started.”
“The best part of working for Blakeman is the people I work with; it really has been like a family. Every major life event, starting with graduating high school Blakeman has been there for. And that is also the worst part, saying goodbye. I have been lucky to have made some really great friends here over the years.”
As we celebrate her 25-year anniversary with us, nostalgia does drift in and we’re grateful she walked through those doors 25-years ago. Maria has made a positive impact on Blakeman & Associates over the last 25-years. Her work ethic and compassion have been a driving force contributing to our success and our clients’ success. As a mentor at Blakeman she shares her knowledge and experiences which seems endless.
Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey and here is to the next 25-years 😊