Preventing Close Calls at Industrial Plants with Near-Miss
Chestnut Street Ventures sat down with Ulku Oktem, CEO and President of Near-Miss Management.
Most industrial plant accidents are consequences of a few observable and avoidable near misses. But how do companies monitor those early warning signs? That’s where Near-Miss Management and their Dynamic Risk Analyzer (DRA) comes into play. They catch the close calls that can lead to on-site accidents.
Ulku Oktem is the CEO and President of Near-Miss Management, LLC, an enterprise software company with a growing global customer base, providing timely and effective risk assessment solutions that are redefining the industry.
We caught up with Ulku to ask her about her close ties with the University of Pennsylvania, her role as CEO and President at Near-Miss, and what turned her onto entrepreneurship.
What is your connection to Penn?
I have been affiliated with the Wharton Risk Management Center (WRMC) for several years now. I am a Senior Fellow there. I’m also an Adjunct Professor at the Operations and Information Management Department. In the OPIM department, I created the Environmental Sustainability and Value Creation course for MBA students. I also advise graduate students from the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) school.
What is your role as the CEO and President at Near-Miss?
In a small and lean organization such as ours, I get involved in a large array of activities — from meeting with prospects, to providing guidance to our product development, to ensuring day-to-day operations run smoothly. More broadly, I am responsible for the company’s overall performance, which is driven by strategy. With strong support from the backbone of our technology group, I work on carving a path to keep us in the forefront of a competitive environment.
What was your motivation for starting Near-Miss?
Helping people on the frontline of plants avoid accidents has been an interest of mine for a long time. After working in the chemical process industry for most of my career, and also doing research at WRMC and CBE, I recognized a real struggle in the industry with early risk detection. A key to mitigating these types of problems is catching them when they are small and manageable. Realizing the enormous potential to improve the industry, I started my own company.
Over the past few years, have you seen a lot of change with technology in this field?
There has been an increased digitalization of data and new tools for analytics. But I saw that as an opportunity. I wanted to find a way to use the data to inform and empower teams to make smarter decisions earlier to stay safe and increase the bottom line. Such an enabler can also contribute to the betterment of the environment and society. It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur, when you can make such a big difference.
Near-Miss Management was recently recognized by S&P Global Platts as a Rising Star Company Finalist for pioneering a new era of industrial software platforms that detect early risk indicators.
Watch a brief video about how the DRA works:
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