Maxim Staffing’s Diversity and Inclusion Board shines a spotlight on an employee’s story each month. (Check out some of our past Spotlights.) For April, we connected with Erica Folange, our Environmental Health and Safety Manager from Headquarters in Columbia, MD.

How did you come to join Maxim? Can you talk about your career path with the company?

I’d been working in Environmental Health and Safety for about ten years, but was laid off in 2020. I found myself working at a company that I felt was not taking safety seriously, and the work environment was toxic. So after six months, I decided they weren’t the right fit for me and quit. I submitted dozens of applications for positions all over Maryland, and one of those places happened to be Maxim. It was less than two weeks from the day I applied for the EHS Manager position to when I was offered the job. When I posted on Facebook about how excited I was to start at Maxim, I learned I already had friends that worked here.

What advice do you have for employees looking to get involved at Maxim in causes that matter to them or making a difference?

First and foremost: Keep your ears open for opportunities. While something on the surface may not look like it fits, sometimes, if you dig a little deeper or you listen a little more closely you can find that those things do actually support what you want them to support. Also, ask questions! I never take “No” as the first answer. I always go digging for more. If you are passionate about something, chase it down. In Maxim, there are so many little pockets of teams or departments that you can join to be involved in and make a difference.

How do you unwind after a long day at work?

I read a lot. A lot, a lot. In 2022, I read 285 books, and that’s only the ones I had on my kindle. That doesn’t count the paperbacks or the advance reader copies of books that my author friends sent me.

What’s a book that you’ve read recently that stands out to you and why?

There’s one that I recently read that stands out because it ties into my role with Environmental Health and Safety, with part of my job being emergency preparedness. The book is called One Second After by William R. Forstchen. It’s a dystopian novel about a town in North Carolina, and what life would be like if the US was hit by an EMP. It’s a scary thing to think about what would happen if something disabled the electrical grid.

Where might we find you on the weekend?

If I’m not reading, I’m writing. I published my fifth book in January which marked my one year anniversary of being a published author.

That’s a huge accomplishment! How does it feel knowing that you’re a published author?

It’s incredibly satisfying. There’s an immense sense of accomplishment after putting so much care and attention into a novel. Holding a physical, tangible product of my imagination is surreal and makes me incredibly proud of the work I put into it. On the flip side, it can be scary because you’re putting this thing out for public consumption and reviews aren’t always complimentary.

What is something unique that most people do not know about you?

Most of what makes me unique can be found in so many others have as well, but I think it’s the way those individual pieces come together that make me different from everyone else. I was an Air Force brat and a Navy wife, living in and travelling to twenty-two states and fourteen countries before settling in Maryland in 2012. I’ve been to places and witnessed events that many people have only seen on TV. Those experiences have given me a broad, global and inclusive view of the world around me.

Reflecting on your time here at Maxim, what accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?

The new Team Member and HCP Safety Handbooks were a professional accomplishment I’m really proud of! Providing every employee a ‘heads-up’ about potential hazards they might face at work does not just meet OSHA requirements, but will go a long way to improve awareness and prevent injuries from occurring.