Meet the Owners
Stephen Bergel, CSHO, CUSP
Benjamin Ragsdale, CUSP
Stephen Bergel is a health and safety professional and co-founder of First Choice Safety Solutions LLC with over 20 years experience in the fields of emergency services, technical rescue, and health and safety. Stephen started as a career firefighter and EMT working at one of the largest shipyards in the United States, where he gained valuable expertise and experience working with a diverse group of tradesmen and all different levels of management around large-scale, multi-dimensional projects. He later transitioned to the field of safety, where he discovered his true calling and quickly honed his skills, moving from a responder, to instructor, to leader in the field of health and safety.
As a safety consultant for the past decade, with seven of those years including supervisory experience, Stephen has extensive experience working in construction, industrial, commercial, maritime, pharmaceutical, and municipal environments. He has held both contracted and plant positions at a variety of locations throughout the United States as a General Manager, Health and Safety Supervisor, Health & Safety Project Manager, Emergency Services Project Manager, Safety Coordinator, and Safety Specialist for companies and municipalities such as the following: City of Groton & Groton Utilities, NAES Corporation, Dynegy, NRG, BG Group, Capital Power, EquiPower, Emera, and Sanofi Pasteur.
Stephen’s expertise, passion for safety, tireless efforts, and strong diplomatic skills in collaborating with field staff, clients, the public, employees and contractors, allow him to be a valuable asset to businesses and industries looking to strengthen their health and safety compliance programs. Stephen holds over 60 certifications from OSHA, EPA, FEMA and the state of Connecticut, and has been well-trained in all aspects of ensuring the optimum in safety, production, and operations for both internal and third party needs. With technical expertise, meticulous attention to detail, and strict adherence to policies and procedures at the company and federal level, Stephen easily identifies and effectively addresses health and safety concerns missed by most others. This, coupled with an outstanding ability to coach and communicate clearly the complex OSHA standards into layman’s terms that are well-received, results in Steve’s approach creating effective and permanent change and improvement of the safety culture of the site and makes him an exceptional candidate to utilize in addressing a company’s needs for health and safety compliance services.
Benjamin Ragsdale is a co-founder of First Choice Safety Solutions LLC and a diligent occupational health and safety professional, specializing in health and safety program management. He has over a decade of verifiable safety management, emergency response, and technical rescue experience. Benjamin started his career as an emergency responder and was awarded several citations for his accomplishments as a first responder and incident scene officer. He has since made valuable contributions in the field of health and safety as well, with extensive experience as an effective safety consultant and project manager.
An easily approachable, dedicated safety professional, Benjamin is well versed in occupational health and safety and holds over four dozen certifications from OSHA, EPA, FEMA, and the State of Connecticut. Benjamin fully understands the complex compliance standards and can easily explain them to clients in simple-to-understand terms. He has extensive experience working as a health and safety professional for several large power producing companies including NAES Corporation, NRG, Capital Power, EquiPower, and Emera. He is a successful leader with strong communication skills, as he easily works with all levels of management and effectively coordinates various projects to ensure compliance and safety for all parties. Benjamin constantly improves work site safety tasks and critical task hazard identification by engaging company and contractor personnel with relevant analysis, culture improvement, education, and environmental awareness.
Furthermore, Benjamin is well known for being able to assess various risk scenarios one can expect from 'high risk' activities. He can then develop a project plan aimed at protecting the employees engaged in the project. Stakeholders rely on Benjamin's talent to support safety on the job. Benjamin has demonstrated his expertise in delivering meaningful health and safety training programs, and he is able to handle complex challenges in several health and safety disciplines.