Randy Henninger doesn’t think there is anything fashionable about being late, especially when it comes to his job as operations manager of Orangeburg County Emergency Medical Services. Instead, he believes being on time is not only the respectful thing to do, but the right thing to do.
Henninger arrives at work 45 minutes early every day and is the first one to arrive at all department meetings. It’s a demonstration of how seriously he takes his job and the responsibilities that come with it.
Because he recognizes the importance of promptness in everything he does, Henninger was selected as the Orangeburg County Community of Character honoree this month for punctuality.
The Milwaukee, Wi., native, who has been operations manager for nearly a year, began working with Orangeburg County EMS in 1996.
“I worked my way up from the truck to the assistant shift manager, shift manager and then operations manager,” Henninger said.
“Punctuality is something I’ve had instilled in me ever since I was little,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been late for anything.”
The former Marine said he believes his job as a manager requires him to set a good example for others.
“If I expect my employees to be here on time, I need to be on time. Being early is something I’ve always liked to do instead of getting out of your car and jumping on an ambulance on a call. It gives me a chance to get a feel for things. I can get that cup of coffee, read the paper and just get a feel ... of how things are gonna go that day,” Henninger said.
“You never know what’s gonna happen.”
Henninger said in his job, he is responsible for “keeping up with all six units that are on line, along with shift managers and what they do and don’t do.”
“I try to make sure that our units are in service and that supplies are in. I enjoy when the crews come in and making sure they have the equipment they need to do the job,” he said. “I get a behind-the-scenes look at things more than when I was out on the floor. It makes me understand the operation of EMS a lot better when you’re actually back here counting the pennies.”
Henninger said he has made an effort to virtually eliminate the department’s tardiness rate.
“When I first took over as operations manager, people pretty much, in my opinion, came and went as they pleased. If they were five minutes late, it was like, ‘Well, I’m only five minutes late,’” he said, noting that he puts emphasis on being on time and has taken “corrective action” to abate other employees’ tardiness.
He is the son of the late Joan Henninger and Harold Henninger, who lives in Tennessee. Henninger said his parents placed an emphasis on punctuality when he and his nine siblings were children.
“I was raised on a farm in Hartford, Wi. We had to be on time for church and had to make sure that we were out there in time to get the school bus, which was 6:30 in the morning. We had to feed the animals before then, but your behind better not miss that school bus,” Henninger said, smiling.
He said he wants his employees to model good character, including punctuality, because that makes everybody’s job easier.
“There is also job security in being on time. If you continuously come to work late, you may have to look for another job,” Henninger said.
He said he and his wife, Kay, try to instill good character in their children, Sybil and Randall.
“I try to instill in them to be on time and do the best that they can do. My goal in life is to do my job better than anyone else has done it, and I’ve had pretty satisfactory results with that goal in mind,” Henninger said. “I try to instill in my children the same things.”
The Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative is a good way to get the entire community to practice good character, he said. “As they see what the goals are, I think some people might raise their standards a little bit in trying to achieve the goals of the program,” Henninger said.
“Whether or not they achieve them or not is one thing, but at the same time, the program does improve character overall.”
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