“Safety Dave” Litwin has earned his affectionate nickname over a 40-year career with DynaLIFE. Pinned to his sweater is a small button that says “Zen,” reflecting his disarming, soft-spoken nature.
There’s a basket full of buttons in Litwin’s area of the DynaLIFE main lab in Edmonton. Each has a different adjective or emotion, and people are supposed to wear them to let others know how they’re feeling.
Litwin exudes calm, a quality you want in your head of health and safety.
“As a safety guy, I can’t really walk around wearing one that says ‘anxious’ or ‘panic,” he chuckles. In truth, he most often reaches for the buttons that say ‘calm,’ ‘zen’ and ‘brave.’
His humour, humility, and comfortable confidence lend to his reputation as one of the company’s longest-serving and most venerated employees. If there are things Litwin hasn’t yet done at DynaLIFE, the list is short.
“Let’s see,” he exhales, putting his hands briefly behind his head. “Well, I started in the morning at kindergarten class, and in the afternoons, I’d come and work in the lab,” he jokes again. “Actually, I think I hired many of the people that are here today. And I’ve become a fixer of things.”
Litwin is currently DynaLIFE’s manager of Occupational Health and Safety and Learning Division. His career started as a summer relief worker with Hansen’s labs, one of the precursors to DynaLIFE, where he worked in hematology.
“But I was not a very good lab technician,” he admits unabashedly.
Litwin’s passion for learning got him where he is today, in a position that demonstrates the value of education and training for the entire DynaLIFE team.
Through his career, Litwin has obtained his Bachelor of Science, Masters of Education and a certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. At DynaLIFE, he has worked in multiple roles, from dealing with blood samples and radioisotopes to facilities and project management. Litwin was the project manager for the main lab building – after which he was given the opportunity to choose his job.
“I decided to return to workplace safety” he says.
Litwin’s determination to understand systems and to pursue education and learning opportunities is widely recognized. He helped establish DynaLIFE’s pandemic response group early in the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, he has acted as a health and safety consultant for many of DynaLIFE’s clients.
He’s responsible for DynaLIFE’s online safety and compliance training programs and is working with NAIT to determine how lab assistants can be educated and graduated faster to meet the growing demand for service.
Outside of work, he loves gardening, plays mandolin and enjoys kayaking. Litwin has been married for 40 years. He and his wife have three children and three grandkids.
He says the pursuit of learning, and a passion for teaching, is the theme that has carried him through a memorable and wide-ranging career with DynaLIFE.
“This is a place where people work because they feel supported, to advance their careers and their learning in a safe environment,” he says. “It’s friendly, inclusive, and I enjoy my time here.”
There’s a good chance Safety Dave has contributed to the experience of every DynaLIFE employee who’d say the same.