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Oct 6, 2020

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


Justin Smulison is excited this episode to tackle a topic that he’s always wanted to explore — and that is the restaurant services and food retail industry! And in this episode, RIMScast is switching up the format and having two back-to-back conversations with two fantastic guests.


First up is Rick Roberts, the former RIMS President in 2015. In their short conversation, Justin and Rick discuss his experience taking and passing the RIMS-CRMP exam in 2016, the upcoming RIMS-CRMP Prep Virtual Workshop on October 13th–15th, and his advice to other risk professionals.


Joining Justin afterward for the main portion of the podcast is Mike Simmons. Mike is the Vice President of Risk Management at WKS Restaurant Group, a large franchisee with five brands and 300 locations in 17 states. They’ve had some ups and downs in 2020 due to the pandemic and Mike shares his insights on the lessons they’ve learned in the last year, how these lessons have reshaped his risk philosophy as he looks to the future, and how he has personally handled leading  (and even expand) during a pandemic.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMS’ Transitional Membership.

[:26] About today’s episode.

[:38] Current RIMS features, offerings, and events.

[1:40] More about today’s episode with special guests, Rick Roberts and Mike Simmons.

[2:17] Justin welcomes Rick Roberts to RIMScast.

[2:31] Rick Roberts shares about his history in the risk management field and RIMS.

[3:21] When Rick completed the RIMS-CRMP.

[3:54] Rick shares what the experience was like to study for the RIMS-CRMP and to take the exam.

[4:51] Beyond his affiliation with RIMS, why was it important for Rick to achieve the RIMS-CRMP?

[5:45] Rick shares his thoughts on why it is critically important to continue your education as a risk professional.

[6:36] About RIMScast’s next guest, Mike Simmons.

[7:13] Justin welcomes Mike to the podcast.

[7:19] Mike shares about his background in the risk management industry as well as his current role with WKS Restaurant Group.

[9:51] How WKS Restaurant Group is still continuing to expand even amidst the pandemic.

[10:13] With the rollercoaster of events (such as the opening and closing of restaurants) during the pandemic, Mike explains how it has affected their work as a restaurant company and how they’ve adapted.

[12:55] Have people been looking to Mike for guidance as a risk manager during the pandemic?

[14:00] As a west-coaster for most of his career, did Mike already have emergency preparedness plans already in mind for things like earthquakes, just based on his geography?

[15:10] Was Mike able to adapt or customize previous emergency preparedness plans for the current pandemic for his work?

[16:16] How the pandemic has provided opportunities in Mike’s work and for risk professionals in general.

[17:48] How big is Mike’s department at WKS? How is it structured?

[18:18] Mike shares about the new risks and challenges he has faced with regard to managing customer expectations and confidence during the pandemic.

[20:30] Did they go to any of their brands to check out, first-hand, how they are doing during the pandemic?

[21:38] What risks do Mike and WKS face when it comes to managing employees?
[23:54] Mike shares more about why employee morale is so important to them and how it has improved over the course of the pandemic.

[24:26] How did workers’ compensation claims and presumption play a role?

[26:46] What Mike has learned about risk management as it relates to the restaurant and food retail sector during COVID-19. He also shares how what he has learned has influenced or reshaped his risk philosophy.

[29:25] Mike shares his plans as a risk leader for WKS going forward.

[31:03] How will they be comprising WKS’s after-action committee?

[32:22] With a vaccine (hopefully) arriving in the next 12–18 months, how does that shape Mike’s planning?

[35:08] As the risk manager for five well-known brands, what is the one menu item Mike cannot live without?

[36:16] Justin thanks Mike Simmons for joining RIMScast and shares some of the important links to check out in today’s show notes!


Mentioned in this Episode:

RIMS 2021 Announcement: Session Submission Deadline is now Friday, October 9th

RIMS ERM Conference 2020 — Register Today! — Save 10% off registration with the code: RIMSCASTLIVE2020

RIMS-CRMP Prep Virtual Workshop on October 13th–15th — Register Today!

Read Mike Simmons' CRMP Story

Upcoming RIMS Webinars

RIMS Advisory Services — Ask a Peer

On-Demand Webinars

RIMS Coronavirus Information Center

RIMS Advocacy: Coronavirus Advocacy Information

RM Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

New Audio Series: RIMS Risk Leaders

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)

Free Webinar: RIMS-CRMP Recertification Process 2020


RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!

Download any episode of RIMScast.

Related RIMScast Episodes:

“Risk Management in the Supermarket and Retail Industries with Rooney Gleason”


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Follow up with Our Guests:

Rick Roberts’ LinkedIn

Mike Simmons’ LinkedIn