Brian ‘Bru’ Brurud on Helping Companies Work Safely and Efficiently with Military Precision

Brian “Bru” Brurud, Co-CEO and President of Check-6, was interviewed on Mission Matters Business Podcast by Adam Torres. 

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Check-6, a Tulsa-based firm specializing in safety and compliance, employs veterans to use their elite military experience and training to assist high-reliability companies’ crews in managing change, optimizing processes and minimizing risk.

What mission matters to you? 

Brurud says his mission is to make a huge difference by impacting individual teams and transforming the level of excellence in their work. Through the collective effort of the Check-6 team, he wants to help businesses turn a profit safely, ensuring their long-term viability while minimizing risk to everyone involved in high-reliability sectors like construction, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, healthcare, and logistics.

How did you get started with Check-6?

With a long-running entrepreneurial streak, Brurud did small engine repair in his youth and worked as a farrier while still in college earning his degree as a geologist. As a geologist, he ended up in Alaska drilling for natural resources, and in those years, he says he learned a lot about human potential and survival in challenging situations. During a tough period, he came across a newspaper ad for a Navy officer program. He joined, and eventually found himself flying an F-14 fighter jet. 

In 1997, while working for FedEx, Brurud received a call from a friend who was a Canadian deep-water engineer; on the call, he relayed that he was reading an academic white paper by Dr. Rhona Flin, who stated that the oil and gas industry could benefit from implementing Crew Resource Management as a safety measure similar to those used in naval aviation and the space program. If pilots and astronauts are taught those measures, she noted, it would have similar impacts in the Oil and Gas industry. Inspired by the idea, Brurud’s friend asked him to create a training program for the crews who worked on his oil rigs. Brurud agreed.

While sitting in the ready room to meet with navy staff, he made note of the skills and talents in the room. In that moment, he says he realized that they could achieve nearly anything together in the private sector. This revelation, he explains, led directly to the founding of Check-6.

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What are high-reliability organizations? 

High-reliability organizations carry severe consequences when something goes wrong; even a small human failure can bring down an entire organization because the stakes are so high. Check-6 employees, likewise, have experienced real life-or-death situations in professional settings, and understand how to convey the importance of precision and safety in the workplace. Check-6 trains partners in best practices for handling equipment, navigating challenging situations, and relying on the benefits of mutual support, cross-checks, and supervision. 

What does it take to develop a culture in such an environment? 

Brurud says strategy is one thing, but notes that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Leadership drives culture, he explains, and has the ability to set and implement a “golden rule” ethos, reminding people to treat one another as they wish to be treated themselves. 

What’s next for Check-6?

The company is planning to expand further into the regions and sectors it already serves, including manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, oil & gas, and more. Brurud notes that the organization also wants to expand its technology offerings for even greater field operations management production returns. 

To learn more, visit www.checksix.com or call 918-399-0906.