Dave Petratis | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Dave Petratis


Allegion produces a range of products for homes, businesses, schools and other institutions, focusing on security around the door and adjacent areas. Allegion is a $2.4 billion company with products sold in nearly 130 countries. Its leading brands include CISA, Interflex, LCN, Schlage, SimonsVoss and Von Duprin.

The Mistake:

Overlooking a comprehensive approach to health as it relates to safety.

Throughout my career, I’ve been influenced by Abraham Maslow’s, “A Theory of Human Motivation” that says if you meet individuals basic needs, they will self-actualize. That leads to their greater contribution to the business.

At 28-years-old, I was managing 600 to 700 employees. We had the magic of youth on our side. So for years, with Maslow’s teachings in mind, I focused on providing my employees with the safest environments to work in.

But I took one thing for granted, that I wish I would have realized sooner – health, both physical and mental health. Now that I’m 60-years-old, I realize these things are cumulative. I wish I would have emphasized the importance of a healthy body and mind much sooner in my life and my employees’ lives. When you care about your health at 30, you’ll be better for it at 60. 

When you care about your health at 30, you’ll be better for it at 60. 

The Lesson:

Safety measures are important, but I know now there’s so much more to health. It’s my job to protect my employees in all ways. I came to the realization that I needed to help advise them on how to fuel their bodies and how to manage stress at work and home.

We’ve built health-related education and incentives into our benefits packages. We know it’s working through Gallup measurement tools we utilize. Our employee engagement has improved every year for the last four years. This sends a strong message to our employees leadership and management care about you as an employee.

Earlier this year, I was recognized by the National Safety Council as a CEO who "Get(s) It” for my focus on safety on and off the job. I know this is only one dimension of the game. I have the numbers to support the effort, but I know now expanding on those efforts are far more powerful.


Follow Allegion on Twitter at @allegionplc.

Pictured is Dave Petratis. | Photo courtesy of Allegion.