Matt Cameron – Honeywell Gas Analysis & Safety
Honeywell International Inc. comprised of four complex business groups, each may be confronted with legal matters that transcend its specific responsibilities.
So in early 2019, legal representatives of each of its strategic business groups—Aerospace, Building Technologies, Performance Materials and Technologies, and Safety and Productivity Solutions—decided to put their learned heads together during monthly meetings. There’s always some emerging matter to be discussed, agreed the quartet making uo the Cross Strategic Business Group Legal Learning Council.
Among the matters being discussed now is COVID-19, and the council has been advancing vital learning for its legal and business teams through shared knowledge, attests Matt Cameron, who is the legal representative for Safety and Productivity Solutions in his role as general counsel of Honeywell Gas Analysis & Safety.
“There are pieces of just about any puzzle we can find through our collaborative approach,” he tells Vanguard in May while working remotely from his Charlotte, North Carolina, home—the sounds of a toddler son and lively puppy in the background. “It plays well for me as a generalist who’s expected to know a lot, but not necessarily everything, about different issues.”
And how the coronavirus-related issues have been piling up since early this year. Force majeure, which can be relied on to free parties from contractual liability or obligations when affected by events beyond anybody’s reasonable control—a pandemic seeming to be one–is a major trending topic.
The Honeywell legal team providing guidance to the teams that are on the front lines of operations with customers and suppliers is a must. While Honeywell tries to fulfill its obligations and expects its suppliers to do likewise, Cameron recognizes the severity of COVID-19 and its threat to business. Only the stakes may be higher for his employer, given that many of Honeywell’s offerings, such as HGAS’ gas detection systems, electrical safety supplies and first responder gear, support essential infrastructure in relevant state and federal guidelines.
“We have had to work internally as to how to handle force majeure claims from suppliers unable to ship and customers unable to receive goods,” he explains. “It is an unprecedented time for force majeure claims as pretty much the entire world has been shut down and is starting to progressively reopen.”
While Cameron stays busy in his day-to-day, helping to ensure that business operations continue in these uncertain times by monitoring the ever-changing worldwide quarantine requirements, he says the monthly meetings with his in-house legal colleagues have done much to fine-tune their respective contracting and operational duties while keeping one another abreast of what to anticipate.
More rules and regulations are coming out regularly at the state and federal level, and with Honeywell represented in so many jurisdictions—manufacturing its essential gas detection, electrical safety, first responder and personal protective equipment in multiple U.S. jurisdictions and internationally—there’s so much for the company to stay abreast of.
An unprecedented time
Cameron has also been working with the various legal and business units within Honeywell to address the needs for rapid innovation and nimble action during the COVID-19 crisis. Honeywell has been at the forefront of helping its customers combat the pandemic through ramping up N95 respirator manufacturing, shifting some of its operations to produce hand sanitizer for donation to local government authorities, and ensuring that much needed personal protective equipment is making its way to the front line health care workers and first responders.
Honeywell Gas Analysis & Safety is also taking part in this fight by rapidly developing a skin temperature monitoring system, known as Honeywell ThermoRebellion™, which uses camera monitoring, infrared technology and advanced algorithms to help assess elevated core body temperature in people entering workplaces, retail establishments, airports and other public areas.
The system uses non-invasive measures to quickly provide preliminary screening of individuals with elevated skin temperature, allowing for triage and secondary testing to help combat the spread of infectious diseases.
“When Honeywell acquired Rebellion at the end of 2019, the imaging technology developed for detecting gas leaks was already new and exciting on its own,” says Cameron. “The fact that we can now use that same technology to develop a product that can be used in the efforts against coronavirus is a huge deal for us. We are thrilled to be a part of this important effort.”
Details always matter
Though COVID-19 has had Cameron and the rest of the legal staff pivoting the past few months, in some ways it hasn’t been that different. As he often reminds, the modern world is indeed data- and detail-intense, with the virus a reminder to be vigilant.
Long before COVID-19, Cameron says he recognized the potential change brought by a spelling or punctuation error. The term “contract hygiene” was and is part of his lexicon, he says.
“The world hinges on data,” he says. “It’s not like the old days when you’d get a hard copy of a contract and mark it up with a red pen. Our high volume of contracts is a challenge, and we must have the best means of tracking them.”
As contract life-cycle management software continues to evolve, Cameron assures that the legal team has a handle on data security. Again, it’s a collaborative process, like his favorite extracurricular activity of music.
Playing in the band
A recent shut-in like so many other working people, Cameron just had to pick up the guitar for a social-distance jam in early May with a couple of bandmates, all three guys staying 6 feet apart in an open garage. His top fan, lawyer and wife Mary Liz, enjoying the show with neighbors from a safe distance, Mojo Ruckus ran through a repertoire rich in Beatles, Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Rolling Stones and Phish tunes.
Time was when Cameron thought he might earn his livelihood from rock ‘n’ roll the 2006 Appalachian State University undergrad having earned a bachelor’s in music industry studies but opting for the University of North Carolina School of Law.
After earning the juris doctor, he’d join law school colleague Chase Tweel in developing the TweelX Music Stock Exchange, the proprietary marketplace for music royalty-backed securities, that’s since evolved from dot-com startup to Nashville publishing house. The business has since been placed in the capable hands of Chase’s father, the legendary Music City songwriter, producer and publishing executive Jeffrey Tweel.
After a five-year stretch with TweelX, Cameron took a series of in-house jobs before coming to Honeywell in 2018 as assistant general counsel of industrial safety in Fort Mill, South Carolina. One year later he’d be in Charlotte in a similar role with Honeywell Productivity Products and ascend to his present position just a few months later.
Look closely, he says, and you’ll see how the musical and legal mindsets are similarly tuned. “As part of a band you have to sense when to step in or fall back, and how to approach sometimes aged ideas with new and creative thinking,” he explains. “Now apply that theory to legal. A lawyer, especially a corporate lawyer, has to know when to take control and when to just listen and get a sense of where everything is going.”
While the coronavirus complicates that task, Cameron reminds there is strength in numbers, and the pooled talent of lawyers within the Safety and Productivity Solutions business and across the various strategic business groups at Honeywell, is mitigating some very challenging scenarios.
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