Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Future Is Bright

It has been a long journey since Dr. John (Jack) Beno at Iowa State University advised me about a safety career as well as since my first Greater Detroit Chapter meeting in May 1988 when Frank Cleary, P.E., CSP, outgoing chapter president, mentioned that the chapter needed help with its newsletter. But, as I complete my 23rd year of ASSE service, I reflect on this past year as ASSE President and know that the future is bright. Let me share a few highlights:

• Center for Safety and Health in Sustainability. To raise awareness of the importance of workplace safety and health in the business community, add recognition to the SH&E profession and add value to SH&E professionals, ASSE established the Center for Safety and Health in Sustainability. The center will provide a strong voice and comprehensive leadership for safety and health in shaping sustainability policies; educate the business community on the importance of safety as part of good corporate governance and corporate social responsibility/sustainability; and recognition as a thought leader for sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

• Body of Knowledge. The Body of Knowledge (BOK) goal is to be the premier resource for practicing professionals. The BOK is a single point of entry to access SH&E information and will be a knowledge exchange platform that uses the latest technology to bring SH&E professionals together on a global stage and improve value. The project is progressing and we are building content for select areas.

• Professional competencies. A short-term action is publishing the Employer’s Guide to Hiring a Safety Professional to help a company hire a competent professional to manage its safety and health risks. A long-term action item is to collaborate with professional associations to define our practice and develop core competencies for the SH&E professional.

• Professional organization and membership. Membership is the largest in ASSE history with 34,000 members. The member profile includes: 87% having college education; 46% having an SH&E certification, with the CSP designation being held by 25%; 42% having a job title of safety engineer/specialist or director/manager/department head/chief, safety; and 33% being professional members.

• Global presence. The Society continues to expand its international influence. The delegation to China was very successful and a similar delegation to Brazil is scheduled for November 2011. The Board of Directors approved the charter of the Philippines Chapter and memorandums of understanding were approved between ASSE and the Nigerian Institute of Safety Professionals and the Abu Dhabi EHS Center. Furthermore, ASSE will collaborate with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and Safety Institute of Australia to pursue projects of mutual interest that will advance the SH&E profession.

In addition to the Society highlights, the profession continues to build momentum. Money Magazine (Nov. 2010) identified the environmental health and safety specialist and risk management manager as two of the top 18 jobs in terms of 10-year growth. Also, the SH&E profession was among a “dozen hot careers for college graduates” (University of California San Diego Extension, 2009).

The volunteer leaders, members and professional staff have made our 100th anniversary a memorable year. The contributions and commitment of many people are the reason ASSE accomplished much during 2010-11 and will continue to be relevant for many years.

I want to express special thanks for the support, hard work and accomplishments of the 2011 President’s Award recipients: Wayne Jones, James Ramsay, Kathy Seabrook, F.E.K. (Felix) Nakpodia, Abdullah Ghamdi, Anil Mathur, Enrique Santacana, Terry Wigfall, Tom Cecich, Pam Walaski and Chris Patton. I am also appreciative of ABB’s support over the years and the understanding of my family, Kimberly, Oneka and Desmond.

The Board of Directors will continue to identify benefits and services that provide value to the membership. The strength of ASSE during the past 100 years is its focus to be a member-driven professional organization. I encourage each of you to begin or grow your ASSE involvement and support Terrie, Rick and Kathy during the upcoming year. ASSE’s future is bright.