Standards, Research on New ASSE President's Agenda

"It's incredible and a truly humbling honor that ASSE members are giving me the opportunity to lead 37,000 of the best safety professionals," James D. Smith said June 21 during the conference's general session. "The oncoming year will be exciting, and I really can't wait to get started."

DENVER -- The 103rd president in the history of the American Society of Safety Engineers -- ASSE, but soon to be renamed the American Society of Safety Professionals, ASSP, if its members vote in favor -- greeted attendees June 21 at the society's Safety 2017 conference with a pledge to get immediately to work. James D. Smith, M.S., CSP, director of risk control services for Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, takes the reins July 1 to serve a one-year term.

"It's incredible and a truly humbling honor that ASSE members are giving me the opportunity to lead 37,000 of the best safety professionals," Smith said during the conference's June 21 general session. "The oncoming year will be exciting, and I really can't wait to get started."

Smith discussed some of the priorities he'll address during his ASSE presidency, which extends through the Safety 2018 conference and expo (June 3-6, 2018) in San Antonio. He said standards development will continue to be a big focus for ASSE during his watch, and he promised to expand ASSE's commitment to research, saying it's imperative to fill gaps in the profession's body of knowledge.

"We will encourage a shift from compliance-based approaches to risk-based strategies -- we have to get these workplace fatalities down," he added.

The session included Tom Cecich's final speech to the membership as president; honoring Fay Feeney, CSP, ARM, and C. Gary Lopez, CSP, as ASSE Fellows; the Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year award presentation to Jeremy Bethancourt; and Outstanding Educator of the Year awards to Georgi Popov of the University of Central Missouri and Sathyanarayanan Rajendran of Central Washington University.

Feeney noted she is only the fourth woman to be made an ASSE Fellow, the society's highest honor, since ASSE began recognizing some of the profession's leaders with that distinction in 1961. "Let's move forward to make the world safer, healthier, and more sustainable," she urged.

Lopez noted being made a Fellow is recognition of the honoree's life's work in safety. "I've read someplace that the most exclusive club on the planet is the U.S. Senate. You can have only 100 of them at any one time. There have been only 128 Fellows since we started recognizing them in the early 1960s, and only 51 right now. So take that, U.S. Senate," he quipped.

"We must continue to raise the bar of what it means to be a safety professional," Cecich told the members.

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