VPPPA Shakes it Up for Safety+

The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association wanted this year’s Safety+ to be different, immersive, collaborative and above all else fun.

“We wanted it to be all about the experience.”

That was the first thing VPPPA Chairman of the Board J.A. Rodriguez, Jr. told me when we sat met on the second day of the Safety+ show at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association wanted this year’s Safety+ to be different, immersive, collaborative and above all else fun.

Rodriguez touched on several things that the Association worked on enhancing for this year’s Safety+ show, including the quality of education and the attendee experience. The VPPPA wanted attendees to feel at ease at the show, placing them in the mindset to adequately learn, converse and evaluate their own procedures.

“People come here to find out the best of the best, and what the best of the best are doing,” Rodriguez said. “But we also wanted to think about the attendee experience. Presenting information without the emotional piece is a waste of time, because information plus emotion equals retention.”

In an effort to ease general trade show attendee stress and make workshops more impactful, this year’s sessions where built differently, topics were approached in creative ways and speakers of all experience levels brought to the stage.

“On the first day of the show, we had our Opening General Session where we awarded Cintas with the Chairman’s Award of Excellence to Cintas Corporation and had three different speakers talk about three different topics,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve never seen that done before in our industry.”

Giving attendees the ability to network was another area the Association and Chair Rodriguez wanted to go above and beyond on. The ability to bring together members of the association from all levels of an organization helps to facilitate more conversations about safety and at the end of the day, leads to more effective procedures and fewer incidents.

“It’s all about the networking piece,” Rodriguez said. “How many business cards can you take back? How many answers can you take back for your issues. That’s the value to coming to the VPPPA.”

The Safety+ Symposium will run through Friday, August 30. For more information visit https://www.vpppa.org/symposium.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the former editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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