Vice President, Professional Development Candidate
James H. Morris III
James H. Morris III has been the assistant director, environmental and energy management, for Virginia Beach City Public Schools for the past 10 years, including oversight of the division’s $20 million utilities budget. Before that, he was the industrial hygienist for the City of Virginia Beach and has been in occupational and environmental safety and health for 22 years.
Jim’s background includes a B.S. from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. from Old Dominion University (ODU). Morris also taught undergraduate and graduate level classes in occupational health at ODU as an adjunct professor.
Morris is chair for the ASSE Region VI professional development conference. Before that, he was Region VI vice president from 2005 to 2010. He also is a member of several Society committees including Finance, Public Relations, and formerly served on the Sustainability Task Force and Past Presidents’ Task Force (as that group’s only nonpast Society president). Jim also chairs the NAOSH Week subcommittee. He received the Charles V. Culbertson Outstanding Volunteer Service Award (2007) and the President’s Award (2008) for his work with the Society. He was named the Greater Tidewater Chapter Safety Professional of the Year in 2009.
Jim also serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Energy Procurement Governmental Association. His family, including two sons, James and Sean, and wife, Colleen, received the Volunteer Hampton Roads Family Award in 2011. Jim also is on the Angel Flight charities board in Virginia and volunteers with the Virginia Beach SPCA.
As the workforce evolves and ages, we see new needs in the profession while we struggle to fill the voids left by those who retire from it. Additionally, our profession truly knows no borders, in that we have a reach that spans the globe. We need a strong network of professionals who have the expertise, education, and experience to provide information and leadership. This is the role of ASSE to its members, and to the communities we serve around the world.
At the global level, we have a large network of resources available to members. This includes the sharing of diverse expert knowledge in the form of publications, training opportunities/conferences, and access to industry leaders. The pooling from more than 35,000 members alone makes the value of membership well worth the cost. At the local/chapter level, individuals network in their community, share knowledge, find consultants, and develop future leaders. Too often, local and global levels of the Society are seen separately, when in fact, they should be cohesive elements to providing ASSE members our “bang for the buck.”
As a Society, we have the tools and the knowledge to share with others, whether they are next door or halfway across the world. One of the most powerful strengths we have as a Society is our emphasis on professional development. We have a PDC that is strong, we have virtual seminars that are easy to access and affordable, and throughout the year, we maintain a program of seminars, training, and publications that are second to none. As the need for our services evolves, we can take these things that we do well, and use that to continue the positive effect that we have on this profession and the workplaces of those that we serve.