Thomas F. Cecich, CSP, CIH

Senior Vice President Candidate

James D. Smith, M.S., CSP

Listen to the Candidate Interview


James D. Smith, M.S., CSP, director of risk control services for Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, is a professional member of Region IV and an ASSE member for 35 years, residing in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Jim was previously employed as safety and claims (liability) manager for 18 years for South Florida Water Management.   Jim earned a bachelor’s and master’s of Science Degrees in Industrial Safety from University of Central Missouri.

Jim served 12 years on ASSE’s Board of Directors, in three major leadership positions including vice president of finance (two-terms), managing the finances, budget and investments of the Society; vice president, Council of Practices/Standards (two-terms) overseeing practice specialties, branches, Standards Development committee, and common interest groups; and vice president-Council of Professional Affairs.

Society Committee experience includes Council of Professional Affairs, Council of Practices/Standards, Finance, Executive, Strategic Planning, Standards Development, Body of Knowledge, Risk Assessment Task Force, Public Relations Task Force, Professional Code of Conduct, Congress of Councils, PDC, NORA Research Task Force, and Board of Directors.  Jim also has been a chapter delegate and two-term elected chapter president.

Society awards/honors includes ASSE’s Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year (2004), Charles V. Culbertson Outstanding Volunteer Service Award and President’s Award for financial management (2010 and 2012).  Jim serves on several ANSI Standards Committees (ANSI Z590 Chair, Z10, A14, A10.33, A14.3 Chair, A1264.1/1264.2) and is an expert reviewer for the Professional Safety Journal

Jim’s influence and contributions continue to shape ASSE policy, procedures and processes that sustain ASSE as a premier SH&E professional organization.

Platform Statement

During these last twelve years, I have served the membership in three major leadership positions on the Board of Directors.  My primary servant leadership objective has been promotion of positive change for members, our profession and the Society.  To accomplish this, it requires deep understanding of Society and its operations, building relationships amongst members/staff to advance our strategic vision and goals. I pledge to continue working to advance our strategic plan, sustain a relationship of respect and trust with Board members, staff and you, my fellow members. The Senior Vice President must have leadership courage to advocate for the members on important issues and stand against initiatives that provide no value to the members nor advance our strategic plan.  You have trusted me to do this on the Board as Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Professional Affairs and Vice President of Council of Practices and Standards.

Leadership Experience: It has been my honor to serve the last decade on the Board and another 10 years previously on various Society level committees dealing with every aspect of our Society.  Leadership experience including development of products/services for our members has prepared me for the Senior Vice President.  Working with many volunteers, members and staff we have accomplished much but more work needs to be done.  The recognition of the Safety Professional and the value we bring to our employers and our community will never end.  We must be the thought-leaders in our profession, have a seat at the table to make the difference and continuously work on resources that prepare our professionals’ knowledge and skills. 

Vision:  ASSE’s strength is a result of our member networks and diversified collective knowledge.  As Vice President of CoPS, we incorporated the Body of Knowledge (BoK) in the strategic plan advancing a vision in sharing 100 years of technical expertise and creating easily accessible knowledge exchange platform to access technical information. The vision of the BoK is to take the next step to advance the BOK to a Knowledge Center increasing these offerings, creating knowledge and differentiate ourselves.  We must continue to develop new resources and tools, using technology to deliver them while looking to the Practice Specialties and Academic members to build the content.  As part of ASSE Body of Knowledge, we must establish a Research Agenda, to provide the opportunity to fill the gaps in knowledge and provide our profession with evidence-based data to support the safety practice. 

It is important that we invest resources in Public Relations, Standards of Practice, Risk Assessment Institute, Center of Safety Sustainability, Practice Specialties and Framing of the Profession Committee to advance the understanding the value of our profession and contributions we make to our employers, stakeholders and the public.  Working with governmental affairs we shall bring focus on our members and advocate for the profession in legislative affairs.   We need to leverage these legislative affair relationships to promote our profession, ensure future jobs and maintain a favorable posture in legislative development when it’s practical.

Safety Professionals need professional development offerings which require investing in advanced web/video technology to deliver technical and business acumen education. A key method to deliver these offerings is to create short video resource on demand tool “how to perform the task”.  These “on demand” tools can address and educate professional’s in the practical business and financial areas needed in a corporate or business setting.  Safety Professional will learn how to create a business case, use financial terms to explain their business strategy or simply create meaningful management reports to the C-Suite Management.  The on demand, easy to follow focused video training can become a useful tool.  The Business of Safety Committee will be the recommended structure to take a lead in coordinating these short video training offering to our members.

As a member of the Risk Assessment Committee, we launched the Risk Assessment Institute. As a board member we have put resources to advance the Institute to provide evidence-base risk assessment tools to the safety practitioners.  Safety Professionals can take advantage of the case studies; various risk assessment methods, video training and other resources to develop their knowledge/skills in this area once complete.  Assisting our professionals to become recognized experts in risk assessment will allow for our members to add and demonstrate value to their organizations.  The Institute will play a major role in advancing the safety professional from a compliance driven to risk-based driven profession as we advance our practice.

Chapter Operations - we must make sure that Chapter Operations are relevant to the members and we provide the tools for that to happen. Simplifying the process for Chapters to have access to and easily navigate to those resources is important to assist their efforts.  We must remove the “electronic noise” that makes it difficult for Chapter leaders to understand what is available to them. 

Student success in SH&E is essential to our future profession and this is best accomplished through consolidating various ASSE Committees into an organizational structure that can advance these actions with a coordinator.  We need a coordinated effort of Volunteers, Academia, Chapters, Society Councils and Students to collaborate and communicate activities so we are working together to bring the best value to our students and academia.  Consolidating our efforts can only enhance the successes of yesterday into preparing us for tomorrow to address improving student engagement and supporting our academia.   The creation of an Academic Center of Excellence is a means to develop that structure.

In closing, my passion, board experience and understanding how the Society functions allow me the opportunity to work with others to navigate through the organization to get things accomplished in a transparent way.  If results matter to you, than you can count on me to continue to work hard to service the membership and the profession. I ask for your vote as Senior Vice President.