Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CPSI, is risk control manager for Bickmore Risk Services, Long Beach, CA. She provides risk management services, such as, risk management audits, return-on-investment assessments, risk management program development, and training for industrial and public entities. Norris has more than 20 years experience in safety, health, and environmental management in recycled paper, rubber & plastics, and metal forming industries, insurance and consultation. She graduated sum cum laude from Nazareth College.
An ASSE member since 1987, she is serving her second elected term as Region I Vice President. Her Chapter service includes: Orange County chapter president, president-elect, treasurer, and delegate. During her tenure as president, the chapter received a Chapter Achievement Award. Norris’ service to Region I includes: deputy RVP; secretary; and ARVP. Society-level service includes: Council on Member and Regional Affairs deputy chair; Diversity Committee chair; Strategic Planning Committee; Compensation Committee; 100-Year Anniversary Committee; Women in Safety Engineering Advisory Committee, Management Practice Specialty Webmaster, and Chapter Stars Task Force Chair. An ASSE Foundation champion donor, she was instrumental in the development and funding of the Society Diversity Committee Scholarship. Norris co-authored “Adding Diversity to Your Leadership Skill Set” featured in Professional Safety. Other accomplishments include development of safety specifications for public playground equipment as a member of ASTM, and service as technical reviewer for the NSC publication Accident Prevention Manual-12th Edition.
Norris’ honors include Manager of the Year (Poms & Associates); regional and chapter Safety Professional of the Year; and ASSE’s Culbertson Outstanding Volunteer Service Award.
Our Society was formed almost a hundred years ago with a vision for a different future. That vision was a future where the workplace was safe; a place to return from whole and healthy. Over the last ten decades, our Society’s mission has grown and evolved. In addition to protecting people in the workplace, we now strive to protect property and the environment, as well. We strive to support the professionals who dedicate their lives to the future of others through their pursuit of the protection of people, property and the environment. We will soon be entering our next century. Now is the time to build the foundation for what our future will be over the next hundred years. Our future relies on informed members, energetic strategies, and employer belief in the value of safety, health, and environmental (SHE) professionals and the benefit that they bring to their employers’ organizations.
One interesting feature of our Society is that it is operated for and by its members. Our strategies are formulated and carried out by volunteer leaders and a professional staff that understands the business of running a global society. Our volunteer leaders are drawn from our membership, and they are driven by a desire to serve and make a difference. What we accomplish as a Society depends on our ability to maintain informed members, leaders, and staff. Our ability to keep informed is dependent on our ability and willingness to embrace changing technology to facilitate the exchange of information. This aptitude becomes increasingly important as we grow our global membership. The methods and timing of the dissemination of information is critical to ensuring that members are able to make fact-driven, knowledge-based decisions. We need to ensure that data and materials are provided well in advance of decision making timelines and that timely detailed information and adequate lead-time give our elected leaders the capability to poll the membership they represent and make decisions based on member input. I will support the development and use of evolving technology to facilitate the distribution of data and informational materials. I will also strive to change the procedures for the delivery of information to ensure that members are kept informed and are provided with reliable data well in advance of any decision making deadlines.
The relationship between volunteer leaders and staff is one of mutual support. Our volunteer leaders could not accomplish their tasks without the support and guidance of our professional staff; however, the direction in which the Society moves, its strategy for growing and service to members comes from our members through their volunteer leaders. It is time to take another look at how the strategies for our Society are developed and how success is measured. The establishment of measurable rich, positive goals and action plans are needed to provide service and support to our members. The Board is working toward a change in how our strategic plans are developed. They are endeavoring to expand the role of the Board in the development of robust goals, leaving the development of specific action plans to the cooperative efforts of the four Councils and the Strategic Planning Committee. I support these plans as I believe that our leaders should have greater responsibility in setting our course. I will work to ensure that vigorous strategies are developed and that staff is provided with clear direction for implementation. It is through the coordinated efforts of our leaders and staff that we can develop robust strategies that serve our members and secure the future of our Society.
Our mission is “…providing representation, promotion and support for those engaged in the profession and/or the practice of safety, health and environment in their efforts to protect people, property and the environment.” That representation, promotion and support must include strategically marketing our value proposition to those who employ our members. Our members are dedicated to protecting people, property and the environment, but they need help in selling the benefit of what they do to their employers and in forming cooperative partnerships with management. It is sad, but true, that in times of economic decline that the SHE professional is often the first to see cut backs in professional development, program support and, all too often, their employment. We need to inform and persuade employers that our members bring added value to their organizations, and that SHE professionals contribute to the success of business. Employers are looking for a return on their investment, and it is our responsibility to convince employers of the merit of retaining and supporting SHE professionals. It is through assuring employers of the benefit of maintaining a professional SHE staff that we can best serve our members and their constituents.
Our Society has created a rich history over the last 98 years. Our history has shown our ability to evolve as the needs of the workplace, the SHE professional and our global community changed. We have made our workplaces and communities safer, healthier environments and we have expanded the knowledge and experience of our SHE professionals. Leonard I. Sweet once stated, “The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.” Together we can create a second century of service to our members that is more successful and more fulfilling than the first hundred years. Together we can create strategies that support our vision of a Society that is a premier resource for SHE professionals on a global level. Together we can create a strong future for our members.