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ASSE Honor’s Tumwater’s Howry as One of Top Women in Safety

Posted in on Thu, Nov 10, 2011

9, 2011) – The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Women in Safety
Engineering (WISE) Common Interest Group has honored Rebecka Howry of Tumwater,
WA, for making a difference in the safety, health and environmental (SH&E)
field as part of the WISE ‘100 Women Making a Difference in Safety’ project.
Women from around the world and throughout history have been honored for their
dedication to protecting people, property and the environment and for going
above and beyond to make a difference.

Howry’s safety career began 29 years ago with the Washington
Department of Corrections (DOC) working in labor and individual claims at the
Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). While in this position, the
safety profession caught her eye. She worked her way up in the department of
corrections to the role of Safety Officer II at DOC headquarters, where she
also supervised safety officers at three of Washington’s major state prisons.

Recently retired, Howry says that safety in the prison
system is quite different from any other area because it encompasses just about
every practice specialty in the safety, health and environment (SH&E)

“In construction you are focused on what applies to a
particular project,” she explained. “We have to be aware of everything. We’re
like a city.”

Before retirement, Howry’s duties as a supervisor at DOC
headquarters she worked with superintendents at the prisons to ensure their
compliance with state and federal codes, as well as working with the assigned
safety officer at each of the three facilities she supervised.

Over the years she gained the trust and respect of her co-workers,
as well as WCCW inmates, who knew that they could come to her with a safety
concern, and she would listen to them, and resolve it.

Howry was surprised to learn of her honor with WISE and said
she didn’t quite understand what she did to deserve it, because she was just
doing her job.

“I just did something that I loved,” she said, adding that
the honor helped her enforce her message to her staff that safety is something
that needs to be implemented and embraced on a daily basis.

The ‘WISE 100 Women, Making a Difference in Safety’ project
honors women who, throughout history, have dedicated their careers to promoting
innovation in safety, health and environmental issues. The valuable
contributions of women to the SH&E profession have been recognized through
this project and later this year WISE will consolidate the profiles of all 100
honorees into a single publication, titled 100
Women, Making a Difference in the Safety, Health and Environmental Profession
as  part of ASSE’s (1911-2011) 100th

WISE was established to foster the advancement of women in
the SH&E profession.  The group
provides professional development opportunities, evaluates the ongoing state of
women in SH&E, mentors women in the profession, provides opportunities for
women to obtain professional certifications and promotes the development and
peer review of written material related to issues specific to women in the
SH&E  workplace.  For more information about WISE and upcoming
events, please visit

Founded in 1911, the 100-year-old Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the
oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people,
property and the environment. Its more than 33,000 occupational safety, health
and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and
consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all
industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please
view ASSE’s ‘Celebrating a Century of Safety’ video at

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