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ASSE’s Women in Safety Engineering Group Honors MO’s Maureen Kotlas as One of 100 Women Making a Difference in Safety

Posted in on Tue, Sep 20, 2011

The American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Women in Safety Engineering (WISE) Common Interest Group has honored Maureen Kotlas, CSP, CPEA, of  Columbia, MO,  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.

Kotlas is the  director of environmental health and Safety at  the University of Missouri where she oversees safety and environmental health programs for the campus.  She is  responsible for programs such as occupational safety, industrial hygiene  ,  radiation and biological safety, fire safety, environmental management, and more.  Kotlas previously served as the director of environmental health and safety at Harvard University and at the University of Maryland. In addition to her safety and health position at  the university, Kotlas has been an adjunct safety, health and environmental (SH&E) instructor for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Kotlas began her successful career in safety as an airline flight attendant where she was trained according to Federal Aviation Administration requirements for all airline safety issues pertaining to passengers and air travel, and went on to become a trainer .  She then went on to take the role of Safety Training Specialist for the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and Stony Brook University, working with staff to enhance campus safety initiatives, beginning a career in campus safety and health programs.

In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Kotlas is a long-time member of ASSE and is a past-president of the Long Island Chapter, where she received the 1997 chapter Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) award.  She has also been an active member of the National Capital Chapter and is currently a member of the St. Louis Chapter, Mid-Missouri Section. Kotlas has served on the Excellence in Safety Leadership Symposium Task Force and has also been an advisor to the Fire Protection Practice Specialty (PS) during ASSE’s annual campus-related fire safety awareness initiatives.  She is the past president  of the Campus Safety, Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA), a professional organization for campus safety specialists, representing more than 400 colleges and universities.

The ‘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 anniversary.

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 and celebrating its centennial, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment.  Its more than 34,000 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, healthcare and education.  For more information, please go to and to view the new ASSE – A Century of Safety film go to




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