September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - October 2003

In this joint message, the leaders of ASSE and AIHA pledge to work more closely for the advancement of occupational safety and health in the workplace.

2003-2004 ASSE President James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP

ASSE and AIHA Renew Their Understanding

During the recent ASSE Region III Professional Development Conference, we met with our respective executive directors to discuss the path forward for cooperation between ASSE and AIHA. It is our goal and desire that both organizations work together for the advancement of occupational safety and health in the workplace, the advancement of our members and the advancement of our respective professions. We discussed current issues openly and candidly. Through these discussions, we affirmed our belief that the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding cooperation between our two associations is still valid today (see sidebar). It is now our plan to revise and modernize the MOU, then to identify specific activities to make it a functional and living document.

We will start by discussing the content of the MOU to develop a mutual understanding of what the individual bullet points mean. Clear descriptions of each item and intent will provide the framework for moving forward.

We have identified several positive, specific activities for consideration by our organizations. It is a fact that all of our members are working in an environment where the lines between safety and industrial hygiene are grayer by the day, and the pressures on individuals to develop a broad range of knowledge and skills in both areas are evident every day. Each organization must work to provide resources and activities to its members in recognition of this fact. We should be able to find ways to capture the mutual strengths and educational activities of each organization, providing the needed activities with lower developmental or "start-up" costs.

We clearly need to find an efficient way to represent our members' interest in legislative and regulatory affairs at the state and federal levels. We may well have differences of opinion regarding the needs of our memberships in this arena, but we also know from recent experience that we have many common areas of concern. Finding those common areas and providing legislative or regulatory comments that represent the full number of our mutual memberships will be our goal. Minimizing the disagreements, particularly in public forums, is a part of this activity. We will find a positive path forward in this area.

There is no doubt that business and competitive issues exist in some of the areas we will consider. These will be recognized and debated. In the rapidly changing environment in which we live and work, we must be willing to consider new models for cooperation and new ways of collaborating. As Collins and Porras indicate in their book Built to Last, we must put aside the tyranny of the "OR" (this way "or" that) and find ways to utilize the genius of the "AND" (this way "and" that).

We see this as a high priority in our years in these chairs and hope to build on the foundations laid by those gone before us. With staff support and input from our members, we know we can.

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP

Tom Grumbles, CIH