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 - February 2006

SH&E students are those to whom we will pass the baton to continue the race. Without them, our profession and this Society will surely fade away.

2005-2006 ASSE President Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP

SH&E Students Are Our Lifeblood

The future of ASSE and the SH&E profession falls squarely on the shoulders of our students in safety, health and environmental studies. They are the ones to whom we expect to pass the baton to continue the race-without them, our profession and this Society will surely fade away.

Last November, I had the privilege and honor of participating in the first ASSE National Future Safety Leaders Conference. More than 110 students attended, along with several faculty advisors, ASSE leaders and members, and headquarters staff. It was a tremendous event with a lot of learning, sharing and networking. The quality of the student attendees was first class. I was impressed not only with their knowledge, but also with the professional manner in which they conducted themselves. I have no doubt that our profession and this Society will be in good hands for many decades to come.

However, our students cannot-and should not-be expected to go it alone. Current practitioners must ensure that mentoring is available to these up-and-coming SH&E professionals. We can accomplish this task in many ways.

Chapters must actively sponsor ASSE student sections in their area. For example, include the student section in chapter meetings and outings. Provide speakers or mentors to help with student section meetings. Some chapters hold a mentors' day during their program year in which student section members shadow a chapter member for a day. They get together in the evening for that month's chapter meeting and the students report on their day with an SH&E professional.

Individual members can work with universities to place students for internships. For some, these opportunities lead to the student being hired as an employee of the company for which s/he interned. For others, it is a tremendous learning opportunity and helps to expand their network.

In October, I had an opportunity to witness the work of the Occupational Safety and Ergonomics program at Auburn University. The depth of involvement of the students in their research is phenomenal. Moreover, their enthusiasm is contagious. Hats off to the faculty and students for their dedication, and my personal thanks to Drs. Robert Thomas and Jerry Davis for affording me the opportunity to share some time with them.

During the last four months of my term as president, I hope to visit the student sections at University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and Murray State University. My only regret is that time in this position is so short and passes too swiftly to allow more visits.

My challenge to our members is to support the student sections, visit the universities and observe the great work they are doing. Make yourself available as a mentor. The students need us and the future of our profession and Society demand our active involvement.

Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP