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 - December 2007

This is a very exciting time for ASSE. We have a great membership and a strong resource base. We are operating in a strategic, robust profession. These are all key ingredients for a bright, significant future.

2007-2008 ASSE President Michael W. Thompson, CSP

Reflections and Vision: Past and Future

As we collectively work to create the future for our SH&E profession, it is healthy to pause in this journey to look at the path we have traveled. Over the course of the past 3 years we have effected changes in our Society vision, mission and strategic goals that map a path forward for our ever-increasing global efforts.

ASSE is a great membership organization. After nearly 97 years, we continue to get it right with respect to our focus on members. Increasing global membership is proof-positive of that. In fact, membership has grown at an average of 3% each year. As we have grown, our Society has continued to meet the needs of membership. So much is being delivered by ASSE today and so much more is planned for the future.

None of these current or future services can be realized without a solid financial foundation, however. To help you better understand the Society’s financial performance, I encourage you to read the 2006-07 annual report found on pp. 57-60. In addition to a review of FY07 accomplishments and specific financial details, you’ll find a message from ASSE Vice President of Finance Darryl C. Hill, CSP. In his messsage, Darryl explains how the ratio of dues to nondues revenue continues to change. To our benefit, the percentage of dues-related revenue in ASSE’s budget has decreased significantly since the last dues increase nearly 10 years ago. As Darryl notes, “it is our strategic direction to continue to develop nondues initiatives in an effort to reduce our dependance on dues.” These initiatives include conferences, symposia, webinars, books, standards, journal advertising and training. Like our own personal finances, spending must be balanced by income, so this revenue ratio will continue to be important to the Society’s operation.

On the topic of dues, each year you and I weigh the benefits of membership and make a tangible commitment to our profession when we pay our membership dues. As we consider this commitment, it’s natural to ask, “What benefits do I get from paying my dues?” And we can also challenge ourselves to reflect on and consider more deeply, “How am I contributing to my career advancement through my membership involvement?”

Consider this example. The Council on Professional Affairs (CoPA) is focusing on developing an outward focus in order to advance the profession and forge a path to the future. These members are working to define the key elements of professionalism for SH&E professionals. Thanks to the efforts of these volunteer members, we are able to consistently communicate with the public, employers and the government about the SH&E profession’s essential education and certification criteria as well as the professional and ethical standards by which we practice. This enables ASSE to promote the profession in a meaningful, accurate way, and helps us expand the understanding of our profession among employers. This will help us be more effective in the workplace and will increase our value to all of our key stakeholders.

Recently, CoPA began a project to determine how to best champion SH&E professionals, promote the advancement of the profession to our customers, and foster the professional well-being of SH&E practitioners. Through this initiative, we will challenge paradigms and gather data on which to base decisions about what ASSE needs to do beyond today. We’ll study other organizations to learn how they are advancing their respective professions. We will conduct research and surveys and perhaps partner with affiliated groups in this effort.

To bring this back to our reflection about dues and benefits, this effort will ultimately provide current and future members with better career and professional opportunities. There are many more ways in which ASSE and its volunteer members are serving and advancing the SH&E profession, and you can read more about these initiatives in “ASSE: Advancing SH&E” on p. 16.

This is a very exciting time for ASSE. We have a great membership and a strong resource base. We are operating in a strategic, robust profession. These are all key ingredients for a bright, significant future.

In closing, let me offer a heartfelt and sincere thanks to each of you and the ASSE staff. Your hard work and dedication are recognized and appreciated. I have challenged you before to “consider the possibilities.” Together, we are making the possible a reality.

Michael W. Thompson, CSP