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 - January 2008

Relationships and partnerships are the foundation of genuine communication, understanding and progress. They create opportunities and open pathways to advance the SH&E profession.

2007-2008 ASSE President Michael W. Thompson, CSP

Make Partnerships Your Mission

Welcome to a new year, filled with many personal and professional aspirations, resolutions and goals. One of the best ways for us—individually and as a global Society—to meet those aspirations is to build and sustain relationships. On all levels—personal, professional, community, workplace— relationships and partnerships are the foundation of genuine communication, understanding and progress. They create opportunities and open pathways to advance the SH&E profession, enhance careers, and protect people, property and the environment.

As a global, member-driven organization, ASSE actively seeks to engage and collaborate around the world to help promote the profession and advance the careers of SH&E professionals. We seek to build relationships that are mutually beneficial to all partners and currently collaborate with many professional, government, nongovernmental and trade organizations. Let me share some examples.

ASSE recently entered into a relationship with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) that will bring out the best in both organizations. Through this agreement, many of ASSE’s technical documents are now available in SPE’s OnePetro Library (, which will expose members of both organizations to a wide array of technical information.

ASSE also has consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. Kathy Seabrook, a member active in international relations, will help nurture this special status when she attends the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in late February.

There is also ASSE’s alliance with OSHA. First signed in 2002, this alliance has enabled members to help OSHA advance injury and illness prevention and promote occupational safety and health through initiatives such as North American Occupational Safety and Health Week.

In addition, we have ongoing partnerships with affiliated organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Through a long-term memorandum of understanding, our organizations work side-by-side to benefit workers and our profession. At the local level, ASSE chapters and AIHA sections work closely on areas of mutual interest such as professional development and government affairs.

On a global scale, ASSE has collaborated with groups such as the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and the U.K.’s Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. In addition to participating in annual conferences and partnering on other initiatives, our groups helped found the International Network of Safety & Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO) in 2001. INSHPO is an international organization that represents generalist occupational safety and health practitioner organizations around the world.

ASSE also builds international recognition and coalitions through its activities in the standards arena. In a recent development, ASSE was approved as administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for an ISO project to develop general guidelines for principles and implementation of risk management.

These many national and international activities are laudable, but the truth is that chapters and individual members—through their engagement and commitment—are fundamental to activating these relationships and partnerships and driving them to tangible outcomes. Consider this example of an ASSE member answering the personal mission challenge. Sue Eaves works for the American Red Cross. She recently contacted ASSE to let us know that the Red Cross was looking for volunteers to serve as advisors, mentors and trainers on SH&E and risk management for her organization’s two chief operating officers.

If you, like Sue, are in a leadership and/or influencing position within an organization and believe that partnering with ASSE would benefit both organizations, we’d like to know. Tell us more by visiting and sharing the details.

Growing global partnering and relationship opportunities must become your personal mission in 2008. How true the saying, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Consider the possibilities for personal engagement as together we seek out and foster partnerships and relationships that will promote our profession and advance our members’ professional well-being and development.

Michael W. Thompson, CSP