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 2009

ASSE is poised to achieve many great things worldwide. The commitment and involvement of our membership can make those achievements a reality.

2008-2009 ASSE President Warren Brown, CSP, ARM

With the New Year Comes Change

The new year has begun and change seems to be the buzzword of the times. In the U.S., a new president will be sworn in this month and a major theme of his administration will be change. Since change seems to be what everyone is seeking, I’d like to provide another opportunity for you, as one of ASSE’s 32,000 members, to help influence ASSE’s activities and direction. ASSE’s Board of Directors is constantly considering new ideas and reviewing existing approaches for improvement opportunities. Many of these efforts are based on information gathered from surveys of members and others. However, since there are so many ideas, there are likely many that have not yet been shared—and you may have such an idea about ASSE, chapter activities or the activities of the safety profession. I encourage you to share those ideas for change with us. Visit and complete the online form. We will review the comments received and take action where appropriate.

We are also actively working to involve our student members in ASSE earlier in their professional careers. Our recently completed Future Safety Leaders Conference is a great example. Nearly 200 students traveled to Louisville, KY, where they learned about the importance of business skills, continuing education, different areas of safety practice and developing leadership skills. Students also conducted mock interviews and honed their resume writing skills. These students represent 33 different schools and they are a great reflection on the academic safety programs around the country. Thanks to this conference, these students are better prepared to apply some important skills and better equipped to approach the job market with a high level of confidence. They also have a greater understanding of the benefits gained from being an active, involved member of ASSE.

Our change efforts include global outreach as well. I recently participated in the 4th China International Forum on Worker Safety in Beijing. As the Chinese economy continues to grow, so, too, does that government’s emphasis on workplace safety. This commitment was stressed by China’s Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, who called work safety a “top priority in the country’s industrialization” during his address to conference delegates. Zhao Tiechui, vice minister of State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), shared those sentiments, adding that the Chinese government must “change the mindset that economic growth is more important than people’s safety.”

Throughout the conference, discussions focused on government safety responsibilities, corporate social responsibility, worker safety in an era of globalization, ethics and safety development to improve economic growth. The presenters—from Juan Somavia, director general of the International Labor Organization to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao—reflected our world’s continued globalization in both business and safety. Representatives from several international organizations—including Bai Ran, executive director general of SAWS Depart­ment of International Cooperation, Samuel Tso, executive director of the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Council, and Edwin Yap, president of the Singa­pore Institution of Safety Officers—also expressed interest in partnering with ASSE on various initiatives.

Clearly, ASSE is perceived worldwide as a leading advocate for workplace safety and the SH&E profession. To ensure success in all of our outreach and growth endeavors, we need more members to get involved. Among the many presentations at the conference in China, ours was the only session that addressed the need to develop effective safety professionals and safety professional competencies. ASSE is poised to achieve great things worldwide. The commitment and involvement of our membership can make those achievements a reality.

Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM