|Bill Larson, P.E., CSP|
Thinking back on how his 61-year membership in ASSE has affected his safety career, Bill Larson, P.E., CSP, compares it to his ROTC experience. “ROTC taught me that when I put on my uniform, I represent the people of the U.S.,” he says. “I felt that way whenever and wherever I worked—that I was a member of ASSE and was careful how I acted, thought and spoke to honor my profession.”
At the start of his safety career, while working for Hartford A. & I. Co. in the engineering department, he recalls many well-qualified people who believed that safety was a necessary nuisance they had to tolerate. He says that management eventually learned that safety not only prevents fines, it also saves money. Larson believes safety professionals need an excellent education, preparation and expertise to do their jobs properly, as well as conduct themselves in a professional manner in order to earn respect from management and other workers. His boss called this respect “earned authority.”
Larson credits his earned authority to attending meetings and seminars, and working on committees and fellowships with other safety professionals. “It has been a good feeling to associate with a group of people whose primary purpose in life is to help prevent injuries, death and property losses,” he says.
For future safety engineers to succeed, Larson believes they must have a desire to help people. “You must be dedicated. You seldom know that your actions have saved people from injury or death, but know in your heart that there are good results—sometimes worldwide.” With this trait, he also believes safety professionals must get along with others. “No matter how qualified you are, if you turn people off, you won’t get the job done,” he says. Larson also advises,” Get a good education from an ASSE-accredited curriculum, listen and learn from qualified people who have gone before, attend ASSE seminars, and have an impeccable honesty in all you do.”
Larson is an emeritus professional member of ASSE’s Three Rivers Chapter, and is on the safety committee at The Holmstad, his retirement community, where he continues to contribute to the safety of others. He will celebrate 62 years of ASSE membership next month.