Rising Stars of Safety, Class of 2019
Recognizing the heroes in our midst
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To create lasting change, we need compelling ideas. My 30-plus years in a high-consequence industry taught me that acknowledging diverse viewpoints and experiences yields stronger solutions and better outcomes. Recognizing young professionals with a dedication to safety leadership is a powerful reminder that great ideas are generated when we all work together.
My mission at the National Safety Council is to help people live their lives to the fullest by eliminating preventable deaths. I am also a firm believer that empowering the next generation to pursue their dreams can create the next innovation revolution. The 2019 Rising Stars of Safety demonstrate what it looks like when we invest in people from a variety of industries and backgrounds to reach their potential.
Since 2010, NSC has been honoring the next generation of safety leaders with the Rising Stars of Safety Award, recognizing young safety professionals whose impact extends throughout and beyond the workplace. The Rising Stars seek new ways to tackle both emerging and long-standing safety issues. They are pillars of their organizations. They have what it takes to keep people around them safe with hard work, ingenuity and a fresh perspective.
To highlight a few, Chemical Hygiene Officer Kimberly Ann Decker boldly closed gaps in the industrial hygiene program and policies at Corteva Agriscience, enabling nearly 2,000 employees in Indianapolis to do their jobs safely every day. She also provides an inspiration for future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) leaders by working with youth off the job.
Senior EHS Expertise Specialist Arul Subbarayalu helped avert 35 serious incidents at Dow Chemical International by spearheading a Fresh Eye Assessment concept. The program drove down incidents and costs. He is also working to improve water-saving measures in his community, implement healthier workplace meal alternatives and eliminate plastic waste.
Master Sgt. Jeremy Nixon provides guidance for the 45,000 personnel in the Pacific Air Forces as an occupational safety program manager. Championing a strong culture of safety and recognizing other emerging safety leaders, his actions have helped significantly reduce head injuries, motor vehicle-related injuries, and other on- and off-duty hazards.
Amber Joseph leads a successful slip, trip and fall reduction program as a risk control technical consultant at Liberty Mutual Insurance. She directs and trains teams of hazard assessment consultants across the nation as well as internationally, while empowering other women as a martial arts instructor.
Every single one of our 31 Rising Stars has followed their passion and initiative to create great outcomes. These safety leaders aren’t afraid to take risks or try a new approach to help keep their colleagues and communities safe. Our mission to eliminate preventable deaths means we need these compelling role models now more than ever. We are honored to recognize the 10th class of the Rising Stars of Safety. We hope they will inspire the next generation of safety leaders, as they motivate all of us to identify the everyday heroes in our midst.
Lorraine M. Martin
President and CEO
National Safety Council
Rising Stars profiles
Use these links to visit Rising Stars profile pages, or browse all profiles as a slideshow using the navigation arrows at the top of each page.
Join the Young Professionals Division
Are you a safety professional younger than 45? Don’t miss your chance to further develop your skills and advance your career in safety leadership at the 2019 NSC Congress & Expo. Members of this group receive access to networking events, professional development opprotunities and exclusive invitations to leadership meetings. Be on the cuttting edge of safety and share your fresh ideas with your peers.
Learn more about how to get involved at nsc.org/ypd.
Brad T. Barrow
Safety Competency Leader
The Chemours Co.
“When the company began an IT project to replace myriad site EHS databases with a corporatewide database with different modules for incident investigation, corrective actions, document control, etc., Brad volunteered to lead the design and workflow for a first-party EHS auditing program module. Brad solicited input from the sites, then created a standardized audit form and process that could both gather information on aspects of behavioral safety and examine focused safety topics through use of a set of detailed auditing checklists that he created. Observations can now be trended companywide.”
Environmental, Safety and Health Manager Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
Grand Prairie, TX
“Holly became manager of the Dallas site at a time of unprecedented growth. This growth meant change for areas that hadn’t been modified in years. Recognizing the risks, she led an effort to develop and maintain open communications with those affected. This included the development of a collaborative campaign with her facilities counterparts, the graphics and communications teams, and the scheduling of work in multiple areas. Proof of this successful implementation was demonstrated when the roof of the second largest office building was replaced – while occupied – without a single incident.”
“Jessica is responsible for providing technical guidance and support for all FirstGroup America companies across North America (providing safety support to a team of 50 safety professionals and 100,000 employees). In her 2.5 years with the company, she has established herself as a tireless and selfless safety champion, helping initiate our root cause analysis process, managing our incident response processes, monitoring front-line engagement activity as part of our behavior-based safety processes, becoming a behavior-based safety trainer, and conducting analysis of safety performance across all FirstGroup companies.”
Cedar Knolls, NJ
“Laura has led Street Smart campaigns in over 10 municipalities in northwest New Jersey. While each campaign is unique, they have all resulted in positive, measurable outcomes. Most recently, Laura incorporated a new positive reinforcement initiative. Complementing tickets and warnings, she secured discount coupons from local businesses to distribute to people engaging in safe walking and driving behavior. This not only recognized those following the law, but also created public engagement opportunities for the police and involved the local business community, building new safety advocates along the way.”
Director of Safety
Primus Builders Inc.
“Theresa recognized that to engage her peers effectively, she had to determine the different safety training needs of three groups. She offered the design team General Industry OSHA 10-hour training. They learned how to design so that the finished building would be compliant. All project managers and superintendents are OSHA 30-hour certified and first aid and CPR certified. Theresa also offers training on topics such as fall protection. This includes subcontractors if she or our onsite superintendent determines their skills need strengthening. In addition to OSHA, first aid and CPR training, the thermal envelope team receives hands-on equipment training.”
Kimberly Ann Decker
Chemical Hygiene Officer
“Kim was tasked with addressing our sites’ biggest gap: exposure assessments. When she started to dig into the details, she found multiple deficiencies in our sites’ industrial hygiene programs. Kim successfully identified and closed gaps that included lack of an SDS management system, insufficient PPE determination, gaps in process safety management and insufficient hearing surveys. During that time, she was also tasked with implementing the new silica standard in an agricultural, research and development, and production setting. Kim’s ability to address our issues and put in place sustainable solutions directly impacts about 2,000 employees’ daily ability to work safely.”
Project HS&E Director
Turner Construction Co.
“Stanley conducted several trend analysis evaluations, which showed an upward trend in unsafe acts, near misses, incident severity and incident rates concerning one of the largest sports and entertainment projects in the country. After identifying these trends, he convened a cross-functional team of 60-plus safety managers, superintendents and foremen to perform daily safety observation walks to identify and mitigate hazards immediately in the field. Since the team’s implementation, this initiative has resulted in a 65% decrease in near misses, 30% decrease in total unsafe acts and lower severity of incidents.”
Malik Ihtisham Haider
Assistant Manager, HSE
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co.
“The indigenous workforce employed on the project use motorbikes for commuting. Economic activity generated by this project resulted in a surge of vehicles and motorbikes leading to more accidents. Identifying the root cause of the accidents, Malik created a weeklong road safety awareness campaign. Workers and community bikers were trained on bike driving and safety measures. Safety messages were aired on radio and cable networks. More than 1,000 reflective bike safety helmets were distributed. All of this helped us achieve a reduction of 37% bike accidents over the year.”
ARCO Construction Co.
St. Louis, MO
“Matt visits every job with a positive and upbeat attitude and excells at making safety fun and understandable. He believes in the importance of educating all workers about site-specific hazards. Matt’s everyday goal is to make personal relationships with each of our employees, so that he can relate with them on a personal level while discussing safety. He is able to discuss safety concerns with our project teams and make realistic recommendations to correct any issues identified.”
Process Safety Engineer
Fatima Fertilizer Co. Ltd.
Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan
“To improve emergency handling capacities, Hamza showed extraordinary leadership skills. Initially he engaged government authorities to evaluate firefighting and toxic release handling capacity. He then led the team that was assigned to develop the emergency response manual. This was followed by training and validation of all fire wardens and the emergency response team. Later, he collaborated with national disaster management authorities to arrange an industrial disaster handling mock drill.”
OSHA and Safe Operations Manager
North Huntingdon, PA
“Early in his tenure as a safe operations manager, Alan was tasked with updating the company securement manual. With little experience in marketing and publishing, he gathered the resources, put together a plan and was able to produce a new manual that provides our drivers with a state-of-the-art resource. It is available in print and viewable on our e-log tablets. In the five months since the rollout, PGT has seen a 71% drop in cargo claims.”
Battle Creek, MI
“Aya drove the use of the Intelex system for online injury reporting. The new tool made it easier for team members to report injuries and provided more accurate information for the company to investigate hazardous situations. Aya has also prioritized the needs of policy overview and has written a bloodborne pathogens policy and revised the complex respiratory protection program. Her ability to understand compliance requirements combined with her talent to apply it has helped her accomplish these results.”
Kanella S. Hatchett
Logistics Officer (Safety)
Marine Corps Embassy Security Group
“Capt. Hatchett constructed and instituted a Command Unit Safety Representative Program to get all appointed USRs properly trained. She enrolled 16 Marines in the 8-hour Initial USR course to learn the Recreational Off-Duty Safety, Enterprise Safety Application Management System, Electrical, Lock-Out/Tag-Out, Safety Program Administration, Ergonomics, Hazard Communication, Hearing Conservation, and Mishaps. Once Marines completed the course, Capt. Hatchett required graduates to develop standardized USR turnover binders for each of their sections with weekly, monthly and quarterly responsibilities. Over the course of six months, Capt. Hatchet, utilizing the USR(s), completed 192 inspections.”
Matthew F. Herron
Senior Safety Engineer
Southwest Research Institute
San Antonio, TX
“Matt led a new safety initiative in 2017, titled Safety 360, to foster a culture that empowers employees to proactively identify, correct and report hazards. The Safety 360 Tenets include everyone is responsible for workplace safety and has stop-work authority; situational awareness; protect yourself and those around you; and report all unsafe acts and unsafe conditions. This initiative encourages employee participation by providing a simple form they can use to communicate the hazards they have identified, and allows them to provide their own solution. This information is compiled in a spreadsheet for tracking and data analysis.”
Hafiz Muhammad Umer Javed
M&A Group Energy and Petroleum Services
“Hafiz started analyzing data of lower back pain complaints and sick leaves. He found that some employees were using chairs that have a higher rate of risk related to back pain, resulting in sick leaves. He initiated a campaign, ‘I’m Healthy,’ to raise awareness about the issue through training, distributing brochures and flyers. As a result, office chairs were replaced with ergonomically designed ones. He also developed a system to report ergonomically unsafe acts.”
Technical Consultant, Risk Control
Liberty Mutual Insurance
“Amber is leading a multiyear slips, trips and falls reduction project by creating a sustainable program to reduce STF claims. Amber created an employee perception survey and a hazard assessment survey, which were used to assess employee perceptions of STF hazards and analyze associated gaps. Based on findings, a STF Prevention Self-Assessment Guide was developed that focuses on critical STF risk reduction program elements.”
HSE Division Senior Associate
“Since 2016, Crystal has been involved with program management of over 200 asbestos and mold remediation projects. In 2018, she managed over 500 IAQ complaints and reconciled those complaints through inspection and testing. She emphasizes streamlining removal and protecting employee safety through asbestos awareness training and vendor interaction. Crystal also manages CFR 66 – Clean Air Act requirements for refrigerants. She has trained all CBRE engineers to properly and safely log use of refrigerants by following the updated Section 608 regulations for leak detection rules that effectively monitor leaks, reclaim refrigerants and prevent exposure to asphyxiants.”
Safety Project Manager
City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Workplace Safety (WorkSafe Atlanta)
“Ben has worked tirelessly to create partnerships with key stakeholders within city departments and with external partners. This has resulted in the creation of a citywide Safety Culture Subcommittee within WorkSafe Atlanta. In addition, Ben is creating statistical analyses for safety metrics and developing predictive analysis methods to help focus the city’s safety efforts within specific departments and for specific injury types. This information is being used to drive decision-making on training and safety controls. Ben is assisting with the development of citywide safety policies and procedures, and an overall safety strategic plan.”
Meraiah L. Marvel
National Safety and Security Manager
“Meraiah routinely leads controversial – but successful – safety initiatives that transform the performance and the culture of her program. She regularly analyzes her program and identifies desirable and undesirable trends. She seeks advice from craft personnel and site leaders to understand these trends. Meraiah asks her peers in safety and security to see what’s been done elsewhere. She develops pilot processes and deploys them on selected project sites with full buy-in from project leaders and craft personnel. Meraiah adjusts, and then redeploys them throughout her program.”
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
“Bob managed a safety specialist through the process of creating station-specific energy control procedures for all necessary minor servicing tasks. This method was benchmarked for the company, clear and concise so that all employees could easily understand it. He also inspired an intern to create a hands-on learning demonstration to facilitate better PPE compliance, specific to hearing protection. Finally, he created a response team to physically review all first aid incidents that occur at the plant in order to determine proper root cause and implement all recommended corrective actions.”
Environment, Health, and Safety Manager
Moon Township, PA
“Jessica discovered a critically dangerous condition in an electrical test area. Working with the technician and operations, Jessica determined a solution that would engineer-out the risk. Jessica showed managerial courage by working cross-functionally with several high-ranking leaders. Her leadership effectively communicated the severity of the problem, and also convinced these individuals to reallocate capital money to remediate the risk. Jessica personally validated the completed project onsite, even after being transferred across-country to a new location.”
Occupational Safety Program Manager
Pacific Air Forces Safety
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI
“As a champion for safety education, Master Sgt. Nixon has provided personnel at remote locations many opportunities for training. Funding for machine guarding, control of hazardous energy, confined space, and risk management training road shows were secured. Also, he sponsored a cranial injury reduction project by identifying the areas of high occurrence, acquiring and distributing 500 articles of PPE, and developing training and standard operating procedures leading to a 39% head-injury reduction.”
Gabriella A. Pace
Associate Safety Professional
Walt Disney World
“Gabriella partnered with our merchandise leadership to divide the location leadership into four strategic groups to drive safety initiatives by focusing on the four areas of focus: commitment, engagement, programs and prevention. The team meets monthly to discuss updates on strategy development, in addition to the monthly safety and wellness committee meeting. The champions are responsible for executing their portion of the strategy. As FY18 came to a close, Gabriella partnered with merchandise leadership to make minor tweaks to the strategy and build on prior year momentum to ensure strong returns continued into FY19.”
Umair Shahab Shahid
“Umair carried out detailed incident analysis of all process safety events, which revealed that 90% of leakages were related to asset integrity, out of which 75% of leakages belonged to ethylene recovery unit pipelines having ethylene stream in it. He marked exact leakage points with process parameters. He collected data and location of temporary repairs, their surveillance reports, inspection history of pipelines and conducted detailed risk assessment of the unit. He presented the deterioration graph of pipelines. It was decided to shut down the unit, replace low thickness lines and remove temporary repairs with permanent repairs.”
Senior EHS Expertise Specialist
Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd.
“The fresh eye assessment program was introduced by Arul with the vision to improve and sustain the EHS performance, identify all high-risk areas and help reduce potential life-changing incidents. He devised a plan to calibrate the outcome of the program to identify opportunities for improvement and provided guidance for mitigation and enhanced performance. He engaged and partnered with site EHS members and operational leaders, which helped them understand the sites better and also train themselves. The outcome of analysis was communicated via dashboard to leadership to further prioritize focus on high-risk areas.”
Senior EHS Leader
“‘MAKE IT SAFE...MAKE IT HOME...MAKE IT PERSONAL’ is a newly launched program by Lynne. Our daily safety mission is that people go home in better shape than they came to work. Not easily done with 10,000 teammates. To achieve this, Lynne strives to make safety the personal goal and commitment of each teammate. Key portions of this program – roll out video, pledge card and result photo – are in the additional files. In just two weeks, a measurable increase in safety engagement has been realized.”
Greggory Addam Vanover
Clean Fuels National
“Prior to his involvement with safety, our program was virtually nonexistent. Addam has rewritten the safety plan, written a safety management plan and created our audit program, as well as many other aspects of measurable safety performance. Our warnings and violations issued internally to technicians are lower than ever and continue to drop. Our audit program has been bolstered due to his efforts and now covers 100% of employees quarterly – something we previously did not think was possible.”
Director of Safety, Health, and Environment AECOM
“Mike led a yearlong initiative supporting a program operating a mission-critical facility for the U.S. government. The program had historically poor safety performance. Mike partnered with key operational leaders to execute a risk reduction plan. A key strategy involved building a highly competent safety team charged with creating a positive work environment and people-centric safety culture. Through daily safety partnering ‘wins’ and integrating safety into all aspects of the program, the team reduced injury rates by 66% and achieved a milestone of 1M hours-worked without a days-away case.”
Assistant Manager EHS
BYCO Petroleum Pakistan Ltd.
“Atif recently benchmarked hot work against different standards and good engineering practices. He conducted a thorough review, highlighting significant deviations. He followed that by developing a comprehensive plan to confine and eradicate these deviations. He defined the steps, developed new work permits and redefined the hierarchy of approval. Higher level reviews and approvals were sought, followed by training and coaching of staff. After the change, site fire incidents dropped remarkably.”
Patrick J. Wolocko
W. Soule & Co.
“Patrick identified and has managed a web-based audit database used by the company. Using the information obtained, we can communicate based on leading indicators and have reduced our incidents rates by 20% over three years. He also leads our three shop safety committees. Over the past couple of years, his leadership, and the involvement of the committee, has driven the installation of two jib cranes to reduce material handling; created standard operating procedures for equipment in the shops; updated inspection forms for equipment; and helped engineer an acid wash station to eliminate some PPE requirements, making the station safer.”
Senior Health and Safety Manager
WSP Middle East
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“Lino has successfully planned and organized various health and safety campaigns across the projects, which have made positive influences. He has involved the workforce, authorities, and health and safety training providers as part of the program to give a clear message to the workforce. Lino finds time to consult with and mentor HSE professionals through various platforms to share the knowledge. He is an IOSH Executive Committee member of UAE branch. Lino also has organized a number of awareness programs on labor camps, and enhanced the near miss reporting significantly through trainings and awareness programs.”