www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/20285-rising-stars-of-safety-class-of-2020
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Rising Stars of Safety, Class of 2020

Extraordinary talent during an extraordinary time

September 27, 2020
NSC Rising Stars of Safety

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The challenges safety professionals have faced this year have been extraordinary. One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has served as a crucial reminder that safety is of the utmost importance, and prioritizing safety will be critical to recover our businesses, our health and our lives.

The NSC Rising Stars of Safety program showcases up-and-coming safety professionals who are making a difference, from the workplace to anyplace. The 32 men and women we recognize as the 2020 Rising Stars of Safety hail from 17 states and five nations. Each has demonstrated enthusiasm, skill and leadership that will undoubtedly inspire future safety leaders and colleagues, helping people live their best lives free of preventable death and injury.

They lead by example and take a hands-on approach to safety, like Brian S. Bailey, safety and environmental stewardship director for The American Waterways Operators in Arlington, VA, who was so eager to learn about fall-overboard prevention and recovery firsthand that he took a plunge into the Ohio River.

They make sure that everyone who shows up to a jobsite is able to work safely, like Joshua Hughes, area safety manager for Clark Construction in San Diego, who worked to ensure subcontractors and employees are protected by hard hats and chin straps, and piloted an ingenious way to combat heat stress and dehydration.

They engage employees to consider not only physical risks, but to approach safety with a holistic mindset, like Leah M. Becksworth, industrial safety culture lead at UCOR in Oak Ridge, TN, who challenges colleagues to determine whether they are physically, mentally and emotionally ready to safely complete work tasks.

Their contributions demonstrate a passion for developing and improving organizational safety culture, like Waqas Ashraf, a health and safety manager at CSCEC in Dubai, whose Behavioral Safety Star program not only rewarded workers for positive safety observations, but boosted unsafe condition reporting and decreased injuries.

Each Rising Star has an inspiring and encouraging story to tell about how to make safety personal, about how we connect with each other around what matters most and how we can get to that next level of safety excellence.

The global focus on safety during this pandemic once again reminds us of the crucial role that safety professionals play in helping us all work, travel and live safely. As our world faces new safety challenges, the energy and fresh perspective of our Rising Stars will be called on to help us meet those challenges head on.

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.

Mohammed J. Al-Dossary

Waqas Ashraf

Brian S. Bailey

Kumar Basavaraju

Leah M. Beckworth

Teri Renee Boydo

Wyatt Bradbury

Kyle Carrier

Brett Curole

Jeff Fox

Brian Hanlon

Sheraz Hassan

Joshua Hughes

Rony Peterson Kirmse Jabour

Jessica M. Jannaman

Joseph Kafton

Syed Ali Haider Kazmi

Al Kikilas

Mathew Kurian

Asma Maqbool

Kyle Martin

Miranda M. McCarthy

Devon Molitor

Laynnea J. Myles

Lance Norris

Gina Ojeda

Amy Paolercio

Josh Schmitz

Nicholas Hugh Sexton

Senior Master Sgt. Lucas Shay

Richard Szymczyk

Ryan P. Wood

Join the Young Professionals Division

Are you a safety professional younger than 45? Would you like to connect with other “rising stars?” Develop your skills and advance your career in safety leadership by joining the NSC Young Professionals Division. All NSC member company employees are welcome to join this group to receive access to networking events, professional development opportunities and invitations to NSC Division meetings. Be on the cutting edge of safety and share your fresh ideas with your peers.

Learn more about how to get involved at nsc.org/ypd.



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Mohammed J. Al-Dossary

Mohammed J. Al-Dossary

Age: 38
Loss Prevention Technical and Support Services Unit Supervisor
Saudi Aramco
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

“Mohammed established a new practice of conducting loss prevention department roundtable meetings. The objective of such meetings is to enhance the level of communication with the people in charge, highlight issues/challenges faced by the working-level teams in their daily operations, and resolve them in an efficient manner. Additionally, these roundtable meetings serve as venues for knowledge sharing and awareness of new releases/recent updates.”



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Waqas Ashraf

Waqas Ashraf

Age: 32
Health and Safety Manager
Emerson FZE
Dubai, UAE

“Waqas introduced the 'Behavioral Safety Star' program. This involves rewarding workers on a daily basis via use of specially drafted cards called 'blue cards' for observing any positive safety behaviors. These cards can be redeemed at the onsite cafeteria by workers for food and beverages. At the end of each month, a Behavioral Safety Star award is presented to the worker who has the highest number of cards. In the first month of implementing this initiative, positive observations increased to 85 compared to 14 observations last month, reporting of unsafe conditions increased by 300%, and employee engagement and consultation increased by 50%.”



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Brian S. Bailey

Brian S. Bailey

Age: 35
Director - Safety and Environmental Stewardship
The American Waterways Operators
Arlington, VA

 

“Upon assuming his position, Brian was told by a member leader that he must lead by example, which is best accomplished by being out and about with member companies' employees instead of behind a desk. He has taken that sentiment to heart and embraced his role as AWO's safety liaison by boarding vessels and engaging in conversations with captains and deckhands alike in galleys from New York to New Orleans, learning how to hand-winch barges together for a tow, observing pre-task Job Safety Analyses, and even jumping into the Ohio River to learn about fall-overboard prevention and recovery efforts firsthand.”

 



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Kumar Basavaraju

Kumar Basavaraju

Age: 38
EHS Specialist
The Boeing Co.
Bangalore, India

“Kumar manages the safety program for 15 office locations across Boeing India. He facilitates a safety committee to engage employees in a proactive safety culture. Committee members regularly conduct area inspections to identify hazards and recognize other employees for their positive behaviors. In 2019, 1,174 hazards were mitigated and 69 employees voluntarily completed ergonomics evaluations across Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. Three office locations were reconstructed, including additional Boeing safety and health requirements. Over 200,632 safe man hours were completed in 2019.”



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Leah M. Beckworth

Leah M. Beckworth

Age: 36
Industrial Safety and Safety Culture Lead
UCOR
Oak Ridge, TN

“Leah challenges employees to evaluate themselves to determine if they are physically, mentally and emotionally prepared to safely complete job tasks through a variety of initiatives. With an easily approachable and caring personality, Leah promotes employee involvement and personal ownership of safety both on and off the job. From helping with the first responder program at her church to work-related wellness events, Leah leads by example and clearly communicates high expectations for safety and health performance. She also gives back to her profession by sharing lessons learned, mentoring early career employees and those in pursuit of professional certifications.”



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Teri Renee Boydo

Teri Renee Boydo

Age: 36
Driver Training Program Manager
First Student
Wichita, KS

“Renee designed and implemented a paratransit operator training program for our First Transit division, training for nonconforming vehicle operators for First Student, trainer certification program and trainer effectiveness measures, covering classroom, behind-the-wheel and on-the-road training. This helped deliver a 28% reduction in paratransit driver preventable collisions year over year and a 15% reduction in paratransit passenger injuries. Locations piloting her new measures experienced a 20% improvement in first-time licensing pass rates, while also reducing training throughput time by 20% and improving driver retention by 15%. The improvement in first-time pass rate resulted largely from her analysis of trainer-to-trainee ratios.”



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Wyatt Bradbury

Wyatt Bradbury

Age: 26
HSE Advisor
Hitachi Rail
Baltimore, MD

“Wyatt rebuilt the safety system for a large construction project. Wyatt rewrote the site-specific safety program incorporating best practices and stakeholder concerns. He ensured subcontractors were meeting expectations in practice and through their programs through implementation of a site inspection program. He engaged stakeholders in conducting inspections for the site using this information to identify areas of concern. He developed an orientation and toolbox talk program and began tracking completion of the trainings. Wyatt created a culture where the entire project from field employees to management understood their role in safety.”



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Kyle Carrier

Kyle Carrier

Age: 26
Assistant Safety Director
Reliable Contracting
Gambrills, MD

“Kyle recognizes that people are not machines and are more moved by reason and personal beliefs than charts and graphs. When Kyle implements new policies, he makes it a point to let the field know the reasoning behind certain initiatives and not just 'Because I said so.' Kyle believes there are many things that motivate people on the job. He emphasizes that having all workers go home at the end of the day safe and sound is the main goal. The field understands that a stellar safety record may result in extra money in their pockets. Kyle tries to appeal to the practical attributes of employees, because building a safety system is pointless if you cannot build the culture to go with it.”



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Brett Curole

Brett Curole

Age: 37
Safety Manager
Clean Gulf Associates Services LLC
Harvey, LA

“Brett has propelled CGA's safety program into an elite status within the spill response industry. On his own initiative, he voluntarily researched, designed, drafted and implemented a new safety management system after identifying gaps and deficiencies in the previous system. After several years of implementation, the customized program is much more practical and user friendly. Of special note, he developed an online training portal for employee safety training so that all employees have access to the required and necessary training material. He personally provided safety training on a variety of topics, including confined space entry and air monitoring equipment.”



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Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox

Age: 35
EHS&S Center of Expertise Consultant
Corteva Agriscience
Indianapolis, IN

“It was important to Jeff to incorporate the men and women working at the Corteva facilities in creating a cohesive manual of contractor safety expectations. The contents of the manual were developed, reviewed and executed by those who understood the work the best - the contractor experts. The manual now currently impacts the decisions, behaviors and actions of 20,000-plus contractors worldwide. Safe work practices listed in this manual have led to a 50% reduction in the overall contractor injury rate, with many sites achieving zero. The Safety Program Committee began as a small group of people at one site developing the manual. It now has been translated into 19 languages and utilized at 400-plus sites.”



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Brian Hanlon

Brian Hanlon

Age: 38
Regional Health and Safety Manager
Citizens Bank
Johnston, RI

“Brian led our Prevention through Design effort focused on minimizing hazards associated with our new 423,000-square-foot corporate campus built in Johnston, RI. Prior to construction, Brian developed a framework to manage the PtD program with the project team. Regular meetings and a PtD tracking document provided transparency of the process and a mechanism for tracking accountability and progress. Engaging the key stakeholders throughout all stages of the project, a comprehensive risk assessment and robust discussion around building use and risks resulted in over 130 changes in the building design. Since beginning PtD, Citizens has seen a 40% reduction in employee injuries.



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Sheraz Hassan

Sheraz Hassan

Age: 31
Senior Process Safety Engineer
Engro Fertilizers Ltd.
Daharki, Pakistan

“Sheraz delivered 'Fire & Explosion Modelling,' 'Dispersion Modelling' and 'Safety Audit' training sessions to other department chemical engineers in 2019. He engaged field supervisors in 2019 for a 'Pause For Safety' campaign development, execution and team recognition to resolve a low incident reporting issue onsite. The way he structured this campaign not only got buy-in from field workers, but time-to-time sessions and recognition kept workers fully aware and motivated. As a result, self-incident reporting at Engro increased 40% and the site marked its lowest TRIR of the past decade. He also worked with the administration team to promote safety in nearby housing societies, for which he and his teams conducted safety training sessions at eight nearby villages.”



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Joshua Hughes

Joshua Hughes

Age: 39
Area Safety Manager
Clark Construction Group
San Diego, CA

“Josh epitomizes the ability to relate to people in an approachable way and effectively communicate the reasoning for working safely by volunteering his personal time on weekends to lead training efforts. He was instrumental in the rollout and adoption of Clark's Kask hard hats and chin straps. By ensuring subcontractor contracts now include chin strap clauses, Josh has transformed the region's outlook on safety. Due to his efforts, Kask hard hats and chin straps have become the new normal at jobsites. Josh also initiated a pilot electrolyte popsicle program that aims to keep teams hydrated and eliminate incidents of heat stress and heatstroke during hot days.”



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Rony Peterson Kirmse Jabour

Rony Peterson Kirmse Jabour

Age: 37
Education Director/Authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer
United Safety Net Inc.
Woburn, MA

“Rony uses his acquired knowledge to raise the safety bar for immigrant workers by teaching and consulting in hazard awareness and compliance. He is a mentor and teacher to thousands who strive to improve their lives in safety and faith, and to enhance the possibility that underserved populations remain safe at work and return home to their families. He takes his profession personally, and strives to reach audiences who might otherwise be overlooked. Rony champions the cause of safety and health in the Latino communities and beyond, with OSHA Region 1 and business owners/workers.”



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Jessica M. Jannaman

Jessica M. Jannaman

Age: 35
Director of Environmental, Health and Safety
Global Automotive Systems
Auburn Hills, MI

“The company partnered with ProcessMAP to deliver and report key safety performance results and process-related improvements from the digital transformation initiatives undertaken across the global operations centers of Global Automotive Systems and Dura Automotive. Jessica specifically mobilized a cross-functional team of EHS and operations leaders to design, develop and deploy the global software solution. In addition to the aforementioned recordable incident reduction results, the ratio of near misses to recordable and lost-time ?incidents has increased by 12% globally as an organization.”



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Joseph Kafton

Joseph Kafton

Age: 31
Safety Specialist IV
Williams
Pittsburgh, PA

“Joe is the subject matter expert for field safety personnel on questions regarding confined space, trenching and excavation, hot work, hazard communication, and crane safety. Joe listens intently to the concerns and questions from field personnel and provides solid, fact-based responses. Joe created a monthly hazard recognition focus for field employees to review. Each month, Joe developed a hazard slide deck that showed hidden hazards that were to be identified and discussed during employee safety meetings. He used different hazards each month so that our employees were aware of the various hazards that can be present in the work environment.”



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Syed Ali Haider Kazmi

Syed Ali Haider Kazmi

Age: 26
Assistant Manager, Health, Safety and Environment
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co.
Islamabad, Pakistan

“Ali designed a Whole Body Vibration and Dust Management Program and started monthly monitoring audits using Vibrato dosimeters and dust monitors. Audit outcomes were translated into action items, which resulted in improved vehicle suspension maintenance quality. It also strengthened the dust management practices at our coal crushing plant and mine. As a result, 34% fewer drivers have reported chronic health issues pertaining to body vibration. Traffic safety incidents due to poor visibility caused by excessive dust have decreased. Moreover, through automation of the coal handling system, direct exposure of coal dust to workers has lessened.”



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Al Kikilas

Al Kikilas

Age: 34
Occupational Safety Manager
Argonne National Laboratory
Lemont, IL

“Al rebuilt the electrical safety program, changing the electrical safety culture by improving the training and qualification process and work procedures. Al used several different methods to improve the program, from a complete rewrite of the electrical safety manual to hands-on, practical one-on-one assessment of an electrical worker's ability to place equipment in a safe state. He conducted meetings with leaders to help them understand the hazard and how to better mitigate the risk. He used a customer service-based approach to develop technical solutions that both met the electrical safety requirements as well as the needs of our research and operations communities. As a result, Argonne has not had a hazardous electrical shock in over two years and counting.”



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Mathew Kurian

Mathew Kurian

Age: 33
H&S Advisor
WSP Middle East
Dubai, UAE

“Mathew rolled out various smart initiatives, one of which was to ?mitigate the working-at-height hazards involving lifeline anchorage systems. He considered best possible anchorage systems with close coordination with the engineering department and got various anchorage systems designed and third-party certified. Trainings and campaigns were held using lifeline and anchorage mock-ups to educate the workforce. Video presentations and physical demonstrations formed the main part of the trainings. With more interactive sessions and rehearsal sessions, the trainings became more interesting and productive in increasing the competency of the workforce.”



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Asma Maqbool

Asma Maqbool

Age: 35
Senior Engineer HSE
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd. Pakistan
Lahore - Punjab

“Fatal accidents occurring during the activity of MS pipe handling had become a challenge for the company for years. Asma led the effort for the development of safety procedures to tackle the hazards faced by site workers and achieved zero accident target in pipe handling activities being carried out across the company. Asma made it possible to save the lives of company employees and contractors' staff through conducting risk assessment involving contractor management; introduced JSA; and implemented behavior-based training, the inspection of load-lifting equipment and invited worker representatives to HSE meetings.”



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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

Age: 34
Safety/Risk Manager
Cox Communications
Chesapeake, VA

“Kyle worked with Safety-Reports.com to build a standardized observation checklist and built training curriculum to roll out the program. Due to his rapport and support he gained from our largest operating function in the region, field operations, he was able to roll out the observation process for all leaders. They bought in and leaders showed ownership by mandating, from the VP level down, they would conduct monthly observations. The first year of the observations went well and six different projects, due to the observations, ranging from standardization of foreign voltage detectors to purchasing hands-free devices for all our techs, emerged.”



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Miranda M. McCarthy

Miranda M. McCarthy

Age: 31
Health, Safety and Environmental Leader – Mining
Cummins Inc.
Fort McMurray, Alberta

“Miranda led an ergonomics improvement project at the Cummins Fort McMurray mining operations. She collaborated with site leadership and frontline field technicians to develop a tool that reduces ergonomic strain for technicians who must remove the cylinder heads from a Cummins QSK78 engine during repairs. The team designed a prototype, obtained engineering approval and manufactured a tool that would help the technician affix the tool to a lifting device to enable the cylinder head to be safely removed from the engine. The result was a 74% improvement in the ergonomic risk score for staff during this routine task.”



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Devon Molitor

Devon Molitor

Age: 39
Senior Manager, Safety, Health and Environment
AECOM
Orange, CA

“Devon developed an idea for a comedic 'Saturday Night Live'-inspired safety news network video series, now known as the Safety for Life News Network. He worked to synthesize our most universal and pressing safety messages into a series of short, funny, 'viral-inspired' news segments. The development plan included forming a small team to write and review scripts, garnering senior leadership support for the investment in filming and editing resources, logistics and integration with AECOM communications. SFLNN episodes have averaged 1,300 views within the first month of release. So far there have been 25 videos released with approximately 10,000 combined total views across six continents.”



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Laynnea J. Myles

Laynnea J. Myles

Age: 37
Director of Environment, Health, and Safety
L’Oréal
Clark, NJ

“Laynnea transformed the work environment by proactively engaging employees at all levels to take ownership for safety and compliance by implementing new and revised programs and work processes that has sustained a culture where safety is a core value throughout the company facilities in which she leads. Due to her EHS prowess, she established and maintained a 'best in class' environmental, health and safety management system. Laynnea's effective communications and innovative approaches to improve EHS have become a model for standardization of procedures, programs and processes, including a value-added behavior-based safety program that involves individual safety performance contacts among employees.”



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Lance Norris

Lance Norris

Age: 39
Safety Director
Redi Services LLC
Lyman, WY

“Lance identified organization challenges that were hindering our safety success. Prior to 2014, all new employee orientations were done in person by safety technicians. This method had inconsistencies from one instructor to the next. Further, building a safety culture across 13 different office locations and six different states made it challenging to instill consistent training. Lance implemented an online learning management system. Since implementing an LMS, our five-year average OSHA total recordable incident rate has dropped 61%. The LMS delivers consistent communications and expectations to employees, no matter where they start within the company”



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Gina Ojeda

Gina Ojeda

Age: 29
Safety Specialist
Washington River Protection Solutions
Richland, WA

“Gina created the 'Safety Book,' which is a logbook kept at each facility. This stemmed from field staff not wanting to use a computer system to log a safety concern, a computer was not available or employee desire to be anonymous. Until the 'Safety Book,' the only system available was the Problem Evaluation Report. This is a required system, but this system is more complex, cumbersome and does not provide for anonymous entries. In this process, it took 163 days to identify a safety concern and resolve. However, items logged in the 'Safety Book' were resolved in 25 days. The success of the 'Safety Books,' coupled with existing processes, is measureable in many company metrics.”



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Amy Paolercio

Amy Paolercio

Age: 29
Director of Safety
WeDriveU Inc.
Burlingame, CA

“Many believe that safety should be the No. 1 priority in an organization, for an individual, etc. Amy believes otherwise and is on a mission to rebrand safety as a value, rather than a priority. What is the difference, you ask? Simply stated, priorities change and values don't! Seeking to understand the personal values and motivations of our people and their processes allows for the aforementioned customized experience. Instead of forcing/inserting safety into our worlds, she puts herself into our world, walks in our shoes, and works collaboratively to build safety into our worlds and achieve desired results, together.”



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Josh Schmitz

Josh Schmitz

Age: 37
Safety Manager
CG Schmidt
Milwaukee, WI

“Increased communication and learning have been focal points for our safety program. Josh restructured our safety manual to make it easier to read and understand. He writes toolbox talks each month - instead of purchasing them as we did in the past - tailored specifically to our work and how we do it. He writes a monthly newsletter, keeping everyone aware of what is going on. Detailed near-miss and incident reports are sent out companywide and with our subcontractors to help prevent future occurrences. He revised our site-specific safety orientation for every project, giving it a more personal touch. He even led the creation of a process for avoiding underground utility hits, adopted by the largest medical center in the state.”



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Nicholas Hugh Sexton

Nicholas Hugh Sexton

Age: 31
Technical Consultant
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Phoenix, AZ

“In 2019 and 2020, Nicholas helped coordinate the annual Distracted Driving Summit at the Arizona capitol. This event brought together politicians and citizens, raising awareness and resulting in Arizona's first statewide distracted driving bill being signed in April 2019. Nicholas also spends his time working with collegians, educating on substance abuse and risk management. He has been invited to facilitate programs at six universities. In his current role, he shapes safety efforts across four states with Liberty's largest customer - UPS. He consults with departments that need the most guidance to reduce crashes and injuries, and works on corporate projects impacting new employees and facilities across the country.”



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Senior Master Sgt. Lucas Shay

Senior Master Sgt. Lucas Shay

Age: 39
Superintendent, Safety Directorate, Air Combat Command
U.S. Air Force
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA

“Sgt. Shay collaborated with the UK's Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit from 60 to 40 mph. Additionally, he hosted semiannual conferences with British electrical utility companies, sharing mishap prevention best practices. Moreover, Sgt. Shay created a KC-135 aircraft fuel cell simulator, allowing risk-free confined space training, which saved $500,000 in development costs and decreased training time by six weeks. Finally, he recently drove COVID-19 countermeasures designed to mitigate the spread of this deadly disease; his efforts have led to zero deaths in Air Combat Command.”



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Richard Szymczyk

Richard Szymczyk

Age: 32
Workforce Health and Safety Manager
LifeCare Medical Transports
Fredericksburg, VA

“Lt. Szymczyk designed a safety release program around education and training to prevent incidents from recurring. Any employee who is involved in a near miss or true incident must go through it. A safety committee meeting is conducted to discuss the incident and ensure statements are accurate. After, specific educational and training remediation is assigned to the employee involved. Follow-up on the remediation education and training will be addressed before the employee is fully released to be back in the field.”



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Ryan P. Wood

Ryan P. Wood

Age: 31
Safety Specialist
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Div.
Crane, IN

“Identifying areas for improvement in the Small Arms Weapons Division, Ryan facilitated standard operating procedure updates, workplace safety training, incident prevention and facility repairs. Through his leadership, the division was able to visualize the expectation of safety and apply the concepts learned on a continual basis. Specifically, there was a 150% increase in near-miss reports, drastically improving our ability to conduct a trends analysis in identification of hazard sources.”