Chris: I grew up in Oregon and graduated from Crater High School. I joined the Air Force after a short stint in logging. In 1982, I started my Air Force career in Security Forces protecting nuclear weapons and eventually took on a collateral duty roll in safety in 1993. I loved safety so much that I was able to formally cross train into the profession and graduated from safety school in 1996.
I retired from the Air Force safety program in 2006 with my final assignment as the Occupational Safety Manager for Schriever AFB where we placed space payloads in orbit and operated space-based assets such as the GPS system, communications, reconnaissance, etc. After retiring, I was able to return to Southern Oregon as the regional safety manager for Knife River Corporation. I eventually moved to be the corporate safety manager for Swanson group and eventually landed where I am now as the regional safety manager for Boise Cascade Company.
I enjoyed my Air Force safety career because of the variety of opportunities; I was able to be involved in occupational safety, weapons systems safety, flight safety, space operations safety, and systems safety. Nevertheless, I love being a safety manager here in Southern Oregon, and the safety community peers I get to associate with.
How long have you been a member of the ASSP?
I have participated in ASSP since 1996 in the Alaska Chapter, I but started my first membership in 2001 in what was then called the international chapter since I had moved overseas.
What do you think is the biggest benefit to membership?
Being tied to a community of people in all levels of the safety profession. I firmly believe that my maturity in the safety career field is because of being a member and getting to associate with my peers. I have been mentored by them, and I have mentored some of them. They keep me going!
Do you have any upcoming travel plans?
We will do our annual camping trip to Oregon’s Wallowa Lake in July, and then my youngest daughter’s graduation trip to Maui in September.
Can you share an item on your bucket list?
Since I have traveled to so many places around the world, I want to do something simple and quiet like build a cabin in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Is there anything you wish more people understood about your role in safety or safety in general?
I wish more people understood that safety is not something you buy in a program. It takes work & effort. A safety person needs to be well rounded. They have to learn laws to comply with, but then work to build a culture that is beyond compliance. It is an art and science to make safety happen. The effort includes being an advocate for the employee and the company at the same time; it requires sales capabilities to convinces ideas and programs; it takes planting seeds and allowing others to take credit for the growth in the safety effort.
This one is for fun J:
What would your personal warning label say?
Warning: This person loves his family and freedom and knows how to defend them both! Oh, and coffee builds relationships with this person.
Thank you, Chris!
Check back next month for our continued Member Spotlight series!