The 50 Most Influential EHS Leaders

Sept. 1, 2008
Love them or despise them, these are the 50 people the editors of Occupational Hazards feel have had the most impact on EHS in the past decade.

When we began the daunting task of trying to name the 50 most influential (living) EHS leaders, we worried that we would have difficulty coming up with that many names. Soon, we realized that we easily could name 100 leaders or more, particularly if we opened it up to international representatives.

While there are some international EHS leaders on this list – based on their impact on EHS worldwide and therefore on the United States and U.S.-based multinational companies as a result – most of the names are well-known among EHS professionals in this country. The list includes government appointees, academics, union EHS leaders, legislators, company-based EHS professionals, the presidents of professional associations, safety industry leaders, safety “gurus” and worker advocates. They all have one thing in common: Through their work, their mentoring, their lecturing, their lawmaking, their research, their administration or their advocacy, they have had a strong and lasting impact on EHS in the workplace.

The Government Appointees

Edwin Foulke Jr. was named OSHA Administrator by President George W. Bush in 2005 and sworn in as the head of the agency on April 3, 2006. Prior to his nomination, Foulke was a partner with the law firm of Jackson Lewis, LLP in Greenville, S.C., and Washington, D.C., where he chaired the OSHA practice group. He also previously served on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Workplace Health and Safety Committee for the Society for Human Resource Management.

Dr. John Howard served as the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from July 2002 through July 2008, when his 6-year term ended without being renewed in a controversial decision that brought criticism from safety and health stakeholders. He is serving a short-term assignment as senior advisor to the CDC director. Prior to his NIOSH appointment, Howard served as the chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) in California’s Department of Industrial Relations and was an assistant professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of California.

John Henshaw, CIH, MPH, is president of Henshaw and Associates Inc., a safety and health professional services firm in Florida. A former president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, Henshaw was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2001 to head OSHA, where his greatest impact was his emphasis on outreach, education and compliance assistance. Henshaw also served as the director of environment, safety and health for Astaris LLC and Solutia Inc., and was the corporate director of quality and compliance assurance for Monsanto Co.

Horace A. Thompson is chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which provides adjudication of workplace safety and health disputes between the Department of Labor and employers. Before being nominated to serve on the commission, Thompson was an attorney with Watkins, Ludlam, Winter & Stennis and served as co-chair of the firm’s labor and employment law practice group.

Stephen L. Johnson was sworn in on May 2, 2005, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He leads that agency’s efforts to protect human health and the environment, managing more than 17,000 agency employees nationwide and overseeing an annual budget of $7.7 billion.

Richard E. Stickler was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health on Oct. 19, 2006. Prior to his appointment as acting MSHA administrator, Stickler was director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety from 1997 to 2003.

Jerry Scannell was nominated to serve as assistant secretary of labor – OSHA by President George Bush on June 21, 1989. Before taking that position, Scannell served as director of corporate safety/fire/environmental affairs, worldwide responsibility, at Johnson and Johnson in New Brunswick, NJ. Prior to working at J&J, he served in various positions at the Department of Labor. As president and CEO of the National Safety Council for 6 years before becoming president emeritus, Scannell set an agenda that continues to drive the organization to this day.

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao oversees OSHA, MSHA and many other departments and agencies that impact worker safety and health. She was director of the Peace Corps in 1991, headed United Way of America from 1992 until 1996 and was a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, before President George W. Bush nominateed her to be Secretary of Labor.

The Gurus

Dr. Thomas Krause is chairman of the board for BST, a consulting firm specializing in comprehensive safety solutions he founded in 1979. He conducts leadership coaching and has authored several books and articles on safety and leadership. He is known as one of the founders of the behavioral safety movement.

Dr. E. Scott Geller is a founding partner and co-owner of Safety Performance Solutions and alumni distinguished professor at Virginia Tech and director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology. He has authored hundreds of articles, books or chapters addressing the development and evaluation of behavior-change interventions to improve quality of life.

Dr. Richard D. Fulwiler, CIH, CSHM, is president of Cincinnati-based Technology Leadership Associates, a consulting firm specializing in increasing individual effectiveness and building organizational capability in the health, safety and environmental arena. He spent 28 years at Procter & Gamble, where he retired as the company’s director of health and safety worldwide. He is adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and course director for the Leadership and Management Course at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Association Presidents

Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, is president of the American Society of Safety Engineers. During the 30 years he has been a member of ASSE, Brown has served on several key committees and as the vice president for the council charged with developing and implementing professional development programs countrywide. He was awarded the prestigious ASSE Charles V. Culbertson Outstanding Volunteer Service award in 2006.

Lindsay E. Booher, CIH, CSP, is president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and former director of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Safety Council. After serving in the U.S. Navy as an industrial hygiene officer from 1983-1986, Booher returned to ExxonMobile, and in 2003 was named manager of the ExxonMobil Global Occupational Health Center of Excellence.

Lawrence M. Gibbs, MEd, MPH, CIH, is chair of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. He is associate vice-provost for environmental health and safety at Stanford University, and is responsible for all health, safety and environmental risk management programs in addition to oversight of institutional emergency planning and risk communication. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Environmental Managers and is active in the American Industrial Hygiene Association, where he founded the Laboratory Health and Safety Committee.

Robert R. Orford, MD, MS, MPH, FACOEM, is the president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). He is chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Occupational Medicine, director of the Executive Health Program and director of Occupational Medicine for Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale.

Richard Kowalski, RN, MSA, COHN-S, is the first male president of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. He was an occupational health nurse for General Motors/Delphi Automotive for 31 years before retiring in March 2003. He currently is a consultant at Northern Michigan Occupational Health Consultants.

The Industry Leaders

William M. Lambert serves as chairman of the board for the International Safety Equipment Association, the trade association in the United States for companies that manufacture safety and personal protective equipment. Lambert also is the president and CEO of MSA, a safety product developer, manufacturer and supplier. He serves as secretary for the National Fire Protection Association’s technical correlating committee on Fire and Emergency Services Protective Clothing and Equipment.

Henri-Dominique Petit is chairman and CEO of Sperian Protection, which serves the global personal protective equipment (PPE) industry, providing hearing, eye, respiratory, fall, body and hand protection. Petit holds a masters degree in engineering from the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie de Paris, a post-graduate degree in nuclear physics and a Ph.D. in corpuscular electronics. He was named CEO of Bacou-Dalloz in June 2004.

George W. Buckley is the chairman, president and CEO of 3M, a global supplier of respiratory, hearing, eye protection and other personal protective equipment. Prior to this appointment, he was chairman and CEO of Brunswick Corp. In addition to 3M, George serves on the boards of Black & Decker and Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Dan Shipp is the president of ISEA and as such, has submitted testimony to OSHA on behalf of the organization and its members about proposed rulemakings including “Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment” and noise control and hearing conservation.

The Worker Advocates

Jordan Barab, who works for the House Education and Workforce Committee, spent 16 years running AFSCME’s health and safety program. In 1998, he was appointed a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary for OSHA, serving as national labor liaison and ergonomics coordinator, among other duties. At one point, Barab arguably was the most influential EHS blogger in the United States, with thousands reading his Confined Space blog.

Dr. Sameera Al-Tuwaijri, the director of the International Labour Office’s SafeWork program, will have a continuing impact on international EHS because of her calls for a new synergy of the various safety and health shareholders to ensure more effective strategies and policies. Under Al-Tuwaijri’s leadership, SafeWork places the safety and health of workers on the international agenda.

Ron Hayes founded the FIGHT (Families in Grief Hold Together) Project after his 19-year-old son, Patrick, was killed after he was buried under tons of corn in a grain bin. In 1995, the secretary of Labor and the OSHA administrator met with Hayes to apologize for errors made as a result of the investigation after his son’s death, and in 1996, OSHA revised its grain handling facilities standard, 29 CFR 1910.272, to ensure greater protection for workers at risk of being entrapped engulfed by grain. Through his efforts with FIGHT, Hayes has helped hundreds of families in nearly every state in the country determine the circumstances surrounding their loved ones’ deaths and has advocated for stronger occupational health and safety laws.

The International ActivistsRory O’Neal, editor of Hazards magazine (UK) and an activist in Europe and globally; Fiona Murie, H&S coordinator of the International Woodworkers and Building Workers Federation, based in Europe but active globally; Hector de la Cueva, executive director of the CILAS organization in Mexico City; Sanjiv Pandita, OHS officer and now executive director of the Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC) in Hong Kong; Juliana So, OHS activist and executive director of the China Labour Support Network (CLSN) based in Hong Kong but active throughout the Pearl River Delta; Jagdish Patel, OHS activist and executive director of the People’s Research and Training Center (PRTC) in Gujurat, India, and current coordinator of the Asian network for the Rights of Occupational Accident Victims (ANROAV).

The Union EHS Leaders

Peg Seminario, director OHS, AFL-CIO, began working for the organization in 1977 and has established herself as a strong labor activist, participating in a wide range of regulatory and legislative initiatives, including air contamination regulations, legislative reform of the 1970 OSH Act and 20 OSHA rule makings, including those on benzene, beryllium, lead, hazard communication, hearing conservation, formaldehyde, asbestos, respiratory protection, grain handling, hazardous waste operations and ergonomics.

Eric Frumin is the director of Occupational Safety and Health for UNITE HERE, a union representing garment, textile, laundry, hotel and restaurant workers, and the health and safety coordinator for Change to Win. He is a leading national trade union spokesperson on issues of job safety, health and disability, including OSHA standard setting and enforcement, and occupational disease and injury surveillance.

Mike Wright has held the position of director of health, safety and the environment for United Steelworkers of America since 1983. Much of his career has focused on the issue of workplace hazard communication, with his other areas of expertise being risk communication, industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health.

Joel Shufro is executive director, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), a non-profit coalition of 200 local unions and more than 400 individual workers, physicians, lawyers and other health and safety activists. The coalition is part of a nation-wide network of 25 union-based safety and health organizations.

The Researchers and Academics

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan is a pediatrician, epidemiologist and internationally recognized leader in public health and preventive medicine. He has been a member of the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1985 and chairman of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine since 1990. For decades, Landrigan focused his efforts on protecting children against environmental threats to health, most notably lead and pesticides. More recently, he oversees the Mt. Sinai program that provides monitoring and medical care to 9/11 World Trade Center rescue and cleanup workers and advocates for continued care and monitoring of workers.

Dr. J. Nigel Ellis is president of Ellis Fall Safety Solutions. A leading authority on fall protection hierarchies, Ellis started and became lead presenter for the OSHA Training Institute’s Fall Protection Training Program and represents the United States on international standards committees and is a long-standing member of several ANSI standards committees, including former chair of the ANSI Z359.2 Committee. Ellis is the former chairman of the Fall Protection Group of the Industrial Safety Equipment Association, a founding member of the International Society for Fall Protection and a committee member of the Construction Division of both the National Safety Council and American Society of Safety Engineers.

Dr. David Michaels is research professor and interim chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and directs the Department’s doctoral program. Nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Michaels served as the Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health from 1998 through January 2001.

Dr. Frank Mirer is a professor of environmental and occupational health at Hunter College, where his academic focus is analyzing regulatory process so that policymakers and Congress can implement standard setting and change the process based on sound science and objective data. For many years, Mirer was the director of the Health and Safety Department of the UAW, and as such, frequently testified before Congressional committee to lobby on behalf of worker safety and health legislation.

The Legislators

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., known as the “lion of the Senate,” has served as an advocate for workers for 43 years. He chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and along with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, introduced the Protecting America’s Workers Act in the Senate. Most recently, Kennedy and Murray asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate whether OSHA is effectively working to ensure that employers are accurately reporting injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Rep. George Miller,D-Calif., chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor and has been outspoken in his criticism of OSHA under the Bush administration. Under Miller’s leadership, the committee has investigated the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster, combustible dust, diaceytl/popcorn lung, Cintas and the BP Texas City disaster. His committee also supported the Protecting America’s Workers Act.

Sen. Mike Enzi,R-Wyo., is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Enzi was one four GOP senators who, in March 2001, introduced a joint resolution of disapproval against OSHA’s ergonomics standard that ultimately led to its demise. In 2005, Enzi introduced a package of OSHA reform bills that would have expanded OSHA’s outreach, voluntary compliance and technical assistance programs – particularly for small businesses; expanded the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) from three to five members; and allowed small businesses to recover attorney’s fees when they successfully challenge an OSHA citation.

Corporate Advocates

Ellen Kullman was named group vice president of DuPont’s Safety and Protection Group in 2002, and in 2006, she was named executive vice president and became a member of the company’s Office of the Chief Executive. She is a member of the board of directors of General Motors Corp. and is on the Board of Trustees of the National Safety Council. In public remarks, Kullman speaks of safety as a moral necessity and a business value.

Paul O’Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, as CEO of Alcoa, cut the company’s lost-workday rate from 1.86 to 0.14. O’Neill insisted that the company’s goal had to be “to get to zero,” and he held himself and those under him accountable for every incident. He gave workers at Alcoa plants his home telephone number and told them to call him if their plant managers failed to follow up on improving safety. At one point, O’Neill advocated for all OSHA standards to be advisory and for the government to close down any business with a rate over 2.0.

Frank White is senior vice president of ORC Worldwide, an international human resources firm. White practiced law prior to joining ORC, representing industry clients in major federal and state occupational safety and health litigation and rulemaking proceedings. He also held senior management positions in the U.S. Department of Labor, including the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, where he was responsible for managing OSHA’s activities in the development of safety and health standards and the implementation of enforcement policy.

Ather Williams Jr., Johnson & Johnson vice president for Worldwide Health & Safety, recently stepped down as chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Safety Council. In his more than 30 years at New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, Williams has gained international recognition as a leader and innovator in safety and health practices and a reputation for achieving business results through leadership, accountability, organizational development and innovation through technology.

Young IH LeadersCarter Ficklen III, CIH, program manager for Mainthia Technologies; Scott Madar, M.H.S., CIH, a consultant with ORC Worldwide and a small group instructor at the George Washington University School of Public Health; Heather McArthur, CIH, MSPH, police safety manager/IH for the Phoenix Police Department; and David Roskelley, MSPH, CIH, CSP, partner in consulting firm R&R Environmental Inc. (For more about these young leaders, please read “Industrial Leaders in Industrial Hygiene” in the May 2008 issue of Occupational Hazards.)

James “Skipper” Kendrick is director, EHS training, for Textron Inc. He is a past president of ASSE and a long-time champion and was named Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) in 2000. He has received SPY recognition from the ASSE’s Greater Baton Rouge Chapter (1985), Fort Worth Chapter (1989) and Region III (1990).

You! Every EHS professional has the potential to impact the practice of EHS, not only at their facility, but the entire profession. By mentoring younger professionals and students, by offering presentations and papers at conferences and by leading by example, every EHS professional can become an influential EHS leader.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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