Ehstoday 3669 Ascceremony

The Evolution of EHS Today and the America's Safest Companies Program

Sept. 11, 2012
As EHS Today celebrates the 2012 America's Safest Companies, Senior Editor Laura Walter takes a look back at the history of the program.
I'm writing this in the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago following our 2012 America's Safest Companies award ceremony, where in addition to recognizing our eight winning companies, Penton Media Vice President and Group Publisher John DiPaola reflected on our past and how far we've come: "When I first got into this business, EHS Today was just a magazine," he said. "Not anymore."

Now, EHS Today covers so much more ground – a robust and interactive Web site with daily updates, a flourishing blog, white papers and more; an America's Safest Companies awards program; a Future Leaders in EHS scholarship program; and now, a conference that promotes and encourages transformational safety leadership.

John's comment made me think back to my first few weeks working as an editor of this magazine. Only one month after I was hired, I traveled to Chicago for the National Safety Council Congress & Expo and for our America's Safest Companies reception and award ceremony. Back then, we weren't even EHS Today – we were Occupational Hazards. We didn't have a conference (but we did host a lively cocktail party for our winners). As the years passed, our award ceremony changed locations and styles. From celebrating in a restaurant in Disneyland, to an outdoor patio in Orlando, to a lavish reception at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, to a formal dinner and keynote presentation in Philadelphia, we were always willing to make changes and continue improving the ASC program and award ceremony. We've certainly come a long way in the 10 years the award has been presented to organizations with world-class safety programs.

This year, our ceremony is held during a conference with sessions focusing on safety, sustainability, compliance and more. Our America's Safest Companies winners – ABB Inc., BASF Corp., Bell Helicopter, General Cable, Honeywell Aerospace, Life Technologies, Ordnance and Management Solutions-URS and Total Safety – accepted their trophies at the special lunecheon award ceremony, after which they had the opportunity to attend additional conference sessions followed by a networking reception.

Of course, our focus on this conference and other programs doesn't mean that we're neglecting the monthly print magazine. Editor-in-Chief Sandy Smith and I continue working to put out the best EHS magazine in the business, and one with the most relevant and engaging content. Our hard work was recognized this morning when I listened as a conference attendee approached Sandy to say, "I get a lot of information from a lot of sources, but EHS Today magazine is the best."

Once upon a time, EHS Today was once "just" a magazine. Now, I'm proud to say we are so much more. And I can't wait to see what's in store for us and our safety-minded companies and partners at next year's America's Safest Companies program – and beyond.

(Stay tuned for additional updates from the conference and for photographs of the winning companies at the award ceremony.)

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