Anyone tracking the weather in the US the last week in April knows that the Florida panhandle was the wettest place in the country, and ISEA’s Executive Summit at the Sandestin Resort was right in the middle of it. But the rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of ISEA members who were in attendance for the association’s 81st annual meeting.
At the general sessions, members heard a politics update from NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving; a PPE user’s panel representing construction, manufacturing and the military; and a review of business and the economy from senior economics Andrew Duguay of ITR Economics.
Elving, who was with us at the 2009 Executive Summit, reviewed the political battles of the last four years, the results of the 2012 election and its effects, and the ongoing divisions in government. He noted the ironic fact that politicians get to Washington – the only place in the country without a vote in Congress – by running against Washington. A system built on conflict and compromise has become one built on conflict and confrontation, a partisan atmosphere in which it is increasingly hard to get things done. He previewed issues that are likely to be factors in the 2014 mid-term elections, and the people that will likely be part of the 2016 presidential campaigns.
The user panel featured health and safety leaders from a diversity of industries. Cindy DePrater, vice president of EH&S for Turner Construction, described the major hazards facing her company’s workers, and company initiatives that turn employee ideas into solutions. Thomas Huntebrinker, corporate manager of industrial hygiene for Shaw Industries, reviewed the process of PPE selection, application and training at the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, and how it ties in with engineering and administrative controls. Lt. Lester Morales, the US Air Force officer in charge for occupational health at Eglin Air Force Base, supports 19,500 military and civilian personnel in 227 work centers at the sprawling facility, who face hazards ranging from chemical exposure to heat stress to aircraft and bomb noise. After brief presentations the panel engaged in Q&A with the ISEA audience.
Duguay, Tuesday’s general session speaker, was a last-minute substitution for Brian Beaulieu, who was unable to attend because of an emergency. He took the ISEA group through the charts and analyses that has made ITR Economics one of the nation’s most respected economic forecasting centers. He contrasted economic growth in the US with other economies around the world, including South America, Europe, Australia and the Far East. He also gave the audience seven key indicators to watch, to stay ahead of trends and prosper at any point of the economic cycle.
At the annual business meeting on Monday morning, the membership reelected Brian Lyons of Enviroguard for a second term as chairman, and Eric Beck of MSA as vice chairman. Two new members were elected to the ISEA Board: Bob Gaither of Ansell and Bruce Spencer of Honeywell Safety Products. Two other members, Jim Johnson of Encon and John Kime of Avon Protection, were reelected to additional terms. Also at the business meeting, ISEA president Dan Shipp presented his annual report to the membership. Chairman Brian Lyons, who presided at the meeting, called for members to join the Government Relations Committee and Marketing and Communications Committees. He also recognized outgoing Board members Bob Weber and Tom Votel, and thanked them for their service to ISEA and the industry.
The Board selected San Antonio as the site of the next Executive Summit, May 3-5, 2015 at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort.