The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) National Special Government Employee (SGE) Award recognizes an SGE who epitomizes and exhibits exceptional support, time, effort, and action in VPP, setting him/her apart from other SGEs. The person selected is actively involved in volunteer activities that benefit the VPP and its stakeholders, and demonstrates outstanding commitment to the partnership ideals of the VPP. The first annual SGE of the Year was awarded by Assistant Secretary Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. at the 2005 National Conference of the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA). The award will be given on an annual basis.
Winner: Kathy Spanjer, CSP, Schneider Electric, Lincoln, Nebraska
Kathy Spanjer, CSP, Schneider Electric, Lincoln, Nebraska
During the 2019 calendar year, Kathy:
- served on six VPP evaluations;
- assisted with a presentation during a SGE training course;
- assisted with a mentoring presentation during the regional VPPPA conference;
- mentored multiple sites;
- evaluated five VPP annual reports of other companies in VPP; and
- organized a VPP outreach and best practice sharing session for safety professionals from local employers and manufacturers to promote VPP and systems-based safety and health programs.
Kathy is a recognized subject matter expert in ergonomics. As such, she worked with a local chapter of the National Association of Manufacturers to present a training program on ergonomics. In addition, she also organized a full day training program for college students to visit a manufacturing site where she provided the students with training on workplace safety and health, ergonomics, OSHA workplace rights, and VPP.
She is hard working, takes initiative, very thorough and comprehensive, a prolific writer, exceptionally professional, and provides sites with recognition for areas of excellence and offers constructive suggestions for continuous improvements.
In 2019, Kathy shared her exceptional knowledge and experience with a broad range of VPP sites and personnel. She is a certified safety professional (CSP) and a long-time SGE with over three decades of experience in the safety and health field.
Richard Finnegan, Veolia ES Technical Solutions, LLC, Marlborough, Massachusetts - Nominated by Region I
Robert Pelletier, Curtis Lumber Company, Ballston Spa, New York - Nominated by Region II
Jeffrey Mays, Twin Rivers Paper Company, Pine Bluff, Arkansas - Nominated by Region III
John “Steve” Donovan, Florida Power and Light, Ormond Beach, Florida - Nominated by Region IV
Tina Kennedy, Flint Hills Resources, LP, Peru, Illinois - Nominated by Region V
Lesli Trahan, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Baytown, Texas - Nominated by Region VI
Terry Bass, PlyGem Industries, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri - Nominated by Region VII
Kathy Spanjer, Schneider Electric, Lincoln, Nebraska - Nominated by Region VIII
Reah Andrews, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, California - Nominated by Region IX
Jonathan Hagen, Trident Refit Facility, Silverdale, Washington - Nominated by Region VII
Winner: Michael Courouleau, BakerHughes, a GE Company
Michael Courouleau, BakerHughes, a GE Company, ST. Rose, Louisiana
Michael Courouleau, BakerHughes, a GE Company, St. Rose, Louisiana with Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs Director, Douglas J. Kalinowski, and Region VIII VPP Manager, Brad Baptiste
In 2018, Michael organized and participated in five stand down activities at worksites in his company associated with a combination of the OSHA Fall Stand Down and OSHA Safe and Sound campaigns. He served as an on-site SGE team member during the initial VPP evaluation at MillerCoors, and during the VPP recertification evaluations at Bechtel National, AECOM, Battelle Memorial Institute, and GP Strategies. In total, he served on five VPP evaluations in 2018.
During the 2018 calendar year, Michael assisted with the presentation of a VPP Applications workshop and was a co-instructor for an SGE training class.
Michael also served as a mentor/advisor for a total of six prospective VPP sites. Furthermore, he evaluated two VPP annual self-evaluation reports for OSHA and provided the sites with detailed written feedback. Michael is very technically competent, exceptionally hard working – and is extremely dedicated to employee safety and health.
Brad Bittenbender, Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., Lynn, Massachusetts - Nominated by Region I
Raymond Robbins, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Owego, New York - Nominated by Region II
Tony Frazier, Sysco Northeast Redistribution Center, Front Royal, Virginia - Nominated by Region III
Danny Province, General Electric (GE) Appliances, a Haier Company, Decatur, Alabama - Nominated by Region IV
Deborah Krajicek, Marathon Petroleum Company LP, Findlay, Ohio - Nominated by Region V
Leslie Ducote, Valero - Houston Asphalt Terminal, Houston, Texas - Nominated by Region VI
Terry Bass, PlyGem Industries, Inc., Central East Region, Kansas City, Missouri - Nominated by Region VII
Michael Courouleau, BakerHughes, a GE Company, St. Rose, Louisiana - Nominated by Region VIII
Danielle Heinze, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, California - Nominated by Region IX
Cliff Butler, Sherwin-Williams, Purdy, Portland, Oregon - Nominated by Region X
Winner: William (Bill) Turner, NuStar Energy
William (Bill) Turner, NuStar Energy, Wichita, KS
William (Bill) Turner is the Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) Specialist for NuStar Energy (Central East Region), headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. NuStar Energy is a strong supporter of the VPP program, with 27 sites nationwide with VPP designation. For the first time ever, an SGE was nominated by two different regions for the SGE of the Year Award. Both Region VII and Region VIII nominated Bill for the 2018 SGE of the Year Award!
In calendar year 2017, Bill participated as an SGE on two evaluation teams in Region VII and four teams in Region VII.
Bill mentored one potential VPP applicant in 2017 in preparation for their VPP application submittal and reviewed two annual evaluations for Region VIII.
Bill successfully guided five sites through the VPP reapproval process in 2017. He also served as an instructor for two VPP Application Workshops in Region VII and a co-instructor for the Region VIII SGE Course. Bill also coordinated multiple Fall Stand Down events at various worksites.
Bill serves as the Region VII VPPPA chairperson. He chairs the Region VII VPPPA Mentoring Committee. He served on the Region VII Board for six years, three as Chairperson.
Bill participated in the VPPPA's Congressional Outreach during 2017. He visited with several Congressmen on the importance of OSHA's VPP Program.
Jack Popp Cartamundi, East Longmeadow, MA - Nominated by Region I
Ronald Rogers DA Collins Companies, Wilton, NY - Nominated by Region II
Ray Delfing Wheelabrator Falls, Inc., Morrisville, PA - Nominated by Region III
Daniel Evans Southwire Company, Carrollton, GA - Nominated by Region IV
Kevin Sell United Group Services, Cincinnati, OH - Nominated by Region V
Jimmy Church The Brock Group, Deer Park, TX - Nominated by Region VI
William (Bill) Turner NuStar Energy, Central East Region, Wichita, KS - Nominated by Region VIII
Ruby Adams Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, CA - Nominated by Region IX
Rocky Simmons Mission Support Alliance, Richland, WA - Nominated by Region X
Winner: Michael (Mike) Yount, WW Wood Products
Michael Yount, WW Wood Products, Dudley, MO (WINNER) - Nominated by Region VII
Michael (Mike) Yount is the EHS Manager for WW Wood Products in Dudley, Missouri. WW Wood Products is a family-owned business in southeast Missouri that produces custom kitchen cabinetry. In calendar year 2016, Mike participated in three evaluations as an SGE. These evaluations were the following:
- SRC Electrical - March 2016
- Siemens Energy - June 2016
- Cintas Corporation - October 2016
Mike mentored four VPP sites in 2016 to prepare them for VPP application submittal. These sites include:
- Havco Wood Products
- Southeast Missouri Electric Cooperative
- Brown Construction
- Cintas Corporation
Because of the mentoring activities listed above, Mike received the VPP Mentor of the Year Award for 2016 from the Region VII VPPPA. He is also a staunch supporter of the Region VII VPPPA Conferences, attending every one.
Mike has a great deal of technical expertise. He holds two Certified Safety and Health Official certificates (one for General Industry and one for Construction). Mike is also an OSHA outreach trainer for construction. He possesses excellent hazard recognition skills especially in the areas of machine guarding, fire protection, fall protection, and life safety code. He excels in assisting employers with improving employee involvement programs and in improving their safety and health training. Mike willingly offers to share his employer's safety and health programs with the site being evaluated if it will assist the site in bolstering their own programs. He always provides abatement advice for hazards that he discovers during VPP evaluations or while mentoring.
Mike is a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) of Southeast Missouri and offers his site to host the LEPC bi-monthly meetings. At the end of these meetings, Mike leads members of the LEPC on tours of areas of the facility. These tours allow LEPC members to learn about topics such as chemical storage and combustible dust hazards. Mike also provides training to the local fire department on combustible dust hazards.
Winner: Jamie Robey, The Brock Group
Jamie Robey, CSP, is the Corporate Health, Safety & Environmental Director for VPP at The Brock Group in Deer Park, Texas.
In calendar year 2015, Jamie assisted the Houston South Area Office with reviewing 108 annual evaluations, volunteered for the SGE training class held in Fort Worth, Texas and mentored two potential VPP sites. He also organized and managed the Brock Group's participation in the Arkansas Department of Labor's Amputation Stand Down designed to raise awareness of the seriousness of amputations and life-long effects of these injuries. The results of the Stand Down included the identification of numerous opportunities for improvement to the protection of employees and further improve protective measures already in place.
Jamie showed his commitment to both OSHA's VPP and SGE programs through his assistance in nine VPP onsite evaluations during the 2015 calendar year. These onsites included:
- Tinker AFB, Midwest City, Oklahoma
- Akzo-Nobel, Pasadena, Texas
- Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus, Christi, Texas
- Marathon Refining, Texas City, Texas
- Evergreen Services, Texas City, Texas
- Entergy, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
- Entergy, Harrisburg, Arkansas
- NRG Big Cajun, New Roads, Louisiana
- NASA-Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Jamie serves as a very active member of the National VPPPA and Region VI Construction Committees, Outreach Committee and Member Services Committees. As a member of the Construction Committee, Jamie assisted by sharing his knowledge of the construction industry and securing Fall Protection subject matter experts to present at the National VPPPA Conference Construction Panel Workshop.
Jamie was an active participant on the National VPPPA's outreach efforts in Washington, DC during three separate VPP Congressional Outreach visits to the United States Congress to help OSHA secure the future of VPP. Jamie met with 25 members of Congress to educate them on the value and benefits of VPP. He received positive feedback from the Congresswomen and Congressmen. This effort has resulted in the introduction of bipartisan House bill (H.R. 2500) and Senate bill (S. 2881). His assistance helped to secure 30 members of Congress who have agreed to support the House bill and have signed on as Cosponsors.
Due to his success as an SGE, Brock Group appointed him SGE mentor and coordinator for the corporation. So far, he has helped four new SGE's through the SGE application process including obtaining management commitment, completing the application process, enrolling in the SGE training course, and working with them to improve their skills during their first evaluation. He is currently working to develop new SGE's within the corporation.
NOTE: Danny McCree Johns Manville, Richland, MS - Nominated by Region IV (no photo)
Winner: Mark Moya, Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc.
Mark Moya, CESCP, is an Electrical Engineer III and Lead Health, Safety, and Environmental Engineer at Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In calendar year 2014, Mark participated in the OSHA Worker Memorial Day Activities and the OSHA Fall Stand-Down, helped to coordinate stand-down activities at his own site and promoted the program to other organizations through outreach. Mark also coordinated with the OSHA Regional VPP Manager to provide region-wide notices to VPPPA members regarding site approvals, and coordinated a program whereby the local VPPPA produces notification letters that are sent to local politicians when a site achieves VPP. He has also organized five OSHA Fall Stand Down events at his own worksite, and supported an event put on by a fall protection vendor.
Mark and his organization are incredibly committed to the OSHA VPP, the VPPPA, and the SGE programs, as evidenced through the participation on eight on-site VPP evaluations during the 2014 calendar year. These included:
- MYR Group -- Sturgeon Electric Transmission and Distribution
- MYR Group -- Sturgeon Electric Commercial and Industrial Construction
- Delta Air Lines
- DAL Global Services
- Bechtel National
- Battelle Memorial Institute
- GP Strategies
Mark also assisted with a VPP Applications Workshop presented by the OSHA Regional VPP Manager during the Regional VPPPA Conference. In addition, he assisted with the presentation of the SGE training course in Region VIII in April 2014 and also at the SGE training course presented at the National VPPPA conference in Washington, DC in August 2014. Mark also presented training sessions at the 2014 Regional and National VPPPA conferences on electrical safety and arc flash protection.
Mark has personally mentored multiple sites including Faith Enterprises, Inc. an electrical contracting company, and Penhall Company, a concrete cutting contractor. In addition, he has mentored Honeywell in Jacksonville, Florida. Furthermore, he serves on the Regional VPPPA Board and coordinates the mentoring contacts for the region.
Mark served as the interim VPPPA Regional Chairperson during 2014, and has served on the board of directors for five years. In 2014 he traveled to Washington DC to assist the national VPPPA with VPP educational outreach activities on Capitol Hill. He initiated a program in Region VIII where quarterly best practice sharing sessions are held at VPP sites. Current and prospective VPP sites attend.
NOTE: William Burke, Miller Valentine Group, Dayton, OH - Nominated by Region V (no photo)
Winner: Mike Murphy, Ply Gem
Mike Murphy is the EH&S Manager for Ply Gem, Inc., in Kearney, Missouri. Mike has been an SGE since 2007. Mike participated in DOL VPP during 2013 by mentoring the Kansas City Area and Regional Offices for their VPP evaluations.
In calendar year 2013, Mike participated in four (4) evaluations as an SGE. These evaluations were the following:
- Vulcraft Division of Nucor (Norfolk, Nebraska) -- February 2013
- Georgia Pacific (Kansas City, Missouri) -- September 2013
- Fred Weber O'Fallon Plant (O'Fallon, Missouri) -- November 2013
- Fred Weber South Plant (St. Louis, Missouri) -- November 2013
Mike served as co-instructor for the 2013 SGE course held in Region VII. Due to sequestration, the SGE course was going to be cancelled because it required travel expenses for the VPP Manager. Therefore, Mike volunteered his facility to host the class. Since his facility is in the Kansas City area, this did not incur travel expense for the VPP Manager.
Mike served as co-instructor for two VPP Application Workshops during 2013. One workshop was held in Kansas City, and the other was held in St. Louis.
Mike mentored three private-sector companies in 2013 to prepare them for the VPP application process. One of the companies sent 20 of their employees to Mike's site to do a walkthrough and share best practices. Mike also mentored two DOL sites. He mentored the Kansas City Regional OSHA Office which successfully obtained VPP Star status in 2013. Mike made several visits to the Regional Office and made presentations to the employees regarding the VPP process. Mike also served as a mentor for the Kansas City Area Office to prepare them for their first VPP recertification.
NOTE: Ed McGrail, Bechtel National - Pueblo Chemical Agent Pilot Plant (PCAPP) - Nominated by Region VIII (no photo)
Winner: Deb Clingan, Miller Coors
Deb Clingan is the EHS Manager for Miller Coors, Rocky Mountain Metal Container End Plant in Golden, Colorado. She has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2007 and participated on five Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) onsite evaluations in 2012. In addition, to serving as a team member on several VPP onsite evaluations, Deb also assisted with SGE training courses in Region VIII and at the 2012 National VPP Participants' Association (VPPPA) Annual Conference.
Deb has been extremely active in Region VIII's structured networking program. She has opened her plant to visitors from multiple other VPP sites and prospective VPP sites to tour the facility, hear presentations on VPP and best practices, and to initiate mentoring relationships. Deb also visits other sites with crew members from her plant to cross-pollinate the culture of VPP safety excellence that exists in her organization. In 2012, Deb actively mentored two VPP sites to help prepare them for their VPP recertification evaluations and four potential applicants in the Colorado area.
Deb serves as a member on the Region VIII VPPPA Board. Thru her participation on the board, Deb has helped to establish and perpetuate alliances with groups to promote VPP at their safety and health conferences. Many of the improvements and new initiatives undertaken by our Regional VPPPA Board are the result of new members like Deb. Her fresh perspective, professional and pleasant demeanor has brought renewed interest, energy, and enthusiasm to the VPPPA Board.
Deb has a great deal of technical expertise. She is very knowledgeable about safety and health, but most importantly, Deb is an advocate for a systems-based approached to safety. She has a profound knowledge of cultural change processes, as well as, knowledge about the importance and value of employee involvement. Deb willingly offers to share all of this knowledge with others in and outside of her organization. Deb is an SGE who exemplifies commitment to the VPP.
Winner: Jon Alexander, Monsanto
Jon Alexander is the Contractor/Guest Safety Lead for Monsanto World Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2006 and participated on three Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) onsite evaluations in 2011.
Each year, Jon arranges for his site to host the SGE course. In 2011, his site hosted the SGE course in July and he served as a co-instructor for the course. Jon has been a co-instructor for the SGE course for the last six years. Also, he arranged and co-instructed two VPP Application Workshops in 2011 and two VPP Strengthening Star Quality workshops. Jon has conducted presentations about contractor safety and health at the Iowa Governor's Conference and at the St. Louis Chapter of the National Safety Council.
Jon served as the Region VII VPP Participants' Association (VPPPA) Chairperson in 2011 and has led the Region VII VPPPA for six years. In this capacity, the Regional VPPPA developed a set of financial policies and began an annual $5,000 scholarship award. Since he began his chairmanship, the Regional VPPPA experienced a growth of over 300 percent in their finances. Also, the Region VII VPPPA developed a first-rate mentoring program. In 2011, Jon actively mentored three VPP sites to help prepare them for their VPP recertification evaluation and six potential applicants in the St. Louis area.
Jon has a great deal of technical expertise. He possesses excellent hazard recognition skills especially in the areas of contractor safety, machine guarding, fire protection, and life safety code. Jon excels in assisting employers with improving employee involvement programs and in improving their safety and health training. He willingly offers to share his employer's safety and health programs with the site being evaluated if it will assist the site in bolstering their own programs.
Steve Jocher, Evonik - Nominated by Region I (no photo)
Dino Avarino, Delta Air Lines - Nominated by Region III (no photo)
Rich Bizek, ABB, Inc - Nominated by Region V (no photo)
Tim Nolen, Fite Fire & Safety - Nominated by Region VI (no photo)
John Keller, Tesoro Petroleum - Nominated by Region VIII (no photo)
Winner: Gilbert Aceves, Morton Salt
Gilbert Aceves is the Production Lead Person for Morton Salt in Long Beach, California. He has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2009. He participated on two VPP onsite evaluations in 2010.
Gilbert has conducted numerous presentations on the benefits of VPP to Union sites, and also presented to Hispanics the benefits of VPP in their organizations. He created safety memos and documents in Spanish that describe and explain the VPP to the Hispanic work force. Gilbert has been on the Region IX Board of Directors as a Representative from the Site with a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the past six years. In addition, Gilbert instructed and coordinated the VPP Application Workshop at the 2010 Region IX VPPPA Conference.
Gilbert has 14 years experience as a mechanic, electrician and welder in addition to 10 years of being involved with the VPP process. He is trained in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70-E I applications. In 2010, Gilbert actively mentored six sites. Nine out of the 15 facilities that he has mentored have reached VPP status.
Gilbert was recognized by Morton Salt for his commitment to VPP. He was awarded the Morton Salt Safety Champion Award in 2010. This award is given every year to that individual who shows safety initiative and leadership. Also, Gilbert received a letter of acknowledgement for outstanding performance for the cultivation and promotion of the culture and spirit of the VPP from Len Welsh, Chief of Cal-OSHA.
To Gilbert, VPP is a way of life. He prides himself in that he has never turned down a request for assistance with VPP. Gilbert is known for being available at all times of the day or night and providing guidance to help the safety community advance along their journey with VPP.
Note: Randall Kresge, Cabot Supermetals - Nominated by Region III (no photo)
Winner: Raymond Magruder, Quaker Manufacturing
Raymond Magruder is the Regional Sales Operations Safety Manager for Quaker Manufacturing in Columbia, Missouri. Raymond has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2008. He has participated on multiple VPP onsite evaluations, four of which were in 2009 alone.
Raymond has assisted Regional OSHA staff with numerous workshops. He was a guest speaker in workshops at the 2009 Region VII VPPPA Conference covering the subject matters of "Becoming and SGE" and "Mentoring - Practical Methods". Raymond served on the Region VII VPPPA Board of Directors for two years. During his tenure, Raymond was an active member of several committees.
Raymond has an exceptional knowledge and experience in safety and health regulations and the VPP program and principles. He has demonstrated outstanding hazard recognition skills especially in the areas of machine guarding, lock out and tagout (LO/TO), confined space, contractor safety, electrical hazards, fall hazards, power industrial trucks and ergonomics. In 2009, Raymond mentored several potential VPP applications. Seven of the sites mentored either reached VPP Star status or have been recertified as Star site.
Raymond is strongly committed to worker safety and health and the VPP program. This commitment can be seen in his coordinator of the local Health, Safety and Environmental Network with industries in the Columbia, Missouri area.
Winner: Charles Soderquist, Sturgeon Electric
Charles Soderquist is the Safety Supervisor for Sturgeon Electric in Henderson, Colorado. Charles has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2008. He has participated on multiple VPP onsite evaluations, two of which were in 2009 alone.
Charles has assisted Regional OSHA staff in organizing sessions for the "construction track" at conferences and obtaining guest speakers and participants from the industry. He participated in an open forum on VPP Mobile Workforce Demonstration at the Region VIII VPPPA Annual Conference in May 2009. In addition, Charles has instructed several OSHA training courses.
Charles is an ambassador for safety and health excellence and has embraced his role as an SGE. He is active in the community and played a key role in the development of the OSHA, NECA, IBEW alliance. Charles conducts monthly first aid and CPR training for company employees, spouses, family members and other non-company personnel free of charge. In 2009, Charles mentored several potential VPP applicants and internal business units for Sturgeon Electric. One of the sites mentored by him has been approved into VPP in the past year.
Charles has a reputation for reliability. On several occasions he was there for VPP when called at the last minute to assist in a site visit. He is always willing to assist when called upon by OSHA or the VPPPA.
Winner: Robert Sander, United States Postal Service
Robert (Bob) Sander is the Safety Specialist for the United States Postal Service in St. Louis, Missouri. Robert has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2005. He has participated on nine VPP onsite evaluations, four of which were in 2008 alone.
Robert has assisted Regional OSHA staff with numerous SGE workshops. He assisted with the SGE workshop session at the Region VII 2008 VPPPA Conference; served as an instructor for the SGE training class in St. Louis, Missouri in July 2008 and is a member of the VPPPA Region VII Mentoring Committee.
Robert has a great deal of technical expertise and possesses excellent hazard recognition skills especially in the areas of machine guarding, lockout/tagout, walking/working surfaces, fire protection and life safety code. He excels in assisting employers with improving employee involvement programs and in improving their safety and health training. In 2008, Robert mentored five potential VPP applicants. One of the five sites mentored by him has been approved into VPP in the past year.
Robert serves as the Chairperson of the St. Louis Federal Safety and Health council since 1994. The Federal Safety and Health Council has become very active in the community under Robert's direction. In 2008, the Council received a Superior Performance Award from the OSHA Regional Administrator as a result of Robert's outstanding leadership.
Note: Cindy Estes, General Electric Fanuc - Nominated by Region III (no photo)
Winner: Larry Shaffer, International Paper
Larry Shaffer is the VPP Coordinator for International Paper, Franklin, Virginia. Larry has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2002, assisting in more 10 VPP onsite evaluations.
Larry has assisted National and Regional OSHA staff with the SGE workshop session at the National VPPPA Conference in August 2007; he assisted in the SGE training class in Virginia Beach May 2007 and two application workshops for the Region during 2007. Also, Larry spoke on the benefits of VPP to a class of OSHA compliance officers in Washington, DC and also presented at a Virginia OSH conference.
Larry received the "2008 Mentor of the Year" for Virginia for his successful efforts in mentoring Coors Shenandoah Brewery and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals who recently reentered the Virginia VPP. Additionally, Larry mentored the Dept. of Defense Yorktown Weapons Depot, Norfolk Naval Base unions. He was very instrumental in attaining the support of the Regional Metal Trades Council and local unions at the Norfolk Naval Base. Furthermore, Larry set up a VPP information booth and answered employee's questions at Wyeth's Safety Day in May 2007 (there are over 1,100 employees at the site).
Recently, Larry traveled with OSHA to Germany to serve as the first SGE to participate on VPP team evaluations in Europe. The Region III VPP team was invited by the Dept. of Defense to visit Wiesbaden and Stuttgart. These evaluations took place at National Security Agency (NSA) Department of Defense worksites. Larry's VPP experience knowledge of VPP concepts and requirements was a key factor in the success of the OSHA team evaluations. Implemented VPP safety and health management systems are ensuring American employees are protected on the job while they support and safeguard our security interests, here and throughout the world. The commitment of Larry and his company, International Paper in supporting VPP at NSA worksites has interested and impressed the senior leadership of the Defense Department. The National Security Agency Wiesbaden and Stuttgart facilities were strongly impressed by Larry's professionalism, knowledge and commitment to VPP. The Department's recognition and the value of VPP is now strengthen and reinforced.
Larry has served on the Region III VPPPA Board of Directors for over 4 years -- two years as Treasurer and now as Vice-Chairperson. His commitment and dependability are greatly counted on by the VPPPA Board and OSHA. He is frequently sought out as spokesman and an Ambassador for the VPP Program.
Winner: Michael Pendergrass, Superior Industries
Michael Pendergrass is the Corporate Safety Director for Superior Industries located in the Pittsburg, Kansas. Mike has been an active Special Government Employee (SGE) since 2000, assisting in more 10 VPP onsite evaluations. In 2006 alone, Mike participated in four audits as an SGE.
Mike has a great deal of technical expertise. He possesses excellent hazard recognition skills especially in the areas of machine guarding and ergonomics. As a participant on VPP audits, Mike brings an excellent private sector perspective to the audit. He excels in assisting employers with improving employee involvement programs and in improving their safety and health training. Mike willingly offers to share Superior's safety and health programs with the site being audited if it will assist the site in bolstering their own programs.
As the Corporate Safety Director, Mike mandates that each of his site safety managers become an SGE and conduct at least two SGE audits with OSHA each year. Seven of Mike's staff members are active SGEs. Together, they have assisted on 15 VPP onsite evaluations in 2006. Under Mike's direction, four of Superior's six domestic locations have achieved STAR status. Their location in Mexico is participating in Mexico's equivalent of VPP.
Mike was recently selected by Assistant Secretary Foulke to be an SGE for the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard VPP onsite in Hawaii. Mike assisted on this audit and was a valuable addition to the onsite team. Mike is actively involved in the DOL VPP as a mentor for Region VII OASAM. Mike is also serving as a mentor for the Fort Riley Army Base (Ft. Riley, Kansas) to assist them in their VPP endeavor under the Army/OSHA Partnership.
Mike was an instructor for a VPP Application Workshop during the past year and also serves as a member of the Communication Committee and the Mentoring Committee of the Region VII VPPPA. He also conducted a workshop on VPP at a local university and at a state safety and health conference.
Winner: Brian Bennett, Basell USA, Inc.
Brian Bennett is the corporate safety and health manager for Basell USA, Inc., Edison, New Jersey. Brian is a true VPP Champion who has been instrumental in many sites successfully achieving VPP status.
Brian has been an active Special Government Employee in Region 2 since 1998, assisting in more than 20 on-site evaluations. He has participated on six (6) on-site evaluations in 2005 alone auditing various worksites including electric power generation, silicone manufacturing and an OSHA Area Office. Brian is noted for his extensive knowledge and technical expertise in safety and health arena and is often called to serve in a variety of capacities, such as, Industrial Hygienist, Safety Specialist, Process Safety Management Specialist or emergency responder.
Brian has co-instructed the SGE 3-day training course along with several other OSHA courses and has contributed developed and formed two OSHA Alliances (Hispanic Outreach and Chemistry Council of New Jersey). Brian currently serves as the Chairman for the Region 2 Chapter of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants' Association (VPPPA).
The following profiles are based on information provided by OSHA's Regional Offices in their award nominations.
Winner: Kerry D. Fischman
Kerry Fischman is the corporate VPP Manager of Georgia-Pacific-North. Within the company, he is a full-time VPP Champion who has been instrumental in at least ten Georgia-Pacific sites successfully achieving VPP status.
Kerry has been an active Special Government Employee in Region V since 2000, assisting in more than five on-site evaluations. He is noted for his extensive VPP knowledge and technical expertise. He is a regular participant of National and Regional VPPPA conferences and is active on the VPPPA National Board as a member of the VPPPA's Mentoring, Legislature, and Regulatory Committees.
Kerry has volunteered his services to OSHA's Training Institute (OTI) in Arlington Heights, IL, providing technical and management assistance associated with preparing for VPP application and approval.
Former VPPPA Chairperson, and Georgia-Pacific Vice President Corporate Safety June S. Brothers spoke about him as follows:
"Kerry Fischman has been invaluable in helping sites within Georgia-Pacific Corporation to strengthen their safety and health management systems to qualify for VPP. His work contributed greatly to Georgia-Pacific Corporation becoming the first company to be approved by OSHA as a participant in the VPP Corporate Pilot Program. But his devotion to improving worker safety and health through partnership programs does not stop with Georgia-Pacific. Through his outreach, mentoring and SGE activities, he helps VPP grow in other companies and other industries. "
Joel Plante is Safety Engineer for Pratt & Whitney, North Berwick, Maine, and is the Chair of Region I VPPPA. He has been an SGE since 2003, joining the program not long after his facility became one of the Region's first Star sites.
According to Region I, Joel embodies the very principles of VPP and has an unsurpassed level of commitment to the program. His stewardship in the VPPPA has resulted in the recruitment and retention of more than 25 sites in Region I. His participation in the SGE program began in 2000.
In 2004, he served as an SGE on two initial VPP on-site evaluations, one of which was the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the largest VPP on-site evaluation of 2004. He also successfully mentored more than 20 sites in Region I during 2004. He assisted OSHA Region I and the Vermont Dept. of Labor and Industry in the development and administration of the 2004 Vermont VPPPA Application Workshop. This effort resulted in the approval of our first two VPP sites in the State of Vermont.
His experiences in training are also extensive. First, he co-taught two VPP 101 courses; both resulted in the instruction of more than 24 potential VPP sites. Also, he co-instructed and organized the 2004 Region I SGE course. He also co-instructed OSHA Region I's Machine Guarding Course at his facility.
As a licensed electrician, he was an invaluable regional resource during OSHA's adoption of NFPA standard 70 E. Also, as a volunteer firefighter and previous instructor at the NH fire academy, he developed an expertise in hazardous materials handling and management that is infused into the Region I VPP.
Paul Kniskern is the Loss Control Director at Curtis Lumber.
In 2004, he participated on two VPP on-site evaluations as a Special Government Employee.
In addition to his SGE duties, he served on the OSHA Challenge development committee. He currently serves as an administrator in the OSHA Challenge Pilot Program. He oversees seven coordinators and is mentoring 26 companies participating in OSHA Challenge across the mid-Atlantic Region.
Paul currently serves on the VPPPA Region II Board of Directors as a Director at Large. He also serves as the Region's Upstate Mentoring Coordinator and National Mentoring Board Representative.
Paul is an active trainer and instructor. He has developed materials for and administered Region II's Application Workshop. He also has been responsible for various Region II Conference classes including: VPPPA/OSHA Outreach, Tools & Programs, and Fleet Safety Programs. He recently presented a course to 38 participants at the OSHA Training Institute.
He is the Executive Board Member of two Regional VPP Safety Groups: Capital Region Safety and Health Council and Adirondack Safety and Health Council.
Paul Snyder is the Director of Safety and Industrial Hygiene Systems, Global Environmental, Health and Safety for the Rohm & Haas Corporation.
He has always supported a systems approach to safety and first submitted a VPP application to OSHA's Regional Office for the Rohm & Haas Philadelphia Plant in 1988. Under his leadership, the site became the first VPP site in Region III, qualifying for Star status in 1992. He has mentored Rohm & Haas sites throughout the country, and the company now has 12 sites benefiting from VPP Star recognition.
Paul is a charter member of the VPPPA, where he helped to start the Region III VPPPA Chapter in 1997 and has served as its Secretary, Treasurer, and currently as a Director. He has mentored many other companies in Pennsylvania and Delaware, encouraging them to become VPP participants. He has participated in more than a dozen VPP Application training classes, conducted VPP outreach activities with OSHA, and frequently hosted VPPPA Board meetings at the corporate site in Bristol, PA. Additionally, he has hosted at least four SGE training classes in Pennsylvania and in Texas, where he also participated as a class instructor.
He was sworn in as an OSHA SGE in 2003 and participated on 2 VPP evaluations in 2004 in Region III. As a corporate safety director, he has encouraged his sites to support VPP SGE participation. Under his direction, Rohm & Haas in Region III has contributed a number of employees to the SGE Program.
Greg Arbise is the Safety and Environmental Coordinator for the Component Maintenance division of Delta Air Lines. Greg has been an active SGE since 2003. According to Susan Sikes, Region IV VPP Manager, he has been a great asset to VPP in the past year, participating on four on-site evaluations and spending a total of 16 days of his time helping VPP as a Special Government Employee.
In addition, Greg made several VPP presentations to prospective VPP applicants and made a presentation at the last Georgia Safety, Health and Environmental Conference. His session was attended by over 75 people. He also served as a mentor to a prospective applicant
Greg's efforts in the past year have greatly enhanced Region IV's VPP and have been of tremendous assistance to other VPP member employers.
Don Jones, an Engineer and Safety & Health Professional, is a Regulatory Expertise Leader for Dow Chemical Company. Don was one of the first individuals to qualify as an SGE. Over the years, he has participated in numerous VPP on-site evaluations, and continues to participate in at least a couple of evaluations each year.
As a mentor, he recruited into the VPP program a number of sites both inside and outside of Dow Chemical Company. Several of the Dow Chemical Company sites that he mentored qualified for VPP status. Dow Chemical Company has seen 33% fewer OSHA recordables at the corporation's VPP sites, as compared to its non-VPP sites.
Don also assisted the government of Ireland's Health and Safety Authority to establish their VPP program, leading a team that assessed a chemical plant in Cork, Ireland.
Don served as a member of the Region VI VPPPA Board as both Treasurer and Chairman and currently serves as the Region VI VPPPA Government Affairs Committee Chair. From 2000-2002, he was a member of the National VPPPA Board and still is actively involved, serving as a member of the Bylaws and Legislative/Regulatory Committees.
Don also served as a member of the team that helped OSHA develop the VPP Corporate Pilot, and he helped convince Dow Chemical to volunteer and make a commitment to participate in the pilot.
Don also contributed his skills as an instructor and presenter for various workshops and sessions nationwide.
Mike Pendergrass is the Corporate Safety Director for Superior Industries, Inc. Since 2000, he has participated in eight audits as an SGE.
In his current position, he mandates that each of his site safety managers become an SGE and conduct at least two SGE audits with OSHA each year. He made this part of their annual performance appraisal and part of their job descriptions. For the year 2004, Superior Industries, Inc. contributed 11 SGE's for VPP audits and also mentored 12 sites.
Under his direction, five of Superior Industries' seven facilities have achieved STAR status, including three during 2004.
He participated in the SGE Workgroup in Washington, D.C. He is actively involved in the Department of Labor's efforts to qualify for VPP, serving as a mentor for Region VII OASAM. He also serves as a mentor for the Fort Riley Army Base in Kansas, assisting them in their VPP endeavor under the Army/OSHA Partnership.