Richard A. DeLeau, CHST, has 24 years of experience in the Environmental, Health and Safety field. Rich earned his Bachelor of Business degree with a dual major in Operations Management and Industrial Marketing from Western Michigan University as well as two Masters: one in Management/International and the other in Business Sustainability from Aquinas College.
Rich started his career as an industrial machine repair/machinist. Following graduation from college, Rich served as an Operations Manager for Herman Miller, Inc. After 10 years, he switched over into their Corporate Safety Department, in which he introduced Michigan OSHA’s VPP Program.
With 10 years of safety experience, Rich was offered the opportunity to fill the role of the Chief Safety Officer for the Nuqul Group (headquartered in Jordan), a major hygienic paper firm with a conglomerate of 31 companies. Rich’s responsibilities covered all EHS aspects in the Middle East/North Africa region. Rich also supported actives with ASSE/ASSP’s Region IX. Following the overseas stint, Rich worked at Johnson Controls as an EHS Manager for several of their North American facilities. Today, Rich is with BHS Insurance Agency as their Director of Risk Management, in which he offers EHS consulting services to clients in various industries throughout the United States.
Rich has been a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals since 2000 and held various roles within the West Michigan Chapter as the Treasurer, Vice President and currently the President since 2020, in which the chapter earned Platinum Level for two straight years.
The Region VII North Area Director supports the Regional Vice President in ultimately supporting the efforts in creating a meaningful and high-quality experience for its area members. This is accomplished through assisting the eight, chapter presidents covering three states: Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Because the chapter leaders are where actual progress is made and more specifically, through the chapter head…its presidents. For the chapter presidents, it’s more than just a title, it’s a sizable undertaking to affectively lead other leaders via influence as we have no real power of position, in order to accomplish the annual agreed upon goals. AND, to have fun while doing such activities.
How do you know when a chapter is successful? 1) Leaders don’t look at their calendars to see when their terms expire! 2) There’s an esprit de corp among chapter executive committee members, collaborative tasks force develops, other members desire to be in on the action. A culture of cooperation working together in a fun atmosphere.
Society has some of the greatest tools and resources for volunteer leaders at our disposal in order to accomplish our goals. Yet, many volunteer leaders underutilize this source. Knowledge is power. My aim is to equipped them with this power.
Imagine if every volunteer leader lived up to their potential in the service to their members. ASSP Society and to a greater extent, the community at large would be safety utopia for all. If half of the volunteer leaders reached their potential, it would still be an incredible place and if only one-fourth were to reach their potential, it would still be awe-inspiring.
As the NAD, I would be honored to be given the opportunity to influence all safety volunteer leaders that come my way.