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Get to Know ASSP President-Elect Brad Giles

Apr 28, 2021

We recently chatted with President-Elect Brad Giles via video chat from his home in New Meadows, ID. We talked about his career, his ASSP experience and his plans for the years ahead.

Coming from a family of coal miners — his father, grandfathers, uncles, cousins and brother were all coal miners — Giles explained how his more than 40-year career was influenced from the beginning by the need for safety in the mining work his family had performed for generations. His grandfather died in a mining incident before Giles was born, and his great-grandfather lost his life in a similar incident. This history influenced Giles in each safety position he has held.

"You help people. You not only help those people, but you help that circle of people around them,” says Giles, reflecting on the role of occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals in the lives of those they protect. "You help them in their families and that impacts generations."

Giles heard about ASSP for the first time through R. Benjamin Rietze, the director of safety at Morrison-Knudson, who served as ASSP president in 1990. Giles joined ASSP in 1981 and met many safety professionals who helped shape his work. During his membership tenure, he has received the President's Award twice and was honored as an ASSP Fellow in 2010.

When Giles was elected senior vice president, he saw it as another opportunity to work alongside Deb Roy, who was a fellow board member during his term as director-at-large.

"Deb and I worked together for a couple of years and we have similar goals related to the future of our Society," Giles says.

Although they had served on the board before, the colleagues agreed they still had more to offer.

"So this gave us a chance to continue to move things further down the road on how to help the Society," Giles says.

Giles spoke about his plans for ASSP, specifically about the importance of addressing the pipeline for the profession. He sees tremendous potential for the future growth of the OSH profession extending beyond universities.

"We need to look at the military and the trades, figure out how we can transition people who are involved in safety functions," he says.

Giles also sees students coming out of academic programs as an important part of the profession's pipeline. He believes that mentoring them earlier in their careers is a great way to help them build the people and management skills they need to work effectively with employees in the field.

Read the full interview in the May issue of PSJ.

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