I have recently retired from WOGISA as the Executive Director after eight years of working for the Safety Alliance. I am so proud of the accomplishments that we, as an organization, have been able to achieve over the last eight years. I remember the first meeting that we had, there were four people in attendance and we had a good discussion as to how we could build a safety organization. The next thing we knew is that after advertising moderately we had a meeting, in Casper, with then Governor Dave Fredenthal and about 200 hundred people. We elected a board of directors at that meeting and look where we are now. Prior to the down turn in the Oil and Gas Industry we had close to 900 plus members. I believe that today we still have close to 600 members.
The impressive characteristic about WOGISA is all of the dedicated Board Members that have volunteered their time over the years to ensure that the mission of a safer working environment for Wyoming workers is the top priority. From day one our goal was to make sure that we could provide safety training throughout the state to employers and employees that did not have the means or know how to provide safety training. WOGISA exemplified and stressed the need for a change in the Safety Culture around the State of Wyoming. That is why our main mission is to provide the best possible safety training that we can secure for all workers.
WOGISA and Wyoming OSHA have had a continuing alliance for many years and it has been a great asset to the State to have these two organizations work so close together. WOGISA, OSHA and Wyoming Workforce Development Services work very close together to put on the Workforce Safety Summit every June. I was very fortunate to be able to work with this group over the years to provide a tremendous Summit with many great speakers and safety training.
I believe that our signature accomplishment, at this time, was the establishment of the Governors Stop Work Authority Safety award. Governor Mead attended one of our meetings in Cheyenne and asked us to come up with an award that he would support. We spent quite a lot of time discussing what would be an award that would benefit the workers in Wyoming. One of our board members, at the time, came up with the SWA concept and it was obvious to all that this is the right award to support. SWA is one of the most powerful tools that an employee can carry with him or her. It is truly amazing the SWA awards that we have handed out of the years and the situations that employees stopped to save lives and injuries. It is a tool that all industries in the State of Wyoming should use.
It is also amazing how other safety alliances that have been established, since WOGISA’s inception and use the WOGISA model as their benchmark and starting point. I feel very honored that I was able to help some of the other industry safety alliances get up and running. It is a great step for all of the Safety Alliances in Wyoming to continue on with their training for the workers in Wyoming. Changing a safety culture is not easy and very difficult to do but if each of the Safety Alliances continue with their work then safety in the work place will continue to improve.
I would like to thank all of the great people in the State of Wyoming that I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years, you are all a great asset to the importance of a safety culture change with in the State. I would especially like to thank Jack Bedessem for all of his advice and mentoring. Jack is truly a great individual and has the safety of the Wyoming worker in his heart.