The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has awarded four members, Richard King of Centennial, Colorado, George Pearson of Hockessin, Delaware, Bill Propes of Mesquite, Texas and R. Ronald Sokol of Friendswood, Texas, the Fellow Honor, its highest distinction, recognizing their lifetime of commitment to worker safety and their leadership in the occupational health and safety field.

King, who has worked at Black & Veatch for the last 35 years, developed health and safety programs for the construction industry. The programs were used in many Third World countries to help improve working conditions for workers there. “I want to thank all of the safety professionals at Black & Veatch who made me and our program so successful,” he said. 

Pearson, who has run his own consulting business, has applied his safety and health management expertise across a diverse set of industry sectors including integrated consumer products, chemical manufacturing, retail and telecommunications. “All the leaders with whom I interacted had a passion and a commitment to role modeling, mentorship, teaching and safety,” Pearson said. “They made it easy for me to incorporate those values into my professional DNA.”

Propes rose through the ranks of Texas Employers Insurance Association, capping off a 30-year career by becoming vice president of safety engineering. With each promotion, Propes improved all levels of safety engineering and industrial hygiene for the company.  “It's a cliché, but I am here standing  on the shoulders of so many safety professionals who have gone before me;  those who led and mentored me, to whom I unfortunately failed to say "thank you" as often as I should have,” Propes said. 

For that last 25 years, Sokol has been the president and CEO of Safety Council of Texas City, a 700-member group of contractors involved in the training of 24,000 contract workers in petrochemical safety practices and procedures. “I am greatly humbled and honored to be included with the 120 visionary leaders of the Safety, Health & Environmental (SHE) profession, who have been bestowed the honor of ASSE Fellow since 1961,” Sokol said.

Dr. Lu Yuan, associate professor and coordinator of occupational safety, health and environment for Southeastern Louisiana University, was awarded the William E. Tarrants, Outstanding Safety Educator of the Year. Yuan is credited for his innovative approach to teaching, incorporating new technology and teaching approaches to reach his students. “If safety is about being proactive and planning ahead, this award means the same thing. It is not the past of success that we celebrate; rather, it is the bright future that we work hard and strive for,” Yuan said.