The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has announced two past Society presidents -- Nancy McWilliams of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Kathy Seabrook of Mendham, New Jersey -- will receive the honor of Fellow, its highest distinction, recognizing their career-long commitment to worker safety and their leadership in the occupational safety and health profession.

McWilliams, who retired in 2013 as director of U.S. Department of Commerce’s office of occupational safety and health, has focused her career on the management of risk and enabling others to develop safety programs that protect employees. McWilliams said it was humbling to receive the award and pointed to two events that stood out in her career.

“First, following 9/11, chairing a federal interagency working group in D.C. for three years that helped over 40 agencies improve their emergency plans,” McWilliams said.  “Second, being on a 2011 task force of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) that gave OSHA specific recommendations asking the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to strengthen the hiring criteria for Safety Managers in the federal workforce to include a college degree or certification.”

Seabrook, founder and president of Global Solutions, Inc., has safety and health certifications in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, enabling her to consult with multinational companies across the globe. Seabrook’s expertise includes safety health and environmental management, risk assessment and analyzing management systems against global best practices.

Seabrook’s work in Europe in the 1990s introduced her to risk-based systems approaches that she has advocated here in the U.S., including her leadership in developing the ISO 45001, a global management system that will help organizations manage risks and improve their OSH performance.  Her work as chair of the Center of Safety and Health Sustainability has helped move corporations to include their occupational safety and health records as part of the financial information they give to the investment community.

“As one of ASSE’s current Fellows shared with me, this is not an award but a designation,” Seabrook said.  “It is earned through a lifetime of work on behalf of our profession.  For that I am humbled and grateful for the opportunities I have had. I have contributed and worked alongside and been mentored by some of the best in our profession.”

McWilliams and Seabrook will formally receive their awards during ASSE’s Safety 2016, which runs June 27-29, 2016 in Atlanta. More than 4,000 occupational safety and health professionals are expected to attended the three-day professional development conference and exposition, aimed at offering the latest in products, trends, issues and challenges facing the industry.

Founded in 1911, the Park Ridge, Illinois-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 37,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to