J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. today announced the winners of the 2021 J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year (SPOTY) Awards, one of the most prestigious forms of recognition in the field of workplace safety.

The SPOTY Awards honor the critical role of safety professionals in building a safety culture and ensuring employees return home to their families at the end of each day. The judging panel for this year’s awards included six J. J. Keller consultants and editors, who are experts in environmental health and safety, and guest judge Benita Mehta, chief editor of Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN).

“Our purpose at J. J. Keller is to protect people and the businesses they run,” said Rustin Keller, president and CEO of J. J. Keller, who presented the awards during a September 16 webcast. “The SPOTY Awards recognize those safety professionals who excel at sharing our purpose. As providers of safety solutions to companies large and small, our panelists have a unique view into what sets safety leaders apart in their profession.”

SPOTY Award winners receive free subscriptions to J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITETM, delivering round-the-clock access to J. J. Keller’s most popular safety management tools, as well as cash prizes.


First-Place SPOTY Award Winner:

Trevor Pellegrini, Safety Coordinator, Airstream, Inc.

After a six-week shutdown at the start of the pandemic, Airstream returned to record sales – and record hiring. Airstream Safety Coordinator Trevor Pellegrini has been instrumental in training these new hires, implementing COVID-19 protocols, and ensuring Airstream associates are equipped with the best safety practices as they build the world’s most iconic travel trailers.

“We persevered during the pandemic and were also able to increase our total new hires by over 500, training them on COVID-19 protocols and how to safely share community tools,” said Pellegrini. “Furthermore, we have continually reduced our recordable injuries while hiring these new employees.”

Pellegrini has been with Airstream for four years. During this time, he earned associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Science (Occupational Health, Safety and Environment) through the company’s tuition reimbursement program while working as an assembly associate and router operator. Now, as part of the company’s safety team, his efforts to adopt COVID-19 safety protocols have helped ensure the safety and security of the over 1,000 associates who work at Airstream production facilities in Jackson Center, Ohio.

Pellegrini sees long-term benefits from the measures taken, beyond protecting associates and the company during the pandemic. For example, the trend logs he created for COVID-19 exposures and rolled out to all production and office associates are now also being converted to trend logs for injury reports.

On an ongoing basis, Pellegrini sees empathy as critical when training on and enforcing safety policies. It’s a philosophy he has taken into work environment leadership from his volunteer work as a Christian Addiction Recovery Counselor and his former career as a firefighter.

Recent safety accomplishments by Pellegrini include:

  • Development of Airstream’s safety initiative called S.L.A.M., which stands for Stop, Look, Assess and Manage
  • Data analysis findings that hands were most often affected by injuries in the workplace, and development of weekly training to prevent hand injuries

“At Airstream, the associates and the company hold themselves to a high safety standard,” said Pellegrini. “I attempt to go above and beyond to demonstrate that vision. The motto I learned as a firefighter is ‘Everyone Goes Home,’ and I hold that motto close to me in my current profession and life.”


Second-Place SPOTY Award Winner:

Paul Power, Assistant Vice President, Northwell Health

Paul Power has made workforce safety and emergency medical services his focus for 35 years. This passion began while he was an EMT-paramedic and continued as he reached advanced degrees in Community & Human Services and Strategic Healthcare Management.

As part of healthcare organizations, workplace safety professionals across the country found themselves on the front lines of the pandemic with their peers in medical positions. At Northwell Health, Power’s safety team worked with RN Care Managers in the organizations’ command center. They were in the epicenter of COVID-19 and fit testing around the clock, ensuring Northwell team members were trained and properly fit with respiratory protection and PPE.
“We were successfully able to train and fit test over 43,000 team members within a month,” said Power.

On an ongoing basis, Power and the Northwell safety professionals have created a culture of safety and team member advocacy when a safety incident does occur. For example, if employees are injured on the job, the Workers Compensation team advocates for the employees and has a Physician Assistant overseeing claims. Then, a Return to Work team focuses on helping the team members get back to their positions or assists in identifying alternative options when necessary.

Power tracks the effectiveness and success of Northwell’s safety program using benchmarks, surveys and data. Major health and safety successes he has led include a decrease in industrial hygiene cases and an increase in OSHA awareness. He has also personally designed numerous safety approaches that have saved healthcare professionals from serious injury. Examples are NextWave, a virtual reality product for safe patient handling; a first-of-its-kind Mobile Training Center to provide simulated safe patient handling training for medical staff; COVID-19 assessment services for businesses within the New York Region; and the Safe Patient Handling Olympics, a system-wide competition and fun learning event at Northwell.

With a career-long dedication to the health field, Power is donating his cash prize from the J. J. Keller Safety Professional of the Year Awards to Cohen Children’s Medical Center of Northwell Health. The medical center is a top-ranked center for care in nine pediatric specialties.


Third-Place SPOTY Award Winner:

Kelly Weinhardt, Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator for Texas – North Louisiana, Trane Technologies

Kelly Weinhardt had a nontraditional path to her safety career, but in the two and a half years she has been an Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) coordinator, she has made a substantial difference in outcomes for Trane Technologies’ Commercial HVAC Americas business unit, which goes to market as Trane®.

After starting in the travel and hospitality industry and then moving to a position as a project coordinator with Trane, Weinhardt saw a role in Trane’s EHS department as a way to use her marketing and project management skills to help keep people safe.

As part of Trane’s North America EHS team, Weinhardt helped meet PPE supply chain issues during the pandemic by directing a new initiative to track PPE levels for all regional offices, shipping and distribution. She also led calls related to COVID-19 contact tracing and is the go-to resource for current policy and CDC guidelines.

Weinhardt is an expert in the EHS management software and the safety mobile app used throughout Trane. She supports others as they use the programs to address safety concerns, inspections and incident reporting. She also pulls and analyzes data to improve Trane’s safety performance at the regional and North American levels.

And due to Weinhardt’s leadership of Trane’s annual 100 Days of Safety campaign, which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day throughout North America, Trane employees were more engaged than ever in summer safety.

“Kelly Weinhardt has been hugely instrumental in driving fresh content to engage our employees through intracompany social media, videos, safety podcasts, a stretching app and summer fun give-away merchandise,” said Ryan Hite, regional EHS leader for Texas – North Louisiana, Trane Technologies. “Now Trane has quantitative data about the audience it is serving with the campaign, such as number of clicks, likes, comments and views. We will use this data to help Trane understand what communication mechanisms are working and which are most effectively reaching our audience.”

Weinhardt has made an impact through both a nontraditional career path and nontraditional ways of elevating safety.


About J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. is the most respected name in safety and regulatory compliance. Since its beginning as a one-man consulting firm in 1953, the company has grown to over 1,600 associates serving more than 500,000 customers — including over 90% of the Fortune 1000® companies. The company’s subject-matter expertise spans nearly 1,500 topics, and its diverse solutions include training via online courses, streaming video or DVD; online management tools; managed services; consulting services; online and print compliance manuals and instructional publications; ELogs and mobile technology, forms and supplies.

Safety professionals rely on J. J. Keller’s in-house expertise and wide selection of products and services to reduce risk and improve regulatory compliance, performance management, and operational efficiency. For more information, visit JJKeller.com.


About Airstream

Airstream, manufacturer of the iconic “silver bullet” Airstream® travel trailer, is the longest-tenured recreational vehicle manufacturer in the world. The company’s mission, as set forth by founder Wally Byam, is to create well-designed, high-quality products that allow people to follow their dreams and explore the world in home-like comfort. A steadfast commitment to Byam’s creed, “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements,” has made the aluminum Airstream travel trailer a timeless classic. An unwavering focus on innovation keeps the company at the forefront of technology and customer experience in both the towable and motorized sectors. Airstream is based in Jackson Center, Ohio, where a team of skilled craftspeople hand builds each travel trailer and upfits every Mercedes-Benz® touring coach, adding daily to the brand’s reputation for quality and innovation. Learn more about Airstream, our dealers, and current travel trailer and touring coach models at airstream.com. For the latest news on Airstream, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Airstream, Inc. is a subsidiary of Elkhart, IN-based THOR Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO). THOR is the sole owner of operating subsidiaries that, combined, represent the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles. For more information on THOR Industries and its products, please visit thorindustries.com.

About Northwell Health

Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 830 outpatient facilities and more than 16,600 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 75,000 employees—18,900 nurses and 4,800 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners—are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra/Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For more information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit www.northwell.edu and follow us @NorthwellHealth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


About Trane Technologies

Trane Technologies is a global climate innovator. Through our strategic brands Trane and Thermo King, and our environmentally responsible portfolio of products and services, we bring efficient and sustainable climate solutions to buildings, homes, and transportation. Learn more at tranetechologies.com.