The Qualified Safety Sales Professional (QSSP) course grew out of an International Safety Equipment Association/Safety Equipment Distributors Association professional development initiative, with the first course held in 1996. The 25th session milestone was celebrated at the November 12-16, 2007 course of QSSP held in Louisville, Ky.

More than 770 sales and marketing representatives in the safety equipment industry have become Qualified Safety Sales Professionals over the years.

Companies that have sent students include: Allsafe Services & Materials, Arbill Industries, Sperian (Bacou-Dalloz), Best Mfg., Bullard, Conney Safety Products, Drager Safety, DuPont, Elvin Safety, Great Lakes Sales & Marketing, Hagemeyer North America, Interstate Safety & Supply, Kimberly-Clark, 3M, Mapa Professional, Mettam Safety, MSA, North Safety Products, Northern Safety, Orr Safety, ORS Nasco, Quest, Reliable Safety Products, Safety Services Inc., SAFECO, Safety Source-Northeast, Safeware, Saf-T-Gard International, Safety Today, Sellstrom, Stauffer Safety & Glove, Texas Mill Supply, United Sales Associates, VWR International, W.W. Grainger, and Zee Medical.

QSSP is designed to provide inside and field safety sales professionals and marketers of both distributors and manufacturers with enhanced expertise and knowledge in critical technical and regulatory areas of occupational health and safety.

Founding course director, Dr. Richard D. Fulwiler, Sc. D, CIH, CSHM, former head of worldwide safety and health for Procter & Gamble, and course faculty members Richard G. Raymer, CSP and William E. Simpkins, CSP, REP have crafted a comprehensive and well-organized program. Constantly improving the course, QSSP instructors have sought to keep information timely and relevant. OSHA 30-hour cards were introduced last year and now all participants receive cards post-class.

The small class size (30 to 40 seats) allows for plenty of one-on-one interaction. Participants who successfully complete the course and the QSSP Competency Exercises receive a certificate of recognition.

Growing market acceptance
Apparently the continuous improvement effort has paid off. At every QSSP session, students are asked to what degree would they recommend the course to others, on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 the strongest recommendation. Dr. Fulwiler says the very first QSSP course received a 3.6 recommendation rating. Now ratings are commonly 4.6-4.9 for sessions, he says.

Another sign of market acceptance of the QSSP course: At least the past four sessions have been complete sell-outs (approximately 36 seats), says Dr. Fulwiler, and the past ten or so essentially sold out.

Eye-opening experience
“I thought I knew my safety and industrial hygiene products fairly well with 20-plus years experience,” says Kevin Wright of Hagemeyer North America. “The QSSP sales consultants truly escalated my knowledge and gave me a better view through my customer’s eyes.”

Members of both SEDA and ISEA serve on the Joint Education Committee for the program to help review and refine the curriculum that is used during each session. Current committee members include: Rick Fulwiler, Technology Leadership Associates; Jackie King, SEDA executive director; Dan Shipp, ISEA president; Ted Cowie, Safety Today; Jay Arnold, Hagemeyer North America; George Hayward, United Sales Associates; and Harry Pardo, Allsafe Services and Materials.

QSSP has also benefited from donations over the years from companies in the safety equipment industry to assist with learning labs and training support. The following companies have donated items to the program: 3M, Ansell, Bullard, Capital Safety, Drager, Industrial Scientific, Moldex, Orr Corporation and the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI).

The November 12-16, 2007 QSSP course sold out. In 2008, QSSP sessions will be held April 14-18 and November 10-14. registration details, or call SEDA headquarters at (443) 640-1065. You can also contact ISEA at (703) 525-1695;