The Western Carolina Chapter was formed out of a desire of local Safety Professionals to promote safety in the Western Carolina area, centered around Hickory, NC. This desire has been realized in a healthy ASSE Chapter with monthly meetings in Hickory, and on-going opportunities for training and professional development.
This is a story of the formation of the Chapter and quotes from individuals who had a part in the formation and leadership of the Chapter. Rick Alexander first tells the story: “A group of us had been meeting as a section of the Tarheel Chapter for about 5 years when we decided to strive for chapter status. I was appointed Chairperson of the Chapter Formation Committee and formulated the By-Laws.”
The original name that was used during the formation was the Foothills Chapter. This was later changed by the section members to the Western Carolina Chapter after we determined the number of counties that would be represented.
We were accepted as a chapter with 45 original members made up from the Tarheel Chapter in Charlotte and the Triad Chapter in Greensboro.
The Tarheel Chapter voted to approve the formation of the Western Carolina Chapter on November 4, 1996 to include the counties of Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Watauga, and Yancy.
The Triad Chapter voted and passed a resolution to approve the chapter and relinquish the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes to the proposed new Western Carolina Chapter on October 17, 1996.
Our chapter was chartered by the American Society of Safety Engineers on February 7, 1997.
Jane Carswell was the section president and was installed as the President for the remainder of the 96-97 year.
Jack DeBeve was the president for the 97-98 year and the first full year president.
I was the president for the 98-99 year and Eric Wu was the president for the 99-2000 year.
During the years that we were a section and trying to grow, several members worked very hard to keep the idea rolling;
Harold Lineberger, John Saunders, Bill Seitz, Wayne Bumgardner, and Gary Johnson were section presidents. (not in order)
These two ladies worked tirelessly and were invaluable during those years, Ann Campbell and Rose Church.
A history lesson in a nutshell.
Bill Seitz made this comment about the Chapter: “Biggest plus in area is getting Safety Professionals together and share ideas and problems.”
Wayne Bumgardner made these comments about the Chapter: ” The late Mike Peak, NCDOL, was instrumental in getting the chapter started. Mike acted as a liaison between the Western Carolina Section and the Tarheel Chapter. Mike and John Saunders, both from NCDOL, worked in starting chapter.”
Carlyle Hill, Belk Stores, a member of Tarheel Chapter, helped with the formation of the Western Carolina Chapter.
“Having a local chapter has been beneficial to the Western North Carolina area. Providing a means of networking, sharing, and exchanging safety ideas and concepts, to enable us to have safer and healthier workplaces. Gave this area a strong resource and network for safety solutions.”
Rick Alexander made this additional comment: “Our Chapter is important and one of the main ways we have to communicate as safety professionals. Without the Chapter we would be kind of lost or drifting without a means of communication.”