Connecticut Valley Chapter Accomplishments

  • Construction Specialty formed in 2009
  • Establish the Western Mass Section, October 2003
  • Chosen by ASSE as National Chapter of the Year 2002
  • Established a self-sustaining scholarship fund in 1995
  • Annual donations to the ASSP Foundation
  • Active participation in the annual New England Area Chapter of ASSE Professional Development Conference since its inception in 1999.
  • Co-sponsor the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s EH&S Conference
  • Annual safety poster contest for elementary students with savings bonds awards
  • Annual awards for middle and high school students at Connecticut Science Fair
  • Recognize and celebrate June as Safety Month in Connecticut
  • Provide quality educational and technical education sessions
  • Maintain an email service with job opportunities and chapter news since 1998

Connecticut Valley Member Accomplishments

  • Three members went on to be ASSE National Presidents
    1. Donald Vaughn 1958-59
    2. William Nebraska 1986-87
    3. Nancy McWilliams 1996-98
  • ASSE Government Affairs Chairperson
    1. John Cheffer 1995 and 2000
  • Six went on to become Regional Vice Presidents
    1. Harold Weeks 1971-73
    2. Dave Curley 1973-75
    3. John Cheffer 1987-89
    4. Paul Polk 1990-92
    5. Paul Gills 1993-96
    6. Ed Zimmer 2020-23
  • Three members have received the ASSE Fellow designation
    1. H. William Heinrich in 1961
    2. Donald Vaughn in 1963
    3. David Curley in 1987.  David was also named Chairman of the National Safety Council 1987-90 and was inducted into the Safety & Health Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • One member has been the ASSE Culbertson Award Winner for Outstanding Volunteer Service
    1. William Nebraska 1982-83
  • The following CT Valley members have received ASSE’s Regional Safety Professional of the Year Award
    1. Paul Gills 1995
    2. Frank Teti 1996
    3. Dave Gelpke 2000
    4. Bernie Silkowski 2003
    5. Tim Healey 2004
    6. Leona May 2008
    7. Dave Gelpke 2010
  • New England Area Director
    1. Bernie Silkowski, Area Director 2004 to 2006
  • Special Recognition
    1. Bernie Silkowski 1998 Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award for his work in the CT Legislature to establish School Safety Committees.
    2. John Cheffer 2002 National ASSE President’s Award for special Government Affairs programming .
    3. Ralph Willing 2003 Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award for his work and diligence in reorganizing the chapter by-laws.
    4. Tim Healey 2005 awarded the New England Area Safety Professional of the Year Award 2004/2005.
    5. Peter LeMay 2006 received the State of CT Governor’s Recognition Award for his volunteer work with teenage drivers.
    6. Tim Healey, 2008, the Chapter President Award for his volunteer efforts in the chapter and for his dual role as Past President and Treasurer.
    7. Dave Gelpke, 2008, the Manufacturing Branch Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) Award from the Society’s Management Practice Specialty at the National PDC.
    8. Leona May awarded the New England Area Safety Professional of the Year Award 2007/2008
    9. Bob Ziegler, 2009, received the Gillooly-Lawton Award at the National EMS Week in Connecticut. This award honors those who are committed to excellence in the Emergency Medical Service vocation.
    10. Joe Bongiovanni 2010 received the Chapter President’s Award for founding and chairing CT Valley’s Construction Practice Specialty in CT and Western MA.
    11. Dave Gelpke 2010 awarded the New England Area Safety Professional of the Year Award 2009/2010.
    12. Walt Tucker 2011 received the Construction Safety Professional of the Year from Associated General Contractors of Connecticut
    13. Joe Bongiovanni 2012 awarded the New England Area Safety Professional of the Year Award 2011/2012.
  • CT Valley Chapter SPY
    • Jay D’Errico 1996/1997
    • Dave Gelpke 1997/1998
    • Tim Healey 2003/2004
    • Frances Walsh 2005/2006
    • Bernie Silkowski 2006/2007
    • Denise Dudek 2007/2008
    • Dave Gelpke 2009/2010
    • Joe Bongiovanni 2010/2011
    • Jack Braddock 2011/2012
    • Tom Benedict 2012/2013
    • Will Reardon 2013/2014
    • John Able 2014/2015

How the Chapter Started…

Founding members
William Leete, Travelers Insurance Company
Sydney Ingham, United States Armory
John Selden, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
John Moriarity, Shawinigan Resins Company

The following is a historical account written by William Leete on April 15, 1950.
“The Western Massachusetts Chapter of American Society of Safety Engineers had its origin within the Industrial Division of the Springfield Safety Council. In 1938, some seven industrial and insurance safety engineers got together to discuss mutual problems and exchange ideas. Lively discussion developed interest, so monthly meetings of the group were held under the name of the Safety Engineers Roundtable. Attendance increased rapidly including about 40 full time safety engineers, safety supervisors of small plants , safety committee men from industry, personnel men and others interested in industrial accident control. Activities broadened to in include speakers of note and occasional inspection tours. Membership spread to neighboring cities. Joint meetings with Engineering Societies were held. Safety Engineering was on the move.

Amongst the charter members of this group arose a demand for further professional knowledge which resulted in a course of lectures sponsored by the American International College of Springfield. National leaders were obtained to lecture on the various phases of industrial accident prevention plus recognized professors on industrial subjects from Clark University and M.I.T. Lectures on guarding of machinery, accident analysis, occupational diseases, employee training and kindred subjects were followed by industrial psychology with lastly advice to the safety engineer on professional progress. This in brief was “Dare to think beyond existing horizons” which today still carries full significance.

Soon many of those attending theses sessions were called upon to teach the WKC courses in industrial safety to foremen given in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield Two of our chartered members moved up, Mr. H. B. Duffus of Westinghouse to a headquarters job at E. Pittsburgh and Mr. S. Ingham of the Armory to pioneer in the handling of radioactive materials at the atomic bomb plant at Los Alamos. The Safety Engineers Roundtable expanded with independent groups holding meetings monthly in Westfield, Holyoke and Palmer as well as in Springfield.

The urge for professional advancement next moved the existing Roundtable members to unite for the purpose of forming a local chapter. A charter was granted to the Western Massachusetts Chapter on June 5, 1945. This group met regularly covering a wide variety of subjects of interest to the profession.

Representatives participated actively on a national level on the Executive Committee and Membership Committees, as Regional Representatives, and at the annual meetings in Chicago.

Membership consistently increased, in particular ASSE members from Connecticut desiring Chapter affiliation and activity. This trend gave rise to an application to the national headquarters to increase the Chapter’s territory to include the adjoining counties in Connecticut with a subsequent change to the more appropriate name of the Connecticut Valley Chapter of the ASSE.

With this forward move, further professional solidarity was anticipated as the membership increased to include qualified men from the Connecticut Industrial field and the insurance companies in Hartford.

Activities of the Society have already gone beyond the scope of interchange of ideas to service to the community and joint activity with other engineering societies. We are all aware that a tremendous job remains to be done as this job becomes increasingly complex as science in industry advances. Further, that we must go beyond the exact sciences in dealing with our “stock-in-trade” human life. Within our current membership, however, we have a wealth of knowledge, records accomplishment in meeting these new trends and most characteristic, group unity of purpose in striving to move ahead on a high professional level. With these assets, the Connecticut Valley Chapter comes into being as a growing concern. Further progress will be measured by what each one of us contributes to the society from his experience, in office or in pursuit of Chapter objectives. In the process we will be afforded the pleasures of association and our joint accomplishments will be reflected in increased professional stature. Our young profession is on the move as we “Dare to think beyond existing horizons.