Upcoming 2012 Canadian Chapter Activities: Will You be There?

Happy New Year 2012! I hope each and every one of you had a very Blessed Christmas and are in Good Health as we begin another year.

For some reason I don’t seem to be hearing many specific New Year’s resolutions this year. Maybe that is just the social circle in which I live, getting older and too wise to make “resolutions”…

But I have heard some recent discussions about resolutions that caught my attention. Most recent was in Church this past weekend where I heard that “resolutions are what people do when they want to make changes in their life”. It was suggested that a resolution is more of an intention than a decision, a down-payment on a decision. I really liked the example cited: “I can resolve to lose weight, but the resolution is only confirmed when I next confront food and then must make the decision of how much to eat”. I don’t always listen so attentively to the homily but this one caught my attention. It seems to have application in everything I say and do.

Quite a few years ago I resolved to contribute to the Canadian Chapter of SAFE. I hope my decisions during 2012 demonstrate my continuing commitment to that resolution. The Executive is planning a Regional Meeting in Trenton as well as a Joint Chapter Symposium in Ottawa for Spring of 2012. There will be lots of tasks, big and small, to perform in order to ensure the success of these Chapter activities. We’ll have to see if my decisions verify my resolution to support the Canadian Chapter. I hope yours will too.

On another issue, I have discussed with Peter Johnson regarding a model he had mentioned for a scholarship fund that I suggested we establish for our Chapter. I invite Chapter Members to contact me with ideas for how we should target and manage our scholarship fund. I really hope to move this initiative forward in the relatively short term.

And again, Happy New Year 2012!


John Winship

GENTEX Corporation

Who’s Going to the SAFE Symposium?

October 2011

It’s that time of year again and we’re headed to Reno for the SAFE Symposium. I know that budgets are under careful scrutiny this year but it appears there will still be a good sized Canadian contingent in attendance. We are still trying to get a handle on who will be there so Sheri can organize a gathering and ensure that everyone gets the details in time to participate. So we are asking you to please update Sheri and Wes regarding your plans to be there. I’m sure they can handle the massive influx of email!


And while we’re on the subject of updating Sheri, let’s help her fulfill her role as our Chapter President. Part of Sheri’s job is to represent us with the SAFE Board of Directors. That includes being our voice to the Board on what we would like to see SAFE doing and issues that need to be addressed. For example, I don’t know about you, but I take great exception to receiving all regular correspondence from the SAFE Home Office in paper format. It always ends up in the recycling bin and it would be so much easier to file if I had received it electronically. I find it to be a waste of paper and postage. I would much prefer to receive Symposium information and SAFE NEWS and even my Membership Invoice in electronic format. I have brought this to the attention of the SAFE Board. And I have asked Sheri to pick up on this cause by lobbying for the savings that are realized from going paperless to be directed to increased scholarship funding by SAFE. We currently sponsor a scholarship at Embry-Riddel Aeronautical University. Ever heard of it? There’s another issue, I think we need to do a better job of advertising this. http://safeassociation.com/philantropic.htm And while we’re at it, we should probably look for Canadian students who might benefit from this! It’s just a thought. So here’s another way to become active within our Chapter. Maybe we could get matching funds from SAFE if we developed a Scholarship Award for a Canadian student studying in a SAFE-related discipline at a Canadian College or University. We really need to develop some ideas on ways we can give back to our community. It will mean establishing a Committee within our Chapter with the responsibility to develop guidelines and procedures. This is part of the reason we exist as a Chapter of SAFE, to make our field of endeavour stronger and richer in talent. So please give this some thought and contact Sheri with your ideas. We need to be a stronger voice within the SAFE Organization and show leadership with new ideas for where we want to go and what we want to do in the Canadian Chapter of SAFE.

John Winship
Gentex Corporation

Thoughts from a Past President

September 2011

Some of you may not remember the days when the SAFE Symposium always started on the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. Many of us complained amongst ourselves about losing that Holiday but it never changed. Then one year someone (not me) started a coordinated campaign of complaint which ended up in a petition of sorts. I can’t remember if we actually signed a document, but the important thing is that our collective message was communicated to the SAFE Board and timing of the Symposium was changed from then onward to respect the Canadian celebration of Thanksgiving. The lesson from this is simple. If you want to make a situation better, all you need to do is take an action. A few years later I was sitting in a meeting of the SAFE Board of Directors and I complained that our Canadian Chapter was not doing anything; we were simply an entity that “is” and we did not “do” anything. John Mountjoy, the East Coast Chapter President challenged me to work with him to organize a Joint Chapter Symposium, “and why not do it in Canada?” With the generous hard work of many individuals and support of their employers, that turned out to be a very successful event and generated friendships that have lasted ever since. This totally changed my experience at the annual SAFE Symposium. I have a feeling of belonging that I did not have before.

I am not suggesting that everyone should organize a Canadian Chapter event. You all know that these events don’t get organized by a single individual anyway. Nor should you necessarily think you should run for Chapter President. But feel free to do that!! What I am suggesting is that you look for everyday ways to improve our Canadian Chapter. Recruit a new Member, share an idea for a presentation at a luncheon meeting, offer to help with the next Chapter Symposium or submit a brief article for the website on what’s happening where you work. The key is that these are all “action” thoughts. This Editorial section on our new website is a case-in-point for me. When the new website was first circulated, there was a request for comments on how it might be improved or enriched. I offered a couple of suggestions, one of them being an Editorial section with a changing list of contributors. The lesson for me, one more time, was direct. Don’t offer suggestions if you are not prepared to take actions. So here I am writing an Editorial. The funny thing is that every time I find myself doing this kind of thing I feel good about it. I expect that I will get some emails and phone calls that I otherwise wouldn’t receive. And hopefully most of them will be positive. But at least I made a contribution. And that’s what I am suggesting for you. If each Member makes one little contribution, very big things will grow. I get to this point and find myself asking why we would want to do this? My answer is simple and hopefully has value for you too. Our business is all about safety and enhanced human performance. There are many technical and scientific issues and activities in our business. Fundamental to our exploitation of these are our relationships and our ability to communicate the issues with one another. It’s so much easier to pick up the phone and call when you have a personal relationship with the person on the other end of the line! Don’t resist this idea; in fact I encourage you to give it some careful thought. The reason we have the SAFE Organization as well as the Chapters is to foster personal relationships and communication with one another. And the more we contribute to those relationships the better will be the communications.

So that’s my challenge in this first Editorial posting. Please take a bit of time to consider how you can make a contribution to our Canadian Chapter. Many of you already do make a contribution and that must be recognized. That’s another example of where you can do something. Suggest new Chapter Awards and nominate deserving candidates. And if you want to respond to this Editorial, please feel free to send emails. We’ll post them on the website if you would like. It could become a bulletin board for new ideas and discussions for Chapter activities…

And one more comment: My congratulations to Sheri and her Team for standing up our new and improved website!
John Winship
Gentex Corporation