Chapter News

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Safety Professionals

The Hispanic Safety Professionals (HSP) Interest Group advances professionals in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) profession through networking, collaboration, education, and mentoring. Visit the HSP Interest Group website to catch up with activities offered in celebration of 2021 HIspanic Heritage Month.

Upcoming activities include:


September 27, 2021 | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Topic Charlas – Panel Discussion on Elevating Your Future in Safety

This panel discussion, organized by the Hispanic Safety Professionals (HSP) community, gathers safety professionals from across the country to connect, network, and learn about different career paths in the safety profession.

We have brought in three outstanding speakers to share their experience in order to inspire students, as well as early career and more seasoned safety professionals.

Register Now


October 7, 2021 | 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Topic Retos y Oportunidades que los Profesionales de Seguridad de Hoy Enfrentan a Nivel Global

Unase con expertos en el área de seguridad y salud ocupacional a nivel global. Durante esta sesión definiremos la importancia del rol de cada líder de EHS en las empresas dentro de un ambiente multicultural. Por medio de esta sesión proporcionaremos a la audiencia ejemplos prácticos sobre los retos y como enfrentarlos cuando deciden elegir su desarrollo profesional dentro del área de EHS.

Register Now


October 12, 2021 | 9:00 am – 10:00 am

Topic Words of Advice to All Safety Professionals of Today and Tomorrow

Join us as we welcome ASSP Past President Rixio Medina in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. Hear about Rixio’s challenges, opportunities, and successes as well as his advice to all Safety Professionals of Today & Tomorrow.

Register Now

Learn more by visiting the HSP website.

Join ASSP Hispanic Safety Professionals for free webinar

The Hispanic Safety Professionals Common Interest Group is sponsoring a free webinar addressing how supervisors can improve mental health in the workplace. This webinar will be presented by David Hurtado, Sc.D., MSD, Assistant Professor at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, and researcher at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center. Join ASSP and Dr. Hurtado on Wed., July 21 from 11 AM to noon Central time (9 AM Pacific time). Learn more and register.

2021-22 Officer Installation and News

Newer to our Chapter was installing our 2021-22 Columbia-Willamette Chapter officers virtually last month. Although we were pleased to get together virtually, and even “shared” a meal and had some fun, we all look forward to our 2022 Officer Installation next spring at Top Golf! We thank Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA Administrator, for taking time to join us and conduct our swearing in ceremony.

We were pleased to announce our 2021 Chapter Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) award to the very deserving Wesley Lashbrook, MS, CSP, CIH, FAIHA. Award committee lead Barbara Aguon took the opportunity to join Wes to personally deliver the news and award, joining our meeting virtually. For more than forty years Wes has provided safety, health and industrial hygiene services throughout the U.S. He has participated in ASSP (and AIHA) activities at the chapter, regional and national level, and we appreciate the technical knowledge and support he has shared. Congratulations to Wes! (Wes is pictured below with black mask and plaid shirt with Barbara Aguon on our left).

Congratulations to all of the new officers. We are excited to meet together as a team later in a July to prepare for the year ahead of us. See the 2021-22 Columbia Willamette Chapter Board. We also are seeking volunteers for open positions – might you be interested? We seek 1) webmaster and newsletter editor (can be shared responsibilities); and 2) government affairs representative. Do contact us if you’d like to know more about either of these positions. It’s a great opportunity to be more involved in our chapter and get to know others.

We are also particularly honored to report that the Columbia Willamette Chapter received Platinum Level recognition for 2020-2021. We appreciate 2020-21 officers and members for helping make this happen. Finally, we issue a heartfelt thank you to outgoing Chapter President Mark Frisco. Mark’s leadership was critical during this past especially difficult year, and we appreciate him as a leader, fellow safety and health professional, and friend.

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Thurs., September 9, 2021 at 11:30 AM. Look for an meeting invitation and topic sent to you by email and posted on this website in August. We plan to meet virtually on a month by month basis, but expect to be seeing you in person sometime late fall or winter. Thanks for your membership and commitment to Columbia Willamette Chapter and ASSP. Have a safe and wonderful summer.

2020-2021 ASSP CWC Nominations/Elections Committee

Thank you to the 133 people who voted in the 2021 Chapter elections!  The Nominations and Elections committee is pleased to introduce your 2021-2022 Executive Board.

Dede Montgomery

Jimmy Gibbons

Vice President 
Steven Frost

Terra Wheeler

Rob Dahl

Soren Bjerregaard

1st Past President / House Delegate – 1
Mark Frisco

House Delegate – 2
Katelynn Smith

House Delegate – 3
Kerry Byun

Delegate at Large – 1
Peri Periakaruppan

Delegate at Large – 2
Michael Rochlin

Thank you all for your commitment of time and energy to our chapter!  We are in good hands.

The Nominating Committee

Ten Tips for Creating a Workplace Suicide Prevention Plan

Within the last several years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released devastating statistics about occupational and industry-specific suicide rates reporting that construction is the second highest at-risk occupation group for suicide. For an industry where safety is always at the forefront of operations, this statistic hits close to home for Balfour Beatty and its businesses.

Construction industry experts have identified suicide risk factors including stress, scheduling pressures, time away from families, major skills gaps, sleep problems and injuries. To continue to safely deliver infrastructure and built environments that communities rely on, it is up to the industry to take additional steps to protect the workforce by raising awareness about the prevalence of suicide in construction


These 10 tips for launching a suicide prevention plan within a company can further destigmatize mental health and wellbeing outreach in the workplace include:

  1. Obtain upper management buy-in. The decision to implement a suicide prevention program relies on the support of executive-level team members. Find the champions within the company that will effectively promote mental health and wellbeing messages and drive the program to success at the workplace.
  2. Set parameters. Understand that there are limitations to respond to mental health situations in the workplace. The goal is to connect someone to a professional who has adequate training and experience to help someone in need.
  3. Provide training and resources. There are suicide prevention resources available to train designated listeners. Designated listeners are not expected to directly address mental health situations in the workplace, but instead equip those in need with immediate access to professional resources, guidance and help for responding to crisis situations. 
  4. Create a culture of care. Intertwine suicide prevention into other safety topics to help destigmatize mental health conversations. Discuss stress management, crisis line numbers, Employee Assistance Program resources, self-awareness, mental health and emotional intelligence during safety meetings and toolbox talks. 
  5. Introduce crisis resources at orientation. Let employees know that they are entering a jobsite where they can get resources to talk. Provide the crisis line numbers by distributing hard hat stickers with numbers and text options.
  6. Address mental health in the crisis management plan. Include information in company’s crisis management plan that gives employees checklists, escalation and notification paths, and training that lets people know what to do if someone experiences a mental health crisis. 
  7. Discuss access to mental healthcare. Communicate company health benefits that will help people find therapy or provide access to activities that promote mental health wellness. Discuss EAP information, substance abuse secession programs, and encourage proactive approaches to personal resiliency like exercise and hobby engagement. 
  8. Promote the program. Curate marketing materials and raise awareness about the program by posting banners at accesses to the jobsite, communication boards, first aid kits and bathrooms.
  9. Break the stigma. Foster a professional environment where people know that it is safe and encouraged to talk if they are experiencing a crisis. Reiterate to employees that designated listeners can connect them with resources to overcome personal situations.
  10. Expand the effort outside the office. There are local chapters of suicide prevention organizations that can provide resources such as training, publications, and local call and walk-in centers. There may also be opportunities to collaborate with like-minded people and form an organization that can be helpful to the industry.

Incorporating a suicide prevention plan into a company’s operations can help improve the safety the construction workforce, industry, communities and families. By providing education, professional training and raising awareness of suicide risk factors, businesses can destigmatize mental health conversations in the workplace and help in reversing the devasting suicide rates in the construction industry. 

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