Chapter News

SPY Awards!

We offer congratulations to our recent Safety Professional of the Year awardees. Safety Professional of the Year is awarded annually to a member who demonstrates outstanding achievement in the occupational safety and health (OSH) field while also advancing the OSH profession overall. This year, we have four Oregon-based SPY awardees to congratulate!

The 2022 Chapter SPY Award is Steven Frost. Steven is the current Columbia-Willamette Chapter Vice President and is widely respected and appreciated for his commitment to safety, mental health and suicide prevention. He is a leader, mentor and active member of many safety and health professional communities. Steve works as the Site Safety Health and Environmental Manager at Howard S. Wright. While we announced this SPY award at our chapter meeting last week, the full announcement and delivery of his SPY award will be at our in person June 3 Officer Installation Celebration. We hope you join us. Register here.

Dede Montgomery, current CWC President, was recently awarded ASSP Region 1 SPY Award. ASSP Region 1 includes members and chapters in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. Dede has more than 35 years of experience as a safety and health professional, and is widely known as an educator, collaborator and mentor. Dede works at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, OHSU.

We also shout out to our fellow Oregon Chapter SPY members upon their recent SPY awards. Sarah Cipriano, ARM, SPHR, received the Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) Safety Professional of the Year. Sarah is the current Secretary and active member of the Broken Top Chapter. Sarah is a highly accomplished Senior Risk Management Consultant at SAIF.

We are also excited to congratulate Naomi Hernandez, ASP, upon her being awarded SPY on behalf of the Hispanic Safety Professional Interest Group. Naomi is a board delegate and active member of the Cascade ASSP Chapter and Hispanic Safety Professionals Community Leader. Naomi is a highly respected safety and health professional and works as Latinx Bilingual Safety Consultant at SAIF.

We congratulate each of these deserving safety professionals.

2022-2023 Election Results

We congratulate our 2022-23 Columbia-Willamette Chapter Board! Thank you to everyone for submitting nominations and voting in this important process. Save the date for our Office Installation on Friday evening, June 3, 2022 at Top Golf. Registration will open soon.

President, Jimmy Gibbons

Terra Wheeler
House Delegate
Kerry Byun
Delegate at Large
Mariah Anderson
Steven Frost
Soren Bjerregaard
House Delegate
Kyle DeHart
Vice President
Brittany Johnston
Courtney Merriott
Delegate at Large
Jill Jones

2022-23 CWC Board Candidates

As announced at this week’s meeting, the following candidates have been successfully nominated for the 2022-23 Columbia-Willamette Chapter Board. You can expect to receive a ballot in the next week or two. Please vote promptly. At this time we expect to announce the new officers and board at our April meeting. Thank you to both nominees and members for participating in this important process.

Here is our slate of candidates. Please note both non-voting positions followed by those positions that will be placed on the ballot.

Non Voting Positions (progression specified in bylaws)


Jimmy Gibbons

Jimmy Gibbons is the current President Elect of the CWC. He is a Risk Specialist with the City of Portland’s Risk Management division. Jimmy has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management from Portland State University. Prior to coming to the City, Jimmy spent 19 years at Safeway working in the stores and almost 10 years in the Risk Management department. While at Safeway, Jimmy worked to improve the safety programs of 41 stores across Oregon and SW Washington. Since 2013, Jimmy has worked for the City on several safety programs for the City of Portland including the Ergonomic program, Driver Program, Safety Committee consulting, and planning the annual Safety Committee Conference. When not at work Jimmy enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

President Elect

Steven Frost

Steven Frost is the current CWC Vice President. Steven Frost joined the construction safety world after going back to school at the age of 25 and obtaining a Master’s in Environmental Studies. He also obtained a certification in Construction Management and is a LEED AP BD+C, CHST, ASP, and CSP. In 2017, he joined Howard S. Wright a Balfour Beatty company as a Safety Manager for the Portland area. Over his career, he has made many contributions to local training programs. Steven is recognized nationally for his work on suicide prevention and mental health initiatives.  He brings his advocacy to this organization by speaking at the monthly membership meetings, conducting QPR sessions as Professional Development Courses, and coordinating meetings that promote Positive Job Culture and Diversity Equity and Inclusion. Steven actively promotes mental well-being resources for the American Heart Association’s Hard Hats with Heart where he contributes as an Ambassador. It is through this program that Steven has contributed to videos, webinars, and given testimonials. He promotes the link between physical and mental well-being. “By taking care of your heart, you’re taking care of your head”. 


Soren Bjerregaard

Soren Bjerregaard, CSP, is a Senior Safety Management Consultant at SAIF. Soren is currently the Treasurer-Elect for the Columbia-Willamette Chapter ASSP.

Voting Positions (will be on ballot)

Vice President (2 candidates vote for 1)

Rob Dahl

Rob Dahl is the Director of Global Environmental Health & Safety for MiTek, a leading international residential and commercial building group and building systems innovator, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Rob has been a dedicated safety professional for over 40 years. He spent 25 years in the fire service, with 10 of those years serving as Fire Chief. Following his fire service career, he served as Environmental Health & Safety Director for Pacific University and later for the Oregon Zoo. He is the founder and President of Safety Consulting Services, and has provided health and safety consulting and risk management services for a number of public and private sector companies, and he is a proud US Marine Corps veteran. Rob has been an adjunct professor at Lower Columbia and Portland Community Colleges for over 25 years teaching courses in occupational safety and health, emergency management and firefighter health, safety and survival. He is an established subject matter expert, and a strong leader and team builder as well as a sought after speaker and trainer. Rob is committed to several charitable ventures; primarily programs serving military veterans and at-risk youth and children.
Rob has three grown children and is a very proud grandpa! He lives in Longview, Washington with his energetic pup “Koda,” and his life partner Pam, a community hospice care provider and profound fitness fanatic.

Vice President (2 candidates, vote for 1)

Brittany Johnston

Brittany Johnston is a Senior Safety Management Consultant at SAIF Corporation, where she has been consulting with Oregon businesses across a variety of industries in safety and health culture, leadership, and compliance since 2013. She is passionate about collaboration, helping others, and providing the highest level of service to her customers. Prior to joining SAIF, she oversaw the environmental compliance of a steel manufacturing plant for three years. In her free time, Brittany enjoys golfing, watching football and planning parties. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College, a Master’s in Business Administration from Portland State University and is a Certified Safety Professional. She has been actively involved with the ASSP Columbia Willamette Chapter since 2016 and has served as a Delegate-At-Large, a House Delegate, Treasurer-Elect, Treasurer and is currently the Membership Committee Chair. Brittany has also been volunteering as a Track Lead on the GOSH Program Planning Committee since 2018 and has been a member of the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition since 2014. Brittany is excited about the opportunity to continue serving the Chapter in this leadership role, working alongside such a fun and passionate group of safety and health professionals.

Vice President, Brittany Johnston

Secretary (1 candidate, vote for 1)

Terra Wheeler

Terra is one of the most outstanding safety professionals of the past 100 years. Her superpower is building relationships and shining light in dark places – always on the side of the truth. She’s worked in academia, consulting, public sector and has her own copywriting and historic preservation business. She fights for the underdog with impeccable grace and good hair. She is the biracial beauty responsible for the exquisite monthly chapter newsletter, a publication full of useful information for chapter members. Her meeting minutes are known across the nation for their accuracy and red font.

Treasurer-Elect (1 candidate, vote for 1)

Courney Marriott

Courtney Merriott is a SAIF senior safety management consultant who grew up in Willamette Valley wine country. She spent many years working in food production with a focus on locally-grown ingredients. While earning a bachelor’s degree in Spanish foreign language and literature from Oregon State University, she travelled to Mexico and Ecuador. Prior to SAIF she spent two years living abroad and teaching in Spain. Now, she leads SAIF’s Agricultural Safety Seminars across the state and is a certified safety professional.

Treasurer-Elect, Courtney Merriott

House Delegates (2 candidates, vote for 2)

Kerry Byun

Kerry Byun is a Principal Safety Engineer for Microchip Technology overseeing safety at the Gresham, Beaverton, and Bend sites. She has 20 years of safety experience working in several industries including engineering, environmental, and construction consulting for CH2M Hill and chemical manufacturing at Fujimi Corporation. Kerry holds the accredited designation of a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM). Kerry is an authorized OSHA 10 hour and 30 hour trainer and holds her certification as a Radiation Safety Officer. Kerry is currently running for re-election as House Delegate. She has been a member of the Columbia Willamette Chapter-ASSP since 2013 and has served on the Columbia Willamette Chapter ASSP board in 2015 as chapter Treasurer, Gosh Sponsorship Committee in 2017. In her free time, Kerry enjoys cooking, studying Korean language, and watching Korean dramas. Kerry values developing new skills and is currently working on obtaining her Certified Industrial Hygienist certificate.

House Delegates (2 candidates, vote for 2)

Kyle DeHart

Kyle DeHart is a Senior Safety Management Consultant with SAIF Corporation and has been working in the fields of environmental management and occupational health and safety since 2014. Prior to SAIF, Kyle was with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Parks & Recreation where he worked as a Risk Specialist helping the Bureau navigate various issues such as COVID-19, asbestos, lead-based paint, lead-in-water, wildfire smoke, and heat. In the past few years, he has assisted with both the GOSH Program planning and Northwest Occupational Health Conference planning. Kyle holds a Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene from Montana Tech and the BCSP’s Graduate Safety Practitioner designation. In his free time, Kyle enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, playing guitar, and listening to his extensive collection of vinyl records. Having been a Columbia Willamette Chapter Member since 2018 he is excited to be of greater service to help advance chapter initiatives and goals.”

Delegates at Large (2 candidates, vote for 2)

Mariah Anderson 

Mariah began her career in safety when she joined D2000 Safety four years ago where she is Vice President of Marketing. In charge of marketing and customer relations, she was able to learn a great deal about the needs of those whose work exposes them to hazards. She also joined the ASSP and served as the editor and webmaster for the Willamette chapter. She hopes to be able to further contribute as a member of the Executive Board in the coming year. When not spending time with her husband and two small daughters, Mariah’s hobbies include painting and graphic design.

Delegates at Large (2 candidates, vote for 2)

Jill Jones

Jill Jones is currently a Delegate at Large for the Columbia Willamette Chapter. She is a Risk Control Consultant for BITCO Insurance Companies, and has previous experiencing working in safety and health in construction. Jill has her Construction Helath and Safety Technician certification from BCSP and an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Safety and Health Technology.

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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