Northwest Chapter Announces Elections and Candidates

It is time once again for the Northwest Chapter to hold elections for those Board positions with terms expiring at the end of June.  We will be electing a Chapter Vice President, Chapter Treasurer, three Member at Large positions, and two people to represent the Northwest Chapter on the ASSP Society Advisory Group.  The elected candidates’ terms begin July 1, 2024.  Your vote for the various positions is important!

As a reminder, the person elected to the Chapter Vice President position serves in this role for one year, automatically moving into the Chapter President Elect position for a year, then automatically becomes Chapter President for the 2026-2027 year.  The Treasurer will serve a two-year term, the Member at Large positions are two-year terms, and the Society Advisory Group positions are for one-year terms.

According to Chapter Bylaws, the voting can begin thirty days after this posting of candidates.  We will be sending out an online ballot for that purpose when that time comes.  The goal is to announce the election results by the time we have our May meeting.  In addition, Chapter Bylaws Article VI, Section 3 states, “Chapter members may submit a signed petition nominating an individual for elected office.  The petition requires 25 signatures to be valid.  The petition shall be accompanied by a written acceptance by the nominee(s) and shall be submitted to the Chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee (Scott Huberty) fifteen days in advance of the election.  The names and qualifications of such nominees shall be published and distributed to the membership at least seven days prior to the election.”  

Remember that a complete copy of the Chapter Bylaws can be found on our website under the “Files” tab.

Following is a summary of the candidates for the various positions that includes their photo and election statement.  Please review the information and determine your selections.  Watch for the online ballot in your email and cast your important vote at that time!

Chapter Vice President Candidates

Megan Navarre

Megan has worked as an EHS professional for nearly ten years, primarily in manufacturing. She is currently the EHS Manager for RSG – Norlake in Hudson, WI, a manufacturer in the commercial refrigeration industry that is a leader in the designing and manufacturing of refrigeration products.  She holds a B.S. from Carthage College and Master of Science from UW – Stout. 

A member of ASSP since 2022, Megan may be a relative newcomer to the Society, but has quickly taken on an active role as an organizer in the Summer Boat Cruises, Chapter PDCs, and our Chapter Western Wisconsin EHS Meet-Ups.  She currently serves on the Northwest Chapter Board as one of our Chapter’s Society Advisory Group Representatives.  Megan is also very active with the Minnesota Safety Council’s Emerging Safety Professionals Group (ESPG).  Being a member of ASSP and the ESPG has opened countless opportunities for learning in a continually growing and changing field.  It has also allowed her to build connections with other EHS professionals and contribute to the success of the Northwest Chapter. 

Megan is deeply committed to promoting the health and safety of individuals, and being a member of ASSP and the Northwest Chapter allows her to continue developing that passion outside of the worksite, and gives the opportunity to meet, learn from, and work with fellow leaders in the EHS field.  Megan lives in Hudson, WI where she keeps busy with her three daughters.

Chapter Treasurer Candidates

Chris Flegel

Chris Flegel is currently serving as the Northwest Chapter Treasurer and has been in this role for the past four years.  He is also serving as Treasurer for the ASSP Region V, which is the Region that includes the Northwest Chapter.  Prior to this, Chris served as Northwest Chapter President for 2017 – 2018 and has been a member of ASSP since 1999.  As a Board Member, he has been very active in “Chapter life” such as monthly meetings, PDCs, and representing the Chapter as an Exhibitor at safety conferences around our Chapter’s geographic area.

Chris enjoys being a part of the best safety organization on the planet.  The time and energy he has dedicated to the Chapter has contributed to its success over the years. In his “day job”, Chris works as a Sr. Safety Specialist at The Builders Group – a workers compensation self-insurance fund for contractors.  In this role he provides safety and loss prevention consulting services for nearly 100 construction companies around Minnesota. He and his family live in Elk River where he is busy with family activities plus enjoying a cabin near Garrison, MN.

Chapter Member at Large Candidates (We will be voting for three of these people)

Tyler Becker

My journey from the automotive world to the exciting realm of loss control and risk management has been quite a ride. It all started with my time at Fox Valley Technical College, where I pursued an Associate Degree in Automotive Technology. I kicked off my professional career as an entry-level technician at Kolosso Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Appleton, WI (I grew up in Appleton). Those early days involved oil changes, tire rotations, and assisting fellow techs with various tasks.

From there, my path led me to a packaging and labeling printing company in Neenah, WI. Over about five years, I took on different roles, evolving from a press apprentice to a press operator. During this phase, I realized that my true calling lay in the world of insurance. Inspired by career searching online and many different surveys, I embarked on a journey towards becoming an actuary, which led me to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Along the way, I explored roles in Auto Claims and Commercial Underwriting, rounding out my insurance knowledge.

I joined West Bend Insurance in June of 2023, on the Commercial Lines Loss Control Team. I am headquartered in Forest Lake, Minnesota with the majority of my work being focused in the Twin Cities area. Outside of my professional life, I’m all about embracing adventure and the great outdoors. You’ll often find me running long distances (might have a few marathons under my belt), kayaking on rivers and lakes, or basking in the sun while tubing down rivers (preferably the Wolf River in New London, WI).

For me, running keeps my mental health in check, and really brings a lot of balance to my busy lifestyle preferences. Alexis (my new wife) and I currently have two young golden retrievers, Penny & Paisley. Just last month, Jan 2024, we celebrated and said our vows in front of our closest family and friends on the beach in Tulum, Mexico!

Charles Gill

Charles is a Safety Consultant for Xcel Energy in the Twin Cities area. He provides technical safety consulting services, including hazard identification, accident investigations, audits, and ergonomic assessments, from an Xcel facility in Edina. Prior to joining Xcel in 2021, he worked for many years at Asplundh Tree Expert Company in various operator and supervisory roles at locations around the Twin Cities and Denver. Part of his Asplundh experience involved working as a Regional Safety Supervisor.

As part of his career development path and to feed his passion for safety, Charles joined ASSP and the Northwest Chapter last summer and has participated in Chapter events since then.  This involvement prompts him to get more involved with Chapter leadership as a Member at Large candidate, where he can contribute to the Chapter’s success.  Charles lives in Minnetonka, MN. 

Joshua Kaiser

Joshua is the Safety Manager at DigiKey, based in Thief River Falls, MN.  DigiKey is a distribution and warehousing company, primarily in the electronic components area – think the small pieces that make up your phone or components in your car.  He has been with DigiKey for five years; three of them in the Safety Manager role.  Prior to my time at DigiKey he worked for a convenience store chain as a District Manager and HR Manager for 7 years, which included the facilitation of the Safety Program.  In the current role, he and his team are responsible for empowering nearly 4,000 employees to be safe in their work and personal lives.  Prior to taking on the safety role, the company did not have any full-time safety professionals.  It has been an exciting three years of developing and implementing multiple safety-related programs and making an impact on so many lives.

Joshua reports: “I am interested in becoming a part of the Northwest Chapter Board for many reasons.  Even though I would consider myself new to the safety field, having been involved with safety for nearly 12 years but only having it been my primary role for the past three years.  I have taken these past three years to immerse myself in all things general industry safety, including becoming ASP certified, joining ASSP, and connecting with the North Dakota and Minnesota Safety Councils.  I know this passion will allow me to serve and support the Northwest Chapter Board well.  Second, working for a business that some may think is somewhat remote in the northwest corner of Minnesota, I find a lot of value in groups like the ASSP.  It has allowed me to seek education and networking that would otherwise not be available to me in my physical work location.  I am interested in working to promote and continue the opportunities provided by the ASSP.  I was raised and currently live in East Grand Forks, MN, attending North Dakota State University for college.

Whitney Larson

Whitney Larson returned to Minnesota in 2018 and wanted to try something different professionally. Through a chance encounter, she was introduced to a career in construction.  She quickly discovered a love for the industry and soon was introduced to construction safety by taking an opening on the safety committee.  When that company folded in 2020, she set out to pursue the new-found passion full time.  Another construction company hired Whitney as an Assistant Safety/DEI professional.  They provided tremendous guidance, freedom, and support that would eventually propel her to the Safety Management position she now has at Summit Companies in St. Paul.

Whitney has been overwhelmed by the opportunity the industry provides and the support from the people and professional networks. The Northwest Chapter of ASSP, the AGC Safety Committee, and the powerhouse women at the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Minneapolis/St. Paul have been instrumental in her success. 

When considering candidates for a board position, qualities such as being people-centric, safety-obsessed, growth-oriented, and passionate about the industry are highly valued.  As a safety manager with these characteristics, Whitney knows she can be a compelling choice for a board position.

Her unique combination of qualities and characteristics makes for a strong candidate for a board position.  Whitney brings a people-centered approach, a safety-focused mindset, a growth-oriented perspective, a passion for industry, and a supportive nature. These attributes, combined with existing member passion and experience, will contribute to the Chapter’s effectiveness in guiding the industry towards success.

Al Meinke

Al has worked as a safety professional for over 30 years in the light industrial manufacturing space.  He is currently the Manager of Safety and Facilities for Skyline Displays, LLC, headquartered in Eagan, MN.  In addition, he supports Skyline’s Service Centers located in Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Toronto.  Within his scope of safety duties, he supports the employees with variety of safety issues such as mechanical power presses, machine guarding, PPE, forklifts, scissors lifts, electrical safety, fire safety, emergency response, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, lock out tag out, and fall protection to list a few.

Al earned his BS of Engineering Technology and Master of Engineering Management degrees from St. Cloud State University.  In addition to the academic degrees, he earned his CSP in 2006.  Because of his wide-ranging work duties, Al is a member of several professional organizations including ASSP, ASIS International (security), Association for Facilities Engineering [AFE] (facility management), and Minnesota InfraGard (security).  He volunteers at the Eagan Citizen’s Crime Prevention Association and their annual fund-raising event.  Previously, he served on the local AFE chapter’s executive board for 5 years.

A member of ASSP for 25 years, he has enjoyed meeting, learning, and sharing with other safety professionals through the Northwest Chapter.  He has benefited from the continuous learning provided at the Chapter’s monthly meetings and the annual PDCs.  Al wants to contribute to the Northwest Chapter and share with the Chapter’s members by offering the wide breadth his of past safety related experiences, as well as his security, environmental, workers’ compensation, and facility management knowledge.

Al and his wife live in Lakeville.  Together, they enjoy taking walks around Lakeville, driving to in-laws in South Dakota, and socializing with friends at local micro-breweries.

Andrea Peterson

Andrea has worked as an EHS professional for thirteen years, primarily in manufacturing. She is currently the HSE Director for Trystar, a manufacturer of custom electrical system solutions, based in Faribault, MN.  She holds a B.S. of Global Security & Intelligence Studies from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Master of Science in Public Safety & Emergency Management from Capella University. 

As a member of ASSP since 2011, Andrea has attended many local and national events over the years.  She is ready to take a more active role in the regular local meetings and activities.  Andrea is also an active member of the Steele County Emergency Response Team and has been an instructor for the new CERT Member classes for the last 10 years.  She is passionate about learning and development for herself, safety professionals, and community members.

Andrea is committed to building and promoting the safety cultures of the businesses she has worked for, including growing the formal EHS teams and developing the safety competencies of other leaders and employees.  ASSP membership, resources, and events have been vital for her to develop throughout her own career, and she is looking forward to the opportunity to work with and learn from the local EHS colleagues of the Northwest Chapter.

Andrea lives in Faribault, MN where she stays busy with her husband, a 5-year-old daughter, two dogs, and a kayak rental business. (remember to wear your Personal Flotation Devices for water activities!).

Megan Rooney

Megan Rooney has been a Safety Professional for almost 25 years.  She currently works at Target supporting store’s safety (just celebrated her 12-year anniversary!) and is known for collaboration among cross-functional groups from safety to operations to assets protection.   She got her start at IEA, Inc., a local EHS consulting organization, where she worked in the field as a technician, managed client accounts, and finally led her own division of EHS professionals.

Megan joined ASSP in 2007 to connect with other Safety Professionals in similar careers.   She was Treasurer of the Northwest Chapter Board for two years in 2008-2010, served on the PDC Planning Committee from 2012 to 2017, was a Member at Large for 2016-2018, and was a Society House Delegate for several years.  She stepped away for a couple years to be involved with the Arthritis Foundation as a member of the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Committee but misses her work with ASSP and wants to reconnect!

Megan lives in Woodbury, MN with her husband and two kids, Taylor (Age 17) and Liam (Age 13).    She most enjoys spending time with her family at the cabin, watching her kids play soccer, basketball, lacrosse, golf, flag football, and downhill ski, and occasionally reading a book for fun.   She really enjoys working with the Northwest Chapter and, if elected, is excited to participate as a Member-at-Large!

Bill Wuolu

I have 15+ years in the safety profession. My time has been spent working in multiple industries during my career; from manufacturing to industrial construction and consultation with the North Dakota Safety Council, to where I am today. I currently work for KLJ Engineering, LLC, with locations in CO, MN, ND, SD, MT, WY, and TX, as their Director of Safety.

I was a member of the Central Dakota Safety Association where I served on the Board of Directors as the Program Coordinator and Vice President.  I hold two Certifications through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals: the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) and the Certified Safety Professional (CSP).  In 2019 I had the honor to receive the Northwest Chapter’s Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) for my assistance in the growth and development of the Northern Plains Section of our Chapter. 

I look forward to the opportunity to continue to help support and lead ASSP and the Safety Profession by serving as a Member-at-Large for the Northwest Chapter of ASSP.

In the past I have served as an officer, Vice-Chairperson, Chairperson, and Past President for the Northwest Chapter’s Northern Plains Section, covering all of North Dakota, and for the past six years it has been my pleasure to serve as a Member-at-Large of the Northwest Chapter.

My name is Bill Wuolu, CSP, CHST and I live in a rural area outside of Bismarck, ND, where I live with my wife and our two boys (3 & 6 years old).  In my spare time I enjoy doing various outdoor activities.

ASSP Society Advisory Group Candidates (We will be voting for two of these people)

Jamison Harrell-Latham, CSP & LMSS

Jamison is currently a Senior Regulatory Compliance Engineer at Amazon Robotics.  His scope of work includes evaluating various types of automation and robotic applications to ensure safe design with industry standards such as Machinery Directive (EU), ANSI B11 (NA), NFPA 79, NRTL, and ISO 13849.  Jamison actively serves on A3 (Association for Advancing Automation) Technical Advisory Committee’s for both ANSI/RIA R15.06 Industrial Robots and R15.08 Industrial Mobile Robots.  He is the A3 project lead for the OSHA Alliance team that updated OSHA’s Technical Manual on Robot Safety requirements for OSHA Enforcement Officers. 

Jamison received his Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Safety and Health from Murray State University.  He is a Certified Safety Professional and ANSI B11 Licensed Machinery Safety Specialist.  Jamison has been an active ASSE/ASSP member for 25+ years and has been very active in the Northwest Chapter.  He served as Chapter President for the 2015 – 2016 term, Member at Large positions and Membership Chair in previous years.

Jamison resides in Mound, MN.  He enjoys purifying himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka (polar plunges, ice drives, paddle boarding & boating).  A majority of his nights are spent streaming movies / series with family at home.

Mark Nichols

Mark is a retired safety professional with over thirty years of experience performing risk assessments, safety audits and working as a safety manager – in both the risk management consulting industry, and as corporate safety director for a major furniture manufacturing company.

During his employment he has worked on construction sites, fishing vessels in the Bering Sea, mining properties in northern Idaho and above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, and in many other industries – from supercomputer manufacturing to poultry processing. He also consulted for a large commercial insurance entity that insured hazardous waste cleanup contractors, recycling companies, and contractors that respond to emergency situations, including train derailments, clandestine drug labs, tractor trailer crashes, and industrial disasters. Mark has served at the Northwest Chapter’s Membership and Mentorship Chairperson since June of 2021, and is running for a Chapter position on the Society Advisory Group. His specific objectives are to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Society member recruitment and retention, with a strong focus on encouraging students to enter college and university degree programs within our Chapter territory, and outside that territory, as well.  Mark lives in Maplewood, Minnesota.