Chapter History

A Short History of the Eastern Shore Section by David H. Stoddard

Between 1986 and 1997, the American Society of Safety Engineers was represented on the Eastern Shore of Maryland by the Eastern Shore Section. This was part of the Chesapeake Chapter, which also represented the Western Shore in and around Baltimore. The formation of the Eastern Shore Section was largely the result of the vision of Robert Short, Regional Supervisor for the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MOSH). Although the Eastern Shore was the home of the Delmarva Safety Association, a fine local safety organization, Mr. Short felt that thesafety providers on the Eastern Shore would benefit from being part of a national organization.

Efforts to organize the Section took place during the summer of 1986. In September and October, organizational meetings were held at Dockside Murphy’s, a Salisbury restaurant. The Section was formally assembled, and the first slate of officers was elected. Robert Short was Section Chairman and Thom Hansen was Secretary-Treasurer. Joe Miller was the first monthly meeting speaker in November. His topic was the Health Effects of Video Display Terminals.

Dockside Murphy’s was full of fixed furniture, and was not an ideal meeting place. Meetings shifted to the Salisbury Sheraton in December, and continued through the April meeting. During the winter of 1987, the Section agreed to be a sponsor of the Maryland Safety Council’s Supervisor Development Program . The Council provided the format, the Section furnished many of the speakers, and the profits were shared. Planning for the SDP continued through the spring. At the April meeting, Thom Hansen of Chesapeake Foods was elected Section Chairman and Ken Rapp of Salisbury Steel was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

On May 6, the Section took its first field trip, touring the DuPont Nylon Plant in Seaford, DE. On May 7-8, the Supervisor Development Program took place at the Holiday Inn in Salisbury. It was well attended and well received. In many ways, the Section’s first year was a remarkable success.

The 1987-88 year began at the Sheraton. Thom Hansen was transferred to Arkansas, and was unable to become Section Chair man. Mter a new election, the officers for the year were Ken Rapp as Section Chai r man and Martha Gravenor of Pepsi-Cola as Secretary-Treasurer. There was some unhappiness over the cost of the meetings at the Sheraton. This was thought to be depressing meeting attendance . In January, the Section began meeting at the Golden Corral on the east side of Salisbury.

The Golden Corral proved to be a usable meeting place. The Section got a room which was closed off by a folding partition. The cost of the meeting was confined to the actual cost of participant meals. While some of the seating was in fixed booths, many seats were at a row of tables in the center of the room, and there was ample room for speakers at the front of the room.

Once again, the Section sponsored the Maryland Safety Council’s Supervisor Development Program. This took place on May 5-6 at the Holiday Inn. The Program was successful, but attendance was smaller than that in 1987. The Section’ s 1988 field trip was to the NASA base at Wallops Island, VA.

The 1988 – 89 year saw a new slate of officers. Mike LeCompte of Nationwide Insurance became Section Chairman, and David Stoddard of Campbell Soup Company became Secretary­ Treasurer. Meetings continued at the Golden Corral, but at the urging of Mike Lecompte, the Section staged its December meeting at the Sheraton. Mark Leibovici of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office spoke to a large crowd about Safety Liability.

Once again, the Section sponsored the Supervisor Development Program, and this was presented to a small crowd at the Holiday Inn on May 18-19. The Section also sponsored the Safety Council’s Forklift Driver Training program at Delmarva Power & Light in Salisbury on May 23. For its field trip, the Section returned to the NASA base at Wallops Island.

The officers for 1989-90 were Dave Stoddard as Chairman and John Mouser of Perdue Farms as Secretary-Treasurer. Meetings continued to be held at the Golden Corral. Once again, the Section decided to make a big splash in December, and Dr. Harvey Clearwater of the University of Maryland spoke to a large crowd on the upcoming Commercial Driver’s License.

The Section agreed to sponsor the Maryland Safety Council’s Commercial Driver’s License course at the Sheraton on March 3. However, several competing organizations staged seminars first, and the MSC course was withdrawn due to insufficient registration. It was felt that the Supervisor Development Program had reached its target audience in the Salisbury area, and the Section declined to sponsor it in 1990. The year ended with a tour of Crash-Fire-Rescue and the Historical Section at Dover Air Force Base.

The Section’s failure to be part of a professional development seminar in 1989-1990 meant that a previous source of funding was lost for the following year. In addition, it became increasingly evident that the Section was at a crossroads as it began 1990-91. Many of the founding members had moved on, and much of the initial enthusiasm over the launching of the Section had evaporated.

The job of turning the Section around fell to Dave Stoddard, who agreed to serve a second year as Chairman. His Secretary-Treasurer for the year was Chuck Mock of Conveyor Handling. Chuck brought important organizational skills from his many years with Lions Clubs. The year got off to an interesting start at the Golden Corral with Mike LeCompte drawing on his Coast Guard Reserve experiences to speak on Hazardous Materials Spills.

Behind the scenes, discussions were being carried on between the Section and the Chesapeake Chapter as to whether or not the Chapter should allow the Section to continue in operation. On October 5 the Chesapeake Chapter Executive Committee journeyed to Salisbury. During the morning, the Committee met with the Section officers and some leading Section members at Campbell Soup Company. The group then moved over to the Golden Corral, where an exchange of ideas constituted the monthly meeting.

The atmosphere at both meetings was very positive, and the Section resolved to carry on. In addition to the monthly meetings, it was important that the Section be associated with a successful professional development seminar, both to further safety knowledge on the Eastern Shore and to replenish the Section’s depleted funds.

The Section’s Professional Development Committee, chaired by Harry McClung of Showell Farms, became a highly important component. Section officers Stoddard and Mock were in constant attendance as ex officio members, as the Committee decided that the Section should present an ergonomics seminar.

By the spring of 1991, although the Section had trimmed expenses to the bone, its checking account was virtually empty. Two greatly-needed assists pushed the seminar into reality. First, through Dr. Barry Frey the Maryland Technology Extension Service became a seminar sponsor and mailed the seminar flyers. Second, through its local representative Doug Slama, Safety Supply America furnished the capstone speaker at Safety Supply’s expense. This was Alfred Caffiero of the Western New York Physical Therapy Group.

With the Ergonomics Seminar looming, the Section stayed at home, and for the first time had a final meeting at the Golden Corral rather than going out on a field trip. Much remained to be done, including the assembling of the seminar notebooks. The Professional Development Committee recruited all available hands for last-minute details.

The Ergonomic Seminar was presented on May 7-8 at the Delmarva Convention Center in Delmar, MD. Dave Stoddard served as moderator. Alfred Caffiero was the final speaker, and made a fine presentation to wind up the seminar before a large and enthusiastic audience. The Seminar was a critical and financial success, and established the Section as a viable player in the area of safety education.

The relationship with Maryland Safety Council continued, as the Section sponsored another Forklift Driver Safety Course at Delmarva Power on April 26, and sponsored the Supervisor Development Course on May 2-3 at the Holiday Inn. However, in 1991 the Section’s operational involvement was less than in previous years.

In 1991-92, Ron Jester of the University of Delaware became Section Chairman, assisted by Vice­ Chairman Harry McClung and Secretary-Treasurer Tom Culross of Perdue Farms. The Section also bade farewell to the Golden Corral, and moved to the Holiday Inn. The Golden Corral had served the Section well, but the Holiday Inn had a luncheon buffet which held attendee costs down, while its room was more suitable for professional meetings.

A highlight of the monthly meetings was a presentation by ASSE Regional Vice-President Nancy McWilliams, who spoke on Safety in the 1990s. The Professional Development Committee was chaired by Dave Stoddard. On April 28-29 the Section presented Machine Guarding at the Delmarva Convention Center. Dave Stoddard moderated the seminar, and was pressed into emergency service when a speaker failed to appear. With no prior preparation he utilized a strong section of the seminar notebook to speak for two hours on Lockout-Tagout. The seminar was a success.

The Section wound up a very successful 1991-92 by returning to the DuPont Seaford Nylon Plant, reprising its original field trip in 1987.

In 1992-93 the Section remained at the Holiday Inn, with Ron Jester, Harry McClung and Tom Culross remaining at their posts. In October, the Section held a joint meeting with the Chesapeake Chapter at the Cove House in Grasonville, MD. Ileana O’Brien of MOSH delivered an OSHA/MOSH update. Regional Vice-President Nancy McWilliams returned to the Holiday Inn in January to deliver an overview of Risk Management.

For the year, the Section staged two seminars, both highly successful. In September, the Section presented Bloodborne Pathogens, a half-day seminar at the Holiday Inn. On April 14 the Section presented Accident Investigation as a one-day seminar at the Delmarva Convention Center . This time, the Section not only staged the seminar but taught it, utilizing Dave Stoddard and Tom Culross as instructors. The year concluded with a field trip to the Delmarva Power Indian River power generation plant near Millsboro, DE.

For 1993-94, Tom Culross became Section Chairman, Harry McClung continued as Vice­ Chairman, and Jim Schoffstall of Pepsi-Cola became Secretary-Treasurer. Meetings continued at the Holiday Inn, except for an October renewal of the joint meeting with the Chesapeake Chapter at the Cove House in Grasonville. At the Cove House, the officers of both organizations discussed problems, progress and prospects for the future.

In March, a joint meeting was held with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. Andrea Dowbekin spoke on Occupational Noise Exposure. The seminar for the year was titled Stress, Violence and Workers’ Compensation. It was held on May 4 at Salisbury State University. The field trip went to the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratories near Cambridge.

During the year, the Section undertook a new activity. It began developing a safety reference library, which has been housed in the library collection of Salisbury State University (later Salisbury University). The Section purchased some books and received others as donations.

The 1994-95 officers were Mark Schau of Intervet as Chairman, Lin Davis of Dresser Wayne as Vice-Chairman, and Bob Miller of Horn Point Labs as Secretary-Treasurer. Meetings continued at the Holiday Inn. The October joint meeting with the Chesapeake Chapter took place in Annapolis. The topic was Confmed Space Entry and Rescue.

On November 1-2, 1994, the Section was part of a group of organizations staging the Middle Atlantic Safety Symposium in Ocean City, MD. This seminar was unusual in that it sought to present an overview of safety issues in business organizations to executive-level managers. On April 18-19, the Sectio presented the OSHA Ten-Hour General Industry Regulations Course at Dresser Wayne. Old reliable Dave Stoddard taught the course to a full house. The year finished with a tour of Dresser Wayne’s fuel dispenser fabrication and assembly plant.

In 1995-96, Lin Davis became Section Chairman. Jeff Wagner of Gamco Supply became Vice­ Chairman. The office of Secretary-Treasurer was split, with Bob Miller becoming Secretary and Tony Ashdown becoming Treasurer. The joint meeting with the Chapter moved back to Cove House in Grasonville, with Mike Lecompte speaking on Emergency Planning.

The Section began another new activity in 1996, forming the Student Section at Salisbury State University on March 26. Dr. Elichia Venso of the SSU Environmental Health Science faculty became Student Section Advisor. One of the first activities was a competition for safety papers at SSU. The field trip went to the Delmarva Power generation plant in Vienna, MD.

In 1996-97, Lin Davis remained on as Section Chair, and Bob Miller remained Secretary. Consultant Sue White became Vice-Chair, and Mary Leonard of MSC Industrial Supply Company became Treasurer. At the first meeting in September, the SSU essay winners presented their papers. Keith Goddard presented New Directions for MOSH at the joint
Section-Chapter meeting in Grasonville. In February, the Section toured the new Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute Regional Training Center in Princess Anne, MD.

The Section stated two seminars for the year. Industrial Hygiene was presented at Salisbury State University on October 23, and Ergonomics was presented on April 29 at the Salisbury Fire Department Training Center. The field trip went to Intervet near Millsboro, DE.

As the years passed, there was increasing discussion about building the Section up and becoming an n ASSE chapter independent of Chesapeake Chapter. A groundswell of opinion formed that the Section should follow this route. In early 1997, the Section submitted a Petition for Chapter Status, Constitution and Bylaws to the American Society of Safety Engineers National Headquarters. National ASSE approved the Petition on March 25, 1997, establishing the Delmarva Chapter. The new Chapter celebrated at a gala banquet in Ocean City on April 26, 1997.

The Eastern Shore Section of the Chesapeake Chapter therefore passed out of existence, having left behind an eleven-year record of professional development in the safety field.