is retired senior vice president and now principal consultant at The EI Group, an environmental health and safety consulting firm in Morrisville, North Carolina. Send feedback to The Synergist.

Into the New Era of OEHS
This month, AIHA members will receive instructions via email on how to vote in the 2021 AIHA Board of Directors election. Participation in the election has grown slightly over the last twenty years, but still, if recent form holds, somewhat less than 30 percent of eligible members will select the professionals who will help guide our association over the next four years.
Since the AIHA election follows hard on the heels of a bitterly contested United States presidential election, I suspect that some members may be experiencing symptoms of “voter burnout.” Coupled with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted normal life for nearly a year and caused unprecedented challenges for many OEHS professionals, our hyper-partisan political discourse may have sapped our energy for matters of association governance. In such an environment, some members may simply tune out calls to participate in the AIHA election. While I understand this mindset, I nevertheless urge every member to vote. We are coming off a year in which workers’ health and safety was a frequent topic of discussion among government officials and members of the media. We have positioned AIHA as a source of expert guidance on matters related to the pandemic. As the crisis hopefully fades over the next several months, AIHA is poised to play a more prominent role in charting the future of OEHS. Rarely has workplace health and safety received as much attention from policymakers and the general public as it has over the last year. Our Back to Work Safely documents have garnered glowing reviews from business leaders such as Mark Cuban; as of this writing, the documents have been downloaded well over a million times. The individuals who are elected to the AIHA Board this year will be charged with leading our organization into what may very well be a new era for OEHS.
The individuals who are elected to the AIHA Board this year will be charged with leading our organization into what may very well be a new era for OEHS.
As a primer for the election, here is some information about the responsibilities of the offices that will be filled this election cycle:
Vice President. This is the first position in the presidential chain of offices. The individual elected as vice president will serve one year each as VP, president-elect, president, and past president. The vice president serves on the AIHA Finance Committee and the Executive Development Committee. In addition, the AIHA vice president is concurrently vice president of both the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation Board of Trustees and the Guideline Foundation Board of Directors. Other duties may be delegated by the AIHA Board or the AIHA president.
Treasurer-Elect. The treasurer-elect serves as assistant treasurer. Following completion of a one-year term, the treasurer-elect assumes the office of treasurer for two years. The treasurer-elect is a member of the Finance Committee and performs any additional duties assigned by the Board or the president.
Director. Directors have fewer defined responsibilities, but they perform the essential work of ensuring AIHA is following its strategic plan, reviewing and establishing goals that advance our mission, and making wise use of resources. Directors also act as liaisons between committees and local sections and the Board.
Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find responses from each AIHA Board candidate to a question prepared by the Nominating Committee. I encourage you to begin familiarizing yourself with the candidates by reading their contributions. More information about each candidate will be available through the electronic ballot, so please keep an eye on your email for instructions on how to access it.
The election will be open from Feb. 12 through March 5. If you have any questions about the election, please contact AIHA.