Chapter History

“The History of Our Chapter”

By Raymond Sharp and Robert Andres

The Central New York Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers was started under an initiative of Walter L. Fox, Manager of the Safety Division of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. The organizational meeting of what was to be called the “Safety Engineers Society of Central New York” took place on Friday, July 11, 1941 at the Hotel Hilton, Syracuse, at 6:30 PM. All full-time industrial plant and “insurance safety engineers” were invited to attend, and twenty-two attended – some traveling as far as 50 miles. Of the group, several were already members of the American Society of Safety Engineers. The following committees were established: Constitution and Bylaws, Membership, Nominating, and Program. It was determined that all meetings would be held on the third Friday of the month, and that the group would eventually petition for membership in ASSE.

The first regular meeting was held in the Chamber of Commerce dining room, on the 6th floor of 351 South Warren Street, on September 19th. The “full-course, home-cooked dinner” was $1.00 per plate. The nominating committee had selected Chairman Marcy J. Bowers, Central New York Power; Vice Chairman James Norton, Aetna Insurance; Treasurer George Jeffords, Travelers Insurance Company, and Walter L. Fox, the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. Seventy-one people were in attendance to hear the guest speaker Arthur Dedmond, a safety consultant of the US Department of Labor in Buffalo. The topic was “The National Committee for the Conservation of Manpower in Defense Industries”.

Attendance at monthly meeting continued strong, even after the onset of the war, consistently drawing from 22-66 – with a membership of only 50. Excellent support from various local manufacturers and insurance companies was credited with the high degree of success.

The original charter was granted on May 25, 1943. When the American Society of Safety Engineers separated from the National Safety Council in 1948, the chapter was granted it’s present charter on October 19 of that year.

The first Central New York Safety Conference, a joint effort of ASSE CNY, the Greater Syracuse Safety Council, and the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce was held in 1949, at the Hotels Syracuse and Onondaga. The conference was an immediate success, featuring speakers from the US and Canada, and drawing an attendance of hundreds. In 1965, the 9th bi-annual conference was held at the Hotel Syracuse.

About that time, meetings were moved to the third Thursday of each month, and have essentially remained that way ever since.

The first important recognition of excellence came in 1960. The Albert D. Caddell Award for outstanding Chapter Achievement was also received in 1963. At that time, the Central New York Chapter stood second to only the St. Louis Chapter in national rankings. The chapter has earned the prestigious Chapter Achievement Award of several occasions since that time.