Washington, DC, July 29, 2013 - Complying with the growing number of global environmental regulations is a constant challenge, but the conversation was all about solutions when corporate environmental leaders gathered on July 17-18 in Minneapolis for NAEM’s 2013 EHS Compliance Excellence Conference.
With 130 leaders from more than 50 companies in attendance, NAEM Program Director Mike Mahanna said the discussions provided both breadth and depth.
"We had people from Massachusetts to California here and so any conversation we had included a wide variety of opinions and positions," he said. "I think it gave people lots of opportunities to reconsider how their programs are running."
In addition to addressing the core compliance topics such as regulatory tracking, employee training and compliance audits, the program was also designed to encourage peer-to-peer interactions. During one session, for example, attendees broke out into four groups to discuss topics that they had submitted in advance of the event.
"And when the hour was up,’ Mr. Mahanna recalled, "I had to go around to every room and break up the conversation. People just love to learn and share with their peer network."
The exchange of ideas continued during a unique 'instant benchmarking' session, moderated by Larry Deeney, Senior Technical Leader for General Mills. During the two-hour session, attendees used handheld devices to respond to 25 survey questions on staffing, budgets, compliance processes and sustainability management. The conversations that followed each round provided insights into why and how attendees manage their programs, Mr. Deeney said.
He said the candid nature of the discussion offered more than just solutions.
"The sharing that occurs between companies is important for the greater good," he said. "Even though some of the actions that we may take as a company may save us some money, these actions can also really help benefit the planet or people in general. And thus, it’s important to share those activities."
Frank Marino, Senior Manager of Environmental Health and Safety for Raytheon Co., who has been an NAEM member for more than 20 years said he always learns something new whenever he gets together with his peers.
"We all get so busy in our day-to-day [work] that we hardly take time to look up. The thing that happens when you come here is that things come to you and you get a little more energized," he said. "At the end of the two or three days you have all of these notes that you can go back to work with... It really brings you to another level."
To watch video interviews with some of the speakers from the 2013 EHS Compliance Excellence Conference, please visit www.youtube.com/NAEMorgTV.