The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) is the largest professional association for corporate environment, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability decision-makers. We are dedicated to empowering our members to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability.
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Member Spotlight - October 2011 - Julio A. González, EH&S Programs Manager, Covidien Inc.
Julio A. González

This month we introduce you to Julio A. González, EH&S Programs Manager for Covidien Inc., one of the members who helps make our network so unique.

1. Why did you join NAEM?

NAEM provides the opportunity to network with peers and take advantage of information and educational resources that are tailored to my career field. Being a member of NAEM allows me to learn from peers in different industries, providing a broad point of view of current and emerging issues.

2. What do you like about your job?

In my current position I have the opportunity to be involved in the development and implementation of policies, systems and strategies to drive the continuous improvement of our EHS and Sustainability programs. That involvement allows me to be part of the driving force for reaching world-class EHS and Sustainability performance.

3. Has your environmental program received any recognition? If so, what?

Many Covidien facilities have been recognized for their EHS programs by governmental and non-governmental institutions over the past several years.  Some examples include:

  • Our Surgical Devices facility in Ponce, Puerto Rico, has received the Puerto Rico Manufacturers’ Association Presidential Safety Award for seven consecutive years;
  • Four Covidien facilities in Mexico were awarded the Safe Industry certification, and two were awarded the Clean Industry certification, these are the highest recognition offered by the Mexican government for safety and environmental performance respectively;
  • Two of our Pharmaceuticals facilities in Missouri have been recognized by the Missouri Water Environment Association, receiving Wastewater Pretreatment Gold and Silver Awards.  These sites were nominated for the awards by the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District;
  • Our Medical Supplies facility in Greenwood, South Carolina, has received the Greenwood Metropolitan District Environmental Award on three different occasions for their wastewater management performance;
  • Our Respiratory and Monitoring Systems facility in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, received the Environmental Regulations Compliance and Good Environmental Practices Awards from the Chihuahua State Government.

4. What is your biggest challenge in your current role?

In my current role one of my responsibilities is developing corporate EHS Standards. This task brings various challenges, especially when we are talking about a company with global footprint. Across Covidien we have to manage multiple cultural interests; not only regional or ethnic cultures associated with our global footprint, but also diverse business cultures. Being a multi-sector healthcare company, and having grown in part from acquisitions, we have to consider these differences in culture to ensure we can have a consistent implementation of our corporate standards.

5. What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?

A career in EHS is very challenging. EHS professionals have to be ready to work in an ever changing environment with issues coming from different directions. Complying with regulations is not enough in today’s world; to excel in what we do we have to go beyond compliance.

6. What aspect to the natural world/environment impresses you the most? Why?

There are many aspects of nature that impress me. But, for the most part, it is nature’s ability to adapt to the constant change that impresses me the most. The world has been through a multitude of changes, whether natural (e.g. geologic and atmospheric changes) or artificial (i.e. human intervention), but somehow nature finds the way to adapt and make the best of it.

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