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SwRI’s Herron named 2024 ASSP Safety Professional of the Year

May 6, 2024 — The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has named Southwest Research Institute’s Matthew Herron, M.S., P.E., CSP, CPE, its 2024 Safety Professional of the Year. The award is presented annually to an ASSP member who demonstrates outstanding achievement in the occupational safety and health (OSH) field while also advancing the OSH profession overall.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the ASSP as Safety Professional of the Year,” said Herron, a lead safety engineer in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division. “I firmly believe it’s our duty as safety professionals to protect and empower those around us and continuously strive for excellence in fostering a culture of safety. It’s tremendously rewarding to be able to implement programs and practices that protect others.”

Herron has been an ASSP member since 2011 and is an advisory board member for the ASSP’s Engineering Practice Specialty and the Ergonomics Practice Specialty. He serves as the ASSP Regional Vice President for Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In this role, he oversees 13 ASSP chapters and 12 student sections. Herron is also involved in organizing the region’s annual Student Leadership Conference.

“I’m very proud to see Matt receive this well-deserved honor,” said Shane Siebenaler, director of SwRI’s Fluids Engineering Department and manager of the Mechanical Engineering Division’s Safety Team. “He has had a vital role in reinforcing and improving the safety culture of our division. Our work environment includes hazards that range from explosives to high-pressure hydrogen to radioactive sources, and Matt has developed many of our daily safety procedures. His dedication to safety has had a tremendous impact on all of us.”

Herron earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of West Georgia in 2006. He was a product test and calibration technician before discovering his calling as a safety engineer. He earned a master’s degree in industrial and operations engineering, with a concentration in occupational safety engineering and ergonomics, from the University of Michigan in 2011. He joined SwRI in 2016.

At SwRI, Herron developed the Safety 360 Program, which empowers employees to proactively identify and report unsafe conditions and at-risk behaviors in the workplace and provides suggestions to correct these issues. He implemented the 6S Methodology, based on Toyota’s 5S program, emphasizing organization to maximize efficiency and minimize risk.

In 2023, Herron was named the ASSP Council on Practices and Standards’ 2023 Safety Professional of the Year in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contributions to ASSP’s practice specialty and common interest group communities. He received the ASSP Emerging Professional Award in 2020, recognizing his leadership, volunteerism and desire to impact workplace safety. In 2019, he received the National Safety Council Rising Stars of Safety award, which honors individuals under the age of 40 who play a significant role to positively influence and promote their company’s safety culture and leadership.

Herron will receive a commemorative engraved award and a $2,000 honorarium at the ASSP Safety 2024 Conference and Expo in August.

For more information, visit Mechanical Engineering or contact Joanna Quintanilla, +1 210 522 2073, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.