January 9, 2020 / Ina Xhani

Start the Year Right: Nominate a Deserving Peer for an AIHA Award

I thought I would write about the “top ten” reasons why you should nominate your colleague for an AIHA award, why the nomination is important, or what the awards mean to their recipients. But I kept stumbling over the same block: whatever I came up with was from an outsider’s point of view. Wouldn’t it be better for the reader to hear from someone who knows firsthand what it means to be nominated—and to win?

So I reached out to Megan Canright, winner of the 2019 Kusnetz Award, and asked her a few questions. The Kusnetz Award recognizes industrial hygienists who exhibit high ethical standards and technical abilities, have provided for the highest standards of health and safety protection for employees, and show promise of leadership in the profession. Here’s what Megan had to say:

What did it mean to you to be the recipient of the Kusnetz Award?

Being nominated and even considered for the Kusnetz Award was both humbling and exciting. It was an honor to be selected as the recipient. The award truly goes to the many mentors, colleagues, and friends who provided their support in this achievement. This was truly one of the highlights of my career.

What difference has the Kusnetz Award made in your career?

The visibility for this award was both exciting and overwhelming! It is an honor that is well recognized in the IH community and has inspired me to increase my efforts to influence and mentor other career IHs both technically and professionally.

How did receiving this award help you influence others?

Receiving this award has helped to extend my influence not only in my participation with the Future Leaders Institute, but in AIHA as an organization. I hope that it inspires my colleagues to influence and mentor others. I believe this has increased the impact I can make in our IH community exponentially.

Tell us about a teacher, mentor, or peer who made an impact on you or set you on your current IH path.

Ben Kollmeyer, CIH, AIHA member, and lifetime mentor of mine, encouraged me to explore the IH profession. Ben's guidance has not only increased my ambition and drive toward technical excellence, but he has also helped me improve my interactions with others socially, professionally, and emotionally. I am a better IH professional, mentor, and colleague due in large part to Ben's guidance and influence.

How did your company view your award? What value do they place on it?

FACS' Leadership Team and many of my FACS colleagues were all present during the awards ceremony. It was truly meaningful and humbling to me that so many of my colleagues took time out of their busy conference schedules to attend the ceremony in support of the award. I felt my company was proud of me for this achievement, but I also hope their attendance at the ceremony demonstrates their understanding that the award is for our company as a whole. I would not have received it without the support of my colleagues.

The deadline for the nomination process is just a few days away. Do you have any advice for your peers regarding the nominations?

Do not be afraid to ask your nominee about their achievements, which may qualify them for an award. You may be unaware of some of their professional and personal contributions. The surprise of receiving an award is not ruined because a nominee knows they have been nominated! It’s more important that their achievements are accurately reflected in the nomination. These awards are competitive, and there are so many professionals who deserve nominations. Don't be shy—take the time you would want others to take if the roles were reversed. Engage others to help author the nomination.

There are a few more days left before the deadline for the AIHA awards, so hurry up and nominate your deserving peer today.

Ina Xhani

Ina Xhani is AIHA’s communications specialist.


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