Posted March 29, 2017
By William Kilgore
AIHA Director of Government Relations Mark Ames recently addressed members of the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society (MIHS) who were gathered for the local section’s annual Past President’s Breakfast and Annual Business Meeting. Ames began his talk with a simple question: “Why should I care about government relations?”
According to Ames, policymakers are looking for solutions as they come under pressure to respond to current megatrends such as infrastructure projects, manufacturing renaissance, sustainability, and regulatory reform. He emphasized to MIHS members that, when it comes to megatrends that impact worker health, “You are the key—being both constituents and experts, and you can significantly influence the solutions that the policymakers ultimately choose.”
For individuals who are willing to step up to the challenge, Ames indicated that AIHA can provide a community of learning and strategy, conversation starters, background materials, and training. Ames’ goal is to empower AIHA members to use what he calls the “Grassroots Government Relations Playbook,” which includes meeting with local government officials, sharing stories, and demanding change when needed through clear messaging and dedicated persistence.
“It’s really about using your expertise to align the goals of policymakers with your goals to protect worker health,” Ames said.
Following his presentation, the MIHS Board decided to partner with Ames to become more engaged in government relations as an integrated aspect of the society’s operations.
William (Bill) Kilgore, CIH, is past president of MIHS. He’s retired from General Motors.
Mark Ames (left) receives a speaker gift from Aaron Jacob (right), the new president of MIHS.