Annual Air Force symposium embraces critical training environment|
by Maj. Chad Gemeinhardt
Head Quarters, U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Strategic Communications
3/21/2011 - NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AFNS) -- Air Force officials launched their annual Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Training Symposium here March 21, hosting more than 1,800 participants and 120 exhibitors.
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Terry Yonkers, Air Force Civil Engineer Maj. Gen. Tim Byers and Brig. Gen. Dave Howe, the Air Combat Command director of Installations and Mission Support.
This is a significant training venue, Mr. Yonkers said, combining the training needs of more than 60 installations in 34 states and six countries and 80 percent of the attendees new to this school each year. Nearly 40 percent of the attendees are from the civil engineering community, to include 562 students, 96 instructors and 57 team members.
"Today, we are focused on improving effectiveness and efficiency of all Air Force environmental, safety and occupational health operations," Mr. Yonkers said. "We must depend on our Airmen to bring forth new ideas that will allow us to meet these objectives and ensure our Airmen are properly trained not just to do their jobs, but to understand the ESOH aspects of their operations."
To support this vision, students have access to more than 525 instructional classes and 175 technical sessions in the fields of safety, engineering, environmental management, energy conservation, and occupational health by subject-matter experts from across the government and private industry. Mr. Yonkers said.
The symposium, consisting of nearly five full days of classroom training, is sponsored by Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air National Guard, Air Mobility Command, and Air Force Reserve Command.
The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, the Air Force Institute of Technology, with support from the staffs at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration Training Institute, and the U.S. Department of Transportation have also partnered to support this event.
This year's attendees represent the full spectrum of Air Force operations and supporting functions. Attendees are not just apprentice or journeymen in military and civilian positions but also subject matter experts and commanders.
In discussing the symposium's importance, General Byers noted, "A broader, more knowledgeable workforce -- better trained in ESOH management -- will produce more positive results."
"The Air Force mission and its operations, today and into the future, will endure, but in a manner that's in harmony with the environment, which conserves and protects our natural and manmade resources, and provides for the safety and well-being of our Airmen and our families," General Byers said.
The general said that ESOH management is a component of sustainability.
"It is, and must be, an integral part of everything that we do in the Air Force -- in the choices we make, the activities we perform, the value and priority we place upon ESOH initiatives, and the criteria by which we measure our success," General Byers said.
Participate in the ESOH Twitter feed for this year's symposium by visiting http://twitter.com/AF_ESOH.