Safety Star Program

The Safety Star Program recognizes employees who improve safety at UC Davis

The Safety Star Program was implemented to recognize campus employees who are making contributions to improve the safety culture at UC Davis. Nominees are eligible for three voting periods.

Second Quarter 2020 Safety Star: Beck Van Horsen

Safety Star winner Beck Van Horsen

Department: Memorial Union
Position: Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventures

in early 2018, Beck worked diligently to improve patron and staff safety at the indoor climbing wall located in the ARC. Beck acquired funding to outfit the rock wall with new crash pads, thereby reducing ankle injuries from people landing between the pads. Patron injuries decreased from an average of 6-8 per quarter to 2 during 2019.

In addition to improving patron safety, Beck tackled a major shift in how the rock wall student staff maintain and upkeep the rock wall. In consultation with EH&S, Beck updated student staff training. This training taught staff how to use a two rope system with full body harness and helmets. This new training concept was a foreign concept to staffers and some didn't see the need. Under Beck's leadership after completing the training, the staff realized that it is a more professional procedure and not as hard to do as they had feared. She also updated necessary written procedures and secured funding for the purchase of new equipment. All of this is indicative of her dedication to addressing and mitigating the risks as holistically as possible to enhance the student and staff experience.

First Quarter 2020 Safety Star: Jennifer Carmichael

Photo of Jennifer Carmichael

Department: Supply Chain Management 
Position: General Manger

Jen Carmichael, who works in Supply Chain Management as the general manager of the central storehouse, central receiving, comperssed gases, amil services and special services, is the first Safety Star of 2020.

Jen was nominated by Steve Ball, a safety specialist at EH&S. Steve said that Jen has "admirably chaired" a safety committee the consists of nine divisions within Finance, Operations and Administration. Under her leadership the committee reviews safety concerns adn accidents, updates the Injury and Illness Prevention Plan and Emergency Actions Plans for each location, and more. Recently, Jen has collected PPE for the  UC Davis Health hospital. 

"The safety committee goes a long way to helping us build that culture of safety," says Jen. 

Jen's supervisor, Phil Lacey (Director of Distribution Serves) had this to say about her, "Distribution Services has a long legacy of promoting a safety culture throughout its multi-functional organization.  Jen Carmichael has gone above and beyond to ensure that safety awareness is at the forefront of  providing exceptional customer service to our team,  and to  the campus communities on both sides of the Yolo Causeway. Her contributions encompasses a myriad of success stories, such as  leveraging Be Smart for Safety funding  to provide Dangerous Goods training for campus shippers,  and  collaborations with Staff Development and Professional Services  to create online courses that satisfy regulatory training.  Needless to say, Jen is worthy of receiving the Safety Star Award."


Fourth Quarter 2019 Safety Star: Vanessa Lieberman

Profile photo.

Department: Food Science and Technology
Position: Departmental Safety Coordinator in Biosafety

Vanessa was actually nominated by two different people: Dr. Erin DiCaprio, PI in FST, and Philip Barruel, campus Biosafety Officer in EH&S.

Dr. DiCaprio praised Vanessa as having made "major positive impacts on the laboratory operations in our department." Dr. DiCaprio went on to say that Vanessa has instituted new training, cleaning, and equipment improvements, and was instrumental in a lab cleanout of a space with multiple types of hazards.

Philip Barruel nominated Vanessa due to her significant contribution to the program for the commemoration by EH&S of October as "Biosafety Month". This help included providing a SOP for autoclaving certain types of infectious substances and testing plastic alternatives to glass Pasteur pipettes to reduce sharps injuries.

Congratulations Vanessa, and thank you for your efforts in strengthening safety culture!


Third Quarter 2019 Safety Star: Greg Hodge

Profile photo.

Department: California National Primate Research Center
Position: Safety Officer

Greg was nominated by EH&S Associate Biosafety Officer James Baugh, who wrote, "Greg balances a complicated safety program, excellent communication skills, proactive implementation of safety practices, mitigation of occupational exposures, as well as design and construction of animal holding facilities that are unique for our campus. He is a tremendous department resource for all Health and Safety mattters that affect the CNPRC."

He first became involved with safety as a grad student and lab manager at CNPRC in Comparative Pathology. After grad school, he became a safety professional in the School of Medicine, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, mentored by (retired) SoM Safety Officer Diane Hoffman. His approach to safety is to work closely with EH&S to, "develop policies and tools that support the research programs."

Greg's supervisor, AnnMarie Boylan (Associate Director of Administration and Operations at the CNPRC) had this to say, "Gregory Hodge has been the Safety Officer at the CNPRC for 5+ years. Durings his time here he has brought tremendous value to both the animal care and research programs. He is very knowledgeable of the various regualations applicable to our faculty. He is sought out by investigators and staff to assist in the planning and problem-solving for their projects. Greg is the rare combination of the important qualities of practicality, accessibility, and collaboration. We are very pleased that campus has chosen to recognize Greg's work as a Safety Officer and are very proud of him as a member of our CNPRC community."


Second Quarter 2019 Safety Star: Charles Rawls

Photo of Charles Rawls.

Department: Mouse Biology Program
Position:Inventory management and maintenance

Charles recently became the back-up safety coordinator for the MBP, and he has quickly proven to be very helpful in this role. He has been instrumental in installing new first aid kits, as well as following up on outstanding audit findings. He is eager to help and to learn more about safety, and has exceeded all expectations in regards to his engagement with safety and his willingness to take on extra work. MBP counts itself lucky to have him!


First Quarter 2019 Safety Star: Kitty Brown

Photo of Kitty Brown.

Department: Bodega Marine Lab
Position:Lab manager for Bodega Marine Lab

Kitty Brown has been serving as the lab manager at BML for 34 years, and will be retiring at the end of June, 2019. Kitty is a legend at BML, and has been the go-to person for safety for many years. She was nominated for the Safety Star award by Lab Safety Professional (LSP) Crystyn Chase, who said that "Kitty has been instrumental in greatly improving the safety culture at Bodega Marine Lab. When the lab safety review program began, Kitty escorted the LSP through every lab and assisted with resolution. The average number of findings at BML fell in 2018 to 4.1, down from 6.4 the year before!" 

Patrick Helbling, the Associate Director of BML said, "Kitty is a wealth of information and abilities. She has a tremendous feel for the pulse of the lab, and is extemely adept in anticipating what needs to be done."

Gary Cherr, Director of BML, added, "Kitty contributes so much to BML it's hard to delineate. She works across many units and activites as the Lab Manager. As Director, I really appreciate all she does."


Fourth Quarter 2018 Safety Star: Fernando Valle

Photo of Fernando Valle.

Department: Dining
Position: Food services supervisor

The final Safety Services Safety Star for 2018 has been selected: Fernando Valle, a supervisor in Dining Services. Fernando was nominated by injury prevention specialist Bob Wachter. Bob noted that Fernando always crafts thoughtful and detailed injury reports, takes time to identify the causes, and creates a well-defined injury prevention plan. He then communicates this prevention plan and shares it with both the injured employee and his crew.


Third Quarter 2018 Safety Star: Teejay O'Rear

Photo of Teejay O'Rear.

Department: Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology
Position: Lab Supervisor for Dr. Peter Moyle 

Teejay was nominated by James Fitzgerald, UC Davis Boating Safety Officer. "Teejay has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to managing safety and field research efforts of his crew-mates in demanding field environments on the department's research vessels," wrote Fitzgerald. Dr. Moyle added, "There is no question Teejay deserves the award. His attention to detail has made everyone in our lab safer."


Second Quarter 2018 Safety Star: Loan-Anh Nguyen

Photo of Loan-Anh Nguyen

Department: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Position: Departmental Safety Coordinator

Loan-Anh has collaborated with EH&S on the development of a checklist for new personnel that work in labs that do not fall under the Cal/OSHA Lab Safety Standard. She leads the departmental safety training, hazard assessments, lab cleanouts, project renovations, and much more. She is experienced in helping researchers to conduct research safely in the face of a wide range of hazards. The programs she has helped implement include electrical safety, fall protection, forklift and aerial lift operations, hearing conservation, heat illness prevention, lockout/tagout, respiratory protection, shop safety and more! She is a team player, always has a positive attitude, and is wonderful to work with.


First Quarter 2018 Safety Star: Justin Morejohn

Photo of Justin Morejohn.

Department: Grounds

Supervisor: Cary Avery

Justin has displayed a high level of dedication to making the Grounds tree safety program comprehensive, robust, proactive and focused on employee injury prevention.  Working around trees (including climbing, cutting, pulling, using chippers, chain saws and cutting heavy brush) are "life and limb" safety issues.  He covers tree safety topics weekly, including specific climbing fall protection and ropes techniques.  He also covers safety with access control, chipper operation, mobile crane and lift use, line clearance, powered saw and ladder safety, and personal protective equipment hazard assessments.  His commitment to the safety of his crew is evident and noteworthy.

Justin's supervisor, Cary Avery, said that he excels in all aspects of arboriculture safety, encourages safety among his peers, and stays informed about industry practices.