ASSP: Stewarding A Legacy Of Safety

This week on The WAM Podcast's special series with ASSP (American Society of Safety Professionals), host, Jennifer McNelly, speaks with Wells Bullard, the 5th generation CEO of the family-owned safety equipment giant, Bullard. The company was founded in 1898 by Well's great-great-grandfather as a supply company for copper and gold mines in California and Nevada.

Bullard is a pioneer in every sense of the word. They are famous for inventing the beloved hard hat in 1919 and have been making safety equipment since before it was even an industry standard. Today, Wells shares her experiences of what it was like growing up as a 5th generation potential heir to Bullard, as well as fascinating stories about the history of the company itself.

Jennifer and Wells talk about the idea of diversity in the workplace as it relates to safety and the standards and practices that Bullard uses in the engineering of its products. Wells also introduces us to the famous Bullard Turtle Club, which honors accident survivors who have a hard hat to thank for their luck. Finally, we hear about how Wells handles shouldering the legacy of Bullard and being a role model so that people of diverse identities can see themselves in her as they work to achieve their own dreams.

"People want to see themselves in the people they are looking at, in their role models, in the people above them, and so the more diversity that we have in all sorts of roles, the better." —Wells Bullard

Wells Bullard

Guest, Wells Bullard

Wells Bullard is the CEO of Bullard, a 121-year-old, fifth-generation, family-owned company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets high-quality personal protective equipment and systems. She holds degrees in International Relations and Spanish from Stanford University. Bullard held a variety of management roles at McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company, before earning an M.B.A. at Harvard Business School. She joined Bullard in 2008, where she worked in roles in manufacturing, marketing, product development, and business development before taking over as CEO in November 2017. Since she became CEO, Bullard has developed a five-year strategic growth plan and expanded operations and reach in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Connect with Wells Bullard on LinkedIn and follow Bullard on Twitter @bullard1898

Jennifer McNelly

Host, Jennifer McNelly 

Jennifer McNelly is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Society of Safety Professionals. She is the eighth executive director since ASSP was founded in 1911. McNelly has 30 years of association, government, regulatory, and business experience.

As CEO, McNelly advances the organization’s mission to create safe work environments worldwide through the prevention of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

She works with the Board of Directors to execute ASSP’s strategic plan for growth while building on the Society’s legacy and addressing the evolving needs of the professional occupational safety and health community. She leads 75 staff members and more than 38,000 safety and health professionals around the globe, strengthening the Society’s position as a leading voice while fostering a collaborative culture of member engagement, performance, accountability and innovation.

Prior to ASSP, McNelly was president of Indianapolis-based 180 Skills LLC, an online career and technical education company aimed at closing the manufacturing skills gap and transforming organizational and individual performance. McNelly also served as president of The Manufacturing Institute, the nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the national authority on attracting and developing world-class manufacturing talent. Over nine years with NAM, she was a national champion in changing the perception of manufacturing careers and re-establishing the United States as the global leader in technical education. McNelly launched the national STEP Ahead™ initiative to increase the engagement of women in manufacturing and co-founded National Manufacturing Day™ to engage the next generation workforce.

McNelly served at the U.S. Department of Labor as director of the Business Relations Group and administrator of its Office of Regional Innovation and Transformation. She has testified before Congress on manufacturing and workforce training and is past chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Manufacturing. A University of Maryland College Park graduate, McNelly earned the Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award and was named among the 100 Women Leaders in STEM.

Connect with Jennifer McNelly on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter @JmcnellyMFG