The Puget Sound Chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

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  President's Message

   Niki Howard
   PSHFES President 2020-Present

  • November 09, 2022 4:41 PM | Frank Ryou (Administrator)

    I want to start with a huge thank you to the PSHFES Executive Council! We’ve had members that have participated for many years now, including Gary Davis, Miriam Joffe, Carrie Lin and Ram Maikala. But then we’ve have members who have left and returned. I’m thinking of you Kelly Lynch. And finally, we have our new members who joined in the past year and I hope will be a part of our council for a long time. Please welcome our new members, Katia Costa-Black, Tony Brace, Frank Ryou, and Michelle Longo! It’s been quite the year, trying different things like reducing our membership fees and introducing our new LinkedIn page. I appreciate you all.

    I also want to extend a huge congratulations to Ram Maikala as the 2022 recipient of the Puget Sound Chapter’s HFE Professional of the Year. Ram has been a cornerstone for the field of HFE and our council. This is much deserved recognition for all that he does for our profession.

    As most of you know, on September 15 we held our annual symposium. I hope that despite the fact it was again a virtual event, the quality of the presentations and the exchange we had provided great insight and knowledge to you and your practice. Thank you to everyone who attended and continued to show support to our PSHFES activities. There are so many things   that seem to be changing with regard to the work environment and its impact on how work is performed. These include climate change, interactions with technology and increasing worker engagement. Our symposium speakers addressed several of these changes. Dr. Fadi Fatallah, Professor at the University of California Davis, described agricultural ergonomics and touched on the impact of climate change on the industry. Dan Gottesman, creator of Ergovation, spoke towards the intersection of HFE and environmental sustainability. Dr. Deborah Boehm-Davis, recently retired from Meta, addressed employee empowerment/engagement when she described a 5-year research partnership in developing a comprehensive training program for a regional air carrier. And Shane Hudson, from EWI Works, demonstrated a motion tracking system to evaluate a participatory intervention. These presentations are evidence that as HFE professionals, we continue to innovate and grow in multi-faceted directions to address related challenges of our ever-changing work environment. Thank you to our symposium speakers and sponsors!  Once again, you have helped PSHFES with our mission to provide opportunities for professional development. If you are at all interested in being involved in our council, or are just curious, please reach to us at
  • January 09, 2022 8:03 PM | Kelly Lynch (Administrator)

    As this is the last newsletter of 2021, permit me some time to reflect. As I finish my first year as president, I am so grateful for this experience. Back in December 2019, I decided to volunteer as chapter president because I saw how the dedication of the volunteers of PSHFES has benefitted the community at large and I wanted to contribute. I do not regret my decision one bit. I have learned so much about this organization and the incredible work that has been put into PSHFES, both past and present. The executive council is an amazing group of diverse, creative and energetic people who have supported me as I learn the ropes. I just want to say thank you for your support and your patience. We are heading into our second holiday season under a pandemic, and I am sure we are not where we hoped we would be but I am full of optimism. 2021 brought new opportunities for me to collaborate with many other HFE professionals in our state and in other states. I am hoping that 2022 brings the same. It never ceases to amaze me the breadth and depth of speakers who are willing to share their knowledge with our membership. From a webinar focused on students preparing to enter the workplace to our annual symposium, the topics offered something for everyone. I thank all of our remote speakers throughout this year - Cary Calkins from Seattle Housing Authority; Jamie Harmon from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Dr. Behnoosh Parsi at Amazon; Edie Adams, Ryan Chang and Kelly Schmidtbauer, also from Amazon; Lora Cavuoto of University of Buffalo; Marisol Barrero, Amazon Web Services; Blake McGowan, Velocity EHS; Sara Bazell, ViVA Health at Work; and Anjali Joseph, Clemson University. For the second year, we had a virtual symposium but unlike last year, it covered two half days. I want to give a heartfelt thanks to the chairs Ram Maikala and Kimo Hudson. And to Kelly Lynch and Carrie Lin, whose technical support for the symposium is always invaluable. I would also like to congratulate Miriam Joffe from the Boeing Company, named our 2021 HFE Professional of Year. Every year, PSHFES awards this honor to an individual in our region, based on their academic background, their work experience and contribution to the HFE field and his or her leadership promoting awareness in our field. Miriam has given tirelessly throughout her career, including serving on the PSHFES executive council in many roles since 2014 and mentoring for many years. Congratulations, Miriam! You certainly deserved this award. Finally, I do not think I really need to say this but musculoskeletal disorder continues to be the most prevalent occupational injury in the state. And I feel all that we do is more important than ever as new technologies and new challenges continue to change how we do work. Thank you, as always, for supporting PSHFES. Hope to “see” everyone in 2022. Be safe. Be kind. 

    Niki Howard

    President, PSHFES

  • July 01, 2021 8:50 PM | Kelly Lynch (Administrator)

    Happy Summer, PSHFES member! I think we should all be proud of how we and those around us dealt with all that was during this pandemic. It’s been quite the 15 months or so. We’re not completely back to normal (whatever that was) but it feels very close (whatever it will be). How we work and where we work may never go back to what it was. Time will tell. But for us who work in occupational health and safety, our goal of helping workers have long and healthful careers remains unchanged. PSHFES strives to contribute to this mission by supporting the HFES community providing opportunities to learn and acquire new knowledge. But supporting the HFES community means supporting those that are entering the field. It’s has to be so scary to be a recent or soon-to-be graduate or someone seeking a new direction to enter a job market that has undergone such turmoil. It’s more important than ever, for the growth and longevity of our field, that we support those individuals. It’s also important that for those of us long in this field, we remain open to accepting new perspectives and methodologies for addressing occupational health and safety. With all of this in mind, PSHFES has been actively developing educational events and seeking new ways to support our community. So far this year, we have held two webinars (details of each are included in this newsletter) and are busily planning for the 2021 Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Symposium. Similar to last year’s, we are going to be virtual but we are expanding it two days, October 14 and 15. Finally, I want to give a shout-out to Rammohan (Ram) Maikala. Ram has always been a very active participant of PSHFES, including serving as president. After more than 4 years as editor of our newsletter, Ram stepped away from these duties at the beginning of this year. I know I can speak for the entire PSHFES community and say thank you for all of his hard work and dedication! Jia-Hua Lin, of the SHARP Program, has taken over as editor. This is his first edition and as you will see, the newsletter is in great hands. I’m looking forward to his being a part of the PSHFES Executive Committee. As always, I am grateful to be a part of such a dynamic and diverse community.

    Niki Howard

    President, PSHFES

  • February 10, 2021 11:55 AM | Kelly Lynch (Administrator)

    Happy New Year, PSHFES community! My name is Niki (or Ninica, for my mother’s benefit) Howard and I’m the new president of PSHFES. As a brief introduction, I have been an ergonomist and researcher with the SHARP Program, in the Department of Labor and Industries, for the past 23 years. My degree is in Work Environment from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I have served on the executive council for the past three years as the symposium chair.

    So this is my first president message. Where to start? At this time last year, we had no idea just how much our lives would change in a short period of time, or just how much our jobs would change. We are dealing with so much right now, the pandemic and its mounting infections and deaths, racial injustice, massive job losses. All these have and will probably continue to affect how we do our jobs for some time. So our challenge, as it has always been, as occupational health and safety professionals, is to use our expertise and knowledge to address the new and emerging issues that have arisen, all the while continuing to do the great work we were already doing. So simple, right?

    But here is what I know. I know that we are a brilliant and resourceful group and that we are up for the challenge. Together, we share, we commiserate, we problem solve and support each other. There is no better or strong community. I am truly honored to be the new president of this society. I’m looking forward to serving in this role and supporting the PSHFES community as we strive to help ensure safe and healthful working environments.

    I am truly honored to be the new president of this society. I’m looking forward to serving in this role and supporting the PSHFES community as we strive to help ensure safe and healthful working environments.

    Niki Howard

    President, PSHFES

  • July 05, 2020 5:15 PM | Carrie Lin (Administrator)

    Greetings fellow PSHFES members.  We wanted to let you know that PSHFES is alive and well!  During these difficult times, we are working hard to provide safe and meaningful events for PSHFES members to participate with us and the broader HFES community.  I hope you have enjoyed the recently concluded free Webinar (Industrial Exoskeletons 101) sponsored by our local chapter.

    PSHFES is planning a virtual symposium for 2020 on September 17th, so save the date!  We will be hosting some great speakers with engaging content as well as great information from our sponsors and their latest offerings.  The event is tentatively scheduled to last six hours and will have thought-provoking talks as well as virtual interactions with sponsors. If you can’t attend the entire event, that is okay, as there will be a wide range of content presented throughout the day.  Please keep an eye on your inboxes as we update you with the program agenda. We look forward to seeing out at the event. 

    Randy Pickett

    PSHFES President

  • April 17, 2019 10:11 AM | Carrie Lin (Administrator)

    Greetings PSHFES Members!  It has been a busy first quarter for the executive committee.  We are working on a number of events and activities for 2019 (information to follow).  I would also like to introduce two new executive committee members; James “Kimo” Hudson (2020 symposium chair), and Gus Arroyo (program co-chair).  Kimo is the regional safety manager for Macy’s and Gus is a consulting technician for BSI Group.  We welcome our new committee members! I think I speak for everyone on the committee in that each one of us is thankful for the hard work our fellow committee members contribute throughout the year.

    Recent executive committee activities include working on our contribution to the National Human Factors & Ergonomics Society’s upcoming symposium here in Seattle in late October, and other events throughout the year.  The committee has been working to help identify interesting organizational tours for symposium attendees during their stay in Seattle.  We have a few great organizational tours related to ergonomics and human factors confirmed but could always use more ideas.  The committee is also working on the Pacific Northwest track of the symposium in which we will be highlighting ergonomics and human factors activities in our region to includes a number of great speakers and subjects. 

    Pay attention to your inboxes as several announcements about upcoming events will be forthcoming.  Thanks again for supporting PSHFES! 

    Randy Pickett

    PSHFES President

  • February 04, 2019 7:42 AM | Carrie Lin (Administrator)

    Dear PSHFES Members:

    Hello to all PSHFES members!  My name is Randy Pickett and I am the incoming President for 2019.  I am honored for the opportunity to serve PSHFES in such a capacity!  A little bit about me, I am currently a Safety & Loss Control Consultant with Archbright in Seattle.  I have twenty years of experience in safety and loss control and have immensely enjoyed my career.  In the last seven years I started to assimilate ergonomics and human factors into my safety programs, realizing the importance of both disciplines in accident and injury prevention. 

    I have enjoyed working with PSHFES, and current and former council members.  We had a great year in 2018 with another successful symposium completed and I cannot say enough of the dedication and effort put forth by everyone who makes PSHFES happen, they are all rock stars. 

    2019 also looks to be a great year with Seattle hosting our parent organization, the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society’s 63rd Annual International Meeting at the Seattle Sheraton from October 28th to November 2nd 2019.  Mark your calendar now if you plan on attending the event!  Watch your inbox throughout 2019 for information for all upcoming events during the year.  I look forward to seeing all of you in 2019!

    Randy Pickett

    PSHFES President

  • September 05, 2018 2:51 PM | Carrie Lin (Administrator)

    Our Annual Puget Sound Human Factors and Ergonomics (PSHFES) symposium is fast approaching - September 13th at the Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South.

    Please register and attend our annual symposium, bring your co-workers and friends, and connect with other like-minded attendees. Learn about emerging and topical issues impacting the field of ergonomics/human factors and safety. Join us for a day of engaging discussion, educational sessions and exhibits.

    Click for the registration details.

    Thanks to our generous sponsors:

    Platinum:  Boeing; Bureau Veritas, Modjoul

    Gold:         Workplace Logic; Sitmatic; NeutralPosture

    Silver:       Safco; Impacto; Humanscale; Ergogenesis/BodyBilt; Grand Stands; Schmalz; Kinesis; Ergotron

    Symposium Benefits

    This one day event is a great opportunity to:

    • Learn from the expertise and experience of an outstanding and diverse group of speakers.
    • Keep up-to-date with the ever changing aspects of technology and our population that impact how work is performed.
    • Learn about new methods, best practices and research that may help you innovate workplace health and safety in your company or business.
    • Network with ergonomics and human factors professionals and others involved in occupational health and safety. 
    • Our attendees have a wide variety of experiences to share and travel from many areas of the U.S. and Canada.
    • Learn about new exhibits/products available to help solve your ergonomics and human factors problems.
    • Get hands-on experience with products that may help to resolve both simple and complex challenges in the work environment.
    • Yes, we do have door prizes as well!

    I look forward to seeing you all soon!

    Rammohan V Maikala, PhD

    PSHFES President

  • September 05, 2018 2:49 PM | Carrie Lin (Administrator)

    Spring is just around the corner, and you know what that means – it’s time to renew your yearly membership! Whether you are a long-term member or renewing for the first time, I thank you in advance. Your commitment and support helps to promote human factors and ergonomics in the Puget Sound region and beyond.

    Membership also allows you to participate in many exciting professional development and networking opportunities. On March 8, PSHFES will host a lunch talk entitled, “Ergonomics and Employee Engagement”, organized by Program Co-Chair Nichole Irby. The event, to be held from 11:30 AM to 1 PM at Ergo Squad 2017 Elliot Ave, Suite 306 Seattle, will be the first of many 2018 events organized by Nicole and our newest Program Co-Chair, Lynnda Dee English of Solutions Northwest, Inc. Space is limited, so I urge you to register for the talk soon!

    Our annual PSHFES Symposium will be held on September 13 at the Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South, Des Moines, WA. Serving as chair for this year’s event is Ninica (Niki) Howard, the renowned ergonomics researcher and speaker from SHARP, Department of Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA. Niki is working meticulously on the symposium theme and agenda. If you want to get involved in planning the symposium activities, please contact either Niki or the current Executive Council as soon as possible.

    Finally, I encourage you to talk to your coworkers and managers about becoming PSHFES members. And if you have any thoughts on how we can do better as a professional society, or if you want more information on PSHFES and its member benefits and activities, please email me. I would love to hear from you.

     Rammohan V Maikala, PhD

    PSHFES President 

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