July VPPPA Member of the Month: Kelli Heflin
Do you take safety home with you? If so, how?
Every single day. It looks bad if the Safety Manager gets hurt when it could have been prevented.
What is/was your position and how long have you been in the position?
I am the Corporate Safety Manager and ESG Leader for Southwest Generation and have been with the company almost 7 years.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
Convincing a former company that safety isn’t something you do in your ‘spare’ time at work.
What is your most recent accomplishment?
I had one site recently recertify as a VPP Star site and another achieve Zia Star in New Mexico. The two sites worked very hard and I was their technical advisor, but I am tremendously proud of them. (and I also survived cancer surgery and treatment)
What advice would you give to "Past You"?
People have to be ready to listen to what you tell them about safety. Listen twice as much as you talk (and there is always one idiot more than you counted on—but you don’t have to use that one). Life is hard, but there are not hard parts too that are a lot of fun.
What makes you passionate about the VPPPA?
I got involved with the VPPPA in 2003—when Region 8 was a baby and I helped raise that baby to a toddler by serving on the regional board for 8 years (6 as chairperson) and the national board for 6 years. The friendships I’ve made over the years provide the worth and the networking is fantastic. Being involved in the association allows me to interact with regulators and others who know safety isn’t a value, but a non-negotiable part of our working life.
What has been your favorite aspect of the Association?
Back in the old days (LOL), all of the chapter chairs used to sit around and come up with the greatest ideas for the national conferences. My favorite was the Games of the VPPPA, complete with the Parade of Regions.
What advice would you give to someone interested in the VPP or the VPPPA?
It’s one of the greatest associations I’ve ever belonged to. The networking alone makes it worth your dues. I recently co-founded a Power Generation VPP working group with a contact I made at one of the national conferences. The VPP is an incredible accomplishment and it gives you the chance to become involved in safety at a very high level. Networking gives you the opportunity to R&D (Ripoff and Disseminate) best practices and make them your own.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I am a certified LaBlast instructor (Ballroom dance fitness) and will be competing in my first Ballroom Dancing competition in August, as well as dancing in a showcase that same month.