Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES)

Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES)

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Peter Hancock,
Immediate Past President
M. Susan Hallbeck, Ph.D.
Chris Reid, Ph.D.
Susan Kotowski,

Recent Activities

When Lynn Strother retired as the Executive Director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) in October 2017, the HFES Executive Council (EC) took the opportunity to examine options for the future management of the Society’s operations. After careful consideration of the alternatives, the Executive Council determined that an Association Management Company (AMC) would best serve HFES’ needs and formed a Search Committee to find an AMC that could continue valued member programs and help HFES accomplish its strategic goals.

After a careful six-month search process, the committee recommended to the EC that it choose SmithBucklin as its AMC, effective November 1. The EC voted to accept the Search Committee’s recommendation at its July 19 meeting. Established in 1949, SmithBucklin has a strong record of managing scientific societies. With 700 staff, it has experience managing the services and programs that HFES provides for its members.
The HFES office will move to Washington, D.C. This move will give the Society more opportunity to connect with legislators and regulatory agencies and to build coalitions with other scientific societies. A small transition team will work with SmithBucklin to hire a new Executive Director and determine strategic priorities for the coming year. Staff will document its processes and meet with SmithBucklin to ensure a smooth transfer of institutional knowledge and operations.

While the search process was a major initiative for HFES in 2018, it worked on other initiatives as well. At its mid-year meeting, the Executive Council looked at its Strategic Goals and selected four as priorities:

• Advance the science and practice of human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) to address current and emerging societal problems.
• Promote the education of HF/E science, methods, and applications.
• Promote awareness about the distinct value of HF/E to the general public, industry, other societies and government.
• Increase diversity across the society, including the membership and leadership, and participation in conferences and publications.

The Executive Council (EC) also devoted time to discuss strategies to grow membership. It invited an undergraduate, post-doc and an early career professional to give their perspectives on how to engage those segments of the profession in becoming and staying HFES members by inviting them to the mid-year EC meeting in Boston. This was so successful, the EC voted to have it as a continuing program to mentor and encourage potential within society members, as well as gain information from those new to the HF/E profession. Individuals will be able to apply for this program.

In addition, the EC voted to establish a new program to educate select members of HFES regarding government interests. Three to five individuals will be selected as Scientific Policy Fellows each year. They will receive education in this regard during the annual meeting from Lewis-Burke and will travel to Washington, DC in the spring to receiving additional training and to visit the congressmen and participate in activities arranged by Lewis-Burke. Individuals will apply to the Governmental Relations Committee (GRC) for a chance to participate in this program.

Major Initiatives Completed:
• Establishment of a new government learning and internship program
o Scientific Policy fellows
• Initiated new program (Early Career Professionals Mentorship) inviting students/new HF/E professionals to annual and midyear meetings (3 at mid-year selected by Past, Current, and In-coming Presidents and those for annual conference suggested by EC and undergoing a selection process)
• Developed new membership committees (what they are, what they are to do, chairs)
o Membership committee Chair Sean Gallagher
 Practitioner engagement, Chair Julie Gilpin-Mcminn
 Evaluation, Chair Kristen Webster
 Retention, Chair Elizabeth Lazzara
 Recruitment, Chair Tamsyn Edwards
o Mentorship committee Chairs, Haydee Cuevas, Susan Kotowski
o Leadership Development Committee, Chairs, Chris Brill, Nancy Daraiseh
• Prioritization of HFES strategic goals (guided by President Elect, Kermit Davis on Strategic Planning Day)
• Annual Meeting
o Establishing a ‘Practitioners Day’. This year focused on exoskeletons
o Bringing in Nick and friends (Human Factors Cast) to podcast and interview speakers
o Initiated program to invite students from other disciplines within the city where the HFES has their annual meeting to attend one day of the annual meeting for free
o New format of having one keynote speaker and two plenaries. Plenaries being delivered in interview style with a ‘host’ asking question from the audience.
o Silent Auction/Art Show of members’ works at annual conference

Initiatives Started:
• Oversight of the move from having a ‘front office’ staff to an AMC (management company)
• Prioritization of HFES strategic goals (guided by President Elect, Kermit Davis on Strategic Planning Day)