By Julie M. Lucas
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs
Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Commander Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) Occupational Safety and Health Manager Ron Williamson has earned the Chief of Naval Operations Senior Manager Safety award for his outstanding support and achievement in safety and occupational health.
He was selected for promoting a superior level of safety culture within the command and making significant contributions toward reducing mishaps, increasing mission readiness and ensuring Sailors and civilians aboard the station work in a safe environment.
Williamson has nearly 42 years of government service, with 36 years at NAS Jax. He started with the Army Corps of Engineers working in construction, which led him to the safety field. Within a year if transferring to NAS Jax, he became the safety manager.
Some of Williamson's duties include inspecting the 17 bases within CNRSE every three years. NAS Jax earned the designation as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Site in 2010, after four years of working to improve the safety culture aboard the station. The station has continued to maintain this "Star" status. Only a tenth of one percent of all businesses in the United States have earned a "Star" rating. Williamson is currently assisting five other bases attempting to earn this honor.
This isn't the first time the NAS Jax Safety Department has received high honors. In 2016, the team won the first-ever 2016 Department of Defense VPP Site Award. Additionally, they were recognized for the Department of Labor Region IV Mentor of the Year award and Deputy Safety Manager Maxwell Bassett earned the 2016 VPP Individual Achievement Award.
Bassett put together the packet for Williamson's award.
"No other safety program in the entire Department of Defense (DoD) has such a stellar record and after winning both of the first-ever all DoD VPP Safety Excellence award last year - he certainly proved that his team is the best of the best," said Bassett. "As resources continue to be scarce, we really need to take the time to recognize those who continue to give 110 percent each and every day to protect the fleet, fighter, and family."
"The entire safety team (with the approval of Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Haley and Executive Office Capt. Michael Connor) put Ron in for this award. He is a machine, works tirelessly, treats everyone the way they deserve to be treated and eats, sleeps, and breathes safety. I've never met such a workhorse with the commitment to making everyone better/safer and his results speak volumes," said Bassett.
Williamson is also in charge of the bi-annual safety stand downs and locates presenters to showcase relevant safety topics through untraditional ways such as comedians or educators.
Part of his unofficial duties is acting as the NAS Jax historian. He became interested in the history of the station in 1988 when the base movie theater was being renovated and he began researching for displays. In 1990, Williamson authored a history book about the station, followed by another in 2000 and 2015.
Williamson put the credit for earning this award back on his team, saying that the success he's received is due to those he works with.
"I couldn't do this without this great group of people who work here," he said. "We are a team and safety is our mission."