Skip to main content

Chairman's Circle of Commendation Awards Ceremony - Thursday, December 1, 2011, Bethesda, Maryland

September 17, 2012

Good morning everyone. I am so pleased that all of you could join us for this exciting event. To our special guests, Commissioners Bob Adler and Anne Northup, and CPSC staff, welcome to my first ceremony recognizing the winners of the Chairman's Circle of Commendation Award.

My idea to establish this award tracks back to when I first took over as Chairman, so I am so pleased that we made this idea a reality and have such worthy recipients of the first awards.

The five individuals and organizations who are the recipients of my Circle of Commendation Award are exceptional people and organizations. They are unwavering in their commitment to do what is right on behalf of the consumer, especially children.

I believe that lives have been saved, injuries have been prevented, and consumers are safer today because of the work of these five individuals and groups.

Each has, in their own way, pushed the envelope with safety innovations, advocacy or product testing. Their contributions to product safety are invaluable.

From enhancing the performance standards for juvenile products, to using research as a driver for product safety changes, to proactively alerting the public about test results demonstrating a product danger, these awardees share a common vision with CPSC - a vision aimed at ensuring that the United States is the recognized global leader in consumer product safety.

Let's give them a well deserved round of applause.

This awards program involved outside peers nominating individuals and organizations, a panel of officials across CPSC judging the applications, and then I made the final decision on the awardees.

This award is not intended to be an endorsement by the agency, but rather a recognition of the outstanding efforts by these people and organizations to make cribs safer than ever before, to prevent TVs and furniture from tipping over and killing children, and to prevent children from choking or strangling when playing with a toy.

Now, it is my great pleasure to announce the awardees of the Chairman's Circle of Commendation Award.

The first award goes to the ASTM Subcommittee F15.18 on cribs, toddler beds, play yards, cradles, and changing tables. This ASTM subcommittee has been instrumental in adopting tough, new voluntary standards for children's nursery products, especially cribs.

Nothing is more important than the safety of babies in these products. And the standards that this ASTM subcommittee helps create are intended to ensure that babies are safe when placed to sleep.

I am so proud to be able to stand here today and say that the United States has the strongest crib safety standard in the world. The standard that CPSC approved one year ago was based to a large extent on the hard work - and the great work - done by this ASTM subcommittee.

Their mandate extends well beyond cribs and their efforts will continue to be instrumental, as CPSC works to turn all of the voluntary juvenile product standards into mandatory standards, as required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

From Atlanta, to Washington, to Seoul, Korea, I have extended my thanks to this group and now I have the pleasure of turning my thanks into an award.

Representing ASTM International today is Kathie Morgan, the Vice President of their Technical Committee Operation Division.

Kathie, please come up to receive your award and to say a few words.

* * *

Our next awardee is an organization with a trusted name, a reputation for always looking out for the interests of the consumer, and for conducting high quality tests of the consumer products we value so much.

Of course, I am referring to Consumers Union.

I want to extend my congratulations to Consumer Union for celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. That's 75 years of providing consumers with insightful information through one of the nation's most popular magazines, Consumer Reports, as well as through their videos and blogs.

Consumers Union was a strong advocate for the passage in Congress and the implementation by CPSC of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The CPSIA was a landmark piece of legislation that strengthened CPSC's standing as a regulator and strengthened this nation's product safety net.

I want to thank CU for their steadfast support of the CPSIA.

Consumers Union and Consumer Reports have also played a vital role in providing CPSC with test data showing that certain clothing with drawstrings, lawnmowers, grills, and strollers needed to be recalled.

CPSC and CU share a common goal of creating a more informed public when it comes to product safety risks.

And one of the key ways that Consumers Union is helping families be better informed is through their National School Safety Coalition. CPSC was one of the first agencies to join the coalition and essentially all of the leading educational organizations in the country are part of the coalition.

They are reaching tens of millions of families with recall and general safety information from CPSC, FDA, the FTC, and other groups.

In recognition of the many victories they have achieved on behalf of American consumers, I am so pleased to provide this award to Jim Guest, the President of Consumer Union, the Publisher of Consumer Reports, and a friend of CPSC.

Jim, I am so glad you could be here today to accept this award.

* * *

Our next awardee is someone who I have great respect for and consider one of this nation's leading protectors of the safety of babies.

As the Executive Director of the Chicago-based organization Kids in Danger, Nancy Cowles has helped Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar turned tragedy into advocacy.

Linda and Boaz created Kids in Danger after their son Danny, whose pictures is in my office, died in a defective portable crib that was still being used in a childcare center, after it had killed other children and been recalled.

Nancy is the voice of child safety. Nancy looks out for the interests of families who expect that their nursery products will be the safest products in their home. Nancy honors Danny and all of the children lost too soon by accepting nothing less but the best of government and industry to create the best safety standards for babies.

In 2008, she joined forces with Linda and Boaz and members of Congress to have a section of the CPSIA named after Danny Keysar.

Because of Nancy's efforts, juvenile products are required to have product registration cards. Because of Nancy's efforts, ASTM is creating better safety standards. And because of Nancy's efforts, defective and dangerous children's products get pulled down from online auction sites before they can get passed on to another family.

Families often turn to Nancy for advice and we value the information that she provides to our agency.

It is with great pleasure that I can present a Circle of Commendation Award to Nancy Cowles of Kids in Danger.

* * *

Our fourth awardee has more than two decades of experience in the world of product safety. His expertise is frequently sought for speaking engagements and consultations with companies and organizations around the world.

As President of the Intertek Consumer Goods North America, Gene Rider has been dedicated throughout his career to identifying and improving the safety of products for children.

What is so noteworthy about Gene's efforts is his focus on preventing deaths and injuries to children from choking, strangulation and aspiration.

Like Nancy, Gene has also worked closely with ASTM, as well as The Society of Risk Analysis and the International Consumer Product Safety Organization.

I am so pleased to provide this award to Gene Rider for his dedication to promoting safe product designs.

* * *

Our fifth awardee is a very special doctor. Although he is not here today, he will be joining us on the phone shortly.

Dr. Gary Smith is the founder and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy, of The Research Institute, at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Gary is one of the leading American Academy of Pediatrics spokesmen in this country - you have probably seen him on the network morning shows or seen his quotes in the paper. He has dedicated his life to child injury prevention, and he is an inspirational speaker.

After you hear Gary speak, you come away with a clear understanding of how all of us can take simple steps to protect children from hidden hazards - and keep children out of the hospital.

Dr. Smith has been an active researcher in the field of injury for more than 25 years. He has published more than 100 injury-related articles in peer-reviewed journals and is currently on the editorial board of Pediatrics.

Dr. Smith was honored by the Ohio AAP as the Ohio Pediatrician of the Year in 2003, and by national Section on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the AAP with the Fellow Achievement Award in 2006.

His research focuses on injuries to children and adolescents, including motor vehicle-related injuries, consumer product-related injuries and home safety.

I am so pleased to give Dr. Gary Smith the Circle of Commendation Award. Gary, we greatly appreciate the effort you made to try and be here today, and we are so glad that you could join us on the phone.

Congratulations and please share a few words with everyone.

* * *

Can we please give another round of applause to all of the awardees-they are so deserving of this recognition.

We are going to try and make the Chairman's Circle of Commendation Award an annual award. My staff and I will let the public know next year when we are ready to open up a new round of submissions.

I would like to close my remarks this morning by also recognizing the incredible success that the CPSC staff has had during this past year.

We are an agency in which families can be proud - and it is all because of the people who work in this building, at our national testing center, in the field and at the ports.

From the new crib rule going into effect, to the launch of the database, to new independent testing requirements being established, we are making great strides at CPSC and achieving great victories for consumers.

And, we are a great value for the taxpayer.

I encourage consumers to continue to connect with CPSC-through our website and through social media - so that everyone can be aware of how we are serving your interests every day.

I often say that "CPSC stands for safety." Well on this special day, CPSC is standing up and expressing thanks to five special individuals and organizations that are doing exceptional work to advance product safety.

Thank you once again to the winners and thank you all for coming out today.

Report an unsafe product