The Printing & Imaging Association of MidAmerica (PIA MidAmerica) has named Stewart Belden of Valassis as the 2013 recipient of the Gary R. Reniker Environmental Health and Safety Professional of the Year Award. The announcement was made at the Valassis facility in Wichita, Kansas, before a group of his Valassis peers in late January, and he will be recognized at the Association’s annual Awards Gala in Kansas City, MO on May 9, 2013.
“Stewart has been a safety leader and trusted mentor to other printers for as long as we have offered Environmental, Health, and Safety services,” said Brian Rutherford, Regulatory Specialist, PIA MidAmerica. “He has hosted conferences, opened up his facility for other printers to use as a benchmark, and implemented programs that were expanded not only through Valassis Manufacturing, but nationwide through the PrintGuard Program. He has supplied job hazard analysis, case studies, test and monitoring results and expertise without expecting anything in return, and he does it all in the name of making the workplace safer and healthier for all who enter it.”
Stewart started working at Valassis over 25 years ago as a forklift driver in the warehouse. Over the years, he has progressed through several departments and ultimately landed in his current job as Supervisor of the Plate Imaging, Quality Assurance and Bindery/Inserting Departments. He has been the primary safety coordinator at the Wichita printing division since 1999.
“My proudest moment as a safety coordinator came in 2009 when the governor of Kansas presented us with our Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certification. SHARP recognizes more than good intentions; it recognizes a systematic approach to workplace safety that results in lower injury and illness rates,” Stewart beamed. “This is the first time one of our printing divisions received any government recognition like this!”
Stewart lives in Andover, KS with Diane, his wife of 29 years, who works for the publisher of Splurge! Magazine. Stu and Diane have two daughters, Jacqueline and Haley. Jacqueline recently graduated from Wichita State University (WSU) and Haley is about to complete her sophomore year at WSU.