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Administrative Assistant Creates “Blind Spot Safety” Campaign and Drives Away with AMA’s 2009 Innovation Award

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10/5/2009
Julie Irving, an administrative assistant at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls, Idaho, received American Management Association’s (AMA) 2009 Innovation Award for Administrative Professionals. Ms. Irving was on hand at the 17th Annual Administrative Professionals Conference in Orlando, Florida, to receive a plaque recognizing her innovative contributions to her company and to the larger community. She also received a free trip to the conference compliments of AMA.

AMA’s Innovation Award for Administrative Professionals celebrates outstanding examples of creative problem solving and innovation in administrative support. The primary purpose of the award, now in its eleventh year, is to serve as an inspiration to administrative professionals as they advance in their professional development and seek new knowledge and skills.

Ms. Irving’s innovation, “Blind Spot Safety,” is an education campaign that raises awareness about the dangers of vehicle back-over accidents that kill and injure thousands of children each year. As part of the campaign, Ms. Irving and a team of colleagues created posters, pamphlets, a demonstration video and an interactive blind spot safety presentation, which they presented to hundreds of co-workers at safety meetings. The laboratory has an active safety culture that encourages employees to observe and address safety concerns at work and in the community.

“The goal of our presentations was to educate people on just how large the blind spot can be behind a vehicle,” Ms. Irving said. “We did this by having them participate in interactive blind spot safety demonstrations that utilized full-size vehicles and props to measure ‘what they thought they could see,’ versus ‘what they actually could see.’ After the presentation, they stood in amazement with a newfound realization of blind spots,” Ms. Irving said.

Her “Blind Spot Safety” campaign eventually reached beyond the walls of her organization to educate a much larger audience. She has presented it at a regional conference and to over 10,000 adults and children at local events during the past two years.

“Presenting to the children was the most rewarding,” Ms. Irving said. It provided an opportunity to explain the hazards of playing near parked or moving vehicles. Teenagers, just learning to drive, were also shocked at the realization of the dangers from blind spots, Ms. Irving said.

To be eligible for the Innovation Award, an innovation must have been developed and implemented by administrative professionals and must provide tangible, sustainable and replicable examples of excellence that can assist others facing similar work and productivity issues.

Entries are judged on the basis of documented positive results related to at least one of the following: cost savings, efficiency, productivity, problem solving, problem prevention, employee morale, accuracy and integrity of operations, customer satisfaction, organizational effectiveness and organizational communication.

About Idaho National Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory is the U.S. Department of Energy’s leading center of nuclear energy research and development where more than 4,000 researchers and support staff work with national and international governments, universities and industry partners to deliver energy and national security solutions and expand the frontiers of science and technology.

About AMA
American Management Association (www.amanet.org) is a world leader in talent development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—learning through doing—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research. Organizations worldwide, including the majority of the Fortune 500, turn to AMA as their trusted partner in professional development and draw upon its experience to enhance skills, abilities and knowledge with noticeable results from day one.