Chapter News

2023-2024 Executive Committee Candidates

Please see the slate of candidates for 2023-2024 chapter year as submitted by the Nominations and Elections Committee:

Doug Gaylord – President

Frieda Sanders – President-Elect

Matt Machles – Secretary, last year

Jay Sprankle – Treasurer, last year

Ogaga Tebehaevu – Advisory Board Member

Robin Barfield – Advisory Board Member

MARCH 2023

A New Season Begins

“It’s spring again – a time of rebirth as the natural world wakes up and revives after going dormant in the winter months.” – Better Place Forests.

Spring is often described as a season of new life, change, creativity, and adaptation. To some, it is a great time of renewal to gain insight into making new moves, setting new goals, or seeing through one’s goals. Regardless of our perspective about spring, a key message I would like to share with us this month is the need to continue to grow, professionally and otherwise.

Environmental Health and Safety professionals are not stagnant. Rather, we find ways to inspire ourselves, trying new experiences to become better stakeholders. The efforts we make each day in our respective roles contribute to making the world a safer and healthier place. When we continue to grow, it helps us impact our team positively and create good memories. And the more memories we create for ourselves and the people around us, the better it’ll be when we reflect upon these unprecedented times in the distant future.

This month is also a new season for our chapter. For the first time in over two years, we will be meeting in person for the chapter executive committee and technical meetings. On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to thank you all. The support that we have been receiving since late 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began is remarkable. There has been sustained progress in membership growth and engagement despite the challenge of not being able to meet face-to-face for some time now.

I am happy that we are finally back! We hope you would consider joining us at next week’s technical meeting featuring Dr. Mike Behm and Ashley Heien, who both will speak on “Safety Function Metamorphosis.” Depending on the time you are reading this message, you may either join the event live or virtually next week or view the archived recording online. See the chapter website for more details:

Finally, you should be receiving an update in the next couple of weeks on the slate of candidates for the 2023-2024 chapter year. This (leadership positions) will also be posted on the chapter website for up to 30 days before being voted for at next month’s chapter meeting. As always, your presence and vote would ensure a seamless leadership transition for the next chapter year.

Thank you all for all you do and have a great month!

Ogaga Tebehaevu, MS, CIH, CSP


Elyse Barrick, CSP, WELL AP

Senior Manager & Site Lead EHS

Biogen Gene Therapy

Elyse Barrick is the Senior Manager, EHS and site lead for Biogen’s Gene Therapy facility currently under construction in Research Triangle Park, NC. After graduating with her BS in Environmental Sciences from the University of Toledo, she started her environmental career serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua teaching community environmental programs for 3-6 grade students. Upon returning to the US, she moved to Raleigh/Durham to start her first career position as an environmental scientist for an environmental and engineering consulting firm, mostly focused water and wastewater projects for the US government.

While leaving her office building one afternoon, the EHS project manager stopped her to correct an at-risk action of walking down the stairs while texting (her friend about Taylor Swift!) and it started a career shift that led her into the full environmental, health, and safety field.  A few short weeks later, the same project manager reached out about the opportunity to provide some EHS consulting for a client in Santiago, Chile.  Over the next few years, she supported the start-up of the client’s data center facility, built out their ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 (now ISO 45001) management structure, and developing a solid understanding of South American EHS regulations.

As Elyse realized that she thoroughly enjoyed the field of Environmental, Health, and Safety, she decided to transition back to a US based role working as on-site EHS specialist for Valspar and later a Sr. EHS Specialist for BioMerieux.  While at BioMerieux, she was able to focus on manufacturing and laboratory safety, process improvements through LEAN and obtained her Certified Safety Professional designation.  Most recently, she was the Safety Program Manager at RTI International and led achievement of the WELL Health and Safety Certification as response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Currently, she is focused on the start-up of operations at Biogen’s Gene Therapy facility, with a strong focus on building a sustainable management system, biological and recombinant DNA safety programs, and regulatory compliance programs.

Outside of work, she loves being outside, traveling with her husband, and learning about all types of construction equipment with her 3-year-old son. She loves to help her colleagues achieve success by providing them a safe and productive workplace and committing to Biogen’s patients by providing them with safe and quality treatments.