The recipient of the 2006 Robert B. Hurley Distinguished Service Award is Jed Bullard, chairman of E.D. Bullard Company, former chairman of ISEA and the National Safety Council, and a passionate exponent of the message that "safety is special."  The award was presented recently at the association's annual awards banquet.

For Jed Bullard, safety has never been just a job. It’s a calling, fueled by a clear-minded understanding that “safety is special, ” that the products made and sold by safety equipment companies occupy a unique role in industry, providing protection to millions of working men and women every day, in every part of the world.

Jed Bullard is chairman of E.D. Bullard Company, a family-owned manufacturer of personal protective equipment headquartered in Cynthiana, Ky.

Safety is a family legacy. Jed’s grandfather, E.W. Bullard, is credited with developing the first hard hat for mines, later adapted for use by construction workers in building the Golden Gate Bridge. Bullard airline respirators were also used by the sandblasters preparing the structure.

Through more than a century of progress and innovation, Bullard has been a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of occupational health and safety equipment for industrial workers and emergency responders.

Jed began his work at Bullard during high school and college. He joined the family business after being graduated from the University of California-Berkeley. Unfortunately, his father, E. W. Bullard Jr., died that June. After two years, Jed returned to school, earning an MBA from Harvard in 1975.

Jed worked at worked for PriceWaterhouse for two years after graduation, then rejoined the family business as general manager of its Detroit distribution company. He returned to Bullard’s Sausalito headquarters as chief financial officer in 1981 and became president and chief executive officer in 1985. Under his leadership, Bullard focused on its manufacturing and related activities in Kentucky, which became the company headquarters in 1991. In 1993, Bullard was one of the first safety equipment manufacturers to become ISO 9001 certified, in its new corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant in Cynthiana.

In 1996, Bullard expanded to Europe with the acquisition of a company in Ulm, Germany. Jed moved to Germany for two years to restructure that operation, assuming the role of chairman when he returned to the USA in 1998.

Jed’s gift to this industry, and to everyone who uses or wears personal protective equipment, is his willingness to use his nearly boundless energy in service of his vision. His understanding of the special nature of safety and health was forged through years of participation in industry organizations, and as he moved into leadership positions he inspired others with his spirit and commitment.

He has served many years as a volunteer and volunteer leader with the National Safety Council, America’s leading safety advocacy organization, rising to that organization’s chairmanship. When he completed his term as chairman of the NSC board in 2005, he was awarded the council’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service to Safety Medal.

But the real beneficiary of Jed’s vision has been the International Safety Equipment Association. For over two decades, he served in volunteer positions in the association, on committee and product group assignments, culminating in his election to the Board of Trustees and the chairmanship in 1996-'98. His term at ISEA will be remembered for his advocacy of the “Big Tent,” trying to bring our distributor partners back into what would be an all-inclusive industry association that would have strength and stature he thought was necessary to face up to changes in the market.

Jed is still active in the industry, still looking for new challenges, still dedicated to the vision that “safety is special.” Working men and women, and the companies that supply the products that protect them, are forever in his debt.

ISEA’s Distinguished Service Award is presented each year in memory of Robert B. Hurley, president of Fendall, Inc., who died in 2002. It honors an individual who, by a single action or the work of a lifetime, has made a significant and lasting contribution to the health and safety of workers.