Northern California SESHA Region - A Brief Look Back
By Lee Neal - SSA Original Founder

The Nor/Cal Region of SSA/SESHA was established in 1979 by two of SESHA's original founders -Ed Sawicki (Intel) and Lee Neal (Fairchild).

The success of SSA's (now known as SESHA) International ESH Conferences in the late 1970's provided a much-needed forum to share critical EHS information and best practices in the growing microelectronics industry. SSA's Board of Directors (BOD) embarked on an initiative to extend, at the local level, a platform for ESH professionals to share ideas, via Regional Chapters, to continue the communication in between annual conferences, about new processes & procedures, and improve the knowledge and professionalism of Company ESH Representatives, who lacked training/education in the field(s) they supervised.

It should be noted the Semiconductor/Electronics Industry was a much different work place in the 1960/1970's than today. While companies including, but not limited to, Texas Instruments, Motorola, AT&T, HP and Fairchild had fully staffed departments and developed policies & procedures, the same was not true across the industry. Many start-up companies, in Northern California had only a single person responsible for all EHS disciplines and the quality of their programs was contingent on that person's knowledge or lack thereof. Some safety training was available via ASSE and the Nat'l Safety Council and these associations were extremely helpful for basic skills development - however there was no forum for microelectronics specific training and education.

So, with this void of education and resources, the SSA BOD established the Northern California Chapter with three (3) goals in mind:

Provide a forum for industry ESH professionals to share experiences, programs & procedures with fellow members with the priority to improve and maintain a safe working environment for employees throughout the industry through periodic monthly to quarterly meetings Establish and interface with industry related Organizations/Associations including SEMI, SIA and Fire Authorities in the region to incorporate safety controls into future equipment, utilize existing communication lists to distribute ESH data nationwide and work with local fire authorities to improve their knowledge and understanding of industry Focus on communication and education on priority ESH concerns by establishing a multi-day regional ESH conference.

As such, the Northern California Chapter has been instrumental in identifying and addressing some of the most important challenges facing the industry that include, but are not limited to:

Silane Storage & Dispensing
Corrosive Atmosphere Sprinkler Protection
Workplace Monitoring
Equipment Safety & Implementation
Chemical Storage & Handling
Fire & Building Safety, and
Secondary Containment of Storage tanks/piping.

Many of Nor Cal Chapter members have become prominent speakers at SESHA's international conferences, and, as a direct result of their efforts affected significant changes to equipment, construction and environmental protection.

The original SSA Board members have been succeeded by a long line of SESHA advocates who share the spirit and commitment to fulfilling the original objectives of the organization. Several Northern California Chapter members who have served in a regional capacity have stepped forward to serve SESHA at the National/International level that include Andy McIntyre, Mike Williams, Aimee Bordeaux, Lewis Scarpace, Richard Bolmen and Susan Creighton.

Today, the Northern California Region continues to provide a critical need for its constituents. If you are currently residing in Northern California, but have not been active, SESHA invites you to join the Chapter and make your voice(s) heard. There's room for everyone with a number of EHS challenges yet to be addressed.