I am Stephen W. Hemperly.
I hold a B.A. degree in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and a M.S. degree in environmental health from the University of Texas, School of Public Health at Houston. Having also worked for federal-OSHA, Cal/OSHA, an industrial hygiene consulting firm, and a large health maintenance organization, my safety and health experience spans 30 years.
Currently I provide industrial hygiene services in San Jose, California at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, a manufacturer of hard disk drives
My work with lasers began when I became LSO at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California in 1991. I was the LSO at that facility until 2003 when I was asked to become a member of the Occupational Health and Safety Services department within a newly-formed company, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies which included the storage systems technology portion of the IBM research center as well as a nearby IBM hard disk manufacturing facility in San Jose.
Becoming an LSO
I was given the assignment to be the LSO when another member of the Environment, Health & Safety department with the LSO duties left the IBM research facility in which I was working. I had only limited previous involvement with lasers and had to learn quickly about laser safety and the laser safety program that had only become fully developed during the previous year. My first assignment as LSO was to help facilitate the installation of entryway access controls at the various laser laboratories in the facility. I credit much of my success as an LSO to my mentors in laser safety, which includes members of the Bay Area Laser Safety Officers (BALSO) like Ken Barat and Dewey Sprague. I am also indebted to Matt Kotowski, my LSO predecessor at IBM, and R. Timothy Hitchcock, another colleague formerly at IBM. In addition, I am thankful for what I have learned from other members of the Laser Institute of America and the laser safety community: David Sliney, Jim Rockwell, Wesley Marshall, Gene Moss, Will Arthur, and Cathy Scogin to name a few.
I like being the LSO, but I do find it a challenge to fit my LSO responsibilities in with the many other duties I have in my role as an industrial hygienist with the company at which I work.
Becoming a CLSO
Becoming a CLSO back in March of 2003 has been beneficial to my career by adding a level of professionalism to what I do in my role as LSO. In addition, the need to maintain my LSO certification, as well as my certified industrial hygienist (CIH) and certified safety professional (CSP) credentials provides justification for my attending various professional meetings -- for example, the International Laser Safety Conference and the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition. I consider a real privilege to attend and participate in these events so that I can learn from individuals more knowledgeable than myself.