National Aeronautics and Space Administration
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Assessing and Maintaining a Safety Culture


Safety Culture is a reflection of an organization's values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behavior towards safety and health management. Factors such as personal commitment, communication and learning strongly influence how Safety Culture is developed and applied at an individual level.

Please join us Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. EDT for a live, interactive discussion with six experts:

  • Dr. Tracy Dillinger, Manager, Safety Culture, NASA Headquarters
  • Earl Carnes, Senior Advisor, High Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Rizwan Shah, Organizational Culture Program Advisor, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Captain Jody Bridges, Director, School of Aviation Safety, U.S. Naval Safety Center
  • Jody Hudson, Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Diane Sieracki, Senior Safety Culture Program Manager, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


The discussion will focus on several key themes including

  • Assessing Safety Culture
  • Gaining executive support
  • Employee engagement
  • Training and development
  • Areas on the horizon

Dr. Tracy Dillinger

Dr. Tracy Dillinger is the manager for three programs: Safety Culture, Human Factors in Mishap Investigations and Human Reliability Assessment at NASA Headquarters. Dillinger is the chair of the Safety Culture Working Group and responsible for the NASA Safety Culture Survey, Safety Culture Courses and NASA Organizational Safety Assessments (OSAs).

After 21 years, Dillinger retired as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force (USAF). She was stationed at USAF Safety Center Headquarters as the chief of the Safety Assessment Division from 2005 to 2008 and was the USAF Chief of Aviation Psychology from 1998 to 2008. Earlier, she developed and instituted the OSA program and the Air Force (AF) Culture Assessment Safety Tool as safety prevention tools for leadership.

Dillinger conducted human factors portions of USAF investigations, developed a witness interview guide for use by investigation teams published in AF guidance and spearheaded assessment efforts to identify risks and hazards embedded in USAF organizations.

Dillinger was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003 and the Space Shuttle Independent Assessment Team in 1999.

In 2006, Dillinger was awarded the USAF Chief of Staff Individual Safety Award for her record-breaking contributions to reducing mishap rates while ensuring mission success. She has expertise in pilot personality, witness interviewing, human factors, Safety Culture and organizational dynamics.

She has taught and conducted human factors investigations, organizational assessments and witness interviewing, and has authored several articles in these subjects. Dillinger also has held a license in clinical psychology for the past 19 years.

Dillinger received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Dance and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa, a Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the University of Illinois in Aviation Psychology, and an Honorary Doctor of Psychology degree in Business and Organizational Psychology from CSPP.

Earl Carnes

W. Earl Carnes is the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) senior advisor for high reliability and liaison with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

He has 40 years of private sector and government experience in evaluating and improving operations of complex organizations that perform societally critical missions. For over 20 years, he has served in oversight, policy and advisory positions for the DOE research, nuclear defense and environmental missions. His advisory portfolio includes safety management systems, human performance improvement, safety culture, accident investigation and performance analysis.

External to DOE, he engages with other federal agencies, international bodies, the academic community and the private sector in high reliability collaborations for the nuclear industry, the U.S. electrical transmission grid, health care, petro-chemical operations and transportation. Carnes serves as a member of the INPO safety culture advisory group and is an associate of the University of California Berkeley Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.

Rizwan Shah

Rizwan Shah provides direct consultation (assistance) to the Department of Energy (DOE) as well as contractor senior officials and their organizations on the development, management, assessment and improvement of organizational culture, and performance reliability programs and interventions. He also administers executive coaching and mentoring to department leadership. Shah maintains close contact with field and oversight organizations to ensure the DOE complex is aware of the state of Safety Culture.

Shah leads the development of departmental Safety Culture and guidance documents by working through DOE’s Integrated Safety Management (ISM) process. He helps ensure DOE safety concepts are aligned with and support the department’s strategic and supporting plans. He also provides authoritative advice to department officials on issues that affect organizational and Safety Culture and promotes continuous improvement and consistent implementation.

He works closely with the National Training Center, human capital and others to develop and deliver safety and Safety Culture education and training materials to DOE leaders and personnel. Shah serves as the department’s staff-level liaison with other government, international and professional organizations in the areas of organizational culture and high-reliability organization, among others.

Shah joined DOE after gaining experience in leadership and human resource development, organizational culture, and change management. His experience prior to the DOE spanned 20 years and 13 countries.

Captain Jody Bridges

Captain Jody Bridges is the director of the School of Aviation at the U.S. Naval Safety Center and a U.S. Navy captain. Bridges graduated from Southwest Michigan College, and commissioned and received his Naval Aviator Wings under the Naval Aviation Cadet program.

Previous commands in the U.S. Navy include

1991-1995 Patrol Squadron TEN (VP-10) in Brunswick, Maine. Deployed ISO of Operation DESERT STORM and other operational deployments to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Qualified as P-3C Patrol Plane Commander, Mission Commander and Maintenance Check Pilot.

1995-1997 Commander, Fleet Air Mediterranean in Naples, Italy, where he served as Air Services Coordinator, Mediterranean (ASCOMED) Watch Officer. Coordinated Air Logistics for deployed units.

1997-2000 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) as a Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer, AKA “Shooter.” Multiple deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf.

2001-2003 "World Famous Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron NINE (VP-9) in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Participated in OEF, OEF-P and OIF. Served as Squadron Maintenance Officer and Det OIC.

2003-2007 Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN (CPRW-11) in Jacksonville, Florida as the Wing Maintenance Officer.

2007-2010 Training Squadron THREE (VT-3) in Pensacola, Florida as the Executive Officer and Commanding Officer.

2010-2011 Base Command Group, COB Al Asad, Iraq as the Deputy Base Commander.

2011-2012 Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) in Pensacola, Florida as the Operations Officer.

2012-Current Naval Aviation Schools Command as Director, School of Aviation Safety.

Jody Hudson

Jody Hudson currently serves as the deputy chief human capital officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) where he has held that position since July 2012.  Prior to that assignment Mr. Hudson served as NRC’s Chief Learning Officer (CLO) for three years where he was the responsible executive for the full breadth of workforce learning and development, organizational development, and knowledge management programs at NRC. NRC holds the distinction of currently being rated number one in Training & Development by the Partnership for Public Service and has been ranked number one or number two best place to work in federal government for the last five years.

Prior to joining NRC, Mr. Hudson served for four years as the Department of Energy’s (DOE) first CLO.  At DOE he was the lead executive for organizational learning and development, recruiting and internships, and human capital business automation programs. 

Prior to joining DOE, Mr. Hudson worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for twenty-one years where he led a broad range of environmental program management, regulatory, scientific and administrative programs.

He graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and has completed graduate studies in IT Management at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri and at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Diane Sieracki

Diane Sieracki is a Senior Safety Culture Program Manager in the Office of Enforcement at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). She functions as the lead for the safety culture efforts related to the external regulated communities, including all licensees and certificate holders. Ms. Sieracki led the efforts for the development and publication of a Safety Culture Policy Statement (SCPS)applicable to all licensees, and continues to lead the efforts to continue dialogue and education with external stakeholders with respect to the SCPS based on Commission direction. She is Involved in International safety culture efforts with the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) and is currrently assisting with development of a Technical Document related to Oversight of Safety Culture. Ms. Sieracki has over 25 years of experience in the nuclear power field and was responsible for all Safety Conscious Work Environment activities as well as Safety Culture activities for a large domestic nuclear power owner for ten year as the Fleet Manager of the Employee Concerns Program. Ms. Sieracki has a Master Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior, Bachelors Degrees in Business Administration and Accounting, and an Associate Degree in Legal Program. She also completed the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota as well as the Leadership Academy sponsored by Dominion Resources Service, Inc.

Assessing and Maintaining a Safety Culture


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