The ResponsibleAg Board of Directors today announced the selection of Bill Qualls, CPEA, as the organization's new executive director.
"We are thrilled to welcome someone with Bill's experience and skills as Executive Director," said J. Billy Pirkle, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "His leadership and results-driven focus will help build on existing support and generate stakeholder recognition of ResponsibleAg."
Qualls' responsibilities will include retailer and auditor recruiting, monitoring an effective quality assurance program, and advising the Board on opportunities to improve the program.
He comes to ResponsibleAg from the Eastman Chemical Company, where he served as Lead Auditor for Global Environmental, Health, and Safety. He has an outstanding track record in managing EHS projects, having developed and delivered Eastman Chemical Company's 40 manufacturing facility EHS audit program.
Qualls' work included the revamp of the existing program from a consultant-led effort to the development and training of an internal audit team, development of risk-based audit program, and development of targeted audits at manufacturing sites. He also has experience in the regulatory, consulting and manufacturing arenas; expertise in project and association management; relationship building and budget management.
Qualls currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of the Auditing Roundtable and on the Board of Governors of the Institute of Internal Auditors. He is a Certified Professional Environmental Auditor and holds a bachelor's in chemistry and biology from Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. and a master's in environmental engineering from Oklahoma State University.
He grew up on a small, diversified family farm in Arkansas and spent summers working at a 3,000-acre livestock and forestry agriculture research farm driving tractors; cutting, bailing and hauling hay; and tending livestock.
Qualls is excited to integrate his agricultural background with his EHS experience to help ResponsibleAg.
"My goal is to encourage involvement in this worthwhile effort," he said. "And to better equip fertilizer retailers with the tools to continuously improve their environmental, health and safety efforts so they are widely recognized as a model of compliance and trusted neighbors."
ResponsibleAg was formed by the fertilizer industry in 2014 to promote public welfare by assisting agribusinesses in complying with federal environmental, health, safety and security rules regarding the safe handling and storage of fertilizer products.
The organization provides participating retail agribusinesses a federal regulatory compliance assessment relating to the safe storage and handling of fertilizers, recommendations for corrective action where needed, and a robust suite of resources to assist in this regard.
ResponsibleAg has compiled a checklist of federal regulatory requirements applicable to the storage and handling of fertilizer. The checklist, developed by a technical committee comprised of industry regulatory professionals, contains more than 320 questions. Auditors credentialed under the ResponsibleAg Certification Program use this checklist to assess compliance with federal regulations at each participating facility.