“To Infinity And Beyond!” – Speaker Insights From The Commercial Space Industry

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“To Infinity And Beyond!” – Speaker Insights From The Commercial Space Industry

Did you know that environment, health, safety and quality (EHSQ) is much more than just an earthly pursuit? In fact, it is reaching the stars. Ahead of our EHS Summit North America, Verdantix gathered insights from one of the speakers at the event, Matt Berg, whose role as Director of Quality, Environment, Health and Safety (QHS&E) at Aegis Aerospace has him shooting for the moon.

We interviewed Matt to provide a sneak peek into the kind of expertise to expect at the upcoming EHS Summit North America, happening in Atlanta, Georgia on the 6th and 7th of November 2024. As Director of QEH&S, Matt’s job is to ensure that all of Aegis Aerospace’s employees nationwide meet or exceed its customers’ expectations without harming themselves or others, and without endangering the environment here on earth, out in space, or onboard current and future space stations.

With the commercial space industry projected to grow to $1.8 trillion by 2035, we’re likely to see growth in EHSQ roles in the sector. Maybe the roles of tomorrow will be on Mars…

Can you tell us more about the unique EHS challenges in the commercial space industry?
Because the vast majority of our customers are government-based (NASA, the NSA, various military branches, and the Department of Defense as a whole), a lot of work is acquired by way of federal contracts. Each contract has different requirements for how the contracted firm’s (i.e. Aegis Aerospace’s) quality, environment, health and safety systems interact with our employees and the contractor. Even at the same location (for example, NASA’s Johnson Space Center) we may have some employees who are under one contract using our firm’s Quality System but not our HSE system. Other employees, who are responsible for health and safety, may use some or none of the Quality system, while the environmental aspects of the work are handled by a different/third party.

You also work on quality management – how do you see quality relating to EHS?
I’ve done a lot of work instituting ISO 14001 and 45001 at other organizations. As ISO 9001 has been the basis of the quality management systems I’ve used or created ever since I was in the civilian workforce, it has been very easy to implement the ISO 14001 and/or 45001 standards. I usually explain the reason to people saying, for example, all you do is replace the word “Quality” in ISO 9001 with the word “Environmental” and you get ISO 14001. The basis of all of these standards are the same: monitoring and measuring, design to meet requirements, non-conformance systems, continuous improvement, auditing process. They’re all the same management systems, regardless of if you’re talking about quality, environment, or health and safety. Further, without even attempting to meet ISO standards, the requirements to have a viable and living system still exists. Many firms, such as mine, have an ISO 9001-certified quality management system, but do not have an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system. At the moment, the cost outweighs the benefits (i.e. no customer requirements) but that does not mean that our system does not meet the standard. Again, it’s easy to do so because the ISO 9001 system is already in place.

At the EHS Summit North America, you will be speaking about contractor management – can you tell us more about the importance of contractor management?
For firms that earn a significant proportion of their revenue from contracts, it’s important that they understand that there is no standard for how the HSE systems of the contractor and contracted parties interact. One contract may require the contracted firm to control all aspects of the health and safety and environmental programmes, while another contract – even from the same organization at the same location – may require that the contracted firm’s employees utilize the contractor’s EHS systems. And there are an infinite number of options to consider. It is therefore important that as soon as a contract or task order is won, that the particulars of the EHS management aspects of employment are considered and documented from the start. Failure to do so can lead to extra time and capital being spent needlessly as the contracted firm attempts to catch up to what the customer’s expectations are.


Matt Berg will be attending the Verdantix EHS Summit North America, which is taking place in Atlanta, Georgia on the 6th and 7th of November. Book your pass here to join Matt Berg, the Verdantix research team, and leading environment, health and safety vendors. See the full speaker line up and event agenda here.

For any further questions on this please contact Moses Makin - [email protected].

Moses Makin

Moses joined Verdantix in 2023 as a Conference Producer in the Events team. His role is to shape the strategy, content and commercial direction of Verdantix events. Before joining Verdantix, Moses worked on conferences related to renewable energy and the early adoption of ‘deep-tech’. These events addressed topics such as energy storage, power purchase agreements, privacy-enhancing technologies, AI hardware, the IoT and animal microbiomes. Moses has a BA in Economics and History from the University of Leeds. Whilst studying for that, he completed a summer exchange in Hong Kong and an internship at the Civil Service.