Association Launches Executive Search for Permanent Leadership

Steve Gardner

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Board of Trustees has selected Steve Gardner to serve as interim CEO during the association’s executive search for a permanent president. Gardner will begin his role with ISEA on December 6, alongside current ISEA President & CEO Charles Johnson, whose tenure with ISEA concludes December 24, 2021.

“ISEA has a wonderfully productive and effective team, and Steve will complement and support them well in this position,” said ISEA Chairman Tom Votel. “With his previous association executive experience, he’s well-equipped to ensure ISEA maintains its strong financial position and growing membership and help us successfully execute our exciting plans for the coming year.”

Prior to joining ISEA. Steve served as senior counsel at NorthStar Policy Navigation working with associations and certification projects. Steve also served as the Corn Refiners Association chief operations officer and corporate secretary, where he provided leadership, management and strategic vision.

Steve has held senior communications positions at the American Chemistry Council, the Aluminum Association, and the US Pharmacopeial Convention. He has led industry-wide programs in reputation management, chemical plant security, sustainability, packaging, recycling, transportation and more. He managed the Chinese Premier’s visit to the USP facility in Shanghai in 2015 and has spoken at industry conferences throughout the US and in Mexico, Brazil, India, and the UK.

Tom added, “We’re thrilled Steve is able to begin his work immediately so that he has ample time to onboard with CEO Chuck Johnson before his departure at the end of this year.”

The ISEA Board of Trustees is working with Sterling | Martin Associates, an executive search firm that specializes in finding senior staff for associations, to conduct a thorough search for a new ISEA president.

About ISEA
The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is the trade association for personal protective equipment and technologies. Its member companies, united in the goal of protecting the health and safety of workers worldwide, are global leaders in the design, manufacture, testing, and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), which protects more than 111 million workers across the U.S. Since 1933, ISEA has been a recognized leader in the development of ANSI-accredited safety equipment standards, in the United States and around the world. ISEA works with Congress and government agencies to consult with policymakers whose decisions affect the industry. 

Nationwide, the safety equipment industry supports 345,001 total jobs and generates more than $71.6 billion in economic activity. In 2020, the safety equipment industry paid $5 billion in federal taxes and nearly $4 billion in state taxes, for a total tax generation of $9 billion. For more information visit