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Leadership Team

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Founded and managed by former senior management staff and safety experts from the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Directorate of Training and Education, Global OSHA is uniquely qualified to develop and administer occupational safety and health training programs and courses for workers and safety professionals. 


James D. Barnes


Jim Barnes formerly worked for headquarters installations for both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Postal Service.  While at OSHA (2002-2018), he served as Director of Training Programs and Administration.  Jim oversaw dramatic growth in the OTI Education Center Program, developed the Outreach Training Program for Maritime, directed the Susan Harwood Training Grant program, and served as administrative officer.  He also served as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary, where he led initiatives which significantly improved employee engagement.  During his career at OSHA, Jim received 19 Secretary's Exceptional Achievement Awards and also earned the Assistant Secretary’s OSHA Commendation Coin Award, which is the Agency’s highest employee honor.  Jim earned an MBA cum laude from Roosevelt University. 

Jim has served as a volunteer for the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) since 2015, when he was elected to the Board of Directors.  From 2017-2020, he also served the organization as Treasurer and as a member of its Executive Committee.  During the last half of 2019, he served as Interim CEO.  He participated on Strategic Planning Committees in 2018 and 2020.  Jim was recognized by IACET with the 2020 Distinguished Service Award. 

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Henry E. Payne, PhD


Hank Payne formerly worked for headquarters installations for both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration.  While at OSHA (1998-2015), he directed all technical training activities for agency staff, and OSHA training programs for the general public.  He represented OSHA and the US Department of Labor (USDOL) in a number of international training initiatives.  This includes overseeing the training for supervisors and inspectors for both Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement; leading the OSHA effort on training and education activities and sharing of best practices in safety and health training as a part of four US/EU Joint Conferences on Occupational Safety and Health; and conducting on-site consultation and training for safety and health inspectors in India in both Faridabad and New Delhi in coordination with USDOL's International Labor Organization.  He collaborated with industry stakeholders and advisory groups, including the Advisory Council on Construction Safety and Health.  Hank earned a PhD from Oklahoma University. 

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Charles J. Shields

Executive Director, Academy Operations

Charlie Shields formerly worked on the frontlines of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for more than 36 years, starting as a compliance officer and serving in field and management positions at the area, state plan, regional, and national levels. He was an OSHA manager for 27+ years, managing teams of industrial hygienists, safety specialists, engineers, and training specialists.  Charlie was the Area Director in the North Aurora OSHA office, directing the OSHA enforcement and outreach program for a territory which covered 17 counties, and more than one million workers.  As Assistant Regional Administrator, he coordinated enforcement efforts for OSHA Region 5, covering six Midwest states, one of OSHA’s largest regions. He was a strong proponent in promoting communication and outreach in these positions, conducting over 300 presentations and issuing OSHA’s first electronic mail general industry and construction newsletters.


Charlie directed OSHA’s national training facility - the OSHA Training Institute (OTI), advancing worker safety through effective training of state and federal OSHA compliance officers. He was responsible for course content, scheduling, implementation of hands-on training, testing, webinars and course evaluation.  Charlie was actively involved with the OTI Education Centers, and contributed to program improvements in areas involving learning objectives, curriculum, assessments, and quality assurance.


Charlie earned both Certified Industrial Hygienist and Certified Safety Specialist certifications. He received numerous awards including OSHA Innovator of the Year, OSHA Leadership Award, OSHA Area Office of the Year, 12 Secretary of Labor Exceptional Achievement Awards, and the DOL Distinguished Career Award.  Charlie earned an MS in Industrial Health from the University of Michigan.



Certified Industrial Hygienist 1981-2013, American Board of Industrial Hygiene

Certified Safety Professional 2003-2013, Board of Certified Safety Professional

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists 1983-2013, ACGIH Executive Board Member 2000-2003


Ernest Thompson

Senior Consultant

Ernest Thompson formerly worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in various capacities during his 42-year career with the agency.  These positions included enforcement, curriculum development, administration, and training programs.  He implemented the OTI Education Center program in 1992 and managed the program for a decade.  As Chief for the Office of Training and Educational Programs, he also oversaw the Outreach Training Program, the Susan Harwood Training Grant program, and Resource Center Loan Program.  In his role as Deputy Director, Directorate of Training and Education from 2006-2015, he oversaw the design and development of all OSHA training programs, including online training and webinars.  Ernest earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University.

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Don Guerra

Director, Global Outreach

Don Guerra formerly worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as manager for the USDOL Outreach Training Program.  During his 20-year career at OSHA, Don was the face of the Outreach Training Program, where he oversaw exponential growth for the outreach training program, initiated online outreach training, and coordinated the development of outreach programs for disaster site workers and maritime workers.  Don worked with industry stakeholders as he drafted and updated program requirements to ensure they reflected current industry needs and best practices.  He received numerous Secretary's Exceptional Achievement Awards.  Don earned an MBA from Miami University. 

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Michelle Barnes

Director, Online Programs

Michelle Barnes has extensive experience in the development of training curriculum, training delivery, and design and implementation online training programs.  She has developed training programs for government and private sector organizations.  Michelle led the project team in the conceptualization, design, and development of the Global OSHA course #550 Fundamentals of Adult Training.  She oversees the Learning Management System (LMS) for Global OSHA, and directed the online deployment of Global OSHA #100 series courses for Construction Worker Safety, General Worker Safety, Healthcare Worker Safety, and Delivery & Distribution Worker Safety.  She has served as an adjunct instructor for Harper College.  Michelle earned a Master’s degree in Training and Development cum laude from Roosevelt University. 

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Brent Lever

Director, Operations Integration

Brent Lever worked for U.S. Postal Service headquarters in various management positions.  These positions included operations, marketing, contract analysis, and e-commerce.  He worked with National Account customers in developing mailing and shipping solutions for improvements in delivery and customer service.  Brent collaborated with customers, third-party vendors, technology providers, and Postal operations in coordinating implementation on a national level.  He later managed the headquarters e-commerce team in marketing a suite of new Web-based Postal services for direct mail, bill payment, and secure messaging, and coordinated national training initiatives for field personnel. Brent earned a BS from University of Utah.

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