Skip to main content
Ewing, Girtz move to into director, deputy director roles in Environment, Safety and Health Department
Constance Walter

Ewing named ESH director

For nearly three years, Julie Ewing served as the Health and Safety superintendent at Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). She managed a team that focused on working planning and controls and training, ensuring safety programs were current and consistent. She also led the efforts to develop and implement SURF’s COVID-19 controls.

“SURF has done a great job responding to the pandemic,” Ewing said. “I’m proud of the work the team did to support SURF and to ensure a safe workplace for our employees, contractors and science collaborations during a very difficult and challenging time.”

In early April, Ewing took on a new role at SURF: director of Environment, Safety and Health (ESH).

“I’m excited about this new role for many reasons,” Ewing said. “I’ll be working with a great team of ESH leaders and field staff who are committed to keeping personnel, partners and visitors to SURF safe—both on the surface and underground.”

Ewing said she is also looking forward to greater interactions with field staff and hearing what they have to say. “You have to listen to front-line workers to be successful.”

Mike Headley, executive director for the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA), said Ewing was selected because of her strong background in safety.

“Julie has more than two decades of ESH leadership and is a real team builder. We are thrilled she’s leading our SURF ESH Department and joining our SDSTA Executive Team,” Headley said.

In addition to working with the SURF team, Ewing will work closely with experiment collaborations, contractors, and SURF’s national and international partners.

“I’m looking forward to strengthening partnerships with our stakeholders and building on the existing safety program,” she said. “SURF has a great safety culture and a program that continues to improve all the time. We have top-notch employees who take pride in their work and are dedicated to working safely and looking out for others. I want to support them and help this organization continue to be successful.”

Ewing and her husband, TJ, live on a ranch with their three children. “Their hobbies have become my hobbies. I watch them participate in basketball, track, volleyball and rodeo. I enjoy spending time with my family—and our horses.”


Girtz takes on role of Deputy ESH Director

Pete Girtz has worked in the field of safety for more than 15 years, the last five at Sanford Underground Research Facility. As the Environment, Safety and Health Plan, Program and Training supervisor, he developed and delivered training programs and helped update and maintain ESH policy and procedure.  

Recently Girtz was named deputy ESH director. While he plans to continue to assist with training programs, his focus will shift a bit to implementing work planning and controls procedures, developing and maintaining documentation, and assisting the ESH director with risk management processes.

“I’m excited about the mission of Sanford Lab and blessed to have the  opportunity to work here,” Girtz said. “I look forward to working as the deputy director and working with the great folks who pass through the gates every day.”

Julie Ewing, newly appointed ESH director, said she is grateful that Girtz took on this new role. “Pete has been an integral part of the ESH team for many years, and I am confident his expertise and positive attitude will add to the organization’s success.”

When he’s not working on safety programs or developing training, Girtz likes to spend time with his family in the great outdoors. He’s also a Harley and Mustang enthusiast—“anything with lots of horsepower.”