NORTHBROOK, Ill. — June 24, 2009 — Underwriters Laboratories (UL) today announced that James M. Shannon has been elected to UL’s board of trustees.

Mr. Shannon is currently president and chief executive officer of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the world’s leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety.  Mr. Shannon is responsible for launching several key NFPA initiatives, including: establishing the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, a national group committed to saving lives and preventing injuries by reducing the threat of cigarette-ignited fires; and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative – Bringing Safety Home, an effort to get home sprinklers in new one and two family homes.  He has also testified before Congress to advocate for enhancing safety and Homeland Security resources for firefighters, based on findings from NFPA’s report, "A Needs Assessment Study of the U.S. Fire Service."

"We are honoured to have Jim on UL’s Board of Trustees," said Keith Williams, UL president and CEO.  "Being a long-time, dedicated advocate for the advancement of fire safety makes him a natural fit to help guide UL in its efforts to advance fire science and enhance the fire safety community’s understanding of modern fire hazards."

Mr. Shannon was formerly NFPA Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Prior to his work at NFPA, Mr. Shannon was known as a consumer and civil rights advocate with as the Massachusetts Attorney General from 1987 to 1991. He was a senior partner in the Boston offices of Hale & Dorr from 1985 to 1987 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, where he served on the Ways and Means Committee. 

"Jim’s distinguished 30-year career of public service demonstrates leadership and advocacy that will no doubt compliment our goal of promoting safety worldwide," said Fred Marcon, chairman of UL’s board of trustees.

Mr. Shannon earned a bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University and his JD at George Washington University School of Law.