Affecting Change: Alumnus Turns Passion Into Career
This is the seventh and last in a summer series of alumni spotlights focusing on graduates of Orrville High School in Orrville, Ohio who went on to major in what was formerly known as the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health program, and is now known as Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability at University of Findlay. All of the articles in this series were written by Randy Van Dyne, who directed University of Findlay’s All Hazards Training Center, and was also an instructor, before retiring in 2019.
In high school, Kevin Weber ’17 was looking for a future career path and wanted a job in the environmental field. He knew the job market was growing, and the ESOH/EHSS program at University of Findlay combined several subjects and areas of study that would ensure success regardless of the career path chosen. He also knew the ESOH/EHSS major was unique and he appreciated the multiple career paths the degree afforded. He thought Findlay “felt like a great city” and that the UF campus was very welcoming; small enough to be able to focus on grades and education, yet big enough to always have something to do.
While at UF, Weber was a member of OESHO Club, a fraternity brother of Eta Mu Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity, and a member of club lacrosse. He took full advantage of three different internships while at the University, including Gandee and Associates in Westerville/Akron, Ohio, where he was a resident project representative for asbestos/lead-based paint removal projects; Newman Technology, Inc. in Mansfield, Ohio, who are an automotive parts manufacturer/supplier to Honda; and GE Lighting, Bucyrus/Circleville, Ohio, a fluorescent lamp and lightbulb manufacturer.
Upon graduation, Weber worked as a safety technician for Tesla, Inc. in Sparks, Nevada, where he was involved in coordinating compliance actions for all corporate directives and applicable regulations, implementing and auditing EHS programs, identifying projects for safety and environmental improvements, creating a compliance calendar to track inspections or actions to be executed for federal, state, and local compliance, and coordinating and conducting training for employees.
Weber is currently employed as an EHS Technician for Eaton Corp., in Reno, Nevada, where his job responsibilities include overall compliance with respect to local, state, and federal regulation as well as maintaining examples of company requirements and EHS best practices.
What Weber said he likes most about the EHS profession is the opportunity to affect change, whether that means finding ways to complete a job more safely or providing insight on how a process could be improved. “Also,” he said, “a unique opportunity for EHS professionals is to give individuals the tools, knowledge, and experience to raise the standard of how a task or process is performed.” Weber added that he likes working as part of a team to solve problems and provide a better workplace for all the employees he interacts with.
Some of the best memories of his experience at UF, Weber recollected, were creating the lifelong friendships he still has to this day. “The program provided me with a great network I can always reach out to with any question,” he said. He credits much of his success to the faculty in the ESOH/EHSS program and the knowledge they provided, adding that they are very knowledgeable within their given expertise and really care about both the well-being and success of their students. He especially always looked forward to [assistant professor of environmental, safety, and occupational health management Grant W.] Wilkinson’s classes and his emails to the class.
What Weber wants students to know about potential careers in Environmental Safety and Health is that more and more employers are interested in soft skills like teamwork, communication, and willingness to learn. “Make sure you work on these skills throughout your college experience and continue working on them during your career,” he said. “Also, follow your passion. Turn that passion into a career. There are countless careers in EHS that can involve your passion daily. Do not limit yourself on what you pursue or want to learn about based on what you see right in front of you initially. Take control of your career and research anything and everything about how to incorporate your passion into your career.”