This is the third 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.
Jared Kirk ’06 learned about the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health program (now known as Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability) at University of Findlay by coming to campus with several other students, and subsequently decided to major in ESOH because the program, he said, “seemed really cool” and he liked the small campus atmosphere.
Kirk was very active while at UF. He was a president of the ESOH program’s OESHO club; he helped form and was president of the Findlay Martial Arts club with Dr. Tim Murphy; he was hired as an intern at Pro-Tec Coating in Leipsic, Ohio, and also worked as a field technician at Compass Environmental in the summers.
He explained that he liked being a part of “a small tight knit group that liked to have fun with the best professors on campus,” and also felt that the ESOH degree was a great starting point due to being able to work with professors who had practical, real life experience in the profession. He later found there would be a steep learning curve wherever he worked, but he felt that UF prepared him well for it.
Among Kirk’s best memories of his time at UF is meeting his wife Stephanie, who is from Barrington, New Hampshire, and was a freshman in the equine science program when the two met. After her freshmen year she decided to transfer back to New Hampshire for her sophomore year until Jared proposed to her after graduating in December of 2006. Dr. Murphy officiated at their wedding in August 2007 in Dover, New Hampshire. Stephanie, after promising former UF professor Jim Jaffe that she would obtain her bachelor’s degree, eventually graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
Upon graduation, Kirk worked for several Honda suppliers, eventually landing at Polaris Industries where he oversaw five sites in Ohio, South Dakota and California until he and Stephanie decided to relocate to New Hampshire where he obtained a position with Teledyne DGO in Portsmouth as an HSE Engineer.
As an Industrial Hygienist for the Navy Medical Readiness and Training Unit, Kirk conducts noise, air and material samples that can impact a person’s immediate or long term health and provides that person and their shop/code with the recommendation on how to mitigate the hazard the person is exposed to. The recommendation can range from engineering controls to better PPE selection, as it all depends on the hazard.
Kirk said he thoroughly enjoys the EHS profession, as it has given him many opportunities to learn different manufacturing practices. He enjoys working with people, and making their work environments safer and healthier places to work on a daily basis. He cautioned, however, that while working in safety for large scale manufacturing, you need to be prepared to see things like severe lacerations, amputations, and possibly even fatalities.
As for advice to students about potential careers in Environmental Safety and Health he said that the opportunities and destinations are limitless, so be sure to pick an industry that you might be interested in, “and there is probably an EHS position available there.”