“Had it not been for UF I don’t think I would have ever discovered what I wanted to do for my career.”
— Alex Jurek ’14, Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health (ESOH) Management
Jurek is working for Owens Corning in the EHS (Environmental, Health & Safety) Leadership Development Program. He is stationed at the Jacksonville Roofing and Asphalt Plant where he’s assisting in the management of environmental and safety operations. He credits faculty within the ESOH program at UF with providing him an outstanding background in environmental and safety regulations and real life industrial internships that he could relate back to the classroom and his current career.
Jurek chose UF right after high school to continue his soccer career, but wasn’t sure what degree he wanted to seek. He admits, “Prior to attending UF, I didn’t even know what EHS meant”. It was within his first semester that he discovered the ESOH program and the vast number of career options the degree offers after graduation. “Originally I was interested in the environmental aspect of the profession, but after having several of Professor Gillespie’s courses I realized that I really enjoyed the safety side of the profession as well. I really wanted to find a career with a company that would allow me to do both environmental and safety,” said Jurek.
Finding an internship and turning it into a career proved to be no problem at all with help from Jurek’s instructors and mentors. During his junior year he accepted an internship with Owens Corning at their composites facility in South Carolina. “The ESOH teaching staff always provided different internship opportunities. They are very helpful and do a great job helping you find internships that fit the career path that you’re looking to work in,” said Jurek.” In fact, it was one of his instructors and his career mentor, Professor Grant Wilkinson, J.D., who encouraged Jurek to apply for his full-time position at Owens Corning.
“I truly have so many good memories from the University of Findlay. If I had to pick one I think it would be when I shook hands with Dr. Murphy and Professor Wilkinson after I accepted a full-time job with Owens Corning. The pride I could sense from both of them was like none other. They were just as happy for me as my parents were.”
When asked what he likes best about his career, it was obvious, “Keeping people safe – without a doubt. I really take pride in the fact that the different programs I manage assist in making sure that employees go home safely every day.” He then added, “Had it not been for UF I don’t think I would have ever discovered what I wanted to do for my career.”
From being undecided upon arrival at UF to earning his bachelor’s degree and a fulfilling career within just four years, it’s obvious the connections he made and the career opportunities he was presented with while in the ESOH program have truly made an impact on this UF graduate’s life.