Kelly Vereker ’08 chose the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management (ESOH) Program at University of Findlay during freshman year in part because she knew she wanted to prevent another family from experiencing the hardship of a workplace injury. “My uncle was involved in a workplace accident over 20-years ago when he fell down an elevator shaft in a forklift. He survived, but never worked again,” said Vereker.
In addition to implementing life-saving initiatives, she discovered that environmental safety professionals are an incredibly versatile asset within the manufacturing industry. In fact, her current position at Thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America, Inc. as the Safety, Environmental and Wellness Coordinator puts her in charge of the day-to-day safety concerns within the plant for 700 employees, which includes a wide variety of obligations. She’s responsible for new hire safety training and monthly safety training for all employees, job hazard assessments, risk hazard assessments, reviewing new equipment for safety, environmental and ergonomic concerns, environmental permitting, workers compensation, accident investigation, personal protection equipment management and employee wellness initiatives.
“Safety and environmental touches every aspect of a business. Every industry, every facility and every factory has a safety and/or environmental professional. I like having my hands in lots of different projects and interacting with every department. I also enjoy knowing that I am responsible for making sure each employee walks out of our door the same way they came in, just a little more tired and with a little more money in their pockets,” said Vereker.
The versatility of her degree was made evident to her from the start. While at University of Findlay, Vereker indicates that faculty helped place her with not one, but four different internships within the ESOH industry. These opportunities offered a variety of experience, which helped her learn what aspects of ESOH she really enjoyed before graduating.
“Findlay prepared me for a successful career by exposing me to numerous real world experiences through internship programs, plant tours and lessons from faculty who had worked in the industry prior to teaching,” Vereker said.