Growing up, Lacey Kastel watched her father come home from his manufacturing job daily with cuts, bruises and back pain. She knew she wanted to help prevent that from happening to others one day.
After earning her Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management (ESOH) from the University of Findlay in 2009, Kastel now enjoys a successful career as an Environmental, Safety and Health Leader for Owens Corning in Dallas, North Carolina.
“Having a degree in ESOH allows me to impact the lives of individuals and allows them to take home what they learn to their families,” said Kastel.
That impact is incredibly wide-spread, as she is currently leading the safety, environmental design and implementation on Owens Corning’s largest investment project in the last 30-years – the construction of a new plant in Dallas, NC. Part of her job on this greenfield project is eliminating risk within the new plant and throughout the construction phase and implementing new programs, processes and safety education.
Kastel expressed how very well prepared she was for her career after graduating from UF.
“UF’s ESOH program is well recognized in the country for hands-on experience. Internships were key! Internships allowed me to apply my skills that I learned at UF. The real world experience gave me the confidence to apply to any job and feel prepared,” said Kastel.
Internships weren’t the only thing that aided in her confidence. Classroom experience was just as influential for this ESOH alumna.
She continued by saying Grant W. Wilkinson was an inspiration to her during her time at UF. “His Environmental Law, Permitting and Policy classes always challenged the way I looked at situations and gave me confidence to find a solution. Grant always pushed me to be better.”
Challenges are now part of her every day work life and she embraces them because, as she puts it, “it’s all about the people”.
She not only has to work with many different individuals, such as technicians, contractors, safety resources and vendors, but she also has to educate individuals on hazard recognition, support them with solutions and engage them in safety culture. She went on to add that, “Every day is fun and exciting. It comes with challenges, but it’s rewarding when you find solutions for each risk that arises.”
Kastel said she wants students making their college decisions to know that it’s important to network, build relationships and get as much hands on experience as they can. “Continue to work on leadership every day, what you stand for, and how you will impact and make a change.”