The People Make it Enjoyable: Alumna is Passionate about Her University and Career Choice
This is the fifth 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.
Heather (Hochstetler) Chan ’07 currently works for Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) in Findlay, Ohio as the Corporate Management Systems Coordinator. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of an integrated EHS and quality management system, which provides a structure for risk management and continual improvement, thus making processes more efficient, effective and sustainable. She also serves on the Corporate Emergency Response Team.
Chan learned about the University of Findlay ESOH/EHSS Program when a former Findlay recruiter visited her geology class at Orrville High School. She found the small campus size and environment felt more like home than other schools she visited.
While at Findlay, Chan participated in many extra-curricular activities, including campus program board, the Oiler Environmental Safety and Health Organization, the Women’s Swimming Team, Chi Alpha Christian Ministry, and Reality R.O.C.S. She had two internships as well, both with MPC in Findlay, Ohio; one in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, and the other in Refining Health, Environment and Safety.
Chan earned two degrees from Findlay, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Safety and Occupational Health Management, and a Bachelor of Art in Graphic Communication. Of note, Heather was the first person to graduate from two different Findlay Colleges at the same commencement ceremony (College of Art and College of Science). She also holds a Master of Science degree in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene from the University of Cincinnati.
While spending most of her career with MPC, in Findlay, Ohio, Chan started as a corporate industrial hygienist then held several positions within the Marathon Pipeline LLC organization including Environmental, Safety and Regulatory Compliance Coordinator, Process Safety Coordinator, and Management Systems Coordinator.
She loves the opportunities to genuinely make a difference at her job, she said, whether through mentoring interns who are protecting the safety and health of the public, employees and contractors, or identifying and implementing process improvements that improve effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.
A highlight of her career is being on the MPC Emergency Response Team that works with other federal, state and local responders during an incident/disaster to ensure that MPC continues to provide energy for our nation, minimizes the impact on the public and the environment, and keeps employees and responders safe.
Regarding major accomplishments, Chan said, “it has been really neat to lead the development of an integrated management system for our entire company since we acquired another large company a little over a year ago.” She also helped develop and visualize the Marathon Exposure Assessment Methodology for MPC’s industrial hygiene program.
Some of things she liked about the ESOH major at UF, Chan said, were the 100% job placement track record and knowing that she would make a decent salary and be able to support her family. She also liked the hands-on aspect of the profession, and was intrigued by the “cool toys at the AHTC,” such as rail cars, tank trucks, ditch/stream spill scenarios, chemical tank and line leak scenarios, and others.
“Overall, in every circle that I was part of at Findlay – the ESOH/OESHO program, Campus Program Board, Swim Team, etc. we were all family. It’s the relationships that we established while living together in close quarters for a few short years that have been the most meaningful. I still talk and/or work with many of my Findlay friends, and the current Findlay faculty. It’s the people that make it enjoyable,” Chan explained.
Offering advice about potential careers in Environmental Safety and Health, Chan said, “you should check it out. There are so many opportunities out there where you can really make a difference. The pay is pretty good, too.” She went on to offer that students can contact her, via looking her up on Facebook or contacting her high school or the University. “I am passionate about EHS and ensuring that we have a sustainable workforce in the future,” she added.