Andrew Leone with mentor T. J. LyonsAlumni Spotlight
Putting Safety to Work
Andrew Leone '06, Safety and Health major, has a big job: insuring worker safety on a major Department of Energy project in California.
As a construction worker myself, I was very much aware of the risks workers willingly take on a daily basis. In the construction industry, people operate and work around a tremendous amount of energy that, if not respected, can easily cause serious injury or death. The Safety and Health program at KSC prepared me to manage programs that facilitate the process of identifying a hazard, implementing appropriate controls, and measuring the successes of those controls. I know that through my efforts, at the end of the day people go home to their families the same way they came into work that morning. To me, that is rewarding.
KSC is a school where you will not get lost in the crowd. Teachers know you by name, and there are ample ways to meet new people from different walks of life. I found at KSC that faculty members are eager to mentor any student who demonstrates a genuine desire to learn and excel in the classroom. In particular for me, professors Wayne Hartz, Melinda Treadwell, and Nora Traviss kept me engaged, pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone, and always took the time to talk when I had a question or needed advice. College is what you make of it, and I encourage any potential student to get involved in extracurricular activities and take every opportunity to build leadership and interpersonal skills. My only regret is that I didn't study abroad.
In the summer following my junior year, I had the opportunity to apply my developing safety and health knowledge in an internship at Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, a mill industry setting. I worked on reviewing and recommending additions to the Injury and Illness Prevention Plan and developing job safety analysis and training tools for job-specific tasks. This internship helped me narrow my career focus and gave me a greater understanding of the expectations and responsibilities of a safety professional.
After graduation, I had another internship, working for Turner Construction as a safety and health manager intern in San Francisco. This internship was very dynamic and challenging. I was familiar with construction, but not at this magnitude. Fortunately for me, I was coached by one of the premier certified safety professionals in the construction industry today, T. J. Lyons. Over a period of four months, I was able to build upon my KSC foundation and was hired on full-time. I am currently the lead safety manager. Within the next year, I am taking the Construction Health and Safety Technician course and test. My goal in the next five years is to become a certified safety professional.
Keene State gave me the opportunity to obtain a marketable skill, challenged my academic perspectives and ideas through liberal arts studies, and helped to strengthen my interpersonal skills and value system.