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Musto Plays it Safe This Summer

KEENE, N.H., 8/3/10 - When Rob Musto reunites with his Keene State men’s soccer teammates in a few weeks for preseason camp, it’s a good bet that the initial conversation will be about how the players spent their summer.

While some will boast about trips, days on the beach, or just hanging out with friends, Musto will tell his teammates about his job working at a factory in Peterborough. Unglamorous as it might sound, the senior from Guilford, Conn., wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Musto. “I feel I took a major step forward in pursuing my career.” He doesn’t mind the Monday-Friday routine either. “I find it fascinating,” he said. “I’m sure somebody else might find it somewhat monotonous, but it’s very relevant to what I want to do.”

Looking to get a leg up in the competitive job market when he graduates, Musto, a safety studies major, spent his summer doing an internship at New Hampshire Ball Bearing (NHBB), a leading manufacturer of precision bearings and assemblies for the aerospace, defense, medical, dental, and high- technology markets. Like most students, Musto sampled a variety of courses before deciding on his major. “The more safety classes I took, the more I got interested in the field,” said Musto.

Originally interested in construction safety, Musto said the factory internship changed his mind. “They’re completely different,” he said. “I’ve always done physical labor outside and it’s a nice change of pace, especially during the summer, to be working where there’s air conditioning.”

Musto found out about the internship from Lonna Blais, a recently retired OSHA compliance officer who became a full-time KSC adjunct teacher last year. “Rob is an excellent student,” said Blais. “I put him in touch with a young man like himself who just completed his national certification and it’s worked out real well.”

Although he felt a little intimidated during the interview process, Musto said the selection group was impressed with his construction background and coursework in Keene State’s safety studies program. “I heard multiple stories about companies all over the country who hire people because they went to Keene State,” he said. “It’s a very impressive program and it’s only getting better.”

Musto came to Keene State after an impressive two-sport career at Guilford (Conn.) High. While in high school, Musto learned the tricks of the trade working for a residential construction company. He was also a quick study and a quick healer athletically. As a high school senior, Musto came back from a broken ankle to help lead his soccer team to a third-place finish in the state tournament. That spring, he advanced to the state finals playing doubles for the Indians’ tennis team.

A three-year member of the Keene State soccer team, Musto blossomed into a key member of the Owls defensive corps last season, earning Little East Conference honors. “Rob is what I call a game-day player,” said longtime Keene State coach Ron Butcher. “When the lights go on, he’s at his best.”

Off the field, the summer internship has also brought out the best in Musto. He spends his time at HNBB updating the company’s out-dated lockout procedures. He closely examines each of the company’s 500 machines and develops a methodical, step-by step approach for workers to properly shut down their machines. The disabled machinery or equipment prevents the release of potentially hazardous energy so maintenance and service activities can be performed. Doing some extensive research, Musto also found new machine guards that protect the employees.

Musto says one of the most valuable aspects of the internship is learning from those who have been in the field for a long time. “I love talking to the people. They have so much experience and knowledge to share,’ Musto said.

Conversely, age can be a detriment. “It’s tough when someone has been doing a job for 30 years and you try to change their habits to be more safety conscious,” said Musto. “They have a mentality - if there’ve been no injuries, why change?” Musto says safety has recently become prevalent among companies because it saves them money. After getting his feet wet working at NHBB, Musto is excited about taking the experience back into the classroom this fall.

“Internships supplement what you learn in the classroom,” he said. “It’s just like soccer - you spend time practicing, so you can execute during the game.”

Whether he’s working on a machine or clearing a ball out of danger, Musto knows how to play it safe.

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