My journey with Wm. T. Spaeder began two years ago when I contacted former Safety Director, Lee Zeigler. I spoke with him about working as a safety professional. He provided insight to what kind of responsibilities one might have in the safety profession. After talking with Lee, I took some time to decide if I wanted to pursue a career in safety. I then made the decision to register for classes at Slippery Rock University in January of 2018 and began working on my degree in Safety Management.
Along with completing required courses, I had to complete a total of 480 hours working in a safety position though an internship to obtain my degree. The purpose of completing an internship was to give students the opportunity to apply what was taught in class. For me, completing an internship was the last thing I needed to complete to meet the requirements for graduation. There are numerous areas of safety that could be focused on due to the nature of the profession, but I wanted to focus on the construction side of safety. Having not been exposed to construction sites prior to my internship, I was hoping to be exposed to a variety of areas in the construction field to put my knowledge to the test and to add to the foundation that Slippery Rock has created through its’ program.
My time with Spaeder has given me the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience for my profession, along with learning more about the different trades that make up the company. Throughout my internship, I was assigned to complete jobsite audits for various jobs that Spaeder had. I feel that this experience was very valuable to me because it gave me the opportunity to apply what I had learned in class to an actual situation. Sitting in a classroom and being lectured on a topic is one thing; but putting that information to use and applying it to jobs out in the field where it matters most is a whole new experience.
It has been great working with the current Safety Director, Kassie Koser. She has been an excellent mentor to me and has helped me with my transition from classroom learning to working in the field. Although my internship has officially ended, I am grateful to have been kept on as a part-time employee for a period of time to allow me to continue gaining experience. The next step in my career path is to find a full-time position in safety and to continue promoting a good safety culture.
Vince is a recent graduate of Slippery Rock University with a degree in safety management. After his safety internship with Wm. T. Spaeder for the summer of 2019, he was hired for a part time position at the company through the fall.