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Industrial Hygiene

Alumni Profiles

 

glenzTracy Glenz (MS, 2008)

BioWatch Program Coordinator
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (website)
University of Minnesota

 


Describe your job-what do you do, what is a typical day like?

I work as a contractor for the Department of Homeland Security's BioWatch program, which is a nationwide bio-surveillance system designed to detect the intentional release of select aerosolized biological agents (i.e. a bioterrorism attack). 90% of my time is spent designing, conducting and evaluating exercises for cities involved in the program. I also provide expertise on environmental sampling and personal protective equipment for program guidance documents. A typical day is spent writing and coordinating various documents required for an exercise to be compliant with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, and about seven times a year I hit the road with our exercise team to conduct and evaluate what are usually two-day exercises around the country.

What do you think is the most important part of your job?

I believe that the work that we are doing is helping to better prepare federal, state and local governments to respond to a biological agent release. If they are able to respond quickly and efficiently because of the exercises we have conducted or the guidance we have coordinated, the public's health will be better protected.

What do you like about your job? What do you like least about your job?

I like that it is very rarely the same day twice. Because we are a small team we all have to pitch in to get the job done, so we do everything from mass printing of documents to editing presentations being given at workshops to creating elaborate scenarios for exercises. I also like we are a very professional team with no slackers, and that we have a very flexible work schedule that allows me to work from home three days a week. While I like to travel and enjoy the trips that we do, it is hard to be away from home what currently amounts to eight times a year and is probably going to increase.

What got you interested in this field?

Between getting my BS and MS I spent 7 years in the active duty Air Force as an industrial hygienist. A lot of my time was spent doing traditional IH stuff, but we also had a disaster response mission that I really enjoyed. My military background and degree in IH were what got me this job.

Where do you see yourself going in the future?

Honestly, my dream job is to be a full-time farmer. I own a 13-acre hobby farm (two horses and two cats) that I would love to turn into a business. But until that becomes a reality (several years from now) I plan to keep this job for as long as I can. I have also considered working as an IH consultant because I enjoy traditional IH work as well. I plan to take the CIH exam sometime in the next year.

What did you gain from your University of Minnesota educational experience?

I got a lot of on-the-job experience in the Air Force prior to coming to school at the U, but the classes I took reinforced what I had learned and also gave me more background on why industrial hygienists do things the way they do them.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in this field?

Get work in the field if you possibly can, either before or while you're in school. So much of industrial hygiene (and hazardous substances work of any kind) is learned on the job, and you can't get a feel for what we really do on a day-to-day basis from classes.

 

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kimSeung Won Kim, (PhD 2008)

Associate Service Fellow
Health Effects Laboratory Division
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Morgantown, WV



What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the Industrial Hygiene program?

I came from Korea and received my undergraduate degree and master degree in Korea. My undergraduate degree was in veterinary medicine and master degree in environmental health. I worked for the Korean Air Force as an industrial hygienist for 3 years.

What made you interested in the field of Industrial Hygiene?

During my undergraduate years, I was interested in social movements and seeking a non-clinical career. One of my friends introduced me the field of Industrial Hygiene and I decided to study on environmental health with an emphasis in Industrial Hygiene.

What made you choose the University of Minnesota?

As an international student, I made my decision without any consideration on where I received my master or where I was living in. I was interested in metalworking fluids during my master years. My advisor at University of Minnesota was studying the same topic and received a fair amount of research grant when I applied for. I knew that University of Minnesota has excellent School of Public Health.

What would you say to a student considering the program?

This program is an excellent place for anyone interested in Industrial Hygiene including international students and the faculty of the program is very supportive of students.


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kimDan Feldt (MPH 1980)

Sr. Project Manager/Industrial Hygienist
Bonestroo (website)
Mequon, WI

Describe your job-what do you do, what is a typical day like?

I manage the health and safety consulting business for this large engineering firm headquartered in St. Paul.  In addition to managing client projects for a variety of classic IH programs, I also am involved in a regular number of expert witness cases related to noise and lung ailments.  I also assist in management of the corporate safety program for Bonestroo’s 400 employees.

What do you think is the most important part of your job?

In this day and age, understanding the significant limitations placed on clients trying to make a profit, yet still encouraging and assisting them in compliance with regulatory mandates.

What do you like about your job? What do you like least about your job?

I’ve been in industrial hygiene for 30 years. . . not one day has been the same.   Not many people have that blessing.   Being in consulting for the last 20 years, the thing I dislike most about my job is paperwork!

What got you interested in this field?

I wanted to go into medicine.   When I decided not to pursue medical school after finally gaining admission, Industrial Hygiene quickly rose to the forefront as a career with good salary expectations, good job prospects, and the opportunity to apply the knowledge I gained (i.e. paid for) in my pre-med undergraduate education and graduate training in pathology.  It was a perfect fit.

Where do you see yourself going in the future?

As I wind down my career, I’m not planning on retiring.   I’ll stay involved as long as I continue to be blessed with good health, and especially involved in expert witness cases.

What did you gain from your University of Minnesota educational experience?
A good education, a love for Minneapolis (despite being a Packer season ticket holder), and a wealth of great long time friends.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in this field?

Find yourself a good mentor. . . and when you get your first “industrial” hygiene job, the first person you need to get to know really well is the maintenance manager!

 

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kimHank Schmulling (MPH 1980)

Managing Director, Corporate Health & Safety
Duke Energy (website)
Charlotte, NC

Describe your job-what do you do, what is a typical day like?

My responsibilities include developing and directing our corporate strategy for health and safety, providing overall functional direction for health and safety, as well as providing direct health and safety services for our generation fleet. My company employs 18,000 people and is a vertically integrated electric and gas utility with various national and international operations including generation (nuclear, coal, natural gas, hydro, wind, solar), electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution (homes), and support services. Each day is different but always interesting. My work may vary from helping a senior executive understand how he or she can be a more effective safety leader to helping develop the business case for an IH sampling plan to helping develop a business unit safety improvement strategy.

What do you think is the most important part of your job?

Making sure we have the H & S systems and processes in place to be in compliance but also to build a culture of health and safety excellence in a very diverse company is number 1. There are many moving parts to this, but from my point of view, it is important to have good management systems in place, to have a clear vision for what is possible, to create a plan, and to get broad agreement on the direction. Understanding operations, being practical, but holding true to a value for the health and safety of our workers keeps me grounded. Another important aspect of my job is communication and collaboration with others who have different points of view.

What do you like most about your job?

I like being able to be creative in solving problems or addressing issues that make a difference in improving health and safety outcomes in the company.  I have the opportunity to make a positive impact.

What do you like least about your job?

There is a certain amount of administrative work that goes with my job that I like the least.

What got you interested in this field?

In college I majored in Zoology and Chemistry, so I had a strong technical background and interest in life sciences. My first job after college was working in safety for a large insurance company. It was there that I “discovered” my passion for IH and made the connection between school and helping protect employees. I had a good friend in the IH program at Minnesota and decided to apply.

Where do you see yourself going in the future?

The interesting thing about the health and safety profession is that it requires constant adaptation, not just professionally but also considering changing business needs. Continuing to work on ways to reduce exposure in the workplace from an IH or safety point of view is something I’ll continue to pursue.

What did you gain from your University of Minnesota educational experience?

I was able to establish a strong technical foundation and a good network.  (Being from the South, it was also my first trip to this part of the country and a great experience in other ways.)

What advice would you give someone just starting out in this field?

Early in your career, get broad operations/field experience. Also pursue credentials (certification) to build professional credibility.


 

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