(WACO, Texas) – Tristan Landers compares working at a construction site to saving lives in a hospital.
“Commercial construction in general is very comfortable for me,” said Landers, a graduate of Texas State Technical College and a health, safety and environmental senior coordinator for the Austin area for Flintco. “It is very much like working in an emergency room. You never know what is going to happen. I kind of look at it as I save lives every day, only I do it before people get hurt. And in the process, I get to build $300 million buildings.”
Landers’ work touches on all aspects of construction, including contracts, bids, case management, insurance, pre-task planning and risk management. She also deals with city, state and federal building and environmental regulations.
Texas currently has more than 3,600 health and safety engineers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The career field is projected to increase to more than 28,000 workers nationwide through 2028, according to the agency.
“There are not enough human beings out there working every day in these jobs and roles to keep these guys safe,” Landers said. “That’s good for TSTC. Grow those safety professionals, and get them into the field.”
Landers grew up in Lorena and is a graduate of Lorena High School. She studied nursing and worked as a trauma nurse for 12 years before making a career change.
She graduated in 2015 from TSTC with associate degrees in Environmental Technology Compliance and Occupational Safety Compliance Technology. She was also president of the American Society of Safety Professionals’ on-campus student chapter.
“I liked the occupational safety compliance part of it because I was very familiar with part of it being in nursing,” Landers said. “I took one class with Mr. (Lester) Bowers and decided to do the environmental degree.”
Martin Knudsen, an instructor in TSTC’s Occupational Safety Compliance Technology program in Waco, said Landers’ profession is tailor-made for her.
“I knew from the very start, she was highly motivated,” he said. “She’s definitely chosen a field that is male-dominated. It goes to show if you have the right tenacity, you can overcome any stereotyping.”
After graduating, Landers did safety work in Waco and Arlington before moving to Austin.
“For me, TSTC was very important and critical to me being able to go out into the workforce and function as a competent safety professional,” Landers said. “Coming from an associate degree program, I was more ready to go to work than a lot of people coming out of a bachelor’s program. You cover so much information in the time you are there, and it is pertinent and relevant.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.