TSTC in Waco Environmental Students Attend Chicago Leadership Conference

(WACO) – Texas State Technical College in Waco students attending a leadership conference in Chicago found a world of opportunities to motivate them in their future careers.

Jason Lehrmann, 34, of Mart, Katelyn Scott, 23, of Ennis and Thomas Roberts, 33, of Granbury, earlier this month attended the American Society of Safety Engineers 12th annual Future Safety Leaders Conference.

“Each of these students offers their own abilities and perspectives in safety,” said Patti Tate, an instructor in TSTC’s Environmental Health, Safety and Radiation Protection Technology program. “I have no doubt that all three of these students will go far and will be part of a bright and productive future as a safety or even an environmental professional.”

The students represented the Texas State Technical College in Waco Student Section of the Central Texas Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers. The students are all double majors in Environmental Technology – Compliance Specialization and Occupational Safety Compliance Technology.

“It was a good networking opportunity for us to meet some of the high-profile people in the ASSE community and learn about leadership from them,” Lehrmann said. “They have been in the field for 30-plus or more years.”

Some of the conference’s roundtable topics included fire protection, industrial hygiene, safety communication and training, and compliance for a bilingual workforce. Participants also learned about resume writing and had mock interviews with professionals.

“I love all these regulations and safety inspections,” Roberts said. “We are the nerds of the safety world.”

Scott found a discussion on the use of drones intriguing.

“Drones get into areas that are unsafe for employees to get to, such as checking transformers,” she said. “This cuts production time in half. Employees are working in confined spaces and entries. Drones can be sent in and they see what the actual hazards are.”

Roberts said the conference was a way to get reacquainted with networking.

“There is nobody in a high position that is going to say ‘I am better than you,’” he said. “They have arms open, mentoring and asking what they can do to inspire us. It was cool to feel that energy from strangers.”

The conference helped one of the students make a sharper focus on a career possibility.

Scott said she is interested in doing consulting work after listening to a presentation by Regina McMichael, president of South Carolina-based The Learning Factory Inc., an education and training design and delivery company focused on safety, leadership and risk management.

“Having a strong female example in the leadership role is a good starting point,” Scott said. “It was a good eye-opener for me in having a mentor. I can do consulting or training.”

The students also explored Chicago. Scott said the group took an Uber ride around the city and had fun spotting safety hazards at construction sites they passed. And, the group experienced the energy that Chicago residents had celebrating the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory.

“These people were out in the city at 2 a.m.,” Lehrmann said.

For more information on the American Society of Safety Engineers, go to asse.org.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.