Going Above and Beyond for Safety & Health

Since completing a certificate with Georgia Tech, Ryan Mack has sustained a growing list of impressive academic achievements.

September 14, 2023 | By Kat Bell
A man wearing a safety vest and hard hat standing in front of a stone wall in construction.

Ryan Mack, former professional football player, has transformed his skill of protecting others into a passionate career as a health and safety professional. As the Safety Director for Jollay Masonry, Mack makes sure to keep his focus on the small things because for him "that's what matters." Each morning, Mack ensures his team is ready to tackle their day by leading stretches to prevent muscle pulls and strains, holding team discussions about hazards associated with the job, and ensuring employees comply with safety regulations such as wearing safety glasses and gloves.

Since completing Georgia Tech's Construction Safety and Health Certificate in 2020 Mack has gone above and beyond for his education. In 2022, he earned a degree in Occupational Safety and Health. This past March he went on to pass the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification on his first attempt.

For Mack being a safety professional is about pushing himself further. “I wanted to pursue CHST because I felt like if you didn't have it all are you really a safety professional? Look around at your peers, all safety professionals have it.” Mack’s passion for safety continues to push him as he is already working towards his Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, which will allow him to work in any industry including petroleum exploration, production and refining, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and insurance. Mack is also preparing to apply for Georgia Tech's Professional Master's in Occupational Safety and Health this coming Spring.

Being a Georgia Tech learner not only jump-started Mack’s safety career but also benefited his current employer, Jollay Masonry. In 2021 Mack reached out to Jenny Houlroyd, a Safety & Health instructor with Professional Education, regarding silica testing the masonry company needed. Houlroyd and her team at the OSHA 21(d) Consultation Program came out, free of charge, to assist with the testing. “As a safety professional, you can't be afraid to ask for help. You have to reach out to your resources. That's why they're here,” Mack says.

Mack’s passion for safety has led him from Offensive Guard to Safety Director and he doesn’t plan to stop there. While things like gravity pans and base plates nailed down to the mud seals may not mean much to the everyday employee, to a safety professional like Mack, these are the components of his job that drive him. Each day, Mack is motivated to “get up and see the progress” because, as he puts it, “I’m not coming to work just to collect the paycheck. I come to work for the purpose of making sure guys go home in one piece.”

Written by: Kat Bell