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Construction Site Safety Manager's Journey from the NFL to OSHA

Ryan Mack accepts job at construction site days after completing his construction safety and health certification

Ryan Mack has always had a knack for protecting people – whether it was his family, co-workers, or quarterback – but construction was a new direction for him.

Mack was an athlete in college and then went on to play professional football for a of couple years. His college studies led him to a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from the University of Louisville and a Masters in Liberal Studies from University of Memphis, which he is a few credits away from completing. This might not be the normal path for a safety career in the construction industry, but for Mack it is.

Mack moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago for a safety manager position at a big box store. During this time, he completed the training for OSHA’s 30-hour card and it seemed that his career was moving in the right direction. Unexpectedly, there was internal shift at his workplace and Mack lost his job. The company kept him on but moved him to a customer service role. Realizing this is the last thing he wanted to do, Mack needed to rewrite his career plans. His solution: get a certificate in safety and health. As Mack puts it, “when you want something, make it happen for yourself. Always invest in yourself.”

He contacted an OSHA compliance officer who recommended Georgia Tech Professional Education’s (GTPE) OSHA Program. After comparing all the programs, he decided to register for the Construction Safety and Health Certificate because, in the end, the reputation outweighed the cost. Working full-time and paying his own way for the education, he started his day at 5 a.m., traveled to school, and ended his day at 11 p.m. when he left work. “When you are passionate about something the money doesn’t matter," says Mack.

Motivated by success, which exemplifies a GTPE student, Mack completed his certificate in just a few months, saying that this program, with the on-campus classes and offsite field trips, was more beneficial than online training. Mack also met his future employer in the scaffolding course. Always asking questions and wanting to get as much information as he could, Mack caught the eye of another learner who contacted him a day after he completed his certificate and offered him a job.

What’s next? As a perpetual learner, Mack is now preparing for the Safety Trained Supervisor Construction certification. Being the best safety professional he can be is where he’s going.

Written by Laurel-Ann Dooley