Police Officer to OSHA Policy Analyst: Career Upgrades with San Juan College

Hear from Gary Robertson, a San Juan College graduate sharing his thoughts on his transition from a police officer to a safety professional.
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Gary Robertson has spent the past five years working with the State of Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the manager of safety and health enforcement in Medford, Oregon.

In the course of his career, he has also worked for several businesses as a Senior Occupational Consultant. Prior to this, he worked as a senior police officer and deputy sheriff in the Oregon police department.

We had a quick chat with Gary to hear his insight on how the "Safety and Health Training" at San Juan College may transform your career and how his college experience helped him get there. These are some of the highlights of our conversation.

Q. How did you prepare for your career change from a police officer to a Safety Professional?

Ans. My career as a Safety Professional started by accident. My first career as a Police Officer set the stage for my current job. I was asked if I wanted to be the Safety Director for a large company due to my investigation skills. I took on the challenge and have since moved into my current position with Oregon OSHA as a Policy Analyst Specialist.

Q. Why did you choose to go to San Juan College to get your Safety Professional Training?

After researching my optional for schools for my desired degree, I found San Juan College. The Occupational Safety Degree program was precisely what I was looking for. I called and spoke to the administrator, and after that conversation, I chose San Juan College.

“Never let yourself come in the way of reaching your goals.” Gary Robertson

Q. What was your fondest memory at San Juan College?

Ans. All the staff in the Safety Department are outstanding, very knowledgeable in their fields, and provide excellent feedback.” When referring to San Juan College's Safety department, Gary continues, “One professor that stands out to me is Peter Doer Fert. Peter has put up with me calling and emailing for a couple of years. Each time he was always very polite and helpful. As a teacher, Peter provided me with a better understanding of the subject. I thought I knew pretty well. Peter provided me with words of encouragement, and always told me I was doing a good job even when it did not feel like it. So for that, I will remember. Thank You!”

Q. What advice would you give to future graduates?

Ans. Going back to school was a big decision for me. It meant working all day and then studying, completing assignments, and reading material. When I made this decision, I knew it would be a sacrifice not only for me but for my family. 

I have pretty much put many things on hold to be true to myself and my mission. I would tell anyone, young or haha, older (like myself), don't let yourself get in your way of doing something you want. I have been out of school for over 30 years but will hopefully graduate in a couple of months with a 4.0 GPA. This will be a milestone for me, and I hope the best for anyone who puts their foot forward and accepts the challenge.

Last words 

Safety and Health Training set the stage for where he is in his career today and he urges learners to start reskilling now, regardless of where they are in their careers using the flexible and affordable education options available via community colleges.

Enroll today in the Safety Professional Certificate Program from San Juan College if you share Gary's passion for learning and want a quick transition into a safety professional.

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