My Story

My Story: Mark D. Ulmer

Mark Ulmer (left) discusses excavation soil protection sloping with a subcontractor operator at an unspecified Walsh Group airport hangar project.

Upon early graduation and a successful college football career, I had a semester remaining on my athletic grant and aid from West Virginia University. So, I decided to enter graduate school and complete my master’s degree in safety and environmental management from WVU. After graduation, I was fortunate to break into the construction safety profession in an organization that was strictly a compliance-based safety culture.

Early in my career, I thought about getting out of the safety profession because of a lack of senior management support and feeling trapped between project management and the craft workers in the field we always work to protect. It was at that tipping point when I had the unfortunate task of visiting a co-worker’s home to inform his loved ones that he never was coming home because of an unfortunate workplace incident. That visit to my co-worker’s home in 2001 lives with me still to this day and refocused my commitment to the safety and health profession.

Since then, I’ve experienced many ups and downs in the safety profession and feel that industry has definitely come a long way in valuing safety over the years. Today, I am a proud member of the safety profession and know that through the perseverance of fellow safety professionals, industry will value safety and health above all else and take action accordingly within various business models.

Mark D. Ulmer
MS, CSP, CHST, Regional Safety Manager
Pittsburgh, PA

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