My Story: Joann M. Robertson
When I was a teen, I dreamed of being a horseback-riding park ranger, roaming through a national park. During the summer after my junior year of college, I interned as a park ranger at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, MA, on Cape Cod. I did not have a trusty steed, but instead had a green Ford pickup without power steering. I greeted campers, assigned campsites and patrolled the park, problem-solving and picking up litter.
When I returned to campus for my senior year at Springfield College, I still knew that I enjoyed the outdoors but was not quite sure what I wanted to do next. Eventually, I decided to try a job as a loss control representative. I learned to provide safety inspections to delis, stores and apartment buildings.
After a few years, I handled service accounts – larger businesses with multiple locations and more complex lines of coverage. Years later, I worked for a number of public-sector insurance companies, and I specialized in surveying school districts, village halls and water districts.
I was always active in the Long Island Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals, especially to network with my fellow safety colleagues. These meetings have kept me grounded in my career as a safety professional, even while I was changing employment. I have assisted my chapter in many ways: as a contributor to the newsletter; as a past secretary; and now serving as the current delegate, or chapter representative, to the annual conference. In 2019, I was voted Safety Professional of the Year by my peers.
Over the years, I also obtained professional designations in insurance, became a certified safety professional and have been certified as a defensive driving teacher through the National Safety Council. When I taught driving, my typical class attendees included the school maintenance staff and bus drivers. I credit this activity with greatly improving my public speaking skills.
Currently, I am working for a playground inspection, maintenance and repair company. My experiences have taught me that being a safety professional will always be my main road, and even though I do not always know where it may lead me, I know that I will always be wearing my seat belt.
Joann M. Robertson, CSP, CPSI, ARM, CPCU
Certified Playground Safety Inspector/Playground Medic
Long Island, NY