My Story: Mike Gloria
I grew up in Chicago in a family full of tradesmen, including my dad, who owned a small masonry company. As soon as I could, I began working for him on weekends and over summers to make some extra cash and learn the trade, carrying bricks and blocks, building scaffold, and mixing mortar. When it was time to continue my education, I knew I wanted to stay in the industry, opting for a construction management major at Illinois State University.
During my junior year, I focused more on pursuing a career that would keep me in the field. I took an internship with a general contractor in New Jersey as a field engineer, helping coordinate underground and precast erection activities. One of my tasks was to perform the duties of the safety supervisor until the full-time safety representative could relocate to the area, which, because of logistical constraints, didn’t happen until about two weeks before my internship was over.
Coincidentally, I also had to take the construction management program-required safety class online that summer, so it gave me a great insight to how important safety in construction is as I led safety discussions, completed incident investigations and performed safety inspections.
During my final year at school, I looked for full-time safety positions until I was connected with a company performing an airport expansion in Los Angeles. Now in a full-time safety role, my experience level was escalated by internal and external training and by the mentors and coaches who surrounded me.
I was taught to never stop learning, so I spent extra time studying for certifications through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and becoming an authorized outreach and first aid/CPR trainer. After spending four-plus years in Southern California, my wife and I decided to relocate back to Chicago as we awaited the birth of our first daughter. I took a job with another general contractor in the area, where I still am today and have, myself, become a mentor to those just coming up in the industry. The job brings me to multiple high-rises, build-outs and expansions around the city, evaluating work plans and upcoming activities for safe and productive solutions to foreseeable hazards. I also returned to school, and in the summer of 2019 received my master’s in environmental safety and health through the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.