My Story: Rocco Martini
It all started for me when I was a senior at Central Valley High School in Monaca, PA. As a teen, figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life is never easy. The only thing I was sure of is that I wanted to enter a career field that would have a positive impact on people’s lives. Initially, I had great interest in physical therapy and worked as a PT assistant during high school. When exploring other options and talking with my support system, the career field of safety management came up often. I began doing research and figuring out what exactly this field entailed. I instantly knew that safety and health was my calling.
In 2015, I enrolled at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania to study safety management. I thrived, and enjoyed all the coursework and projects. In 2017, I got my first official safety role. I was an environmental, health and safety intern and spent the summer soaking up all the knowledge I possibly could. I had mentors who helped me develop a diverse set of knowledge and skills. After my three months onsite, it was time to go back to school for my last year, but now with a different mentality. It really hit me how big of an impact safety professionals can have on people’s lives.
In May 2018, I was hired as a full-time health, safety, security and environmental advisor. Growing up, my father told me, “Make a name for yourself.” That was something that highly motivated me. As I began on the project, I had two goals in mind. First, my biggest goal was to protect all employees and send them home the exact same way they came to work. Second, it was to make a name for myself. Being a young safety professional, you don’t always get the respect or attention that you deserve. It took some time, but after a while I was highly respected and the employees trusted me. Once this trust and respect was earned is when the true results began to occur.
I believe the key to learning and developing is leveraging the knowledge, skills and abilities of the people around you to teach you how to conduct yourself. I am a firm believer in continuous improvement in both my personal and professional life. Knowing I have the ability to make an impact on people’s well-being and put controls in place to save lives gives me satisfaction.
If I could offer any advice to young or new safety professionals, it would be the following: Never be afraid to ask questions – that is how you learn. Never be afraid to take on new or challenging tasks, as that will bring out the best in you. Choose your mentors wisely and meet with them often. Good mentors can jump-start your career and guide you to success. And lastly, make a name for yourself.
Rocco Martini, CSP, OHST