My Story: Abby Ferri
My story began the summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. I worked for an excellent contractor, Boldt Construction, in northern Minnesota. I was hired to do administrative tasks such as preparing documents for bids, making copies, scanning documents and handing out paychecks. It was during this last task that I became aware of the safety profession.
There were two employees who were never in their offices, but I always left paychecks for them. I asked what these two did and was told, “They’re the safety guys.” I asked both of them some questions the next time they were in the office – it turns out they both went to the college I was going to, and they suggested I look into the one-year master of environmental health and safety program. Three years later, I did just that. I was able to complete my undergraduate work in three years because of credits I earned taking college courses in high school, but I was not ready to leave college yet. I applied for the MEHS program at the University of Minnesota Duluth and was accepted.
In the second half of the MEHS program, I interviewed for construction safety positions because no one else in my school program was interested in the industry. This was in 2003, and people were interested in entering the semiconductor industry or staying local in Minnesota. I accepted a job offer with a general engineering contractor in San Diego with a month left in the MEHS program.
I’ve been in the construction industry since as a safety director, risk control consultant or association safety director. Now, I’m back in Minnesota and I continue to serve the construction industry, as well as manufacturing, insurance, beverage bottling and distribution, brewing, oil and gas, and more as a safety consultant with my own firm, The Ferri Group.
The chance meeting at one of my first “real” jobs and my hard work in the UMD MEHS program laid the foundation for what continues to be a challenging, fun and rewarding career in safety.
Abby Ferri, CSP