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December 1, 2022

Kids’ Chance Mission: Providing Support to Families of Safety and Health Professionals

Picture of Dave in a hard hat

Dave Mehlrose shares how he turned a negative situation into a positive impact

When Dave Mehlrose started his career as an electrician, he never imagined he would end up in a safety role, much less the leader. After being unjustly let go, at a previous company, (but then re-hired) and treated unfairly, by that same company, for a safety violation he was not properly trained on to begin with, he swore he would never treat anyone like that. “People just want to come to work, do a good job, and go home safely to their families. They may not know what all the rules are all the time, and that’s what we are here for. We aren’t safety cops; we are a resource for our people out in the field.”

Since learning about the implications that poor safety training can have on not only a company, but an individual, Dave has made it his mission to educate those around him. Today, Dave is the regional safety manager at Allison-Smith Company and says it’s “all about the education, and that’s why I choose to continue my professional development through Georgia Tech — they provide the best safety training classes.”

Resources for the Safety and Health Workforce

When a worker is severely injured or killed on the job, it doesn’t just affect them – it affects their entire family. Thinking about the future can be overwhelming, and if put off, when the time comes, the cost of higher education can be well out of reach.

The Georgia Tech OSHA Training Institute Education Center provides professional education for those with safety and health responsibilities in their workplaces, and has used a donation of one of our Safety & Health Professional Certificate Programs to benefit Kids’ Chance of Georgia for years. Kids’ Chance provides educational scholarships to the children of Georgia workers who have been seriously, catastrophically, or fatally injured in work-related accidents.

“Often, when people think of workplace safety or OSHA, they think of rules or laws. We must remember that those rules were written with immeasurable loss. They were written and established because every year, and still today, thousands of Americans died just going to work. Every one of those workers who didn’t come home – they left family, loved ones, a community behind. They left a story unfinished. The Kids’ Chance scholarships provide an opportunity for these children that might otherwise be out of reach for their family. It allows them to write another chapter,” said Hilarie Warren, Director GT OSHA Training Institute Education Center.

“The story of our certificate recipients – how they develop professionally in this field of workplace safety and health – being intertwined with the story of a Kids’ Chance scholarship recipient – it’s a chapter of hope and a chance to write their own future.”

Allison-Smith Company and Kids’ Chance Recipient

Mehlrose attended this year’s Georgia Safety, Health and Environmental Conference and placed the winning bid at the annual silent auction to win a full safety certificate in either construction or general industry from the Georgia Tech OSHA Training Institute Education Center through Georgia Tech Professional Education, a value of over $4000

This year, Mehlrose chose to pay it forward. Since he already had earned Georgia Tech’s Construction Safety Certificate, he gifted the opportunity to earn the certificate he won at the auction to his team member, Joseph McManigal, a safety professional at Allison-Smith Company.  Joseph will be able to earn his Safety and Health Certificate from Georgia Tech and continue his professional development through the support of the safety program at Allison-Smith Company and the Kids’ Chance program.

The Future of Safety

Mehlrose has taken numerous safety courses through the Georgia Tech OSHA Training Institute Education Center, starting with OSHA 500.  He is one course away from obtaining the Process Safety Management certificate and then will begin working on the Premier Occupational Safety and Health Certificate. He understands the importance of continuing education and says, “It is an absolute necessity for safety professionals. Without the resource in education, you just can’t do this job. Standards are changing and getting updated all the time. “

He sends all his employees to do their training at Georgia Tech. And when hiring, one of the selling points of working on the safety team at Allison-Smith, is that everyone will obtain training at Georgia Tech.