It all started one morning at 5 a.m. A golfer “since I was born,” Anthony Veltri was glued to the golf channel watching the Italian Open. As he was watching, he noticed that each hole was sponsored by a corporation as a way of supporting the golf tournament and suddenly something clicked. “I thought, ‘If big corporations can sponsor golf holes, maybe they would sponsor a class.'” So Veltri, associate professor of public health who teaches in environment, safety, and health (ESH), called his contacts at Boeing, Nike, and SAIF with a proposal. If they would sponsor one of his classes, he would offer a seminar for their safety, health, and environmental specialists featuring speakers from around the world sharing the latest on safety, health, and environmental management issues affecting the workplace.
That was in 2000. Today, the OSU ESH Corporate Partners Program has 12 sponsors, including ESH practitioners from multinational and Fortune 100 companies who deal with the gamut of issues from regulatory compliance to making a business case for ESH. For their investment, Veltri takes the pulse of businesses’ concerns around the world, finds out who is taking the lead, and brings them to OSU. Four seminars are given each year, and CDs of past seminars are available. Speakers come to OSU to share their expertise on innovative ways of managing issues around water, energy, chemicals, sustainability, disaster preparedness, and the law, politics, business, and economics of the field. They come to the OSU campus, where students from public health, engineering, and business join corporate representatives to hear renowned speakers and discuss current issues. The lectures are video-streamed into the conference rooms of global corporate partners for on-site employees.
“OSU’s Corporate Partners has been a wonderful resource for the Nike Environmental Safety and Health Department,” says Jason Roberts MS ’96, Global ESH Manager for Nike, Inc. “Our global teams get the opportunity to learn from qualified, experienced people as they share their knowledge.We have appreciated the opportunity to be a sponsor of this program.”
“Environment, safety, and health has by necessity been compliance-focused,” explains Anthony. “Now we are looking at the profession to take on additional duties to deal with corporate social responsibility and sustainability, emergency and disaster preparedness, and homeland security. Executives are looking at efficiencies from all angles. ESH today is about optimizing an organization’s resources derived from cost-effective use while maintaining compliance.”
“It was just serendipity,” says Anthony, who has a 7 handicap and hits the links regularly with his kids. “I went into this thinking anything was possible. I was just trying to make things better for our students and our field.”