Cheryl Ratcliff is proof that it is never too late to start the career of your dreams.
At age 45, after raising her family and putting her career and education on the backburner, she decided it was finally time to focus on her own goals. She competed two degrees from CSU and was promoted to regional environmental health and safety manager for Novalex, a national packaging and sustainability company.
“I have always wanted to go to college but was busy raising a family when I was younger,” she said. “During my educational journey, I was promoted into safety and became passionate about creating a safe work environment for employees, along with helping others to increase their personal safety awareness.”
Ratcliff was the runner-up for CSU’s 2019 Outstanding Safety Professional of the Year award. The Outstanding Safety Professional award recognizes the university’s occupational safety and health students and graduates for their commitments to safety, professionalism and their accomplishments within the industry. The annual award is given during National Safety Month, observed annually in June.
“Since childhood, my dream was to work in a profession that could have a positive influence on others,” said Ratcliff. “Early on, that was professions such as police officer, firefighter, counselor and even nursing. It turns out that I have worked my entire career in manufacturing, and when the opportunity arose to move into occupational safety and health, I jumped. I have a passion for safety and enjoy interacting with all levels in the organization to ensure a safe work environment.”
She chose CSU because of the course flexibility and because the degree program is recognized by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. She earned both an associates and bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health from CSU.
“This is a great program if you are looking for flexibility in completing coursework and going through a program where a lot of the students are also working as professionals in the safety industry. This offers opportunity to network with other students in the industry.”
Ratcliff lives in Azle, Texas, and is a member of American Society of Safety Professionals, Women in Safety Engineering, and the Parker County Community Emergency Response Team.
To read more about this year’s Outstanding Safety Professional, visit Communictor.Columbiasouthern.edu.