In the fifth grade, a young Jenna Collier took on her first role in safety as a member of her class safety patrol. From there, she got a taste of what would become her passion in life. Little did she know that one day safety would take her around the country to work at some of the most well-known places in America.
“I started working as a security guard while I was taking classes in college and backfilled for a co-worker on maternity leave as the facilities maintenance coordinator. In addition to her job duties, they started giving me different safety roles and responsibilities such as weekly walk-throughs, developing and delivering new employee safety orientation and planning the two-day workshop-wide safety day,” she said. “Once she returned, they ended up creating a position for me as an environmental health and safety specialist and I just fell in love with it.”
Collier said she knew the gig she had was what she wanted to do when she grew up and that, finally, she fell into the career she wanted to pursue. Unfortunately, the company she worked for was bought out, leaving her without a job. She knew if working in safety was something she wanted to continue, she would need to get her degree.
“I’m a complete safety nerd. I always wanted to help people in some form, and making sure they have the tools and knowledge to get home safe is how I finally figured out how I wanted to help them. With that, I knew I wanted and needed an occupational safety and health specific degree to back up my skills and knowledge,” she said.
In 2015, Collier was hired as an occupational health and safety consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm with expertise in analytics, digital, engineering and cyber. While working, and with support of her company, she continued school and earned her master’s degree at CSU.
“CSU was perfect for this on-the-go and work travel lifestyle I have. My degree allows me to be more knowledgeable in specific safety topics such as safety management systems and explain why it is important to have to our clients. I’ve conducted more than 150 safety and health assessments and program reviews for multiple government agencies at some of the most beautiful places the country,” she said. “I get to see some of the coolest American icons out there and work with the employees in charge of protecting them to identify hazards in their workspaces and job tasks to ensure they are doing so safely.”
A major part of her job is developing reports to identify the gaps and provide government agencies the tools and resources they need to close those gaps effectively and efficiently to improve their program.
“There’s been fatalities, there’s been amputations, car accidents; I just really want to help them minimize their risk because I’m invested in the continuing improvement of the safety program nationwide and helping everyone get home to their families and friends each day.”
Collier has earned several awards, including two Passional Service Awards for her willingness to jump in and provide her expertise and can-do attitude. She contributed to a successful audit season and provided an inexhaustible amount of energy and attention to the successful execution of a high-profile project, showcasing her enthusiasm and commitment to safety.
“My favorite part is when a client is working to implement or reinvigorate their safety program. The momentum is rolling. They are starting to understand the ‘why’ behind the different programs applicable to their processes to stand up and train their employees on to ensure they are providing their employees a safe and healthful working environment. When I see others respond positively to the feedback I give and start to ask questions on how to do things correctly, it is really rewarding because not only do I get to share all the nerdy safety and health information, but I also get to share my passion for it. Safety is the best!”