On a Greyhound bus with only a backpack and a few items to his name, CJ Myers arrived in Las Vegas in search of a career. His original passion being film and theatre, he studied the arts of costume design, theatrical makeup, special effects and more.
With the 2008 economic collapse raining on his dream, CJ settled for an entry-level occupational safety and health job at a resort to keep his feet on the ground.
What he never imagined was this small safety role would one day lead him to work on some of the biggest stages in the world.
“It was on the casino resort side that my passion for safety really took off. I had the opportunity to see that I could create lasting impacts on my staff’s well-being in the workplace,” he said. “From there, my career path changed to safety and health.”
After spending a number of years working in safety and health with MGM Resorts International, he began working in design and permitting with live events.
“I have worked on some of the largest award shows, sporting events and concerts in the world, which naturally have me bumping elbows with some recognizable individuals,” he said.
“I have had the honor of being able to create comprehensive safety management systems and safe experiences for some of the most prominent live events in the world. This includes over 37 different U.S. venues and events ranging from major prime-time award shows such as Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Awards, iHeart Radio, American Professional Football, NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, MLS Soccer, Boxing and UFC super fights.”
CJ says the most exciting thing about keeping live events safe for performers and live audiences is every event has unique challenges.
“I enjoy the challenge of creating a safety management system that is both effective and scalable to meet all types of events or venues,” he said. “A lot of fantastic engineering goes into making those types of effects safe. Entertainment poses a number of opportunities where we get to educate OSHA as opposed to the contrary, which keeps things exciting.”
While participating in a safety and health practitioner certification program hosted by the Safety Consultation and Training Section of Nevada OSHA, CJ heard about CSU and went after a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health.
“The greatest asset my degree with Columbia Southern University has given me is the ability to quantify and articulate the impact these critical programs have on our everyday operation,” he said. “My degree has allowed me to build a trusted foundation with event production teams which allows me to collaborate with them to implement effective programs to ultimately ensure the well-being of both staff and performers.”
In his current role as senior director of safety and risk for Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, CJ says the best thing about entertainment is there is no typical day on the job.
“My team is doing OSHA compliance training, hazard assessments and workplace inspections,” he said. “During event mode, everything changes to focus on the event safety. We are evaluating emergency egress, temporary structures, pyrotechnics and special effects, tents and membrane structures, generators and other liquid fuel storage, and any other element crucial to approval of the event fire permits.”
Recently, CJ and his team were recognized as the #1 NFL stadium for Health and Safety for the 2021-2022 season.
“When we opened Allegiant Stadium, we did what others thought was impossible,” he said. “We completed construction in the peak of the pandemic and opened to the public right as some of the Covid-19 guidelines were just starting to allow public gatherings, but still in a very restricted capacity. We were challenged with creating safety processes for both employee and public health that had never been done before that time.”
CJ’s passion for safety began in a place he never expected, now he is working to build a whole industry of safety in live entertainment.
“My greatest passion is to be able to champion and grow awareness for the necessity of professional safety positions in the live entertainment space,” he said. “Live entertainment is still substantially behind compared to other industries. I am proud to be part of helping frontier a new industry for safety and health.”
Taking on the world of live entertainment by storm, CJ Myers continues to pave the way for this new home for safety. For now, he has the home field advantage as he is tackling one of his biggest jobs happening in 2024 —Super Bowl LVIII.