July 22, 2024

From Student to Professor: How David Turman Leads by Example in Occupational Safety and Health

David Turman has always been passionate when it comes to helping others. For him, safety started as an employee who had dealt with workplace injuries and what they can mean for the employee and the company.

“Having been the victim of an injury at work, I understand firsthand how it can affect not just you, but your family as well,” he said. “This experience has fueled my passion for caring for people and ensuring their safety.”

David holds an associate degree in arts, a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources, an MBA and a master’s degree in occupational safety and health. However, while working in safety, he decided he should pursue a degree that reflected his job.

“I have worked many jobs in construction, chemical plants, retail and even telecommunications, but nothing seemed to work for me,” he said. “I was even studying to enter the human resources field when I was approached to join an EHS team.”

“I wanted to learn more about my chosen career field,” he said. “I wanted both the knowledge needed to create safety programs and to understand workplace safety history. Once I joined the safety team, I never looked back.”

At the age of 36, David felt the decision to apply to CSU was an easy one as he had been an adult learner for almost a decade.

“At the Governor’s Safety Conference, I spoke with a recruiter about CSU’s online program for occupational safety and health and learned how recognized they are in this industry. I decided that if I was going to complete my degree, it would be through CSU,” he said.

While pursuing his degree, David started at started working in EHS at General Electric, a CSU Learning Partner.

“The CSU partnership with my employer meant that tuition and financial aid were not as much of an issue to help me afford to further my educational future,” he said. “To be able to go for what was important to me and not have to worry as much about the financial cost of that decision was crucial.”

In 2021, David graduated with his master’s degree in occupational safety and health.

David Turman

“For me, the pride that I felt standing on that stage receiving my master’s degree was one of the greatest moments of my life,” he said. “I can say that I have seen the advantage of obtaining your degree from CSU. I feel as though I am an industry leader in OSH because of the education I received.”

“I knew that this was the career I wanted to have,” he said. “I also knew that if I was going to make a difference, I must learn as much as I can about the concepts and theories that make up environmental health and safety.”

David is currently working as the head of the environmental health and safety head of section manager for Hyundai MOBIs North American Electrified Powertrain.

“My role is not just about enforcing safety rules but about inspiring a belief in them,” he said. “When people understand why we enforce the rules, they will believe in those rules. Your title doesn’t matter; you should always spend time where the workers are and get to know them and the jobs they must perform.”

In addition to his day-to-day job, he also is a part-time adjunct professor at CSU teaching courses such as Introduction to Regulatory Compliance, Risk Management and Training and Development.

“My goal has always been to reach the point where I can share my experiences with others and hopefully teach future OSH professionals about what I have learned through the years,” he said. “I feel that if I help one person go home safely, then I will be successful. To be considered a professor in this field is something I will always cherish.”

Although David has an impressive number of diplomas hanging on his wall, he is making room for one more as he recently decided to earn his Doctor of Occupational Safety and Health.

“I wanted to increase my research skills, learn more about where problems still exist and how to solve them,” he said. “OSH is evolving every day as technology and health data are discovered. As occupational safety and health professionals, we must continue looking for the next issues so they can affect employees less.”

David’s advice to those in his fellow field of safety is simple: never stop learning.

“I always say that we do not have to have all the answers, but we must know where to find the answers,” he said. “Never stop learning more about safety and health, meet and network with many other professionals and review as much as possible.”

“Every career field is continually evolving, and we have the responsibility to never stop growing our influence in that field or with those we work with.”

To learn more about becoming a CSU Learning Partner, visit Partnerships | Columbia Southern University.

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.