My name is Keith Krass, and I’m from Pittsburgh, PA. I am a Safety Management major at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU).
At the age of 18, I enlisted in the United States Army. During my years of service, loyalty, duty, respect, honor, integrity, and courage are some of the values that have been instilled in me. I have served much of my time in the military with the 101st Airborne Division. The Army has afforded me the opportunity to visit some amazing places, with Alaska and France ranking at the top of my list. While traveling around the world has its perks, military work also comes with risk and sacrifice; I have been sent on three combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
After seven years on active duty, I decided to transition into the reserves. I wanted a family and active duty made that a challenge. Even though I was no longer a full-time Soldier, I still felt the urge to help people. At the time, I thought the best path for this was nursing. While I tried as hard as I could, I discovered that nursing wasn’t where I was meant to be. I felt like a failure, but I was determined to succeed. To quote General Patton, “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
After realizing nursing was not the path for me, I discovered the Safety Management program at SRU. I thought it may be a good fit for me and my background, so I signed up, took a few classes, and fell in love with it.
The calling to help people is what got me into safety — not the way I expected, but rarely does life adhere to our plans. As some of the wisest people I’ve ever met have said, plans are likely going to change whether we like it or not.
After taking a course in construction safety at SRU, I knew I wanted to work in the industry. Rolling my sleeves up, getting in the dirt, and making sure every worker made it home safe every night — that was how I was going to continue to help people. While I had been part of construction operations overseas, I never realized my potential role in the industry. Thankfully, Allan Myers opened that door for me. When they came to SRU for a career fair and presented in one of my classes, I was sure I wanted to pursue an internship in construction. Construction is the ideal fit for me, because I can both keep workers safe AND be part of a team that makes the conceptual a reality.
Seeing plans on paper turn into brick and mortar is extremely fulfilling to me. The team at Myers welcomed me with open arms and provided much-needed wisdom and guidance. While my internship is coming to an end, I will cherish the lessons I learned and apply them in my future as a safety professional in the construction industry.
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