Thiel College Launches Environmental Safety Management Program

GREENVILLE, Pa. — A boom in manufacturing jobs is on the horizon, says the president of ILSCO Extrusions, John Thigpen, and the newest academic program at Thiel College promises to help fill the vacancies.

Thigpen, a 1986 graduate of Thiel, was part of a panel discussion Thursday as the college launched its Environmental Safety Management program at the Haer Family Science and Arts Connector.

The CEO said in the Mercer County area there are 200 small and large manufacturing facilities with a workforce that is nearing retirement age with few millennials and generation X members in place to fill job vacancies as those workers retire.

“There is an explosion coming,” Thigpen said.

Thigpen was joined by executives from the gas and oil industry and the geotechnical services fields along with about 50 business people, media representatives and community members.

Mark Marmo, CEO of Zelienople, Pa.-based Deep Well Services and a 1993 graduate of the college, said he expects his company to add as many as 250 employees in the future.

Marmo described several career opportunities with six-figure salaries in his company. “There are opportunities. There is room for lots of growth,” he said.

Deborah Weible, president of Pittsburgh-based Geo-Environmental Drilling Co. and a 1984 graduate of Thiel, said the Environmental Safety Management program will fill a growing need for small companies like hers by training graduates to be prepared for careers straight out of college.

David Shafer was introduced as the program coordinator. He has been active in the field of environmental safety for nearly 40 years as a consultant, government contractor, college educator and employer. Shafer is a certified environmental, safety and health trainer, and has led safety training sessions and programs across the United States. He has provided over 1,600 days of training for more than 650 individual courses for the EPA and numerous states.

“The potential growth for this industry will mean our graduates will be ready for high-paying jobs in the region and around the country,” Shafer said.

Thiel’s program combines elements from its Department of Business Administration and Accounting, which has been singled out as a department of distinction by Colleges of Distinction the last two years, and its Department of Environmental Science. The program is the only one in Pennsylvania that uses environmental science as its core element.

The new major will open opportunities in a variety of fields and locations such as hospitals, oil and gas activities, construction projects, educational facilities and manufacturing plants, Shafer said.

New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are all in the top five for employment opportunities for occupational health and safety specialists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pictured at top: Thiel College Environmental Safety Management program coordinator David Shafer speaks during the program launch Thursday. Industry executives and Thiel alumni Deborah Weible, Mark Marmo and John Thigpen are in the background,

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