Young Hygienist Snapshot: Carl Johnson [INTERNATIONAL EDITION!]

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Carl is an Industrial Hygiene Specialist for 3M’s Industrial Business Group.  He works with 3M facilities, new acquisitions, product developers, and business leaders around the world to improve workplace and product health and safety. His primary research interests are in the areas of hearing conservation, industrial noise control, and chemical exposure assessment. Carl is the past chair of the AIHA Noise Committee. He is also an active member of both the Exposure Assessment Committee and the Student and Early Career Professionals Committee. In 2011, Carl was selected to participate in the AIHA Future Leaders Institute. He has a Degree in Environmental Science and Chemistry, a Master’s Degree in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Minnesota, and he is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH).  In his free time, he volunteers as a member of the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board for Biomedical Research, spends as much time outdoors as possible, and eats more sushi than he should!

I also found out that Carl did an Ignite session at the AIHce Conference in 2012 – superstar!

Here is 5-mins with Carl:

Best location I have worked:  I’ve been lucky enough to work all over the world.  Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.  I often get to travel to  manufacturing facilities in Southern California and Colorado.  It isn’t a bad thing when your job takes you to places close to the beach or the mountains.

The best thing about my job is: At the end of the day, I feel as though I’ve helped someone or made the world a little better.  I get to make friends with people all over the world and everyday is different.  For me, feeling like I make a difference and that I get to work on new challenges keeps me going.

Career Highlights: For me, the days that I get to teach and share my knowledge and experience are my favorite days.  I also love the days when I get to work on a complex problem, come up with an innovative solution, and actually get to see the results.  It is a good feeling to see a big project come to fruition.

If you want to be an Occupational Industrial Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Science nerds and being relied on as an expert.  Every time I go to one of the IH conferences, I’m amazed at how smart the people in our profession are.  Their passion for science and helping people is unreal.  As there are very few of us out there, we are often the sole IH expert at the table.  You’d better get used to being able to deliver a concise, expert, technically sound, well thought out, and scientific opinion.  People’s health, time, and money often hang in the balance.

People normally think my job involves: Checking the showers at work or something involving bacteria.

The best things I’ve been asked to do were: Make a real difference in ensuring worker health and safety.  Also, returning to the University of Minnesota to teach was excellent.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: There were a few projects back in my consulting days that weren’t excellent, but I will say that it was always interesting.  One project involved a complex confined space entry into a landfill.  It involved being lowered 100 m down a concrete shaft into the belly of the landfill.  Not the best day of work I’ve ever had.  I also had to clean up 3.5 million gallons of butter from a fire at a dairy processing facility.  After getting a half mile of solid butter out of a 7 foot diameter pipe, my jacket was never the same.  Although very waterproof, it smelled like burned popcorn for years……

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