Young Hygienist Snapshot: Carter Ficklen CIH CSP [INTERNATIONAL EDITION!]

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Carter is one of those rare persons you meet, full of life with infectious amounts of energy.  Carter is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. He works as a Program Manager for Safety and Quality Assurance Alliance, Inc. at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virgina, where he manages contracts that provide safety, industrial hygiene, risk management, quality assurance, and construction management consulting services.

He has served as a Special Government Employee in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program and is very active in AIHA at both local and national levels. He has served as chair of the AIHA Student and Early Career Professionals Committee, the president AIHA Tidewater Local Section, the president of the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation, and the chair of the 2011 AIHA Future Leaders Institute Advisory Team.

In 2009, Carter earned AIHA’s Kuznetz Award, recognizing an IH under 40 has provided for the highest standards of health and safety protection for employees shows promise of leadership in the profession. I even found a YouTube video of Carter speaking as an AIHA Thought Leader – What a guy! Here is 5-mins with Carter:

Best location I have worked: Being a contractor supporting the Health and Safety program at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia for the past 17 years. Occasionally I take working at such a great place for granted, but when I look around at all of the cool research going on I remember why I’ve stayed here for almost my whole career. Plus we have a bar onsite……it’s only open after working hours;-)

The best thing about my job is: Variety. Getting to deal with people at all levels of an organization that all do different things and have different backgrounds. I joke that as hygienists we interact with people from the boardroom to the basement. At NASA it can be the crawlspace to outer space.

Career Highlight: There have been a bunch, but the one that stands out the most is getting the letter from the American Board of Industrial Hygiene that I had passed the CIH exam. The best part was that I didn’t have to open the envelope; the three letters were already after my name. At the time passing the exam seemed like such a milestone, but in retrospect it was just a beginning. I put more effort into studying and improving on my weaknesses than I’ve put into anything in my career. The best part has been the doors it has opened and the amazing friends I’ve met from all over the world.

If you want to be an Occupational Hygienist, you’d better get used to: Telling people things that they don’t always want to hear. And figuring out ways to communicate these messages in terms that the information we are delivering provides value to protecting worker health and also reducing risk for an organization.

People normally think my job involves: Cleaning buildings. Or teeth. Or maybe both.

The best thing I’ve been asked to do was: Be part of a team that responded to provide health and safety assistance NASA facilities that were impacted by Hurricane Katrina almost 9 years ago. So many of our workers in the area lost everything, it was nice to try and do a little bit to try and restore some sort of normalcy to their lives.

The worst thing I’ve been asked to do was: Look for sewage leak in a roach infested crawlspace. There were so many roaches that the crawlspace felt like it had a pulse.

CFicklen CFicklen2

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