Second candidate for WKU Environment, Health and Safety director attends open forum

Nick Bratcher

WKU took another step Friday toward filling the vacant role of Director of Environment, Health, and Safety.

David Oliver, supervisor of Health and Safety at General Motors’ Bowling Green facility, presented then fielded questions in an open forum as the second of two candidates for the position. Bradley Coyle, the other candidate, presented Thursday.

His presentation revolved around his two visions for the position if chosen —  integrating WKU’s facilities’ departments and combining strategic and tactical policy to do so.

Oliver, who graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Master’s in Security, Safety and Emergency Management, compared WKU’s environment, health and safety objectives to a group of silos, each working independent of the other.

“That’s really where we started,” he said. “The environmental folks played in their silo. The safety folks played in their silo. They were all very different practice areas, and we all sort of did our own thing.

“It’s the partnerships that have to happen across those areas.”

Oliver said progress toward this goal starts with combining a strategic way of thinking with a hands-on approach, especially with WKU’s partners and consumers — its students, faculty, staff and community.

 “A lot of safety and environmental programs across the country teach their students to be strategic,” he said. ”It doesn’t work in real life. Yes, we have to use technical expertise in all these areas to help develop policy and procedure with our partners.

“But secondly, we have to be prepared to roll up our sleeves to be tactical support for those.”

Oliver said growing up in Bowling Green and the growth of WKU played a large part in applying for the job. Also, he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at WKU.

“Bowling Green is home,” he said. “It’s the diversity of the consumer base and second, I feel like the university is growing. It’s a good place to move to and continue my professional career.”