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Grads of Industrial Hygiene program establish endowment to give back

RMCOEH graduates David Roskelley, left, and Alan Fleeger have established an endowment for the center’s Industrial Hygiene program. They say their time at RMCOEH served as a catalyst for successful careers and want to ensure the educational experience of current and future Industrial Hygiene students is similarly foundational.

Alan Fleeger, David Roskelley say education at RMCOEH fueled their success

Alan Fleeger had completed his bachelor’s degree and had a job lined up and was set to embark on his career.

Until one of his professors offered advice that changed his plans and, ultimately, changed his life, sending him on a career path in which he rose to a global leadership position at a Fortune 500 company before he settled into an early retirement in 2019.

“He was like, ‘No, you need to go to grad school, and you need to go to Utah,’” he said. “It was a tough decision for me, but it was the best decision of my life. My wife typed up my application the night before it had to be date stamped to be mailed in. Lo and behold, I got accepted.”

Enrolling in the U. and joining RMCOEH’s Industrial Hygiene program proved to be “the catalyst” for his career. That’s a sentiment shared by fellow alum David Roskelley, who after earning his master’s degree in the Industrial Hygiene program cofounded a safety, health, and environmental consulting firm, R&R Environmental, Inc., that is approaching 30 years of being in businesses.   

“I love the Rocky Mountain Center,” he said. “My education was incredible. It’s been everything to me. It’s allowed me to raise a family and do wonderful things in my life.”

Now, after ascending the heights of their profession, the pair is giving back, with the aim of ensuring current and future industrial hygiene students receive the kind of world-class education they experienced during their time at RMCOEH.

Fleeger and Roskelley have established an endowment meant to bolster the Industrial Hygiene program. Both are longtime members of the program’s advisory committee and say additional financial support would open doors to important educational opportunities for students.

The goal is to raise at least $25,000 for the endowment, though Fleeger and Roskelley are optimistic that there will enough support from other RMCOEH alumni to exceed that figure. A group of anonymous donors has agreed to match the first $12,500 in donations.

The Industrial Hygiene program has been an essential part of RMCOEH’s success since the center’s founding in 1977 and has been prolific in producing graduates who make an impact in the field. Since 2019, 53 students have graduated from the program, including a cohort of 10 who earned their degrees this spring.

Fleeger and Roskelley are hoping to capitalize on the momentum stemming from the generosity of another RMCOEH graduate, Eric Esswein. He also recently established a $25,000 endowment for the Industrial Hygiene program: the Capt. Eric J. and MSgt. John E. Esswein Endowed Scholarship.

The pair is confident that their initiative, along with Esswein’s, will generate a groundswell of support for the Industrial Hygiene program and RMCOEH – to the benefit not only of current and future students but the countless workers whose lives will be improved through their work.

“What you really learn through RMCOEH is that you’re here to protect worker health, and you’re representing whoever it is that you work for,” Fleeger said. “That’s what they’re paying you to do — advise them and protect the workers so that when they come to work every day, they’re in the same condition when they leave.”

Those who are interested in donating to the endowment can do so through the University of Utah School of Medicine.

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