The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird!

Safety glasses: All in favor say “eye!” Well, at least for our Safety majors in the Department of Health Sciences! Safety alumnus, Kyle Garman, is featured in our #CAST50 series and will tell you how safety is no accident.

What was your major, minor, and when did you graduate from Illinois State University?

I graduated in December 2014 with my bachelor’s degree in safety and a minor in environmental health.

Tell us about your career path and how you got to where you are today.

Kyle Garman at John Deere

I am currently a safety standards engineer at John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG), and my path to get here has been rather exciting! While in college, I applied for an internship in occupational safety for John Deere and was instead offered one in product safety. The roles are fairly similar in principle: occupational safety is protecting the people who make the equipment, while product safety is protecting the people around the equipment when it’s in use, there are just very different methods of accomplishing each. Although I was less familiar in the field, I jumped in enthusiastically and absolutely fell in love with the role. After my internship, I received an offer to return after graduation in their Engineering Development Program, which gave me an introduction into a few different functional areas of the company before taking a permanent position. Just over halfway through my second rotation in the program, I moved into a permanent role as a safety standards engineer (product safety and compliance) at ISG. I just reached my one-year anniversary in this position!

 Your college roommate(s) are asked to describe you. What are five things you know they would say?

I would guess that my college roommates would describe me as hard-working, stubborn (I was always pretty set in my own ways), and if we’re being completely honest, sometimes a pain to live with! I’m pretty sure the main reasons they kept me around were because I could reach things on the top shelf (I’m rather tall) and because I kept a pretty tidy apartment.

What is one household chore you would do for the rest of your life, and why did you choose that one?

If I had to do only one household chore for the rest of my life, it would definitely be mowing the lawn. I get to be outside, and for some odd reason, I’ve always enjoyed it! (What’s that old saying? Nothing runs like a… hmm…)

Advice for current students?

My advice for current students is to have faith in your future. It’s unbelievably intimidating looking forward, trying to envision and plan for your next steps in the real world. But the reality is that the future may never bring what you want or expect it to bring. That’s the beauty of it. I started off completely committed to becoming a firefighter, then discovered I really enjoyed occupational safety, and finally have found myself helping in the design of agricultural equipment. I look back at the past three years of my own life and wonder how in the world I ended up where I am, but I truly love what I do.

Think you know someone who should be featured? Contact us!