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Dianne Grote Adams founded Safex in 1992, but her career in environmental, health and safety began before that. Her story was featured in Safety+Health magazine, published by the National Safety Council. Read full article here or below. 

My Story: Dianne Grote Adams

My occupational safety and health career began when I was traveling at sea for a semester and couldn’t get home for a physical therapy graduate school interview. If video chatting existed back then, I probably wouldn’t be the owner of a health and safety consulting firm today.

Fortunately, when my travels ended, I found out that the Ohio Department of Industrial Relations was recruiting new science grads for industrial hygiene positions. I knew a little bit about the field because my father was a laborer and he talked – well, com-plained – about OSHA at the dinner table. I happily accepted the job and my love for learning was fed with extensive on-the-job training. As luck would have it, I met my husband of 40 years at the OSHA Training Institute near Chicago.

During this time, I had a great manager who encouraged me to apply for a NIOSH grant for an occupational safety grad program at the University of Cincinnati. I was thrilled to receive the grant and stipend. Even better, my manager transferred me to Cincinnati from Columbus, OH, and made my position part time so I could continue to do onsite health and safety consultations.

After completing grad school, I became an EHS supervisor at Ross Laboratories (now Abbott). Along the way, I was fortunate to have many wonderful mentors who saw potential in me that I didn’t recognize. When I had my younger son, I transitioned to a part-time EHS role at a large service company that wasn’t very fulfilling. After that experience, I decided to start my own business and offer meaningful full- and part-time work and mentorship to people in my hometown of Westerville, OH.

Safex is now in its 27th year of business and is 23-people strong. Safex is firmly rooted in values and dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes keep their employees safe on the job. My role keeps changing as we grow, and I love it. Just this year, I helped create an EHS major at my alma mater, Otterbein University, and taught the introductory class with a client. I’m grateful for the opportunity to mentor the next generation of EHS leaders and appreciate the mentors who’ve shaped my journey.