Erike Young, MPPA '05 (Public Policy & Administration)

Commitment to safety earns national honor

Erike Young
Alumnus Erike Young has received a national safety award, and he credits the skills he acquired in Sacramento State’s Master of Public Policy and Administration program for helping him earn that honor.

Young, who got his MPPA in 2005, received the 2012 Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year award, during the American Society of Safety Engineers Professional Development Conference and Exposition in Denver.

The safety award, sponsored by Monsanto Corp., is given each year to an outstanding ASSE member for accomplishments and contributions in the occupational safety, health and environmental field.

Young is the director of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) for the University of California, coordinating and assisting all 10 campuses, five hospitals and a national laboratory. He guides the development and implementation of policies and procedures that help maintain a safe and healthy environment for the system’s more than 180,000 employees and 220,000 students.

Young considers the MPPA as the MBA of the public sector. “The program provided me with the foundation and understanding of how to create value in a public agency, and the tools to make change happen,” he says.

UC Chief Risk Officer Grace Crickette, who nominated him for the award, commended Young’s work. “Within two months of becoming the (UC) director, Erike was able to organize all of the campus and hospital EH&S directors to adopt a system-wide strategic plan that will help guide leadership for the next five years.”

Young has also distinguished himself in the ASSE Sacramento Chapter with efforts such as encouraging others to pursue professional development opportunities. In 2011, he received the Region I Safety Professional of the Year award.

While Young praises Sacramento State’s MPPA program for teaching theory and practical approaches for a career in public policy and administration, his strongest memory of the University is far more personal – having his daughter, who was 6 at the time, at his graduation ceremony. “Neither my mother or father attended college, so being able to be a role model for my daughter and have her see the ceremony was the most memorable moment for me.”

Founded in 1911, the ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and has more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members.

Article written by Craig Koscho, Sacramento State's Office of Public Affairs, published June 2012