Sal Caccavale Rises to Top in
Environmental Health and Safety Field

8/08


When alumnus Sal Caccavale decided to pursue a college degree, flexibility was his number one priority. With a young family, Caccavale was dividing his time between home and his job as a chemical plant operator at BASF, a chemical manufacturing plant in South Brunswick, N.J. Taking one or two courses a semester year-round, he earned his associate degree in Business Administration from Mercer in 1984, and then his bachelor's degree in Business Management from Monmouth College (now University).

With his college degree in hand, Caccavale's career opportunities steadily blossomed. While working at BASF, he served on the Safety Committee and was offered a position as a supervisor in the Safety Department. His future in the environmental health and safety field took off from there.

Sal Caccavale ('84)

Now the director of Global Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety at A.M. Castle & Co., a leading supplier of high performance alloys to the aerospace and defense industries located in Franklin Park, IL, Caccavale recalls the value of his Mercer experience. "The courses I took at Mercer really helped me understand the basics of the business world. I have attended many business seminars, but the courses at Mercer set the stage for me in marketing a product, understanding the economy, and making good business decisions. I never understood why I had to take courses like physics and trigonometry, but when I got into the business world, it all came together."

In his present position, Caccavale is responsible for the regulatory compliance of the company's 60 metal and plastics processing plants around the world. His role is to ensure that all 2,500 employees, visitors and vendors remain safe and to protect the environment and the communities in which the company operates. He is in regular contact with such governmental agencies as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

"I really benefited from working on the shop floor before becoming a safety professional," Caccavale said. "It has given me a hands-on approach to handling environmental, health and safety issues on a daily basis. Now that I am in an administrative position, I take the same hands-on approach and apply it to developing environmental health and safety (EHS) processes to protect people and the environment. I have to work with people face to face, so I can't be behind a desk. I am a people person, so I love it. For me, it just doesn't get any better than that!"

After working at BASF in New Jersey, Caccavale relocated to BASF in the Greater Pittsburgh area to serve as an EHS manager and later as a regulatory auditor. Subsequently he went on to EHS positions at the American National Can Company, a producer of beverage cans for such companies as Coke and Anheuser-Busch, and Superior Bulk Logistics, a tank truck carrier.

Caccavale's work has taken him to England, France, Spain, Mexico, China and Brazil. He currently serves as the vice president of the National Safety Council's (NSC) Business and Industry Division and on its board of directors. Over the years, he has taught environmental safety and industrial hygiene courses for the Community College of Beaver County in Western Pennsylvania and the University of Medicine and Dentistry at Rutgers University.

Noted for his technical writing, Caccavale has authored "A Basic Guide to Resource Conservation Recovery Act: Understanding Solid and Hazardous Waste," published by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). His article, "A Guide to the Hazardous Waste Regulations," published in the ASSE's periodical, Professional Safety, won a technical writing award in 2000. He serves on the editorial review board of Professional Safety and on the editorial advisory board of the NSC's periodical, Safety and Health, and is the recipient of the National Safety Council's Distinguished Service to Safety Award.

Caccavale encourages students to take advantage of the extracurricular activities available at Mercer and to pursue success in their chosen field with determination. "I never thought I would be where I am today," he said. "Sure, there was plenty of trial and error along the way, but if you stay focused and are sincere about your efforts, no one will ever fault you."

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