Civilian life: Augie's public safety director makes adjustment

Posted Online: March 24, 2012, 7:33 pm
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By Anthony Watt,
The switch was not a small one -- going from helping run an American military base the size of a city to helping run a small, private, liberal arts college.

But Greg Venvertloh, Augustana College's new director of public safety, insists the transition to the college from Camp Victory in Iraq, where he was director of public works, was not drastic.

Safety standards are not that different from place to place, and a job is usually about working with people to get problems overcome, he said.

"To be quite honest, it's not a huge adjustment," Mr. Venvertloh said.

At Victory, Mr. Venvertloh helped ready the base to be handed over to the Iraqi government, he said. At the time, there were 20,000 people -- American military personnel as well as U.S. civilians and the citizens of 30 other countries -- who called the base home.

That job was one of his greatest accomplishments, he said.

Mr. Venvertloh began his new job in January. He said he is reviewing Augustana's safety procedures, looking for what works and what might need improvement.

His goals are to improve the campus safety culture, ensure that safety procedures and rules -- from environmental and fire safety to security-- are being properly maintained and met and TO make that information available on a campus safety website, Mr. Venvertloh said. Another goal is to ease the campus into any necessary changes by not making too many too fast.

"Augustana has a good safety culture," he said. "We're going to make it great."

Much of his professional life has been related to safety, he said.

Mr. Venvertloh's military career began in 1984 and has spanned the regular and part-time components of the Army. He began as an enlisted man in the regular service, then joined the National Guard and went to school in Quincy, his home town, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry.

After earning that degree, the Army offered him a commission, and he became part of a fast response team whose job it was to counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

As a civilian contractor, he also helped train the security forces of various U.S. Navy bases in how to deal with potentially hazardous material threats.

At Camp Victory, his responsibilities included safety, construction, facilities maintenance, recycling, hazardous materials and waste removal.

Mr. Venvertloh now holds the rank of major and is still active in the Iowa National Guard.

The thing he learned during his career -- and that he will apply to his job at Augustana -- is making sure communication is a key component of his operation, Mr. Venvertloh said. Being able to communicate with superiors and subordinates is an indication of good leadership.

"If you're not communicating, bad things can happen," he said.

He said the people of Augustana have made his job easier.

"The caliber of people here is just amazing," he said.

More about Greg Venvertloh:

Age: 47.

Hometown: Quincy, but lives near Galesburg.

Family: Wife and three children, ages 9 to 14.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry from Quincy University.

Hobbies: Getting his kids to their various extracurricular activities.


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.

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