After seven months of vacancy, Middlebury named Jesse Stratton the new director of Environmental Health, Safety and Compliance (EHS). He started his new role on Oct. 3.
The Vice President of Administration and Chief Risk Officer Mike Thomas announced the arrival of Stratton in an Oct. 12 email to the Middlebury community, describing him as “a collaborative leader and advocate for employee safety and compliance.”
As a lifelong resident of Vermont who grew up just past the Snow Bowl, Stratton has a deep connection to the Middlebury area.
“When the opportunity was presented to potentially join Middlebury, it was one I could not pass up and am humbled to have been selected to join,” Stratton said.
Being surrounded by Vermont’s landscape growing up encouraged a love for nature and the environment, especially aquatic ecosystems, which led him to study freshwater and marine biology at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
“That education took me to a career in public policy advocating for the needs of our agricultural communities specifically with regard to water quality and neighbor conflict resolution,” Stratton said. “Soon after moving back to Vermont after college I was approached by the group that would eventually become Atlas Technical Consulting.”
Atlas Technical Consulting is a full-service environmental consulting firm with over 40 locations across the country. Stratton worked at the Vermont chapter, located in Williston, Vt., which specializes in a variety of areas such as infrastructure, industrial hygiene and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance for clients in the Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and upstate New York areas.
“I started as an entry-level technician eventually making my way into a senior leadership role in the company,” Stratton said. “The role allowed me to return to a more hands-on role supporting various construction and infrastructure projects through Vermont, New England and New York.”
Stratton worked at Atlas for 17 years, allowing him to make connections with clientele at both a local and national level. One of the connections he made was with Middlebury, as he has had several opportunities to work with the college over the years, beginning with the Forest Hall renovation project in 2010.
“My primary contacts with the college were through facilities but led to contact with numerous departments around campus,” Stratton said. “I specifically offered guidance and support for hazard material assessments, indoor air quality concerns, permitting, Covid-19 management (HVAC evaluations and capacity concerns) and other environmental and safety related issues. Through this I gained an understanding of the variety of buildings and unique needs that make up Middlebury, Breadloaf and the Snow Bowl in particular, and I look forward to learning more about Middlebury and all of its entities in my new role.”
Stratton is the third director of Environmental Health, Safety, and Compliance at Middlebury. The position has existed for the past 25 years, with the title changing from coordinator to director two years ago.
In his position, Stratton says he will be working with the entirety of the Middlebury community, including faculty, staff and students, in order to uphold the college’s commitment to health and safety.
“This includes things like OSHA training, risk evaluation and mitigation efforts for personnel and the institution as a whole, Covid-19 operations support, Personal Protection Equipment, First Aid and CPR, environmental submittal coordination and much more in Vermont and California,” Stratton explained.
One of the most important aspects of his position is transparency and engagement with campus community members. His contact information is readily available on the college website.
“The EHS office and Risk Management as a whole is committed to supporting all departments, councils, groups and individuals here at Middlebury,” Stratton said. “We are committed to being fully transparent and accountable and look forward to working with any and all in a collaborative environment.”
Outside of his work, Stratton is also a father of two teenagers with his partner of almost 30 years.