A UW-Stout alumnus has been appointed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to the board of the Minnesota State Academies.
Oluwagbenga “Gbenga” Ogungbe, of Oakdale, Minn., graduated from UW-Stout in 2013 with a master’s degree in risk control through the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management. Risk control teaches students to identify, analyze and control risks that are inherent to an organization and to better manage those risks. Ogungbe, who was appointed last summer, will serve until January 2022.
The seven-member board oversees the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, both in Faribault, Minn.
Ogungbe, a native of Nigeria, said he was excited when he was appointed. He had to apply for the position and underwent a phone interview, a public meeting that allowed academy members and community members to ask questions and a final interview.
“I was excited and elated,” Ogungbe said. “I emigrated to the U.S. 11 years ago, and to be honored by the governor of the state and to serve the people of my community is a huge honor.”
Ogungbe, who has a medical degree in his home country of Nigeria, works as a loss control specialist with Risk Administration Services Inc. based in Sioux Falls, S.D. He is at a branch office in Eagan, Minn.
His work involves loss control services to school districts, automotive industries, hospital systems, home care centers, service, manufacture and construction industries. He believes his experience made him a good candidate for the board. “I strongly feel I can provide input on how these schools are run,” he said, noting he has experience in policies, administration and finance.
He decided to attend UW-Stout after earning his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health so he could gain more applicable knowledge and expertise in ergonomics, industrial hygiene and safety processes and management.
UW-Stout’s program prepares students to serve as risk control and safety professionals who can identify, analyze and control the various employee safety and operations risks. They include workplace design and engineering principles, regulatory compliance, risk finance as well as public, property and environmental protection, according to the program’s website.
“The program is all-encompassing,” Ogungbe said.
“Loss control specialists focus on investigating, designing and implementing programs that prevent workplace injuries and accidents, investigating why and how accidents occur as well as making sure plans are in place to prevent future ones,” Ogungbe said. “I like being able to put measures in place to prevent accidents from happening. I like putting my skill set and knowledge base to helping people. I want to make sure every employee who goes to work goes home to the family they love. The program at UW-Stout is a wonderful program.”
Brian Finder, the risk control program director, said Ogungbe’s medical background and work experience were a natural fit with the technical and managerial components of the Master of Science program. “His strong analytical skills routinely prompted in-class discussions, which not only enhanced the remaining students’ learning experience but also set an example of how a competent risk control/safety professional should think,” Finder said.