Even before the spread of COVID-19 forced higher-education institutions across the nation to transition to online instruction, Edinboro University was ready. In fact, Edinboro’s pandemic plan long predates the current global health crisis.
That’s because Jim Dahle is at his best when he’s preparing for the worst.
As Edinboro’s director of Safety and Risk Management, Dahle oversees all aspects of the University’s hazard mitigation efforts, including emergency preparedness, occupational, environmental and fire safety, regulatory compliance, access control and security systems.
His vigilant, ongoing work to enhance University safety programs and procedures was integral to Edinboro’s swift and decisive response to COVID-19. And his leadership throughout the crisis is one of the many reasons he was named Edinboro University’s 2020 Staff Member of the Year.
“Jim is a knowledgeable and dedicated professional who is committed to student, employee and community safety,” said Edinboro President Guiyou Huang. “We are privileged to have such a talented and experienced individual in this critical area.”
The Staff Member of the Year Award recognizes an Edinboro University staff member who demonstrates outstanding service to the Edinboro University community and its students.
Originally from Pleasantville, Pa., Dahle joined the University in 2013. He works around the clock conducting fire drills, testing indoor air quality, leading safety prevention training, monitoring severe weather, handling the University’s property and liability insurance, managing the University’s emergency alert system and providing support to University departments as they work to improve their safety programs and procedures.
His duties also include ensuring all campus events adhere to the highest safety regulations – a responsibility that sometimes involves collaborating with event organizers to find safe alternatives to their original plans. Despite the demands of the job and his frequent after-hours trips to campus, he remains calm, cool and collected and never seeks praise for his contributions.
“Jim’s ability to maintain his composure, not only during these exceptional incidents but each and every day, ensures that all students and employees can enjoy their time on Edinboro’s campus,” said his nominator, who has chosen to remain anonymous. “While Jim’s top priority always has been – and always will be – the safety of those he works with, his second priority is ensuring that his words and actions generate a positive experience for the individuals that he interacts with each day.”
Always willing to lend a hand, Dahle’s selfless, life-saving efforts extend beyond the University community. He has served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department for more than a decade.
“He is a servant leader who does not ask anyone to do anything that he would not do,” said the nominator. “Even though Jim works in a difficult and often stressful position, he has one of the most positive attitudes on campus.”
Dahle earned an associate degree in Fire Protection Technology from the University of Akron before graduating from Edinboro in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He later served as a fire and life safety specialist at Case Western Reserve University, while also working as a lieutenant, fire inspector, firefighter and emergency medical technician for his local municipality.
Dahle lives in Edinboro with his wife, Racheal, and their two children.
Dr. Huang announces 2020 Staff Member of the Year