—Written by Honolulu CC journalism students Sharayah Gentry and Timothy Harris
When many of us see construction sites and building structures, we think of impressive architects and hardworking laborers who make those buildings possible. But when Tristan Aldeguer, a 2010 Honolulu Community College graduate, sees those same buildings, his mind goes to thoughts of safety hazards, regulations, and possible risks for occupational injuries.
Aldeguer graduated from Honolulu CC with an associate of science degree in the Occupational Environmental Safety Management (OESM) program and is currently a Health Safety Environmental Manager for Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., a leading firm in the construction industry.
Aldeguer oversees a staff of 22 safety professionals and manages day-to-day operations that include in-depth safety programs, policies and preconstruction plans. He is responsible for providing knowledge and feedback on rules and regulations while taking into consideration important factors such as electrical work, pedestrian safety and traffic control plans. He also has his own consulting firm for safety training called Aldeguer Safety Consulting, LLC.
Aldeguer was raised on the west side of O‘ahu for most of his life but also spent three years of his youth in North Carolina where his Army father was stationed. He identifies himself as a country boy growing up in a single-story ranch style home where his family farmed pigs, chicken and even flowers. He attended Wai‘anae High School where he lettered in football and received partial scholarships offers from Mainland colleges, including Portland State University and the University of San Diego.
“I could’ve went for football, but it still was going to be about $20,000 out of pocket,” he said. Instead, after graduating from Wai‘anae High School he joined the Army reserve in the Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare program. He enjoyed this program and found interest in the hazmat and hazardous waste courses.
After coming back from the reserve at the end of 2000, he enrolled at Honolulu CC as a full-time student. He chose Honolulu CC for its OESM program that offered a two-year degree program and a quick path to a job in his chosen field.
Through the OESM program, Aldeguer discovered his passion for caring for people and knew this was the field for him. He was one of the first students to participate in the internship program that is now part of the required curriculum at Honolulu CC. Although his deployment to Iraq in 2006 interrupted his academic career, he still completed his degree in the following years. By 2010 Aldeguer was successfully working on large-scale projects without attaining a bachelor’s degree. He credits the bonus incentive for the unveiling his profession in the OESM field.
When Aldeguer was just 29, he was nominated and confirmed as a member of the Hoisting Machine Operators Advisory Board by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie. As a board member he is responsible for community relations and works with the government regulators to discuss current trends and feedback from businesses. Although his four-year term is to expire this June, it is currently being reviewed by the legislature for renewal.
Today, Aldeguer is a married father of three and stays busy with his personal and professional life. In early May he organized and served as chairperson for the Biennial Governor’s Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conference, which had over 75 exhibitors and 50 speakers in Waikīkī to help to increase safety in the workplace.
“Tristan is a very capable, family man who knows his stuff and is full of energy,” said Robert Armstrong, executive director of the Hoisting Machine Operators Advisory Board. “He is a quiet leader who demonstrates that you don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to get attention and respect.”