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Meet the faculty: Ivan Pupulidy and Christopher J. Colburn.

In the UAB Advanced Safety Engineering and Management (ASEM) program, and the UAB School of Engineering in general, our goal is provide the highest quality engineering education by attracting exceptional faculty to teach students and advance the engineering discipline.

In ASEM, our faculty represent a variety of backgrounds and specialties, but they all share an expertise and passion for educating the next generation of safety engineering professionals. Our two newest adjunct faculty joined the department in Spring 2019 and bring experience and knowledge of international standards in risk management and occupational safety to UAB ASEM.

Ivan Pupulidy, PhD

Adjunct Professor
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  • M.S., Human Factors and Systems Safety
  • Ph.D., Social Science
  • Certified Hazardous Materials Manager

Ivan Pupulidy is an adjunct professor and consultant who applies his experience and research to bettering operations in complex systems and high-risk environments, such as wildland firefighting, aviation, military, and medicine. As a U.S. Forest Service Director, he developed and implemented the Learning Review, which is a process designed to improve how large and small organizations respond to accidents and incidents. The Learning Review is centered on understanding the actions and decisions of workers, by mapping systemic conditions that influence human actions. As director, his group was challenged with the responsibility of leading the research associated with cultural change in the U.S. Forest Service.

Ivan’s ability to integrate academic research with real world application comes from his varied life experiences, which have included work as a mine geologist, exploration geophysicist, and a U.S. Coast Guard pilot for rescue and law enforcement missions. He served in the U.S. Air Guard and Air Force Reserves, where he flew the C-130 Hercules, including missions as a Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) tanker pilot on wildland fires. He also served on active military operations for combat and humanitarian support in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Africa.

Ivan earned a Master of Science degree in Human Factors and Systems Safety at Lund University, Sweden, under Professor Sidney Dekker. He completed his Ph.D. in Social Science at Tilburg University, Netherlands. He now brings his academic credentials and real-world experiences to the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an Adjunct Professor.

Ivan is an international consultant and organizational coach who focuses on topics related to human factors, Organizational Culture, real-time risk perspectives, HOP, learning from events, organizational dialogue, development of high-leverage learning products, and the connection between resilience and high reliability organizing.

Christopher J. Colburn, CSP, CHMM

Adjunct Professor
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  • MEng, Advanced Safety Engineering and Management
  • Certified Safety Professional
  • Certified Hazardous Materials Manager

Christopher J. Colburn is currently the Director, Environmental, Health and Safety – North America at the AGCO Corporation. The AGCO Corporation is the world’s largest full line agricultural equipment manufacturer focused primarily on creating high-tech solutions for farmers feeding the world. AGCO produces some of the world’s top equipment brands including: Massey Ferguson, Challenger, Fendt, Valtra, GSI, Sunflower, White and Precision Planting. Christopher is directly responsible for AGCO’s North American operations and supports global operations serving as the leader of the company’s FOCUS Occupational Safety and Health Management System initiative. He completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Findlay with a concentration in Environmental, Health and Safety Management. Christopher also holds a Master of Engineering degree with a concentration in Advanced Safety Engineering and Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

In addition to his work as an Adjunct Professor in UAB’s Advanced Safety Engineering and Management Graduate Program, Christopher also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Region IV Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association (VPPPA) and is a member of the American National Standards Institutes’ (ANSI) Z10 Edit Committee. ANSI Z10 is the most comprehensive and far reaching of all U.S. Occupational Health and Safety ANSI standards. Christopher is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM), and is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Grad IOSH) located in Europe. Christopher resides in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he has two daughters, a grandson, and granddaughter.

Faculty that Understand

Our ASEM faculty know firsthand what it is like to move from a technical engineering position to a management role, especially in the safety field. While our faculty all have different backgrounds ranging from academia, industry, and military, they all understand the vital importance of well-trained safety engineers. If you'd like to learn more about our faculty or the ASEM program just use the form on this page or email our program director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let us help you find your path to a safety engineering management career.

About ASEM

The Master of Engineering with a concentration in Advanced Safety Engineering and Management (ASEM) is the first master’s degree in engineering with a safety emphasis offered totally online. Designed for working safety professionals, the curriculum focuses on current industry best practices with an emphasis on prevention through design. The ASEM faculty and Practitioner Scholars are prominent industry professionals and researchers.

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