2013 Distinguished Alumni - R. Matthew Richards
Class of 1997
After graduating from Salem Community College in 1997, Matthew transferred to Oklahoma State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in fire protection and safety technology. While completing his degree, he was recruited by many oil refineries throughout the country, yet he chose to come home to Salem County to launch his career, start a family and contribute to the community.
In 2007, Matthew joined Paulsboro Refining Company, LLC (formerly Valero) as senior safety engineer and contractor safety coordinator. In 2013, he was promoted to staff safety engineer. Previously, he held several positions with Sunoco in Marcus Hook, Pa. and Philadelphia. A certified safety professional, he is recognized throughout the Delaware Valley for his 12-year track record of reducing injuries in the workplace and promoting safety programs to employees in dangerous industrial professions. In addition, he is the president of the Delaware Valley Safety Council, which consists of many regional companies from the petrochemical, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.
Matthew has sacrificed countless hours away from his family helping others in their time of need. A volunteer member of the Elmer Fire Department since 1992, he currently serves as First Assistant Chief. He is also an emergency medical technician with the Elmer Ambulance Corps and the emergency management coordinator for the Borough of Elmer.