Chapter History

NCC-ACHMM: Evolution of the Organization, the Early Years

In the mid 1980s, environmental regulations were being written and new remedial technologies were being invented and refined-- it was an exciting time to be in the environmental industry. The Certified Hazardous Materials Manager credential had been established in 1984, and certification of individuals really began to pick up steam by 1986. To provide a local forum for technical information dissemination and opportunities to network, Adrian Borgias and John King founded the “Bay Area Chapter of the Academy of Hazardous Materials Managers”. A survey in April 1987 gathered information, and the first meeting was held August 25, 1987 in Oakland. About 40 people attended, reflecting an active interest in our rapidly evolving industry. The Steering Committee first met in October 1987, with Georgina Dannatt joining the team to obtain speakers and arrange meetings; later, Carmen Acton and several others also took on formative planning roles. Future goals were to offer CHMM exams in the Bay Area, and formalize the Chapter through officer elections, bylaws, and legal incorporation.

Meetings were on a monthly basis for the first couple of years, soon evolving to our current pattern of alternating technical meetings with business meetings. Many early meetings focused on developing regulations and new remedial solutions, garnering large numbers of attendees. A meeting on EPA’s Risk Assessment process in January 1988 was one of our largest ever-- 60 people filled the restaurant, and 20 were turned away! Over 400 people were on the mailing list after only a few months of operation, so the chapter instituted a annual fee of $10 to cover mailing costs. 1989 was a year of firsts for us: the first CHMM exam offered in the Bay Area in June, first Overview course hosted in December, and the first Annual Business Meeting also held in December. We took a road trip in November 1990; a Saturday bus trip to the Kettleman Hills Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility. Our first local field trip came later, to a solid waste transfer facility (now NorCal) in Brisbane in August 1991, and we manned a booth at the Hazmacon Conference in April 1991. And last but not least, our first holiday event was in December 1992, with Ivan Wong leading the wine tasting.

In early 1990, Adrian Borgias had moved to Spokane and John King was retiring from involvement, so management of the Chapter was handed off to Dave Snyder as Steering Committee Chairperson and Newsletter Editor, assisted by Georgina Dannatt heading Programs, Membership, and Treasury. The Chapter was renamed “Northern California Chapter of the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers” in mid-1990. Robin Spencer, John Wondolleck, Robert Brown, Mohsen Barazi, Lisa Polos, and Mick Haun joined the Chapter that year and shared in running various aspects the organization. In 1991, Dave Snyder received an Outstanding Chapter President award from ACHMM, and he noted the award applied to the entire steering committee since it was a team effort.

About this time, ACHMM had issued guidelines for Chapters which required formal by-laws and incorporation. Dave Snyder took the lead role for investigating what the Chapter needed to do to achieve non-profit status with the State of California. Unfortunately, our early Nolo-Press-assisted application was deemed inadequate to meet State requirements, and it became obvious that legal assistance was needed to find the right section and provisions for the Chapter to incorporate under.

In November 1992, after a 4 month gap with no meetings, we held a “revitalization” dinner meeting to solicit new people to join the Steering Committee since those involved lacked the time required to grow our organization. It was an important event, bringing in Ed Morales, Karen Beyerlien, Judy Nedoff, Robert Fox, Don Rebal, and Tom Chambers to redistribute workloads from the remaining Chapter leaders. John Wondelleck took over as Steering Committee Director in 1993, and his company Camp, Dresser & McKee provided support for newsletter production.

From 1990 to 1992, Robin Spencer worked with Jeff Perl from the Chicago Chapter and the Illinois Institute of Technology to offer two Overview Courses and 2 to 4 exams per year in the Bay Area. In July 1992, we lost our affiliation with this provider due to their refocus away from training. The decision was then made to seek an institution of higher learning locally to sponsor the course, and have the coordination and instruction provided by local volunteers. Several members of the Steering Committee worked very diligently and we signed an agreement with the University of California. Our first Chapter-sponsored overview course was held in October 1993 in conjunction with UC Berkeley, with Robin Spencer as Course Coordinator.

Hopefully, we’ve given mention to those who had significant part in the early years of the organization.

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