Environmental management important part of university
Have you ever wondered who takes care of hazardous materials spills on the New Mexico State University campus? Or who is responsible for safety trainings? The answer to these questions is the Environmental Health and Safety Office, where Drew Kaczmarek works.
Kaczmarek is the environmental manager of the EH&S office and has held the position for 11 years. His area of expertise is environmental compliance and hazardous waste management. Kaczmarek graduated with a bachelor's degree in cell and molecular biology from Tulane University and then served four years in the U.S. Army as an environmental science officer. He received his MBA from NMSU.
The mission of EH&S is to make NMSU a safe environment. It does this by implementing programs and services in eight major areas, which include teaching and education, hazardous waste management and health and safety inspection, to name a few.
In his role as environmental manager, Kaczmarek focuses on campus-wide safe chemical use and disposal and clean air quality. His current project is establishing an efficient and compliant hazardous waste management program. Kaczmarek also teaches classes in environmental health and safety.
He also works to continuously prepare the university for unannounced, formal Environmental Protection Agency inspections. NMSU averages one inspection every two years and during the past 11years EH&S lead programs have received no major violations or fines. Kaczmarek and his team help make the complicated EPA requirements easy for faculty, staff and students to understand and follow.
One of the most dangerous aspects of the job is one of the most important: Kaczmarek suits up twice a month in a chemical-resistant suit and air-supplied respirator to mix hazardous chemicals.
"Good health is essential to all. EH&S works hard to educate a diverse campus population on the safe use and disposal of hazardous materials to protect individual health and the environment overall," Kaczmarek said.
Written by Margaret Kovar.