In our continuing series on certifications among our professionals at CTEH, we are focusing this week on Senior Environmental Consultant James McCormack, MPA-MSES, CHMM.

That’s a lot of initials to follow his name, and those letters mean quite a bit, both in terms of McCormack’s professional knowledge and what he offers our clients. Each credential translates to expertise in the field.

MSES means McCormack has a master’s of science degree in environmental science, and he also has earned his master’s in public administration (MPA), both from Indiana University’s prestigious School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).

In addition to his academic achievements, McCormack is a Certified Hazardous Material Manager or CHMM, a certification that is heavily based on real world experience. A CHMM handles, manages, or advises others on hazardous materials. The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management bestows this voluntary certification on those with education, experience and demonstrated command of the knowledge, skills and abilities in the field. The exam to earn this credential is rigorous, and once this is earned, its bearers have to continue to learn in order to maintain it year after year.

What benefit does this certification bring to a facility or emergency response concerning hazardous materials?

It demonstrates a highly experienced individual is writing and auditing environmental response plans during a response in your community or advising a local facility on the best way to handle or dispose of their material. They have broad-based knowledge of response, recovery and restoration options, as well as, knowledge of the regulations in place that oversee each aspect of hazardous material storage, transportation and disposal. This certification is often times a requirement by several government agencies to perform hazardous material consulting, including US EPA, Army Corps of Engineers and National Park Service, to name a few.

Of course, these credentials don’t tell the whole story for any professional, and McCormack is no different. He’s also a Peace Corps alumnus and has been with CTEH since 2005. He’s based in Indianapolis, has fourteen years of environmental consulting experience, and has worked on more than 100 responses for the petroleum, chemical, manufacturing and rail industries.  McCormack is often found these days serving in the Environmental Unit on large-scale responses and Oil Pollution Act 1990 (OPA-90) spill response exercises which are managed under the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

With his academic background, professional certification and experience in the field, McCormack is another vital part of the CTEH team, whose knowledge and experience make the difference when it counts most.