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Michael G. Halko.

Michael G. Halko, R.E.H.S., H.E.M., M.S.

Candidate for NEHA Second Vice-President other Theresa once said "No one has ever risen to the real stature of spiritual maturity until they have found it finer to serve someone else than to serve themselves." The office of Second Vice President of the National Environmental Health Association (NETA) is rooted on the premise of service. First and foremost is service to the members of NEHA! At a minimum there must be tangible benefits such as the Journal of Environmental Health and quality educational opportunities. To deliver on these benefits NEHA needs a comprehensive business/strategic plan that addresses those points and other measurable objectives to include increased membership, affiliate support, information management enhancements and national/international partnerships. All these items are attainable if we work "together" in building upon an already strong organization. The professional organizations that survive and thrive in the twenty-first century must have the proper tools to readily adapt to a changing market place. We also need to be more pro-active in getting the word out about who we are as environmental health professionals and what value NEHA and we bring to the community table. Our mission is essential to a healthy society. I know we are proud of this fact but we have to do a better job at getting that message out to the public.

If I am elected Second Vice President of NEHA, you have my firm commitment to work tirelessly for you in building upon the successes of the past while creating opportunities for the future. Speaking of the past I have served a complete term of 3 years on the NEHA Board of Directors (BOD) representing Region 1 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska) and was elected to serve a second term but when an opportunity presented itself to work with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Vessel Sanitation I had to resign since I would not be living in that Region. However, part of my acceptance of the job was grounded in management's willingness to permit me to stay involved with NEHA.

Why am I interested in giving 5 years of service? It is simple. I have successfully worked with the BOD in making the difficult financial and operational decisions that placed NEHA in the best position it has ever been in to date. Still more needs to be done and I want to work with them to make it happen. I have listened to members and exhibitors ask, "Can we have an AEC in Alaska?" The idea was presented to the BOD and after lengthy deliberation an AEC in Anchorage Alaska was approved for the spring of 2004, The feedback from members and exhibitors on this decision has been enthusiastic.

Educationally and professionally I have been preparing for this opportunity for over 20 years. The skills developed as an undergraduate biology student at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio were further refined while serving on active duty in the US Army as an Environmental Science Officer assigned to the 9th Infantry Division and then as Commander of the 227th Medical Detachment (Epidemiology). During that tour of duty at Fort Lewis Washington I attended night school to earn a Master of Science Degree from Chapman College, Orange County California concentrating in Environmental Health. After my initial tour in the Army I obtained a Secondary Teaching Certificate in Biology and General Science from Cleveland State University The U.S. Army recruited me back onto active duty after working a short time for the National Sanitation Foundation in 1986. Surprise, the recruiter's promise was fulfilled and I found myself in Anchorage, Alaska working as the Environmental Science Officer at Fort Richardson, Alaska monitoring a comprehensive environmental health program. In 1993 I joined the U.S. Public Health Service as an Institutional Sanitarian at the Alaska Native Medical Center where I was afforded the opportunity to participate and graduate from the Indian Health Service Injury Prevention Fellowship Program.

Throughout all these activities I was fortunate to have good coworkers and mentors. However, my involvement with the U.S. Public Health Service served to launch me into NEHA Affiliate activities in Alaska serving as President and eventually Educational Committee Chairperson. My career path has been as challenging as it has been diverse. Just this past year I have gained international exposure working in Egypt and Italy. And in October 1 was elected to the National Sanitation Foundation's Public Health Council.

As you can see there has been a steady progression of training and responsibility leading to this moment. A moment, I take very seriously, to serve you for 5 years. I promise you the same energy and dedication I have used throughout my career. The same focus and drive I have used to complete 100 mile trail races. Please take time to vote. Visit my website at for more details.
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Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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