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Message from the
IEHA President
P.O. Box 7505
Rockford, Illinois 61126
Phone (815) 977-5884
Fax (866) 760-6873
Email: iehaoffice@gmail.com
November 21, 2019
Greetings!

First, I cannot thank our Past President, Dave Banaszynski, enough for his multiple years of service as President of IEHA! His dedication, teamwork, and work ethic to this organization have been inspiring. He leaves me with some large shoes to fill. I officially met Dave at the 2017 AEC, after speaking to him about my interest in Environmental Health; he invited me to the board meeting that afternoon. After a few conversations, he asked if I would be interested in the Public Relations Chair position. Since that day, he has encouraged and mentored me; I personally can’t thank him enough for this.

Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at different conferences and events, but for those of you that don’t know me, let me introduce myself. I am currently an Environmental Health Practitioner at Peoria City/County Health Department. I was born and raised in Chillicothe, IL. After high school, I decided I wanted to be a chef, so I moved to St. Paul MN and attended Culinary Arts School at Le Cordon Bleu. Following graduation, I returned to my hometown and stared cooking in the Peoria area. During this time, I was working in different kitchens, and seeing some fairly shady practices (I will let your mind think of the worst things you have seen inspecting). After speaking to several health inspectors I chose to return to school and pursue a science degree and join the ‘dark side’. A few years later, I graduated from Eureka College with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences, and then patiently waited for a position to open at a local health department. In early 2014, a position opened at Peoria City/County Health Department. Five and a half years later, I still love what I get to do every day!

After graduating Eureka College, I was hired to teach in the Art Department (which was my minor). I currently teach Traditional Darkroom Photography and Photographic Art History courses at night. My fiancé, Amy, is finishing a double major in Business Management and Marketing at Bradley University. We have two cats and live in the small town I grew up in (very quiet place).

Of all the paths I could have chosen to pursue, I am truly grateful I found Environmental Health. While I enjoy on-site wastewater, wells, and well sealing programs, my true personal passion lies in the food program. Handling the Farmers Market/Cottage Food program for Peoria County, studying the FDA code and it’s public health reasoning, reviewing outbreak reports, recalls, and the history of food based environmental health is what I love the most. IEHA has offered me more opportunities to expand my knowledge though the conferences I have attended and people I have met.

When I first started in environmental health, I was advised to network at every conference and event I would attend, which is advice I took to heart. Because of this, I have found a great group of friends and mentors within IEHA. My goal over the next year as President is to continue to grow and build, IEHA. We must ensure we are providing EH based education and introducing new topics in this ever-changing field. Ensuring we are networking and guiding new sanitarians, students, and anyone else seeking this knowledge.

As I sat with a small group of people in the Great Hall at Starved Rock on Monday night (into Tuesday Morning) during this past AEC, I was around those that have 20 plus years of experience, and those that are within their first years. While we all learn in the classroom at each conference, we can do the same in the halls before and after each session. I, personally, have found some of the best information and guidance can be found talking to those who have dedicated their lives to this field. I encourage all new comers to reach out to those who have experience, let them mentor you. Those that have years of experience, find someone to mentor. Keep Environmental Health alive and thriving.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be your President. I am always open to suggestions and comments, please do not hesitate to reach out, I welcome it.

Best wishes,
Justin Dwyer

Take Care
Justin Dwyer, IEHA President