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EPA at 50: One professional’s view on improving the world

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency. I started at EPA in 1971 and spent the next 35 years rising up through the ranks of a phenomenally growing federal agency. Looking back on the last 50 years, I remain filled with immense pride, satisfaction, and optimism about a superb organization dedicated to a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Back when I began my EPA journey, environmental protection was a brand-new science. The concept combined social improvement in a way that appealed to people growing up and going to college in the turbulent 60’s. Seeing our air, water and soils improving in front of my eyes over these decades showed me how your life choices can not only improve your personal life, but also improve the world!

My professional growth took me to three different EPA regions allowing me to see how the air, water and soil issues were unique to different parts of the country. A by-product of working at the operational level in all three of those regions was my ability to share important perspectives from region to region. Later, as I was elevated within the agency, my personal experience reinforced the value of seeking diverse expertise while collaborating with various partners and stakeholders on a multitude of EPA initiatives.

Even in EPA retirement, my previous experiences continue to power a steadfast desire to help assist environmental protection. Finding Dawson & Associates was a fabulous vehicle for doing just that. My colleagues today have the perfect mix of strong technical resources and solid moral and ethical benchmarks in the work we perform, just as my former colleagues did at EPA. Each day I’m grateful for my professional experience at EPA and hope our nation continues to support its worthwhile mission for the next 50 years and beyond!

Tom Voltaggio

Senior Advisor

A member of the Dawson team since 2010, Tom spent 35 years at the US Environmental Protection Agency, including 25 years directing more than 500 Superfund hazardous waste site cleanups in the Mid-Atlantic states.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dawson & Associates.

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