IHMM Today

CHMM Spotlight: Interview with Brendan Gordon Deyo

In this summer issue of IHMM Today, we are featuring Mr. Brendan Gordon Deyo, Chair of the CHMM Examination Committee. The interview highlights Mr. Deyo’s contributions in the field of Environmental and Energy Management and shares best practices in this particular area of the profession. 

Mr. Brendan Deyo holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Wesleyan University. He received his Master’s Degree in Hydrogeology from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Deyo has also earned several certifications over the years, including: Project Management Professional; Project Management Institute; Certified Hazardous Materials Manager; Professional Geologist; 6Sigma Green Belt; ISO 14000 Lead Auditor; and DHS Contracting Officer Representative.

Brendan Gordon Deyo, Chair of the
CHMM Examination Committee

IHMM: How did you begin your career and what motivated you to pursue your career in this field?

[Brendan Deyo] I always loved the outdoors. As a youth I would rather have been outside rather than in front of a TV. At some point in my formative years I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. This book was certainly an eye opener. At that age I didn’t understand all of it, but got enough to know that what we are doing was wrong. The profound impact of this book had on me and my love of the outdoors, probably predisposition me for a career in environmental services. In college, when faced with multiple degree options I chose Environmental Science because it allowed me to learn more about the world around me, how we affect it, and how it affects us. That turned into my first job and then a career.

IHMM: How have you found the CHMM credential beneficial and how has it helped your career?
[Brendan Deyo] Yes. In the acronym intense world of government contracting, having the CHMM certification has helped me professionally. When I started my own business, one of my first clients wanted to know if I could help them with their hazardous materials management challenges. They were okay with my experience, but wanted further demonstration of skills so they could show their internal customers that they were providing qualified support. I had just taken the CHMM exam and offered up my successful passing the exam as proof of my knowledge. When I passed, the client was satisfied with my knowledge and brought me on to provide technical support. Holding the CHMM certification has also provided me with greater credibility than my years of experience could provide.

IHMM: What type of skills or training is required for an Environmental and Energy Program Manager? The profession encompasses a range of topics and how does one specialize in a particular area?

[Brendan Deyo] There is no specific training or experience required. However, several skills make the job easier: good oral and verbal communication skills; flexibility and open minded attitude to new ideas; some technical background in chemistry, and mechanical systems; ability to read and understand laws and regulations; and curiosity.
A lot of what we do as environmental managers is applying requirements in laws, regulations and standards to business operations or events. To be successful, you must be able to look at an event from all perspectives, identify the requirements, synthesize a solution that meets multiple stakeholder objectives, and communicate the solution effectively and efficiently.

IHMM: What is the best way to get people interested and involved in saving energy?

[Brendan Deyo] I have found that the easiest way to get people involved is to pick the simple challenges that can show real returns. Most people respond well to improvements in the bottom line, so choosing simple projects that can be shown to save money is a great way to start. Focus on the dollars and not on how it is good for the environment, or reduces the carbon footprint, and people will listen. Once you have some success demonstrating the savings, you can start talking about how these projects are also improving g the environment. To succeed, know your stakeholders, their trigger points, focus on what drives them, achieve initial successes, and then tackle the real challenges.

IHMM: How do you keep current in the field?

[Brendan Deyo] I keep current in the field by: maintaining my organizations compliant EMS; annually reviewing and revising my organizations environmental audit protocols; participating in the CHMM exam committee; subscribing to FedCenter daily news briefs; and actively participating in classes, workshops and discussions attended by my peers. To ensure that my organization maintains compliance with federal and state laws I use the USACE CERL TEAM Guides as a basis for audit protocol information. These guides are comprehensive lists of all requirements and are updated quarterly. These include the latest requirements that help me ensure my EMS and audit protocols are appropriate. My participation in the exam committee has allowed me to work with a diverse group of extremely competent professionals. The discussions and work involved in supporting the development of the CHMM body of knowledge blueprint and vetting exam questions ensure that we are all well versed in the latest requirements. The government run FedCenter is a repository for a wide spectrum of environmental knowledge developed by all federal agencies. Their daily news flashes alert us to the latest regulatory developments and changes in requirements. Within DHS, a strong culture of sharing between components has been developed by the environmental leadership. This has opened up many opportunities for me to exchange ideas and challenges with people facing the same issues I am. No single source of information is sufficient to keep one current with latest trends. I listen to my program stakeholders who drive me to find effective solutions to issues, and take advantage of the resources that exist around me to bring the best ideas forward.

IHMM: Are you a member of an AHMP local Chapter? If so, what are their goals in fostering the professional development opportunities for its members?

[Brendan Deyo] No, I am not. I try to ensure balance in all that I do and that limits what I can do. I have been a member of my town’s Planning Commission for several years, I am the Fund Rising Chair for my son’s Boy Scout Troop, and am a member of the Board of Directors for a private elementary/middle school. In addition, I have a busy schedule supporting my eldest son as he plays for multiple showcase baseball teams, and am active in my youngest sons Boy Scout adventures. I am a member of a men’s league rugby football club. I also frequently take courses in non-environmental disciplines to expand my knowledge base and learn more about my stakeholder’s processes and requirements. I did not feel I had the time to participate in the AHMP Chapter at the level necessary to benefit from its offerings or contribute to its agenda.

IHMM: What improvements have been made in general in the field of Environmental and Energy Management and what best practices would you like to share?
There have been two important trends in recent years: the increased integration of environmental and sustainability requirements and standards into business practices and operations; and the changing of the green movement paradigm from it is a good thing to do, to it’s the better fiscal solution. These trends have been in the works for years, but now they are getting traction and recognition in the commercial and financial markets. I would strongly recommend that persons working in the environmental and sustainability fields continue to carefully choose the challenges they address, start with win-win simple solutions, and build on success.

IHMM: How do expect the profession to change over the next 5 to 10 years?

[Brendan Deyo] We will become even more technology dependent. The ability to memorize the huge amounts of information a CHMM may need to know will be replaced by the ability to access and synthesize numerous information sources available through portable systems for the development of the appropriate solution/response. Similar technology advances in logistics management, such as RFID tagging, etc. will give the CHMM much faster access to information. For example: based on the technology that is in the news now, I can see a hazardous materials manager wearing special safety glasses that when focused on a container, can automatically pull up all safety concerns, PPE requirements, hazard class, shipping numbers, place of origin, destination, expiration date, etc. That would make a lot of jobs, a lot easier. These advances are going to be essential as advances in chemistry, biotechnology, nano-technology, etc. will drive an even larger universe of materials/substances that the CHMM will be called upon to manage. Hopefully environmental regulations will be modernized to incorporate and promote the development of the new technologies that will improve the safety and efficiency of hazardous materials management.

IHMM: Early this year, IHMM announced starting on July 1, 2013 all CHMM examinations will be based on the new blueprint. What are the major differences from the previous CHMM Examinations Blueprint and the new CHMM Blueprint? [Brendan Deyo] In the 2013 effort to review and as necessary, redefine the CHMM body-of-knowledge blueprint; IHMM has invested a considerable amount of time and effort to ensure that the blueprint best reflects what the modern CHMM responsibilities and skills. Having been part of the 2009 and 2013 efforts, I see the significant increase in effort made to ensure validity of the blue print. The 2013 blue print is a synthesis of a massive amount of information collected by IHMM from the CHMM community into a series of well defined knowledge areas that present a life cycle approach to the management of hazardous materials. This is a big change from the catch all and basic science categories in the 2009 blue print. The success of the 2013 blueprint is due to the time spent by the IHMM Board, organizational leaders, the Job Task Analysis (JTA) members, and all of the CHMMs who responded to the surveys. The collective efforts have definitely helped ensure that the CHMM credential will stay valid and reflect current advances in the management of hazardous materials.

IHMM: How was the CHMM eligibility requirements revised?

[Brendan Deyo] The eligibility requirement will change from 3 years of relevant experience to 4 years effective 1 July 2013.

On behalf of the IHMM Board of Directors and the IHMM Staff, your service and leadership as the Chair of the CHMM Examinations Committee is greatly appreciated. We are also thankful to all the members of the committee for all the work that has been done with the new blueprint and in developing the new CHMM test forms, beginning with the reclassification of exam items in the CHMM item bank to match this new CHMM exam blueprint.

David L. Clampitt, CHMM
Raymond C. Davis, CHMM
Paul R. Enriquez, CHMM
E. Andrew Kapp, CHMM
Christopher A. Palabrica, CHMM
David E. Price, CHMM
Kevin M. Regan, CHMM
John R. Voorhees, CHMM

Currently, Mr. Deyo is the Environmental and Energy Program Manager at the Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate. He leads efforts to develop multiple environmental, energy and sustainable programs addressing environmental compliance, auditing, greenhouse gas, financial liability, planning, recycling, electronics stewardship, energy conservation, and green procurement. He has been married to his wife Renee for 19 years, and has 3 very active sons: Brad, Brendan, and Bryan and 3 dogs. The family enjoys an outdoor lifestyle of running, biking, sports, kayaking and the beaches.

If you are interested in being interviewed for the IHMM Today Spotlight, please contact M. Patricia Buley at  pbuley@ihmm.org