Les Szabo, an EPA SEE enrollee since October 2010, works in the Analytical Service Branch (ASB), of the Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation. His two major responsibilities are: participating on the Asbestos Technical Review Workgroup Committee and working on Contract Lab Program (CLP) records disposition and storage utilizing Superfund Enterprise Management System (SEMS) plus participation in the record schedules consolidation project. Asbestos project work involves representing the ASB in monthly teleconferences and coordinating with the Asbestos TRW Committee at annual meetings. The records management project work involves submitting electronic and hard copy of CLP records to SEMS/SDMS for proper document retention and possible final destruction.
Prior to joining the SEE Program Les had more than 25 years’ experience in coatings, inks and adhesives R&D. His primary focus was in product failure analysis, whether in the field or in production, and competitive product de-formulation analysis. Les saved and recovered for his company multi-millions of dollars in product liability claims along with resolution of production problems or product performance variation due to vendor raw material issues. After 12 years’ service at Duron Paints, the Eastern U.S. regional coatings company headquartered in Maryland was purchased by a national corporation and Duron’s R&D laboratory was closed due to the economic downturn.
Les’ hobbies are home projects inside and outside the house. He loves to play tennis with his favorite partner, “my wife”. He is dedicated to conservation and the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy. He has been practicing organic gardening and composting since he was a youngster growing up at his parent’s home.
Mr. Shabo has this to say about the SEE program and his position. “I saw and visited the NOWCC booth at a local job fair and learned of the SEE Program and this opportunity in Arlington, VA. The position intrigued me as it has significantinteraction with the CLP Inorganic Superfund Methods and the Superfund Organic Methods, Statements of Work (SOW) along with contract laboratory performance monitoring and the contracting process. These programs are very critical to the Super Fund site remediation.”
Mr. Les Szabo holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry with 2 years graduate studies in analytical chemistry.
Les’ monitor, Melanie Hoff, shares these insights:
Each year, analytical chemists in laboratories throughout the United States analyze hundreds of thousands of samples from hazardous waste sites. The basic questions being answered by these chemists are – “What are the contaminants of most concern at each site?” and "What are the levels of these contaminants in their respective media (air, soil, water)?" The answers to these questions form the basis for how EPA decides to cleanup a particular site and how EPA knows it has reached its cleanup goals at any given site. A site may have only one primary contaminant or it may have many. Rigorous analytical tests are the only way to be certain of the scope of the contaminant problem. For the past two years, Les Szabo’s efforts have ensured that such analytical tests are available to EPA staff around the country. He is responsible for several aspects of the branch's work in the office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation.
His primary area of interest is in understanding the science behind identifying different kinds of asbestos fibers. This science is especially important for those living near suspected and known asbestos contamination. He is a participating member of the Technical Review Workgroup Subcommittee for Asbestos. This is an interoffice workgroup that develops guidance and policy concerning site assessment and cleanup at hazardous waste sites contaminated by asbestos. The asbestos committee also provides site consultation in support of regional requests and identifies research needs relevant to asbestos site assessment activities.
Les is also responsible for many records management activities in the branch. The safekeeping and sound management of analytical result records is important for a variety of reasons, including potential future litigation. As the agency has moved forward in the digital age, understanding and implementing Federal government records policies is also critical. Les has helped ASB move forward in its pursuit of paperless records and processes.
He has extensive knowledge of analytical chemistry methods and he brings his knowledge to bear on a regular basis with EPA staff. He helps in the review of analytical requests from EPA Regional staff and draft analytical statements of work for future contracts.
Les is a terrific addition to ASB's workforce and he brings a sense of humor and excellent work ethic every day to the office.