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The Potomac Section is a local section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). We serve the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including the adjacent Maryland and Virginia counties.

This Potomac Section website serves to keep members, colleagues, community, and AIHA National informed of its many activities. The section provides its members continuing education and networking opportunities through monthly section meetings from September through June. In addition, the section sponsors professional development meetings - with the Smithsonian and Conservation Groups in the Fall and a general meeting in early spring. We also sponsors awards and provide judges for local middle school and high school science fairs.

AIHA Potomac Section Board Members

President, David Hicks

David Hicks, CIH, CSP, CHMM, is the Safety and Occupational Health Manager for the Architect of the Capitol House Office Buildings in Washington, DC.  In 2019 he received “The Safety Advocate Award” from the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights. David has practiced both in the US and internationally during his career.  He is a Past-Chair of the AIHA Safety Committee, a Member of the AIHA International Affairs Committee, and a former President of the AIHA Arabian Gulf Local Section.

Past President, Bruce Donato

Bruce A. Donato, CSP, CHMM, CECD is the current president of the Potomac AIHA Local Section and has previously held every other board position in the section.  Mr. Donato is the past chair of the AIHA Local Section Council.  Mr. Donato also holds board positions with ChABSA, WMACSA, ASSP-NOVA, NCC-AHMP, MACSC, and the AHMP Cyber Chapter. Mr. Donato is a principal with K&A First Aid and Safety, Inc. which specializes in customized safety training and OSHA compliance.  Mr. Donato has been nationally recognized 4 times as the BCSP Award of Excellence, AHMP Pete Cook Award recipient, AHMP Hazardous Materials Professional of the Year, and the ACHMM Friend of the Academy.  He holds a BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

President-Elect, Tim Paz

Tim Paz, MS, CIH has been practicing industrial hygiene for nearly 25 years in various industry sectors such as environmental remediation, aerospace, healthcare, medical research and most recently as a Senior Industrial Hygienist at the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, DC. He has served as the President of the St. Louis Local Section of AIHA and Chair of the AIHA Mentoring and Professional Development Committee. While serving on the ABIH Board of Directors from 2013 to 2017, he represented ABIH as the U.S. member of the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) National Accreditation Recognition Committee. Tim is also a member of the AIHA Respiratory Protection Committee and the International Society of Respiratory Protection – Americas Section. Mr. Paz is also currently serving as the Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives (NAHFE).

Secretary, Sorin Schwartz

Sorin Schwartz, CIH, CSP, CIT has 30 years of experience in Occupational Safety & Health and has been a member of AIHA for almost 28 years. He served as the Potomac Section Treasurer for the past two (2) years and as a Board Member at Large before becoming the Treasurer. He is currently employed by Exelon Corporation as the Corporate Industrial Hygienist.

Treasurer, Thalia Garcia

Thalia is a relatively green Industrial Hygienist who has been in the industrial hygiene sector for over three years. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2016 (whoop!) with a B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Management and moved to the DMV shortly after to intern in Congress. She initially fell into the field as an industrial hygiene technical writer and is now a federal contracting IH with IEI, Inc. Currently, her goals are to gain experience and learn from the older generation of industrial hygienists before going to graduate school for her MPH or related. Her favorite part of her job is helping others while investigating incidents. In her spare time, she likes to learn new languages, volunteer at church, tour the international food scene, and practice archery.

Web Admin, Effy Castaneda

Ms. Castaneda is an industrial hygienist based in Baltimore, Maryland. She is currently employed at R.T. Vanderbilt Holding Company, Inc. where she provides industrial hygiene monitoring and assists with occupational health program development. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Science degree in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene from Johns Hopkins. She is currently the Director At-Large of Web Administration at the Potomac Section.

Director, At-Large Joy Erdman

Ms. Erdman is a private consultant in occupational safety and health, based in Falls Church, Virginia. Prior to this, she was the senior civilian CIH & CSP working in the Pentagon in support of the U.S. Navy’s occupational safety & health program. Ms. Erdman served on a variety of DoD and Federal Interagency committees and completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executive Fellows. She has taught ethics for industrial hygienists seeking certification maintenance for over 10 years. In 2012, ASSE recognized her as one of 100 women making a difference in safety and in 2020, AIHA recognized her as an AIHA Fellow. Ms. Erdman is past chair of the AIHA Leadership and Management Committee, the current Chair of the AIHA Conference Program Committee, and on the Board of Directors with the AIHA Potomac Section.

Director At-Large, Julie Sobelman

Julie is a consulting industrial hygienist based in Vienna, VA. She has over 30 years of professional experience in the recognition, evaluation and control of potential hazards in the work place, in homes and in the surrounding community. She has worked in senior level professional positions with engineering and consulting firms, developing detailed technical experience in construction, facilities management, regulatory compliance, inspection and testing, across a broad range of public and private sector clients. Julie has a BS in Biology from University of Maryland. She is Certified in Comprehensive Practice by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (CIH), and by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (CSP).She is also certified as a LEED AP by the US Green Building Council.

Director At-Large, Lauren Kesslak

Lauren E. Kesslak, CIH, CSP is an Industrial Hygienist in the DC metro area.  She is currently an Environmental Project Manager at ECS Mid-Atlantic based out of National Harbor, MD.  Lauren has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Saint Francis University (Loretto) and a Master of Science degree in Biology from Shippensburg University.   She is Certified in Comprehensive Practice by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (CIH), and by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (CSP).

Director At-Large, Christie De Vito

Christie De Vito, CIH, GSP is a Principal EHS Engineer at the Northrop Grumman Annapolis campus. She has her BS in Safety Sciences from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and her MS in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Iowa. She recently earned her CIH in the fall of 2020. As an early career professional, Christie is excited to become more involved in AIHA and the local Potomac chapter.

Director At-Large, Juliana Rico

Juliana Rico is currently an HSE Advisor for Oceaneering International, Inc. in Hanover, Maryland. She received her MS in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene and a BA in Public Health Studies with a minor in Spanish for the Professions from Johns Hopkins University. She was Treasurer of the Hopkins AIHA Student Section and hopes to use her leadership experience to help the section achieve their goals.

Terms for Current Board Members




David Hicks



Bruce Donato

Past President


Tim Paz



Sorin Schwartz



Juliana Rico

Secretary Elect


Thalia Garcia



Janice Ruggles

Treasurer Elect


Effy Castaneda

At-Large Director Web Admin


Julie Sobelman

At-Large Director


Lauren Kesslak

At-Large Director


Christie DeVito

At-Large Director


Joy Erdman

At-Large Director

2021- 2023

AIHA Potomac Local Section

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