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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 sponsor awards and provide judges for local middle school and high school science fairs.

AIHA Potomac Section Board Members

President, Brent Sharrer

Brent Sharrer, MS, CIH is the Director of Industrial Hygiene Services for HP Environmental, Inc. in Herndon, Virginia. Mr. Sharrer has been practicing industrial hygiene for 28 years and has been a member of AIHA for 21 years. In his current role he serves government and private sector clients in the areas of indoor air quality, ventilation, toxicology, asbestos, lead-based paint and mold. He served as the CIH of record for the Capitol Dome Restoration Project from 2014-2016 and recently has focused his efforts on building preparedness in response to COVID-19, filtration technology, IAQ sensor technology as well as mentoring colleagues. He holds a BS in Biology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and and MS in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina.

President-Elect, John Engel

Past President, 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, emergency management and most recently as Chief, Industrial Hygiene at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, VA. 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 Thermal Stress Working Group 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).

Director At-Large, Sam Youssef

Sam Yousssef, BsChe, MBA, ASP, CSP, CIH is principal at a boutique regional EHS consulting firm based in the DMV, YCC. est 2009. Prior to consulting, Sam gained early career experience in energy, oil & gas, technology and petrochemicals with large multinational companies before launching his entrepreneurial career which has given him experience in many industry sectors. Recently, local activities focus mainly on large construction and infrastructure projects. Sam has travelled the globe on various assignments and engagements, with current country count at 41! He has his BS Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, and his MBA in Finance, Marketing, International Business and Decision Sciences from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University along with several other certifications.  Sam is excited to become involved in the AIHA and the local Potomac chapter, and hopes to continue promoting the organization’s expertise and profile in the region.

Director At Large, Thalia Garcia

Thalia currently helps AIHA Potomac remotely and works as a Safety Engineer in rocket motor manufacturing in Utah while attending graduate school at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational Health and Safety at the University of Utah. She has been in the IH field for nearly 7 years since graduating from Texas A&M University in 2016 (whoop!) with a B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Management. Her favorite part of her job is mixing empathy with scientific analysis, and loves researching mindfulness and the psychosocial effects of occupational stress. In her spare time, she likes to learn new languages, care for her plants and her pug, tour the international food scene with her husband, and read too many self help books.

Treasurer, Janice Ruggles

Janice Ruggles has over 30 years of experience in occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene, and environmental programs. She is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with a Master of Health Sciences in Industrial Hygiene and Safety from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in Geology from McGill University. She joined the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management in September 2016 as the Associate Director for Safety with responsibility for oversight of occupational safety, construction safety, and visitor safety programs. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she spent 9 years with the Department of Labor (DOL) including 6 years as the Safety and Occupational Health Manager with the Office of Worker Safety and Health. She was responsible for the overall administration and oversight of the internal DOL safety and health program along with responsibility for the safety and health program at the Frances Perkins Building. She also served as a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist with OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs and as the Site Exposure Matrices Coordinator for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program within the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. She served in a variety of occupational safety and health management positions with the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in addition to various industrial hygiene and environmental management positions with the Environmental Protection Agency and private consulting. She currently serves as Treasurer for the AIHA Potomac Local Section and served as a Past President (2016-2019).

Treasurer-elect, Kay Dietrich

Kay has over 20 years of experience in occupational health and safety including working at a teaching hospital/university, in a refinery, at a natural gas distributor and at a nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL). As an industrial hygienist and safety professional she has performed investigations for chemical hazards like asbestos, lead, mercury, isocyanates, respirable dust, various organic vapors and liquids, noise, silica and welding fumes. She has also developed and administered health and safety programs, conducted training, managed a medical monitoring program and cleaned up hazardous materials spills. She has both a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from North Carolina State University and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Certified Safety Professional.

Secretary, Effy Castaneda

Ms. Castaneda is an industrial hygienist based in Baltimore, Maryland. She is currently employed at Tidewater 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. 

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.

Secretary Elect, 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 of Web Admin, 

Christie De Vito

Christie De Vito is a Principal EHS Engineer for a local defense contractor.  She also supports field site locations along the east coast.  She has her BS in Safety Sciences from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and her MS in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Iowa.  She has her CIH and CSP.

Terms for Current Board Members




Brent Sharrer



Tim Paz

Past President


John Engel



Effy Castaneda



Effy Castaneda



Janice Ruggles



Kay Dietrich

Treasurer Elect


Thalia Garcia

At Large Director


Christie De Vito

Director of Web Admin


Sam Youssef

At Large Director


Joyce Brewer

At Large Director


Joy Erdman

At Large Director


AIHA Potomac Local Section

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