The Institute founded the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers in 1985 to foster networking and educational opportunities. Originally the Academy was a part of the Institute, a position which is unusual among professional membership organization and the certification programs they support. In 1995, the Academy incorporated as a separate organization although it remains closely affiliated with the Institute.
The Academy has developed and matured throughout the years. Although in existence since approximately 1985, the first elected president of the organization did not take office until 1989. Pete Cook, for whom our Founders Award is named, was the first elected president of the Academy. Initially a loosely organized group of professionals, the Academy has evolved through infancy, adolescence, and is well on its way to becoming a mature national organization with 56 state chapters and over 6000 members.
Academy Leadership Statements
Approved October, 1999
The Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers envisions a world where the natural environment is unburdened by pollution, workers are exposed only to healthy and safe conditions, and hazardous materials are used and transported safely and efficiently.
The Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers will foster the professional development of hazardous materials managers by offering opportunities for education, facilitating peer group interaction, and establishing the CHMM credential as the standard of excellence in the hazardous materials management profession.
Our mission will be achieved by working with Academy Chapters, the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management, and other professional organizations to link industry, government and academia, and achieve the Academy vision for the future
Institute/Academy History & Mission
By Cindy Savage CHMM
During the early 1970s and 1980s environmental, safety and health laws and consequently the profession of hazardous materials management exploded onto the radar screen. In response to the need to provide credentialed recognition to this fast growing segment of the professional workforce, the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management was formed. The first Certified Hazardous Materials Manager credential was awarded in 1984. From the beginning, professionals who desired the CHMM credential have met high standards of education, experience, and competence.
Almost from the start, CHMMs wanted and needed a membership organization to foster networking and educational opportunities. The Institute founded the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers in 1985 to meet this need. Originally the Academy was a part of the Institute, a position which is unusual among professional membership organization and the certification programs they support. In 1995, the Academy incorporated as a separate organization although it remains closely affiliated with the Institute.
The Academy has developed and matured throughout the years. Although in existence since approximately 1985, the first elected president of the organization did not take office until 1989. Pete Cook, for whom our Founders Award is named, was the first elected president of the Academy. Initially a loosely organized group of professionals, the Academy has evolved through infancy, adolescence, and is well on its way to becoming a mature national organization”with 56 state chapters and over 6000 members.
In the last few years, the Academy has begun to develop written policies and procedures, using a standard format and numbering system. Before this written documentation existed, policies were discussed, debated, voted on, and passed only to have the process repeated when a new board of directors came on the scene. The only history of organizational decisions was buried in file cabinets or came through the memory of long term members. The process of encoding policies has had a freeing affect on the board of directors. More time can be devoted to important tasks of long term planning and resource allocation.
To this end, an annual operating plan with goals and objectives closely tied to the budget is now an integral part of Academy board activities. The plan is developed with input and budget allocation requests from all committee chairs. The operating plan is used as a basis to determine whether the Academy leadership is meeting its annual goals. It is a valuable tool for tracking successes and to ensure that unmet goals are not inadvertently forgotten as board members change.
But what are the goals and objectives of the Academy? How do they differ from the roles and responsibilities of the Institute? Many CHMMs are confused about the two separate organizations, and why both are needed. In 1994, as the Academy and Institute were engaged in separate incorporation, a document titled Relative Roles and Responsibilities – IHMM and ACHMM was developed. This document first reviewed the goals of each organization and then went on to identify the roles each organization plays in fulfilling these goals.
The Institute’s goals, as stated in that document, include:
- To provide credentialed recognition to those professionals engaged in the management and engineering control of hazardous materials who have attained the required level of education, experience, and competence;
- To foster CHMMs’ competency with professional development through continuing education, peer group interaction and technological stimulation;
- To provide government, industry and academia with a mechanism for identifying hazardous materials management professionals who have fulfilled the requirements for certification by a professional peer group.
The Academy’s goals, again from that document, include:
- To improve the quality and effectiveness of hazardous materials management;
- To facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experience among professionals and organizations vitally concerned with hazardous materials management;
- To educate and encourage communication between industry, government and academia through the dissemination of a common body of knowledge in the field of hazardous materials management.
Each of the organizations have clearly defined and very separate roles. For example, the Institute is the credentialing organization and the Academy is the membership organization. The Academy is not responsible for anything to do with the process of credentialing individual CHMMs. Conversely, the Institute is not a membership organization, and thusly does not have anything to do with membership services.
To further clarify these roles: The Institute is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and executing a process to certify, recertify, and decertify hazardous materials professionals. They determine the types and levels of certification, the qualifications required of the candidates, they develop the examination and they arrange for the delivery of the examination. They establish standards and requirements for periodic rectification, and they determine the nature and extend of causes for revocation of certification.
The Academy, on the other hand, serves as the principal mechanism for fostering the professional development of CHMMs. This is achieved through networking, education and training activities, dissemination of knowledge through newsletters, print and non print media, and through our annual National Conference with an educational focus.
During the last couple of years the Academy leadership has been busy with several valuable projects.
Chapter Development Guidance Manual: The Chapter Development Committee has written a guidance manual to help newly formed chapters organize and get started. The manual includes ideas for revitalizing chapters that need a boost. A by-laws template has been developed, and the manual includes instructions for incorporation, ideas to assist with membership development, and information on how to apply for start up seed money from the Academy.
CHMM Overview Course Guidance Manual: The Education and Training Committee has developed guidance on how to put on an overview course. This document is not only a how-to manual, but it includes the minimum standards required of an overview course to entitle it to use the CHMM designation.
Annual Meeting Guidance Manual: This is a living document. It is constantly being modified to reflect the actual experiences of chapters involved with hosting the annual conference. A committee composed of past, present, and future conference chairs are committed to making this a very useful document for years to come.
Hazardous Materials Managers Desk Reference: This reference book, published by McGraw Hill, is the pride of the Academy. It is due out in June or July 1999 and consists of 41 chapters written and peer reviewed by CHMMs. Editor Doye Cox and technical editor Adriane Borgias, assisted by a host of associate editors and 40 contributing authors, have done a suburb job of compiling what we expect to be a must for every hazardous materials manager’s office library.
In summary, when the Institute grants the CHMM credential, it is the beginning of a career journey for the hazardous materials professional. Membership in the Academy enhances professional status, provides for continuing growth, peer interaction and awareness of emerging scientific and legislative issues.
The Institute and the Academy will continue to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities to ensure that the CHMM credential is at the forefront of the environmental safety and health industry in the new millennium.