B J Atkins, CHMM - President, Atkins Environmental Help, Inc.


With a degree in Oceanography, combined with Economics it was an easy reach to start work in the petroleum industry. Working both onshore and offshore on environmental regulatory compliance was an excellent training ground for the EHS compliance work I do today. Spill prevention, control & cleanup, plus the proper management of a myriad of other petroleum production related chemicals became common assignments. This was a terrific background for a career in environmental consulting and hazmat management with clients in several industries.

I watched as many of my petroleum production counterparts made the jump to environmental consulting, with a commensurate improvement in lifestyle. An optimist with an entrepreneurial spirit, I started this career influenced by a number of personalities, most guiding me in a positive direction. My father played a role in encouraging me to become certified as a CHMM, among many other certifications. Mr. Richard Cartwright, who to me coined the phrase "BE A PAL, BE A BUDDY, BE A CHMM", has also proven a great leader and mentor to us CHMMs.

With a tag line "Cleaning up the world….a little bit at a time", I truly believe we humans are given the chance to "camp" on this planet which does not belong to us. The first rule of camping is: LEAVE IT BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT! Every day, in every way, I am all about helping the environment while assisting my colleagues in commerce to make a reasonable profit. Both are possible, but it takes enthusiasm, creativity and commitment.

I have participated in and presented more training on accident and spill prevention than I ever thought I would. The notion of SAFETY FIRST must become a part of your psyche - a reflex. Keep your wits about you. Imprudence, incompetence, laziness and mediocrity are intolerable, if you are interested in protecting the public or yourself.

I am proud when I have completed and presented a large project which, if implemented properly will protect a clients’ employees, their property AND the environment / public. As I visit a public venue and the strong planning skills of an EHS Professional who, during the planning effort, had the clear interests of the community in mind - makes me proud. Knowing a disaster playing out on the national news could have been much worse, if not for the efforts of a few dedicated EHS professionals, makes me proud. Being recognized as a peer and associated with many consummate EHS Professionals participating in local AHMP Chapter events – makes me the most proud.