Focus on Improving Public Health and the Environment Leads Engineer to Top Honors

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Stacey A. Ober
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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Capt. Anthony Todd Zimmer, Ph.D, P.E., C.I.H., a U.S. Public Health Service Officer and senior engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been named the National Society of Professional Engineers' 2008 Federal Engineer of the Year. Zimmer received the honor during the 29th Annual FEYA Banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 21, 2008.

Of the 91,000 individuals identified by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics as federally employed engineers, only 33 were nominated and only one of 10 finalists was selected for the award. It is a crowning achievement for the award winner and the federal agency or military branch the engineer represents.

"We are very proud of Capt. Zimmer and the other PHS officers recognized by the NSPE,"  said Rear Adm. Richard F. Barror, Ph.D., P.E., the chief engineer for the U.S. Public Health Service.  "The engineers who work throughout the Federal government are among the best in the world.  They are presented with unique and technically challenging work, which we were fortunate to hear about today. "

Zimmer is highly accomplished in his field with over 20 years of experience in efforts to protect public health and the environment through emergency response, engineering control research, and engineering leadership. He was deployed shortly after the World Trade Center attacks to provide occupational safety and health expertise to workers at "ground zero" and deployed three separate times to assist with hurricane recovery efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Zimmer now works to protect the transit systems of several cities against terrorist attacks by serving as the technical working group chair of a large multi-agency task force.

He is also well-known for his research, including a groundbreaking look into airborne nanoparticles (one billionth of a meter is length) leading to an agency-wide recognition of the importance of the unique health hazards associated with inhaling these particles. His research assisted in the founding of the Nanotechnology Research Center within his division, facilitated significant interagency and academic research collaborations, and resulted in a fundamental reevaluation of current workplace standards for nanoparticles.

As a result of his exemplary service and contributions to his profession, Zimmer has received 16 uniformed service awards and 12 professional service awards. In addition, he has won several literary awards for both his technical and peer-reviewed publications. The 13 peer-reviewed and 18 technical publications all focus on protecting the public health and the environment through engineering controls.
Zimmer has also excelled academically, achieving his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and a master's degree and doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Cincinnati where he currently serves as a visiting professor. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Society of American Military Engineers, American Mensa, and the Commissioned Officers Association to name a few. He is also active in his community, providing assistance to organizations or individuals who require plumbing, carpentry, and electrical repair work. He also serves as a local elementary and high school volunteer, giving classroom presentations on science, chaperoning offsite trips, and assisting in other school projects.
A panel of judges established by NSPE's Professional Engineers in Government selects the FEYA winner. Hailing from various federal agencies, departments, and military branches, the nominated engineers are evaluated based on factors such as engineering achievements, education, professional and technical society activities, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities.  
For more information about the program or how to submit nominations for 2009, contact Marcia Prichard at or visit the Web site at:

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The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 45,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 500 chapters. For more information, please visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Complimentary press passes are available for the event. Please watch your e-mail or mail for an invitation and more information, or contact Stacey Ober at 703-684-2815.