2008 Walter S. Mangold Award Recipient

By Barry, John M. | Journal of Environmental Health, October 2008 | Go to article overview

2008 Walter S. Mangold Award Recipient


Barry, John M., Journal of Environmental Health


The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is proud to present the 2008 Walter S. Mangold Award, its highest honor, to John M. Barry, Ph.D.

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Environmental health professionals in his home state of North Carolina--and around the world--have looked to John as an instrumental leader of the field. His commitment to quality has been a core thread in his life, as seen in his accomplishments as director of the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection, as deputy director of the Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, as an active participant and advocate for communities, and as technical editor of the Journal of Environmental Health.

People who have been inspired by his leadership say that John has always had the ability to see the big picture. Throughout his career, he has used his knowledge to develop innovative strategies for reducing or eliminating the impact of insults to the environment. In the international arena, he has shared his knowledge of environmental health and protection through Sister Cities International-sponsored trips to Poland, China, and Peru. Mayor Bogdan Zdrojewski of Wroclaw, Poland, recognized him with an award for his work with the city on a plan for a sustainable future.

While serving as director of the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection, where he spent the largest portion of his career, John restructured the department. In the 1980s, he was at the forefront of a movement to reduce the dependence of local agencies on tax revenue by implementing a revenue base of fee structures and grants. He also knew that the success of a county's environmental health programs is measured by their impact on the community. In an era before community assessments were common, John had the vision to create and present an annual report to the community. The report demonstrated the association between the health status of the community and Mecklenburg County's activities and programs. John's leadership went beyond geographic boundaries; he engaged in collaborative relationships with adjoining counties to address issues such as protecting the watershed, enforcing water quality standards, solid waste management and enforcing federal air quality standards.

In another collaboration with NEHA, John served as executive producer of a school science documentary called Planet Earth--Save Me Now. He has also published a number of professional papers that take an in-depth look at particular aspects of environmental health and was the author of a book on Natural Vegetation of South Carolina.

As a youngster growing up on a farm, John Barry developed a stewardship philosophy toward the environment. He originally aspired to become a veterinarian but changed his focus to field biology and received a bachelor of science degree at the University of South Carolina in 1966. A master of science degree from the University of South Carolina followed in 1968, and he earned a doctor of philosophy degree from the West Virginia University in 1971.

From 1972 through 1978, while teaching at the university level, he became interested and active in environmental research. …

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