Kathleen Hess-Kosa, CIH
BiographyIn 1972, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in microbiology and chemistry from Oklahoma State University. After serving as an officer in the Air Force for three years, she returned to school and earned a Master of Science de¬gree (1979) in Industrial Hygiene from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. In the wake of the DBCP toxic effects of petrochemical workers, her thesis research topic was “EDB and Its Effect on the Male Reproductive System.”
After graduating, Ms. Hess-Kosa became the thirteenth member and first female industrial hygiene consultant for Firemen’s Fund Insurance Companies in San Francisco, California. In 1983, Ms. Hess-Kosa tested for and passed the national AIHA certification exam, earned her designation as a Certified Industrial Hygienist. During her five years, she had the opportunity in addition to traditional industrial hygiene consulting to become involved in a variety of unique environ¬mental problems, including indoor air quality concerns in an 800-occupant of¬fice building, information gathering for performing environmental site as¬sessments, and waste management. In 1984, she returned to Texas and started her own private consulting firm which, after several name changes, is now Omega Environmental Consulting, Inc.
As a conventional industrial hygienist, Ms. Hess-Kosa evaluated hazardous substance and noise exposures to workers in industrial environments ranging from sawmills to foundries in both large and small operations. She has also assessed exposures to office occupants regarding such subjects asbestos, indoor air quality, and mold. Amongst her asbestos clients have been the radio station housing the ever-complaining Marvin Zindler (reporter best known from his closing of the Chicken Ranch, represented in the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), in the home of Mr. Dolby (Dolby Stereo), and as part of a value engineering study of Pearl Harbor.
Ms. Hess-Kosa’s first technical book was Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I after which she published Environmental Sampling for Unknowns, Indoor Air Quality: Sampling for Unknowns, Indoor Air Quality: The Latest in Sampling Methodologies with editions and more. She has also published several checklist books on environmental health and safety auditing.
Ms. Hess is an active outdoor enthusiast and world traveler. Adventure is her passion, and experiences are by design. Ms. Hess-Kosa has explored the remote recesses of rain forests, studied medicinal herbs, traveled solo into the Sahara dessert, SCUBA dived in wondrous underwater worlds, observed Shaman rituals and native traditions, escaped military threats on her life in Honduras, fought off/survived multiple thieves in Peru, braved whitewater rivers on bamboo rafts, rode elephants in Thailand, experienced the Namibia desserts and Himba tribes, completed the 350 mile Texas Water Safari, and many more. She has also perfected her skills as a photographer and has a dedicated web site—Photographic Journeys.
Principal Industrial Hygiene Consultant 1984-present
OMEGA SOUTHWEST/ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING, INC. Canyon Lake, TX
Performed chemical/noise audits, industrial hygiene, and indoor air quality exposure assessments for insurance companies (Argonaut, Farmer’s Insurance, and State Farm Insurance), city governments (e.g., City of Henderson in Nevada), water and wastewater facilities (e.g., City of Austin Wastewater Facility), industrial facilities (e.g., Central Texas Marine. Zimmer, Sultzer Orthopedics), prison systems (e.g., Unicorp Federal Prison and Austin Correctional Systems), medical facilities (e.g., Texas A& M Medical Research Facility in Temple and Clinical Pathology Lab in Austin), manufacturing operations (e.g., Lockheed of Austin, Cerrus Logic, and Standard Aero), and automotive manufacturers (e.g., GMC union complaints in Illinois). Has also participated in value engineering studies (e.g., Pearl Harbor hazards cost containment).
Expertise in asbestos investigations, O&M programs, specifications, and abatement management for government agencies (e.g., Texas Dept. of Health Complex, City of Austin, and VA Hospital in Waco), institutions/schools (e.g., University of Texas, Waco ISD), and office buildings (e.g., Norwood Towers in Austin).
Considerable expertise in indoor air quality evaluations. Has resolved multiple indoor air quality problems for large office buildings (e.g., 20-story Bank of America building in San Francisco), city governments (e.g., City of Henderson in Nevada), hospitals (e.g., Scott and White in Temple and Seton Hospital in Austin), schools (e.g., Austin ISD), small office buildings (e.g., IBM in Austin and GVTC office in Canyon Lake), hotels (e.g., Hilton Inn in Temple), and residences. Many of the indoor air quality causes are multiple. Other than formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and carpet emissions, some of the more unique findings include pesticide over spray, illegal drug manufacturing, methylene chloride in a laundry facility, poorly functioning new HVAC that was manipulated by the installer to appear to be energy efficient.
Other areas of expertise include carcinogenic drugs, ionizing radiation, pathogenic microbes (including Legionella ), endotoxins, animal allergens (e.g., dust mites), tainted Chinese drywall, sewage backup and contamination in schools and residences, HVAC assessments, construction failure assessment support, tear gas/pepper gas contamination, toxic byproducts of combustion, and inaudible noise amplification (resulting in nausea. The list goes on and is ever being added to.
Performed claims investigations for insurance adjustors and attorneys. Most cases involved out-of-court settlements with reduced costs to the client.
Performs environmental, safety, and health audits, Phase I and II environmental site assessments, and assists in the development of in-house programs and training for industry.
Expertise in communications. Has assisted and been the key speaker in AIHA Professional Development Courses. Provided training services for various groups, ranging from maintenance workers to other industrial hygienists. Has published several technical books—including Indoor Air Quality: Sampling Methodologies. The latter has recently been updated with considerable changes to reflect advances, and there have been additions which include a chapter on “Green Buildings” with a discussion on LEED and ASHRAE 189.1 sampling.
Proficiency in AutoCad, Microsoft Office Programs, Corel Word Perfect, Photoshop, WordPress Web Creator, and Thermal Imaging Level II.
Associate Industrial Hygiene Consultant 1979-1984
FIREMEN’S FUND INSURANCE COMPANIES San Francisco, CA
Provided support industrial hygiene services, chemical/noise audits, and toxics exposure monitoring to insured clients and private industry. Completed chemical, noise, and radiological audits for various industrial types, ranging from paint shops and foundries to the semi-conductor industry and hospitals. Routinely performed claims investigations, asbestos surveys, and indoor air quality investigations.
Developed the indoor air quality questionnaire that is presently in widespread usage. Assisted training in the recognition of the need for performing Phase I environmental site assessments. Of thirteen industrial hygienists, she performed over twenty-five percent of the consulting work with many repeat clients.
Developed peripheral field knowledge and interpersonal working skills. Experienced in industrial hygiene laboratory analytical methodologies through working within the industrial hygiene laboratory. Developed a long lasting working relationship with the other industrial hygienists within the firm and conducted in-house training on need for environmental assessments in the insurance industry.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Thesis: “EDB and Its Effect on the Male Reproductive System in Rats, Mice, and Rabbits”
SCUBA Diving- hide-and-seek with Sea Lions off coast of California
International Travel- off-the-beaten path (e.g., privately guided camel trek into the Sahara and privately guided jungle treasure adventure)
Photography- multiple awards (social document, landscape, and underwater)
Rock Climbing- technical rock climbing
Woodworking- furniture and exotic doors
Canoeing and Kayaking- Texas Water Safari Finisher (e.g., "survivor")