by Clare Coppa
In 1968, nine-year old Zdenek Hejzlar watched Russian tanks roll
through his hometown of Hronov, Czechoslovakia, near the Polish
Three days later his family fled across country into Austria,
just before its border was shut down. We couldnt take much;
whatever you could pack into one of those little Czech cars,
he recalled. As a boy you dont really comprehend it that much
but it was scary. Upon leaving Hronov, their land and possessions
were seized by the Communist regime.
From Austria his family of three flew to the Middle East. There
he would be influenced by his fathers work as a textile engineer.
Most of the kids my age at that point in Iran were working in
the factory. So I didnt have many kids my age to play with. I
ended up often going to work with my father and he introduced
me to a lot of neat things.
During Hejzlars adolescence, the family relocated to South Africa
where he entered an exchange student program with the Scottish
College of Textiles. In Scotland, he met his future wife, Karen,
an exchange student from the Philadelphia College of Textiles,
and eventually decided to finish his studies in the United States.
Now a Ph.D., Hejzlar is director of Environmental Management with
Breen & Associates, Florida, a division of Engineering Systems,
Inc., Illinois, that provides specialized research and engineering
services. An active member of ASTM Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Hejzlar devoted his doctoral dissertation
to ASTM Manual 43, Technical Aspects of Phase I/II Environmental
Site Assessments, which he authored. He holds a Ph.D. in Occupational
Safety and Health Engineering and degrees in chemistry and statistical
Zdenek teaches ASTM technical courses, Environmental Site Assessments for Commercial Real Estate: Phase
I and Transaction Screen Process; Phase II Environmental Site
Assessments; and Property Condition Assessments developed with his assistance
by Committee E50.
We dont want to bore the readers with too much of my life story,
he laughed. Since I became a trainer for ASTM, Ive traveled
around the United States and around the world on behalf of ASTM
and its been a wonderful experience. Ive met many, many interesting
people. With all the things that I have learned in the past, every
time I go somewhere and teach another course, I learn something
According to Scott Murphy, director of ASTM Education Services,
Hejzlar served as technical expert for ASTMs first computer-based
training course on environmental site assessment. He also taught
instructors in Seoul who are presenting the Phase I course in
Korea, and is working with the Navy Environmental Health Center
on a new ASTM course, Environmental Site Assessments for Military
Recently, Hejzlar was chosen for a Brownfields advisory board
formed by the City of Fort Myers, Fla., to coordinate Phase I
and II assessments for abandoned gasoline stations, coal tar plants,
shops for auto-repair, and those where chlorinated solvents were
used. Nobody wants to redevelop them because they are worried
that basically the sites are contaminated and nobodys willing
to invest in them, he explained. The city was selected as a U.S.
EPA Brownfield Assessment Pilot Community. What the Brownfields
Program is doing is providing some incentives for the owners or
developers to investigate these properties and if there is contamination
to clean them up and return these properties to good use.
Hejzlars specialty is deciding which remediation technologies
are best suited to specific sitesbased on assessments done according
to standards developed by Hejzlar and his ASTM colleagues. Ive
really and truly enjoyed my relationship with ASTM, he concluded.
Its something that gives you an opportunity to interact with
many other people. Working on the committee, you get to know the
people that are in the same field. So ASTM has been great for
me. I enjoy the experience.
Copyright 2001, ASTM