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 April 2005 People

Christina Lomasney (top row, third from left), appearing in a water skiing exhibition in Canada.

The Top of the Pyramid

by Rich Wilhelm

Christina Lomasney has a busy schedule. She is the president and CEO of Isotron, Inc., a company she started with her father nearly 20 years ago, and she is the chair of ASTM International Subcommittee E54.03 on Decontamination, under the jurisdiction of Committee E54 on Homeland Security. Despite all this, Lomasney still finds time to water ski, usually while standing on the shoulders of her ski teammates.

Hank Lomasney, Christina’s father (and also an ASTM member), taught her how to water ski when she was a girl. This is a skill Christina employs on a regular basis, as a member of a water skiing exhibition team.

“As it turns out, I’m small, so I’m particularly well-suited for climbing on people’s shoulders. I’m usually in the top tier of a water ski pyramid.”

Lomasney says that the first time she climbed atop a pyramid, “it was really intimidating, plus I’m afraid of heights, which didn’t help. Basically, the views are beautiful if you don’t look down.” While she’s gotten used to the height, the learning curve hasn’t been accident-free.

“I have fallen off and have dislocated somebody else’s shoulder, breaking my own ribs in the process,” says Lomasney. “It can get kind of messy.”

Despite the occasional fall, Lomasney enjoys water skiing and says she now does a little bit of everything — swivel skiing (skiing backwards), doubles, ballet line — as well as the pyramid. After skiing with the Seattle Show Ski team from 2001 to 2004, she now skis with a team from Portland. The venues range from skiing in front of the docks of restaurants in Seattle to performing before thousands of people as the team does each year for a show in Canada.

Hank and Christina Lomasney continued their father/daughter collaboration when they founded Isotron, a small business specializing in advanced polymer composites, in 1986. The company has concentrated on large scale radionuclide decontamination, as well as chemical and biological agent decontamination. Isotron has always been guided by the philosophy that a company should not fall in love with the development of technology for its own sake, but that technology should be developed as a way to accomplish the specific needs of a client. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” says Lomasney, “If you let the necessity come first, then truly you end up with an invention; if you don’t, you end up with a technology that you’re just trying to push.”

In 1993, Lomasney had the opportunity to travel to Russia for a year, while working as a college intern on a Department of Energy-funded program. The purpose of the program was to employ former nuclear weapons scientists in new projects involving ecological protection and environmental activities. Lomasney worked with the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering and was involved in the ongoing decontamination of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Sensing opportunities in the fields of nanotechnology and material sciences, the Losmasneys revamped Isotron in 2001. While still working in decontamination, the focus of the company shifted to protective materials. Hank Lomasney retired at this point and Christina became president and CEO.

Lomasney joined ASTM’s Committee E54 on Homeland Security in 2004. As chair of Subcommittee E54.03, Lomasney has been quite busy organizing task groups in the areas of biological agent decontamination, chemical agent decontamination, radionuclide and nuclear decontamination and mass decontamination operations. Lomasney also works to bring emergency first reponders to subcommittee meetings, as she feels that their direct experience is crucial in the development of new decontamination standards, several of which are in the works. //

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