Dr. Paul T. Kostecki, our founder, was a visionary in the field of environmental contamination whose contributions have had a profound impact on research, education, and professional development. He co-founded the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences (AEHS) in 1989, an organization that continues to play a pivotal role in advancing environmental sciences and fostering collaboration among experts worldwide.
As the Executive Director of AEHS until 2009 and the President of the AEHS Foundation thereafter, Dr. Kostecki led the way in organizing over 60 international and national conferences on Contaminated Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy beginning in 1990. These conferences have served as global platforms for professionals to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and develop innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Dr. Kostecki's visionary leadership contributed to attracting over 10,000 environmental professionals from more than 50 countries to these conferences.
Under his guidance, AEHS and its Foundation established esteemed 'Blue Ribbon' Scientific Committees for Superfund Sites, ensuring the highest standards of scientific rigor in environmental remediation. They also oversaw academic research and provided consulting services to international and national agencies, industries, and engineering firms, making a tangible impact on environmental management practices.
Dr. Kostecki's commitment to advancing knowledge extended to scientific publishing. He co-created seven peer-reviewed journals, including highly respected publications such as Soil and Sediment Contamination, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, and the International Journal of Phytoremediation. Through these journals, his influence reached a wide audience of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, fostering critical dialogue and disseminating cutting-edge research findings.
Moreover, Dr. Kostecki's dedication to education and training was evident in his role as a developer of and instructor for numerous conferences, workshops, and courses. By sharing his expertise nationally and internationally, he played an instrumental role in equipping environmental professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to address complex challenges in soil contamination, risk assessment, and risk management.
Paul’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the field of environmental health and sciences. In 2009, AEHS officially launched the AEHS Foundation to better define and showcase the organization's scope and breadth of engagement. Recognizing that the core values of AEHS are fundamentally for the public good and that results rely heavily upon the efforts and energy of its members, the Foundation transitioned to create a non-profit entity. Moving forward, the AEHS Foundation continues to build upon its global network and offers members education, training, and scientific experiences. AEHS membership, conferences, and scholarships are now all facilitated by the Foundation, carrying forward Dr. Kostecki's vision and legacy.
"While society tends to focus on “what one does,” it really is about who we
impact during our lives. Paul certainly impacted mine and many others in
this room and thousands more we will never know. Those of us fortunate
to know, work, and support Paul can attest to a life graciously well lived
with legacies, yes that is plural, that must continue."
- Paul Rakowski, AGVIQ, LLC