2008 Environmental Health

zayach-awardJeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health

Nominated By: Jo Malinowski, Boulder County Public Health
Image: Jeff Zayach and Joe Malinowski

Because of his singularly distinctive accomplishments and contributions, Jeffery J. Zayach is honored by receiving the 2008 Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership “Ex-cellence in Leadership” alumni award. Jeff, who served as the Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) Environmental Health Division Manager until July of 2008, was recently selected to serve as the Boulder County Public Health Director. Jeff has indeed demonstrated all of the attributes that define him as an outstanding environmental health professional in the state of Colorado.

Jeff’s leadership and commitment to high-quality outcomes is deeply appreciated by those Jeff has worked with, as well as those who were under his active supervision. Jeff has outstandingly contributed to the concepts of leadership, management, administration, and collaboration – the essentials that prove him to be a consummate professional.

During his 17 years at BCPH, Jeff has served as an environmental health specialist, Air Quali-ty/Hazardous Waste Program Coordinator, Environmental Health Division Manager, and he now serves as the BCPH Director. Jeff has contributed greatly to the practice of environmental health over the course of nearly two decades.

Jeff Zayach has been a member of the Colorado Environmental Health Association (CEHA) for nearly his entire career, and he has served on the CEHA Board of Directors and on a significant number of work groups. In addition to CEHA, Jeff contributes his energy and expertise to a broad variety of strategic engagements that also focus on improving public health and the envi-ronment in Colorado, including:

  • Past president and current vice president of the Colorado Directors of Environmental Health
  • Board of Directors for the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials (CALPHO)
  • Member of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Committee on Accreditation
  • Member of the search committee for the chair of Environmental and Occupational Health for the newly instituted Colorado School of Public Health
  • Member of the Colorado Chronic Disease Task Force
  • And of course, with his recent selection to serve as public health director for Boulder County, Jeff is now a member of the Public Health Directors of Colorado (PHDoC).

More recently, Jeff has been instrumental in helping craft a sound law with his involvement in SB 194, the Public Health Reauthorization Bill. He negotiated changes with the environmental health community to develop an acceptable, and indeed, excellent legislative proposal. He helped gain support for the improved document as it passed through the legislative hurdles by his testimony before the legislative bodies and committees.

Jeff provides leadership in virtually every activity he undertakes. For example, several years ago while serving as our Environmental Health Division Manager, he made a conscious decision to make a significant change to our approach to assuring the environmental health of Boulder County, and to do so by significantly changing our internal management approach to this impor-tant role. Beginning internally, he invested considerable financial resources, brought in outside consultation, and focused on building self-directed work teams in our entire Environmental Health Program. Very early on, Jeff emerged as the principal internal leader and became the primary champion for this new way of doing business. His leadership transformed our Environ-mental Health Program from a top-down, command and control system that relied primarily on a regulatory approach to achieve environmental protection goals, to what is now a highly energized set of teams. These teams are characterized by innovation that achieves environmental protection and promotion of goals at levels far higher than what had ever been achieved under our old system.

Jeff Zayach brings an excellent educational and training background to his work in public health. He has an AA degree in Natural Resource Management, a B.S. in Wildlife Management, and an M.S. in Management, with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. Beyond academic prepa-ration, Jeff is a graduate of the 2000 RIHEL class. Additionally, Jeff has completed the complete set of training in the Incident Command System (ICS), as well as trainings in risk communica-tion, conflict resolution negotiation, group facilitation, and teamwork development. All of these training opportunities and his commitment to professional continuous quality improvement have combined to make him one of the most skillful practitioners in the art of management.

In recognition of Jeff Zayach’s noteworthy contribution to environmental health, Jeff is the well-deserved recipient of the 2008 RIHEL “Excellence in Leadership” alumni award.