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2023 Walter S. Mangold Award Winner

Walter S. Mangold dedicated his life to the practice of environmental health in an extraordinary and exemplary way. In doing so, he became a beacon of excellence and inspiration for all environmental health professionals who followed after him. Created in 1956 and first awarded to Mangold, the Walter S. Mangold Award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to the advancement of environmental health professionals. It is the highest distinction that NEHA can grant one of its members. We are pleased to honor Brian Collins with the 2023 Walter S. Mangold Award.

In keeping with the legacy of Walter S. Mangold, Collins’s impressive career is an example of both professionalism and service. He was nominated for the Mangold Award by Dr. Priscilla Oliver, president of the NEHA Past Presidents Affiliate from 2022–2023. In her nomination letter, Dr. Oliver wrote, “Throughout his career in environmental health, Brian Collins has demonstrated leadership not only as director of the Plano Environmental Health Department but also as president of the Texas Environmental Health Association and a regional vice-president and president of NEHA. During NEHA’s most stressful period of change, he provided leadership and guidance as the interim executive director of NEHA from 2014–2015. Brian has taken time to mentor students of environmental health and support their education and training through internships. He has shared his experience and education through published articles in professional journals on food safety, HACCP principles, and a variety of environmental health topics.”

Collins earned his bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Texas, Arlington. Through his personal interactions and work in restaurants, he contemplated the linkage of interests in science, food, food safety, and public health. It was this interest that led him to a position as a quality control technician at a large food manufacturing and processing plant. After 1 year in that position, he studied and passed the Texas Professional Registered Sanitarian examination. He then started to search for career opportunities that better aligned with his interests in food service, food science, and food safety. In 1988, he was hired by the City of Plano as a health inspector. Thus began the start of a career path at Plano that would span 26 years with promotions from environmental health specialist supervisor in 1990, assistant director in 1991, and director in 1998. He earned his master of science in human relations from Amberton University in 2002. Collins retired from Plano in January 2014. Currently, he serves as principal of Hygieia Consulting, LLC.

Throughout his career, Collins published articles in peer-reviewed journals that presented novel approaches to food safety and experiences in the practice of environmental public health management and leadership. Training, coaching, and mentoring of others regarding personal development, lessons learned, and leadership were consistent areas of focus in his career efforts. Over his career, he has coached and mentored many staff to vertical career opportunities and professional credentials. He has also served as an instructor and mentor for a variety of different leadership and fellowship programs. Furthermore, Collins was a valuable member of numerous task forces, committees, work groups, councils, and other associations at local, state, federal, and national levels.

Collins served on state and national boards to highlight local components of environmental public health and to effect change in the practice and profession of environmental public health. He was president of the Texas Environmental Health Association from 2000–2001, Region 5 vice-president of NEHA from 2002–2008, and a national officer of NEHA from 2009–2014, serving as president from 2012–2013. He is a diplomate laureate of the American Academy of Sanitarians (AAS) and served as chair from 2020–2022. He was awarded the AAS Davis Calvin Wagner Sanitarian Award in 2014. Throughout his career, he has been recognized for his achievements by numerous local, state, national, and federal organizations and agencies.

As one past Mangold Award recipient stated, “While there are many members of our association who deserve recognition, I can think of no one person who is more deserving of the Mangold Award for his lifetime of achievements that he has given to our profession and our association. I am honored to welcome him as a distinguished member of this elite group of past recipients. It is my hope that the Mangold Committee agrees and conveys this honor to Brian, a true friend and dedicated professional.” The comment from COL Wendell A. Moore in his support letter succinctly summarizes the character of Collins throughout his career: “Brian represents the epitome of the environmental health/sanitarian profession and possesses the attributes that embody the Walter S. Mangold Award. He is a leader of leaders and a servant of servants.”