After more than four decades at the forefront of dangerous goods (DG) regulatory compliance, Jeanne Zmich, vice president of research & development for Chicago-based Labelmaster, is retiring this month. Zmich, who helped define and grow the hazmat regulations industry, has achieved a number of significant industry milestones during her illustrious career.
"When I joined Labelmaster in 1974 it was the very beginning of transportation regulations for placarding and labeling," said Zmich. "The original owner, Harry Fund, who was a great entrepreneur, had studied the Federal Register and learned that placards and labels would be required in the months and years ahead. We started advertising before we even had product.
"Soon afterwards, we hired Abe Samuels and had boxes and boxes of orders," she said. "We couldn't produce anything until the regulations were final and once they were established we began developing our products."
"It is amazing to see how this industry has changed over the past forty-two years as well as how the current Labelmaster owners, the company and the brand have evolved to support the needs of our customers and our industry," Zmich added. "Keeping hazmat goods moving safely and compliantly from point A to point B is getting more complex and our customers are looking for practical help to manage the risk across their entire supply chain and to be confident in their transport activities."
Zmich played a major role in the development of a number of regulatory resources and publications. She co-authored the original two-volume set of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, the first commercially available product to help employers comply with that Standard and a publication accepted into the Library of Congress.
"Patrick McConnell and myself researched and wrote over a two-month period the two-volume set of OSHA Hazard Communication Standard," said Zmich. "Because it was the first product of its kind, it sold very well and helped us build a strong customer base."
Zmich also coordinated a collaboration with the National Paint and Coatings Association (now the American Coatings Association - ACC) to produce and develop the first Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) labeling hazard rating standard.
In addition, Zmich monitored daily the "pulse" of regulatory changes and interpretations, and was the company's first books and programs products manager. She led Labelmaster to produce a number of regulatory publications, including the EARLY CFR 49 concept, an innovative regulations manual that's still produced annually, and the first Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG).
Zmich also served on a number of industry associations and represented Labelmaster at the Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Materials, where she served on its board of directors.
"The government likes to keep you on your toes and there is always something new with regulations," said Zmich. "It was very enjoyable to help customers effectively comply with the ever-changing and shifting regulations."
Zmich, who resides in Des Plaines, Ill., plans to do more traveling with her husband, who she met at Labelmaster, and also spend more time with her son and grandchildren.