A Brief History of PAAEL


PAAEL was started in 1987 by Richard Friend of Friend Laboratories Inc. Dick had been a member of the New York Association of Approved Environmental Laboratories for seven years and had experienced the benefits of such a group. The first meeting was held on April 13, 1987, in Harrisburg, PA, with 30 people in attendance. The following interim officers were elected at that organizational meeting. Chairman Richard Underwood, Analytical Labs of Skelly & Loy; Vice-Chairman Sharon Lehman, Eastern Laboratories; Secretary/Treasurer Richard Friend, Friend Laboratories. A by-laws committee was established to develop the association’s by-laws, using NYAAEL’s by-laws as an example. The committee consisted of David Lane, Gannett Fleming; John Mandel, Lehigh Valley Labs; and Judy Musselman, CET Microbac Labs.

The Pennsylvania DER (now DEP) was supportive of the association from the first meeting. Paul Baker, then Chief of the Technical Services Division was in attendance and answered questions.

At the next meeting on June 1, 1987 the by-laws were accepted and the Executive Committee was elected. The title Chairman was replaced with President and the officers from the previous meeting were officially elected. The four Directors elected were Jim Curatola, Lehigh Valley Analytics; John Mandel, Lehigh Valley Labs; Ian Milnes, Wright Laboratory; and Judy Musselman, CET Microbac Labs. Public Relations, Nomination, Program, and Membership Committees were established at this meeting as well.

In December 1987, Dupont Corporation contributed $500 to the association. The Government Affairs Committee was formed that month, and membership had grown to 47. By June 1988, the membership had grown to 67. On February 23, 1989, we held our first training seminar with 41 people in attendance. Varian Instruments provided the speakers for the full-day program. The seminar was very successful. We truly felt that we were fulfilling the association’s main objective; to provide quality training for our members.

In the spring of 1992 we became incorporated and that fall we completed our federal forms and officially became a non-profit 501(c)(6) corporation.

These are a few of the highlights of our early years in the association. Through the years we have provided many services for our members including training seminars, up-to-date publications, regular contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and most importantly, multiple contacts and friendships within the laboratory community.