Given annually in honor of NSF International’s co-founder and first executive director Walter F. Snyder for outstanding contributions to the advancement of environmental health

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – NSF International and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are pleased to announce that Stephen R. Tackitt, RS, MPH, DAAS, is the 2016 recipient of the distinguished Walter F. Snyder Environmental Health Award. Mr. Tackitt will receive the award on June 15 at the NEHA annual conference in San Antonio, Texas in recognition of more than 40 years of significant and lasting contributions to environmental and public health through leadership, education, public service and work on consensus national standards.

The Snyder Award honors NSF International’s co-founder and first executive director, Walter F. Snyder, who himself provided outstanding contributions to the advancement of environmental and public health.

“Steve Tackitt’s accomplishments reflect the principles expressed by Walter F. Snyder and the public health mission of NSF International,” says Kevan P. Lawlor, NSF International President and CEO. “His extensive experience and knowledge of environmental health and his commitment to education demonstrate a strong dedication to the promotion of public health. As chair of several NSF/ANSI standards committees, his collaboration and interpersonal skills were instrumental in successfully advancing standards development through the consensus process.”

“Steve’s innovative and collaborative leadership style, including his NEHA leadership role, establish him as a highly regarded and respected leader in the environmental health community. His commitment to the profession is a model for future leaders in public health, and his enthusiasm and ability to build consensus attest to an exceptional, memorable and rewarding career,” says David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH, Executive Director and CEO of NEHA.

Mr. Tackitt led many public health initiatives during his 40-plus-year career in environmental health roles with health departments and in industry. He retired in 2012 from the Barry-Eaton District Health Department in Charlotte, Michigan, where he served as Health Officer for six years. In that role, he provided leadership, promoted public health efforts locally and nationally, and developed novel community-based initiatives. This effort included establishing a low-income dental clinic, securing a WISEWOMAN program to promote healthy lifestyles for underinsured women and instituting an inspection policy for septic systems at the time of property sale or transfer.

Prior to that role, Mr. Tackitt served as the Director of the Environmental Health Division of the Wayne County Health Department for nine years. There he provided team development and leadership to enhance programs and explore new avenues to reduce environmental health incidents. During a time of statewide budget cuts to public health services, he brought a business perspective into a governmental setting, networking with other governmental and community organizations to maintain services. He also led the effort to revise Wayne County’s sanitary code, which included pioneering several environmental and public health initiatives such as a voluntary smoke-free program in restaurants (before it became state law), a law for clean indoor air in schools and government buildings, and body art regulations. He developed the body art guidelines in collaboration with artists, based on a model ordinance NEHA had developed.

He also served as a stakeholder in revising several editions of the Michigan Food Code and was influential in gaining consensus among food processors and restaurants for regulating foodservice managers and in developing new legislation for cottage food.

In collaboration with Wayne State University, he was instrumental in planning and conducting the first household hazardous waste collection day in Michigan. This and subsequent collection day events served as a model for other health departments and community groups.

Preceding his position in Wayne County, Mr. Tackitt served as a regional manager for NSF International for six years, where he was responsible for expansion of NSF's audit and certification programs, customer service, staff training and budget development.

Before that, Mr. Tackitt was Deputy Director and then Director of Environmental Health Services at the Macomb County Health Department where he developed environmental health programs to address the needs of the community, and implemented a new system of employee training, evaluation and recognition. He also oversaw the design and implementation of a revised administrative hearing system. Earlier in his career, he worked as a sanitarian for the Wayne County Health Department for 13 years.

Mr. Tackitt has held leadership roles in many national and state environmental and public health organizations. He has served as president and region 6 vice president of NEHA, and as president of the Michigan Environmental Health Association (MEHA) and the Michigan Association for Local Environmental Health Administrators (MALEHA). He was chair of the National Conference of Local Environmental Health Administrators and the Michigan Health Professional Recovery Committee, and treasurer for the Michigan Association for Local Public Health. He was elected chair of two NSF International joint committees for national standards on food service equipment and recreational water products. He has received many awards including the LaRue L. Miller Lifetime Achievement Award from MEHA and the MALEHA Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Tackitt has been a Diplomate of the American Academy of Sanitarians for over 10 years and is a recipient of its Davis Calvin Wagner Award. He served six terms (18 years) on the NSF International Council of Public Health Consultants, including acting as chair, and is now an emeritus member.

Mr. Tackitt has been the on-scene responder and spokesperson for various health departments and events such as fires, explosions, electrical blackouts, norovirus and West Nile Virus.

Throughout his career, Mr. Tackitt has also taught environmental health as an adjunct faculty member at Oakland University and Michigan State University (MSU), and as a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. He developed and taught the first environmental health course when MSU instituted its Master of Public Health program.

Snyder Award nominations are open to the public, and a juror panel of environmental health leaders selects the winners. For more information about the Walter F. Snyder Award or to nominate a colleague for next year’s award, visit NSF International’s website.

About NSF International: NSF International is a non-profit global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer products industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment ( Founded in 1944 at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

About NEHA: The National Environmental Health Association is a professional organization with more than 4,500 members in the public and private sectors as well as in universities and uniformed services. It publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Health providing a valuable resource for the complete spectrum of environmental health topics. NEHA's mission, "to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all" is fulfilled in the products and services offered by NEHA through training, education, networking, professional development and policy involvement.

Thomas Frey, APR
NSF International
Phone: +1 734 214 6242

Clare Sinacori
National Environmental Health Association
Phone: 303-756-9090, ext. 319