Joe Laxson recognized for outstanding environmental health leadership

VANCOUVER ‒ Clark County Public Health Program Manager Joe Laxson has been named the 2016 Washington State Environmental Health Director of the Year.

Clark County Public Health Program Manager Joe Laxson
Clark County Public Health Program Manager Joe Laxson

Each year, the Washington State Environmental Health Directors presents the award to someone who has demonstrated leadership in the profession at the local and state levels.

The award was established in honor of Jim Matsuyama, an association founding member who developed many environmental health programs implemented by local health jurisdictions across the state. Matsuyama was known for his technical skills, kindness and dedication to public service.

“Joe Laxson exemplifies these great qualities and he’s well-deserving of this honor,” said Roxanne Wolfe, Clark County Public Health chief operations officer. “He skillfully oversees Public Health’s food safety, water recreation safety and school safety programs, and does so with grace and good humor.”

Laxson is the outgoing chair of the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials’ environmental public health committee. In this role, he guided committee members in identifying strategic directions and priorities for local environmental public health programs and opportunities for collaboration.

Formed in 1975, the health directors group is composed of environmental public health leaders from Washington’s 39 counties. Members routinely provide support to state agencies and legislative efforts as well as oversee the daily operation of local drinking water systems, food safety, school safety, onsite septic systems, hazardous waste, solid waste and other programs.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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