Frank Imperatore’s work as Virginia Tech's hazardous materials manager is not always in the spotlight but it's essential to the quality of life for the entire university community.

As the hazardous materials manager in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at Virginia Tech, Imperatore oversees the collection, handling, and disposal of chemicals and hazardous materials from over 1,300 laboratories on Virginia Tech's main campus, physical plant, and agricultural research and extension centers.

“Having worked as a laboratory supervisor on the Virginia Tech campus for more than 30 years, I have had the opportunity to interact with scores of very qualified personnel. Certain individuals stand out not only for their experience, but also for their willingness to go well beyond reasonable effort to provide valuable assistance,” said Julie Petruska, environmental laboratory supervisor, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Imperatore is one of those people, she explained in his nomination letter.

Imperatore, who has worked at Virginia Tech for nearly 20 years, was one of nine Virginia Tech employees nominated in 2015 to represent the university in the statewide Governor’s Award program. He was nominated in the workplace safety and health category.

Imperatore has dedicated his professional life to maintaining a safe infrastructure. He has served as the president and an at-large member of the College and University Hazardous Material Management Conference and brought the organization’s national conference to Roanoke, Virginia, in 2004.

He recently spearheaded the effort to develop a statewide hazardous waste contract to ensure that all state agencies get the best waste disposal prices possible, while remaining in compliance with federal regulations.

In July 2014, when a Radford car dealership discovered unknown substances hidden in the bumper during a routine maintenance check, Imperatore was called in to assist the FBI, state police, Radford police, and Virginia Tech police. Using analytical equipment typically used in the management of hazardous materials at Virginia Tech, Imperatore identified the materials as a type of highly explosive military grade material, not commercially used in the United States.

In October 2014 he was called to Roanoke County where he worked in conjunction with several other agencies to identify chemicals, verify ownership, and remove 50 pounds of highly hazardous chemicals from a residence.

“His professionalism, dedication to customer service, and his willingness to help in any occasion are without equal, said Bernadette Monday,” assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety.

“His enthusiasm and hard work are contagious and affect all around him,” she added. “His dedication to sharing knowledge with other institutions has not only made him a recognized national expert in his field but has elevated Virginia Tech’s hazardous materials management program to one universities nationwide attempt to emulate.”

Through his commitment to a campus free of hazardous waste and his spirit of collaboration on-campus and across the state, Imperatore embodies the university’s land-grant mission and motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

His work protects the lives of more than 30,000 students and 13,000 employees at Virginia Tech and countless citizens across the state.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Share this story