Robert (Bob) Swann
Bob Swann, a Response Supervisor with the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Emergency Response Division, is on-call for immediate response to environmental threats. His unit responds to reports of oil and chemical spills on land or in the water. A days’ work for him could include off-loading an overturned gasoline tanker on the highway, responding to a call for a leaking home heating oil tank, or boating on floodwaters to identify chemical hazards.
When Bob Swann graduated from high school in Baltimore County, Maryland, he wanted to work on boats. He discovered when helping clean up an oil spill that he was able to do something very concrete that could improve the environment. At that point he became involved in what he continues to do today—“respond to, provide incident management for, and mitgate environmental emergencies that directly threaten the public safety, human health and the environment of the State of Maryland.” Currently working for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) as a Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Supervisor, Bob deals with things as diverse barges aground and leaking and and tanker truck spills on highways to breakages of mercury thermometers in private homes. He has acquired the expertise to train other emergency response personnel, from federal, state and local governments as well as private industry, in environmental emergency response operations. For his work Mr. Swann has earned four Governor’s citations, the Sustained Superior Performance Award from MDE and the Exceptional Employee Achievement Award from the State of Maryland among many other awards.
Find out more about MDE’s Emergency Response team
View a description of some environmental emergencies.