News & Awards

Alumna makes worker safety her main objective (Mason Spirit: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of George Mason University)

April 2003

By Greg Guenthner

Jolanda Janczewski, Ph.D. Environmental Science and Public Policy '91, is always hard at work, even on her days off. "Oh no, they found me," she says as her call waiting beeps a second time during our telephone interview. Anyone could be on the other end of that line -- one of Janczewski's 50 full-time employees or a representative from the media. She ignores the call and continues telling me about her business, Consolidated Safety Services Inc.

Consolidated Safety was recently recognized as the eighth annual Department of State Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year. It also received the Military Traffic Management Command Quality Award and Small Business Administrator Recognition, and was nominated for the Department of Agriculture's Small Business of the Year Award.

Founded 15 years ago, Consolidated Safety is primarily a government contractor, involved in worker safety, pollution, radiology, and safety training for the Departments of Transportation, State, and Agriculture, among others. With more than 18 years of experience involving environmental and occupational heath assessment and control of hazards; policy and regulatory analysis; and management training, Janczewski frequently provides testimony in front of federal regulatory hearings, and since 1987 has served as a federal expert witness on safety and health issues for the U.S. Department of Justice. A recognized international speaker, she has also appeared on national and international news and public service broadcast networks.

Because of the recent terrorism threats, the government has come to use Janczewski's services even more. "As safety professionals, it means a lot to us," she says.

Growing up in a military family, Janczewski moved to Northern Virginia while she was in high school. After graduating from Fairfax High School, she went on to receive her bachelor's degree from Mary Washington College.

"My first job out of college was in the chemistry lab of the Safety Lab at the National Institutes of Health," Janczewski says. A few years later, she accepted a fellowship to study biohazard sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she earned her master's degree. She then worked as a biosafety officer at the National Cancer Institute at Fort Detrick, Md., at which point she earned her Ph.D. from George Mason.

For Janczewski, business is also a family affair. Her sister and fellow Mason alumna, Dianne, M.S. Biology '89, is on the staff at Consolidated Safety. "It's great working with her," says Janczewski. "She is one of the hardest-working, brightest people on the staff."

Janczewski's brother, an occupational physician in the Air Force, occasionally works as a consultant for the company. "We have no problem hiring family members," she says.

Janczewski thrives in the ups and downs of the business world and says she would do it all over again if she had to. "I can't complain," she says. "Running your own business takes a certain mentality." Even when she tries to relax, she says she has to do everything with a cell phone attached to her.