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John J. Zentgraf, M.S.T., R.S.

City of West Allis Health Department

West Allis, Wisconsin 53214



John Zentgraf has been an Environmental Specialist with the city of West Allis, Wisconsin for 28 years. He has an undergraduate and Masters Degree in Biology. He has taught fifth grade through Junior College and for the past 17 years has taught Environmental Science, part-time, at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. He has had a varied career working as an Asst. Fish Biologist for the Wisconsin DNR and worked part-time in the jewelry industry for 20 years. He has been President of WEHA, the Wisconsin Weights and Measures Association, and the Wisconsin Association of Food and Sanitation Officials. In 1997 the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association named him Environmental Health Professional of the year. He initiated a silent auction at WEHA Conferences to raise money for the Scholarship Fund. Within 10 years under his direction WEHA raised $20,000. He has also spoken at WEHA Conferences. Even though it took him until he was 32 to find Environmental Health, he knew that he had found a perfect match for his talent and abilities.  He especially likes what he refers to as the perfect complaint. A complainant calls, John empowers them with knowledge and while talking to them gives them the courage and ability to handle the situation, and they thank him and hang up.

Leadership Development Opportunities

At this point in my career I thought that I would have established a low profile until I retired. Now I feel that there is much to do. I am encouraged and energized networking on a national level with Environmental Health leaders. I appreciate the education and training that I have received and will apply these to other facets of my life. Some leaders prefer to be out on the cutting edge of Environmental Health, others like myself prefer to stay in the background, motivating and challenging other inspectors to develop themselves. I am ever so grateful to EPHLI for the chance to develop my leadership ability. I have realized that at times I take on too much because I easily become bored with the every day routine activities and am always looking for something different to do. EPHLi gave me a chance to examine my personality while also having other staff members rate my abilities. It was hard for me to accept the negatives, however, through the past year I realize what my abilities are, and what I can achieve.