Peter F. Hess                        Inducted 2007 - Class of 1966

Peter lived on S. 109th Street at the Point, and attended Kleis School then Point Place Jr. High. His inquisitiveness and enthusiasm for science and engineering was nurtured at Woodward High School. Even though Pete and his friend, Dan Winarski, weren't enrolled in Dan Duvendack's class, these two hung around his room, as did many Woodward students. The two teens created amateur rocketry and frequently launched them off the dike in Pt. Place. Mr. Duvendack recalls that the rockets went up VERY fast! Later, after graduating from college, they found out that the rocket fuel they used is similar to that used in military rockets.

At Woodward, Peter remembers the sock hops and the excitement of attending football and basketball games. He was a member o f the Engineering Club, won Science Fair Awards for four years, sang in the Chorus, was a member of the Aquatatis Literary Society, and performed in the school plays. In addition to Dan Winarski, his friends were Chuck Trepinski  (who lives near Peter and builds 70-floor earthquake-resistant edifices), Bob Hull, Ron Pettaway, Mary Yacklin , and

Bonnie Sahadi.

Along with Dan Duvendack, who assisted Peter and Dan Winarski with science projects and the rocketry experimentation, and ignited a career in science, this honoree remembers other teachers who influenced him. Sarah Feldstein opened a world where thoughts can be unleashed and shared with millions, and kindled his passion for expression with the pen by her insistence that he read Hemmingway’s short story: The Big Two Hearted. Sam Szor and Keith Biler led the plays with enthusiasm. Ed Sorton was a keen angler with whom Peter spent time fly fishing. Mr. Sorton's message of leaving stress at the shop still resonates with Peter today. He enjoyed the homerooms of Lou Meszaros, Gene Gfell, and Fred Cieslewski.

Peter worked his way through TU by working summers at The Blade. He majored in Mechanical Engineering and was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. He worked for the Ohio Department of Health's Air Quality Unit and the EPA for two years before moving to California.

For over 34 years, Peter has demonstrated leadership in the field of environmental stewardship. He has developed numerous policies and regulations that are the genesis for air pollution regulatory programs throughout the U. S. and the world. He is a noted lecturer and writer (having published numerous articles and two textbook chapters) on issues pertaining to the formation and mitigation of air pollution. He has made numerous television and radio appearances and has spoken many times to national and international groups over his career. He considers himself as a defender of what is right, tending to side with the underdog.

Peter recalls an evening of dining while attending the 2004 World Clean Air Congress. One attendee was a Baroness, the MP for the Environment (appointed by Tony Blair). Apparently she indulged in too many cocktails (as the Brits call it, she was "in the cups") and insulted Peter as well as America. He later received a letter of apology from two members of the House of Lords!

Peter has worked on the development and implementation of California's Clean Air Act and has testified before the California legislature and the U. S. Congress and Senate. He has served as the Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer of the (San Francisco) Bay Area Air Quality Management District (a 350 person agency with a 50 million budget) since 1979.His duties there have included oversight of the operations of the Engineering Division, Planning, Technical, and the Compliance and the Enforcement Divisions. This past year, Peter was President of the International Air & Waste Management Association which, among many international appearances and lectures, brought him back to UT for a speech at the College of Engineering.

Peter's recent lectures include promoting a new policy he developed as an option to the Kyoto Protocol to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Later this year, he and his wife are traveling to China as a part of an international delegation of air quality professionals to propose viable options to reduce air pollution during the forthcoming Olympic Games.

Thirty years ago, he met his future wife. Alison Hood, over a scotch in the bar of a commuter boat from San Francisco to Marin County. Their first date was two weeks later, and they've been together ever since (now married for 27 years). Peter and Alison enjoy playing golf at their clubs in the Marin County and San Francisco area and spending time at their second home, north of Lake Tahoe. He fly fishes the better waters of the world, and has been a Director and President of the Bay Area Trout Unlimited. He writes fictional novels (crediting Sarah Feldstein for planting this seed of desire for writing), and donates his royalties to fund scholarships. His memberships include many conservation as well as engineering societies. He is part of a group, The Tin Cup Society, which fosters education for a Native American group in Michigan's UP. Hi s parents are the late Peter F. and Marcella Hess.

When informed of his induction into the Hall of Fame, Peter felt extremely honored. He also thought of all the teachers and students who affected him and helped form his personality and wishes to share this honor with them. His signature attire is a bow tie, which he has worn as a tribute to his father since 1982. Peter is retiring in July. How fitting he returns to Toledo where his career was "launched." Some Toledo pals are here with him tonight. Congratulations and welcome back, Peter!

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

  • Facebook