Rob Pearsall is an environmental health regional specialist for the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Children’s Environmental Health program. In this role, he oversees the southeastern counties in North Carolina, including Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, and Scotland.
Due to his experience working in both the private and public sectors, Rob brings a unique perspective to his job. After earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Elon University, Rob worked for an environmental consulting and engineering firm for six years, focused on lead and asbestos abatement, indoor air quality, and soil remediation.
He then moved back to North Carolina and worked for the New Hanover Engineering Department as an Engineering Construction Inspector for five years, before transferring to the New Hanover County Health Department as an environmental health specialist for another six years. At which point he took his current position with NC DHHS. He admits that he’s always had an interest in science, and when he started working in the environmental field after graduating, he found the work interesting and enjoyable.
On a daily basis, Rob conducts lead investigations and works with local health departments in his region to manage remediation and provide technical assistance. Reflecting on the most rewarding aspect of his job, Rob says,
“Identifying and removing the source of lead while conducting an investigation, and as a result seeing the child’s BLL come down over time, definitely provides the most feeling of accomplishment.”
He admits that it’s not always easy and sometimes he receives resistance from families when he conducts lead investigations. Likewise, he knows there are some families that want to make changes to create a healthy environment for their children, but they don’t have the financial means, and this is one of the toughest realities he faces.
As a regional environmental health specialist, he appreciates having a big picture view of the program, but also still having the opportunity to interact with health departments at the local level. He acknowledges that working in the public sector gives him the freedom to work until the problem is solved, and he feels this strategy provides a bigger impact for the community.