Member Spotlight: Vincentiu Anghel, MPA, REHS, REALTOR
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is shining a spotlight on the people within our membership through this new feature in the Journal. This month we are pleased to introduce you to Vincentiu Anghel, an independent environmental consultant and realtor who works at Wardley Real Estate in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Anghel attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and earned a science degree in environmental studies. He has been in the environmental health profession for 8 years. He started out in the profession as an intern at the Clark County Water Reclamation District, then spent the bulk of his public sector career at the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). While working in the solid waste enforcement section of SNHD, he developed an interest in real estate and saw a need for improving poorly managed properties. Through his real estate business, Anghel serves the public by assisting clients in need of places to rent while also conducting other real estate duties.
His background as a registered environmental health specialist is instrumental in helping clients make decisions on where they want to live. Anghel uses his experience to educate clients on potential environmental issues related to a property so they can make informed decisions. In addition to real estate, he recently became an environmental consultant and provides guidance to local businesses around Las Vegas to improve their compliance with local environmental health regulations.
Why did you join NEHA and what aspects of membership have you found most valuable to your career?
I joined NEHA for the training opportunities and the most valuable is the Annual Educational Conference (AEC). I attended the 2019 conference in Nashville and it was an experience I will never forget. NEHA did a wonderful job of bringing together like-minded public health individuals. I enjoyed not only spending time with my own colleagues but also meeting other folks in the industry from all over the U.S. and the world. The event was well organized with several environmental health topics, respected speakers, and fun activities that allowed for attendees to explore the host city.
Why did you choose the environmental health field?
I grew up between city and rural life in my home country of Romania, and later in Las Vegas. From my days as a kid, I loved spending time outdoors. The environmental field was the best fit for me as I enjoy venturing into the field versus being stuck in an office all day.
If you were not an environmental health professional, what other profession would you like to work in?
If I was not an environmental health professional or in real estate, I would like to be a full-time writer. It is through writing that we can pass a message along—not just in our time but even across generations. Humans have been fascinated with deciphering the endless forms of writing that have existed across time and stories make the world move. If I had a chance to write full time, I would want to serve the world by sharing as much as I know through my literary works.
Please describe any hobbies, activities, and causes you are passionate about.
I love to read because that is a divine way to enhance our perspectives of the world and connect with others better. One of my favorite books that I would recommend is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The author does a fantastic job of outlining a series of tips on how to improve our conduct with others by using a unique perspective derived from the ancient Toltec culture. The best lesson I got from the book was to never take anything personally, which helped tremendously when I was a regulator. People were upset (and colorful with their words at times) when I had to close or issue a fine to a business, but it was never an attack on me. I was fulfilling my duty to protect public health. When we do not take things personally, we improve our understanding of opposing views and work toward common grounds.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
My favorite vacation spot is Miami, Florida. I spent my honeymoon there with my wife, and we have cherished it in our hearts ever since. If traveling there is on your bucket list, make sure to add Key West to your day trip plans. The drive to it from downtown Miami is stunning and I recommend checking out the Ernest Hemingway House (and watch out for the cats in the process).
What is one thing that most people do not know about you that you would be willing to share?
I skipped the 7th grade. It was my first school year in the U.S. and the administrative staff had a hard time deciphering my school record from Romania. They saw I was born in 1992 so they put me with the 8th graders instead (lucky me). In the end, it worked out. I am grateful to be able to read and write, although I did miss out on some great reading lists from the 7th grade like the Goosebumps series).
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Publishing my first book, Deputy V8: The Vegas Health Patrol, to honor the environmental health profession through the comical situations I came across during my career. I have written unpublished works both in my native Romanian and English (my secret hobby for many years) and decided my debut would be with a memoir of my past life as a health inspector. V8 was my nickname while working at the health district so I decided to permanently preserve that along with as many memories as I could during my time in the public sector arena. If you are a reader interested in learning what kind of environmental health issues and political hurdles we face in Las Vegas, this book is for you. It is available on the Amazon website.
Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to my ancestors—both my direct family and historical figures—because you can never grow a strong tree without the power of the roots. My roots started in Romania, a resilient country that has survived plagues and wars and is still standing strong. During my upbringing, I was fascinated with the various historical leaders I read about who were instrumental in defending our lands. I also look up to all the elders in my family. They all survived a communist regime in their upbringing (my grandparents managed to avoid a bomb or two during World War II), and without their effort and sacrifice, I would not exist. I am also grateful for my parents who never gave up the dream to bring us to the U.S. After 10 years of rejections on the visa lottery applications, we finally won in 2004 and made it to the U.S. in 2005. The opportunity to come to this country was a key turning point in my life. It was hard as a 13-year-old to adapt to the U.S., but it worked out for the best. I hope I can be at least one half as good at preserving my family’s roots and giving my descendants the same opportunities for a better life compared with what my own family has given me here in the U.S. and back in Romania.
Is there a resource that you use frequently for your work that you would recommend for other environmental health professionals?
The NEHA website is my top recommendation. The monthly E-Journal is excellent in keeping up with current environmental health trends. And if you need continuing education units, watch the recorded AEC sessions online. They cover every environmental health topic you can think of from previous AECs. You get a more personable perspective from the speakers that NEHA features, who are elite-level public health professionals.
What was the best professional advice given to you?
The best professional advice I ever received was to never stop evolving because complacency kills the soul. I simplified this advice as it was a repeated message to me from various perspectives by all the inspiring professionals, teachers, coaches, and countless others who have impacted me across my life journey. In today’s world, I noticed people have distanced themselves from the creative sides that we all have. In my case, I read daily and write down multiple ideas each day for how I can improve my business or literary works. Most of the ideas are trash—cordially known as solid waste—but occasionally one idea works out. The key is to never stop applying yourself in pursuing your passions because one day you will realize you are doing the very activities you dreamed about in the past and getting paid in the process.