Who's Who of Professional Women


With over four decades of professional experience to her credit, Mary C. DeVany holds considerable expertise in occupational and community health and safety and environmental services, with a special emphasis on chemical exposures and adverse health effects from chemical and physical stressors. Since 1986, she has made a name for herself as the president and an environmental health scientist with DeVany Industrial Consultants, where she does private and public sector technical consulting work. Her company was the first woman owned environmental health and safety consulting company in the United States. Earlier in her career, she cultivated her skills as the manager of safety training, environmental affairs, product safety, and liability in the electronics division of Union Carbide Corporation and as a hazard evaluator for the Factory Mutual Engineering Corporation.

Having conducted extensive studies on the FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, Ms. DeVany utilized her expertise as a principal expert witness and her work with the FEMA studies was featured in newspapers around the world. She has also maintained professional affiliation with the International Sweatshop Taskforce, the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Safety Professionals. Spending time as the chair of the occupational and environmental committee of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, she was notably the first person to hold this position without having a Doctor of Medicine.

Ms. DeVany was drawn to her profession because she always felt that workplace exposures and occupational injuries needed to be paid closer attention to, since a person’s health will not improve if they are constantly being exposed to harmful situations in their work. First earning a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Illinois in 1976, she subsequently joined Loyola University Chicago and earned a Master of Science in biochemistry and physio-biology in 1977. She has been board certified by the American Society of Safety Professionals.

For excellence in her career, Ms. DeVany has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Recognized as a graduate fellow with an A average during her master’s studies, she notably was awarded a grant from the American Chemical Society, who also honored her as a Chemical Ambassador for her achievements. Furthermore, she was a three time recipient of the Safety Professional of the Year award from the American Society of Safety Professionals, from the Mount St. Helens section, the Columbia Willamette chapter and Region 10. In 2009, she was elected as a fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Born to Virginia and Joseph Poletti, Ms. DeVany has been married to her husband, Wesley Lashbrook, for many happy years. The mother of two children herself, Teresa and Christine, she became a mother figure for her husband’s three children as well and their family also includes five grandsons, Wyatt, Trevor, Andrew, Benjamin and Joseph. Having done considerable volunteer work in her community, she served as a troupe leader for the Girl Scouts of the United States America for seven years and was a science Olympian coach for the local middle and high school. She was named Volunteer of the Year by Louis Middle School for her efforts.

Looking toward the future, Ms DeVany intends to continue on her current career path, consulting, taking on interesting projects, and making contributions to protect worker health and the environment for years to come. With a strong belief in the importance of what she does, she considers her work to truly be its own reward. Bringing the public knowledge about occupational and environmental hazards is vitally important so that people and organizations can take the proper precautions in order to protect themselves, and Ms. DeVany is very proud to be a part of that process.


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