Meet the BDG Training Team
BDG's instructor-led training classes are taught by recognized professionals whose emphasis is on safety and compliance with the Regulations.
Michael started gaining his in-depth experience and knowledge of hazardous materials during summer breaks from high school by packaging and shipping chemicals and other goods in his family's packaging and crating business located in Philadelphia. After graduation, Michael enlisted in the US Navy as a professional welder, firefighter and emergency responder. Twice deployed to the Persian Gulf region in support of Operation Southern Watch, he spent most of his time searching vessels suspected of violating UN embargoes. After 8 years of service, Michael was honorably discharged with a Navy Achievement Medal.
In 1998, Michael joined DG Supplies and served in all capacities of the company while finishing the college degree program he started while in the service. Michael studied at a number of Dangerous Goods training schools to learn every aspect of the Dangerous Goods industry. He took over as General Manager in 2000 and substantially grew the product line, doubling sales from the previous two years of business. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and began Dangerous Goods training, spending many long hours training and assisting companies with their UN Packaging needs.
Michael became the resident regulatory expert for all matters relating to Dangerous Goods for the company. He was promoted to president of both DG Supplies and Bureau of Dangerous Goods (headquartered in Cranbury, New Jersey) in 2006 and serves there to this day. He actively trains companies in the laws governing the transportation of Dangerous Goods for ground (49 CFR), air (IATA) and vessel (IMDG), is instrumental in authoring and developing the content in the Bureau's Hazmat University, as well as keeping the packaging business steaming ahead, and further developed training operations for DG Supplies' sister company, Bureau of Dangerous Goods.
In 2013 Michael recertified his Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) credentials and graduated with distinction at IATA's Professional Skills for DGR Instructors Course. Professionally, he sits on the Board of Directors for the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) and is actively involved with the following professional industry organizations: International Air Transport (IATA), Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA), and Dangerous Goods Trainers Association (DGTA). He frequently contributes to company and industry news articles as they relate to changes in the Dangerous Goods industry.
The Bureau of Dangerous Goods is excited to announce the addition of its newest team member, Mrs. Sonia Irusta as Vice President effective January 9, 2017.
Sonia joins our team with over 25 years of experience in the hazardous materials industry and is an exceptional trainer and consultant on a wide range of hazardous materials transportation and compliance issues. During her career she has been involved in the development and implementation of extensive training and software programs related to the safe and legal transportation of hazardous materials. Sonia is a highly accomplished business and technical professional instrumental in domestic and international transportation solutions for shippers, freight forwarders and carriers.
In addition, she has extensive experience in leadership, strategic planning and possesses excellent interpersonal, analytical and problem solving skills that will have a positive impact on our organization and the industry we serve.
As Vice President, Sonia will focus on directing BDG’s growth and developing our innovative products, while continuing to provide quality training to professionals around the world. “I am excited to work alongside of Sonia creating quality training, software and consulting solutions for the industry that we love and are passionate about” said Michael Bowen CEO.
The Bureau is confident that Sonia will make an excellent addition to its team, providing strategic direction and valuable contributions towards our mission in transforming challenges into opportunities, through the facilitation of innovative products and services related to hazardous materials shipments.
After graduating from Green Mountain College in 1980, John began a career in distribution and logistics management in the retail and medical supply fields. In 2001, John accepted a management position at a chemical manufacturer and distributor based in Central NJ and began his journey to becoming a hazmat professional by learning the ropes, so to speak, from the ground up. It was here that John learned the basic principles of classification, identification, packaging and communication by preparing a wide variety of Dangerous Goods for transport via ground, air and sea transport.
In 2003, John was given the opportunity to take that knowledge and experience to DG Supplies Inc., a provider of Dangerous Goods packaging supplies and their sister company, The Bureau of Dangerous Goods, a provider of training, software and consulting on the transport of Dangerous Goods. Eventually, John gravitated from the supply side of DGS into the training side of BDG, becoming an instructor in 2008. John specializes in training shippers, managers, forwarders, consolidators and airline acceptance staff in the laws governing the transportation of Dangerous Goods for ground (49 CFR), air (IATA) and vessel (IMDG) and is responsible for the authoring, revising and updating of all classroom course materials.
In 2013, John became an IATA accredited instructor graduating with distinction at IATA's Professional Skills for DGR Instructors Course. In addition to general hazardous materials courses, John also conducts specialized seminars on the shipment of lithium batteries as well as infectious substances as regulated by DOT, IATA and IMDG.
Throughout her more than 30 years of worldwide operations, training and management experience with the air transport industry, Sandra has dedicated her efforts toward maintaining safety, compliance and operational efficiency.
Her commitment to quality training began in Inflight Services, developing and conducting Flight Attendant training for aircraft lease customers throughout the world and directing Inflight service and training departments. Deciding to diversify her industry knowledge, Sandra moved into Ground and Cargo Operations management, where she developed her passion for advancing a more comprehensive and practical approach to Dangerous Goods operations and training. Her focus has been dedicated to that area ever since.
As an aviation industry consultant, Sandra assisted many air operators with developing and refining their Dangerous Goods policies, procedures and training, bringing a hands-on and pragmatic approach that has evolved from her experience with the responsibilities of both Shippers and Operators. She has resided and worked on several continents, where she had the good fortune to gain the global perspective that she brings to her work. Her ideal is that every Dangerous Goods employee not only be provided with the knowledge and confidence to perform their job function properly, but for them to also enjoy the pride of knowing that they are valuable contributors to the safety of the exciting and always-evolving transportation industry.
Mark has recently retired from the FAA where he spent 27 years working primarily in the hazardous materials safety program. During his FAA career Mark has had a wide range of experiences. In 1993, due to a number of serious hazardous materials incidents at Miami International Airport, the FAA asked Mark to create the first full-time hazardous materials agent position. As a result, he has personally conducted extensive reviews on hundreds of hazardous materials training programs for businesses and air carriers. Because of his previous experience and background with explosives, Mark also provided technical advice and assistance for DOT Class 1 special permit and exemption flights throughout the world. Additionally, he initiated and investigated hundreds of enforcement actions for violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations.
One of Mark’s most rewarding experience in the FAA was his development of hazardous materials outreach presentations where he sought to improve safety and compliance with the HMR. One of his presentations was an information guide designed for FAA hazardous material agents to help clarify and better understand the regulations regarding the safe transport of lithium batteries.
In 1996, he was the chief FAA Hazardous Materials investigator for the Valujet Airlines crash that took 110 lives in the Florida Everglades. In 2002, he was assigned to the National Transportation Safety Board as the on-site hazardous materials investigator for a Federal Express aircraft accident in Tallahassee, Florida.
Prior to his FAA career, Mark spent five years with the U.S. Secret Service’s Technical Security Division, Hazardous Materials/Munitions Countermeasures Section at the White House where his duties involved presidential protection against explosives devices, chemical agents and, radiological threats and hazards.
Mark has also served in the Army as an officer in Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Special Forces.
He has a BA from the University of Florida in public administration.