James Pontolillo

Biography

I am currently the Reston Supervisory Physical Scientist for the Project Laboratories Branch (PLB) in the Laboratory & Analytical Services Division (LASD) of the USGS Water Mission Area (WMA). I assist the Branch Chief with a wide variety of administrative, human resources and supervisory tasks to ensure the smooth and consistent functioning of the PLB which is spread across three centers nationwide. I participate in administrative and leadership meetings to produce work plans and coordinate operations between the LASD and the Earth Systems Processes Division (ESPD). I supervise PLB scientists co-located with me in Reston. I also regularly provide advice on work-related topics to LASD/ESPD Reston personnel and serve as a local liaison between the divisions. I continue to act as the Reston PLB/ESPD resource person for publication-related issues (assisting with Data Releases, Model Archiving, IPDS, FSP-compliance, dissemination, etc.). I am a member of the USGS Quality Management Systems (QMS) Manager's Team and the WMA QMS Development Team. I am also the Reston WMA Collateral Duty Safety Officer and Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator. I continue to serve as the facilities manager for all former NRP-EB space and as manager of the former Organic Geochemistry lab.

 

Professional Assignments

October 2017 - Present: Supervisory Physical Scientist (USGS Project Laboratories Branch, Reston, VA; Supervisor: Dana Erickson).

June 2017 - September 2017: Assistant Branch Chief (USGS National Research Program, Eastern Branch, Reston, VA; Supervisor: Pierre Glynn). In this role I coordinated the work of the Branch administrative team and actively participated in weekly Program management conference calls to resolve a serious budget deficit. I served as the IPDS Cost Center Chief, reviewing and approving all NRP-East scientific publications. I moderated disputes among Branch personnel, responded to Office- and Bureau-level data calls, and assisted Branch personnel in resolving work-related issues. I assisted in the development of a new Quality Management critical element for laboratory staff and RGE scientists. I also served as the facilities manager for all NRP-EB offices/laboratories and conducted a long overdue clean-up and reorganization of our facilities located on the 1st and 5th Floors of the USGS National Center. I also continued to provide Branch personnel with IPDS and publications support and to serve as manager of the Eganhouse Organics laboratories. Finally, in preparation for the pending Water Mission Area reorganization (October 2017), I provided advice and feedback during the planning process for the new Project Laboratories Branch.

October 1995 – May 2017: Physical Scientist (USGS National Research Program, Reston, VA; Supervisor: Robert P. Eganhouse).  As the junior scientist of our project, I was involved in all project research decisions and activities.  I worked cooperatively in the collection and preparation of water, soil, and sediment samples in conformance with established field and laboratory standards.  As a necessary adjunct to sample preparation, I refined existing and developed new procedures and methodology as required to accommodate specific situational needs.  I was responsible for conducting a wide range of analyses including everything from elemental analysis (CHN) to ultra-trace organic analysis using the GC/FID, GC/ECD, GC/MS, HPLC and GC x GC/ToFMS.  Analytes of interest included PAHs, PCBs, DDTs, petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile hydrocarbons, sterols, long-chain alkylbenzenes, and nonylphenols.  I was also responsible for the operation of two Branch laboratories as well as the training and daily supervision of any students, post-doctoral candidates, and visiting scientists working in those laboratories.  I regularly conducted laboratory tours for the media, congressional groups, students, representatives of other federal and State agencies, and visiting scientists.  Administrative duties included budgetary accounting and ensuring compliance with local, State, and Federal guidelines regarding laboratory procedures, as well as hazardous waste handling, storage and disposal.

I contributed scientifically and editorially to all project publications.  My most notable scientific publication was a Water Resources Investigations Report [see Pontolillo and Eganhouse (2001), in Publications section below] which to date has been downloaded more than 230,000 times by a variety of academic, US government, and industrial institutions from 101 countries.  The report is routinely used as an educational tool at universities and continues to be widely-cited in the scientific literature.  Its community-wide impact was evidenced by a feature article written by a contributing editor of Environmental Science & Technology that appeared in the November 1, 2002 issue (http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/article.cgi/esthag-a/0000/36/i21/pdf/1102ren...).  This report drew a tremendous amount of international attention to our Project, has led to a re-examination of the methods used for vetting property data for HOCs by the modeling community focused on global transport of persistent organic pollutants, and its implications have been taken into account by the OECD and IUPAC in developing recommended validation methodologies. 

December 1988 – October 1995: Physical Science Technician (USGS Branch of Coal Geology, Reston, VA; Supervisor: Ronald W. Stanton).  As the lead technician on a two person Branch Technical Services team, I was responsible for the preparation of coal, peat and associated samples.  Ancillary duties included optical microscopy (vitrinite reflectance/maceral analysis/spectral fluorescence), scanning electron microscopy, generation of basin-specific vitrinite reflectance maps, development of etchants for high-rank coals, field sampling and description, graphic work, investigations into the origins of fusain, photography, development of maceral-specific staining techniques, the composition and editing of scientific papers, research/indexing and translation of scientific literature, chemical safety management, personnel training, and the maintenance of computerized records related to all of the preceding duties.  I was also responsible for the operations of five Branch laboratories and the daily supervision of a GS-5 Physical Science Technician. For a period of three years, I was a voting council member and Editor of all publications for The Society for Organic Petrology.  I was also involved in the U.S. Department of Energy Fossil Energy Teachers’ Institute educational outreach program.

Education

1981–1986  Colorado School of Mines,  Golden, Colorado

B.S. Major in Metallurgical Engineering and Mineral Processing

(Advisors: Rex W. Bull and David J. Spottiswood)

 

Publications

Pontolillo, J., 2016, Vitrinite reflectance data for coal core samples from five Tertiary-age basins of Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, U.S.A., U.S. Geological Survey, abstract and digital data release. Available at the Powder River Basin Webroom -- Data Webpage:  (http://energy.usgs.gov/RegionalStudies/PowderRiverBasin.aspx#3832418-data) and the Coal Assessments Webroom -- Data Webpage:  (http://energy.usgs.gov/Coal/AssessmentsandData/CoalAssessments.aspx#378439-data).

 

Orem, W., Eganhouse, R.P., Edwards, B., Lerch, H., Jarboe, P., Bates, A., Pontolillo, J. and Reinhard, M., 2015, Environmental conditions of DDT dechlorination in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf, California: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, 1-4 November, abstract and oral presentation.

 

Eganhouse, R.P., Pontolillo, J., Edwards, B.D., DiFilippo, E.L., Orem, W.H., Qin, S., Hopkins, G. and Reinhard, M., 2012, Porewater chemistry of DDT compounds in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf, CA and its relevance to natural attenuation processes, Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, volume 243, Special Symposium in Honor of Martin Reinhard, 26 March, abstract and oral presentation.

 

Misut, P., Eganhouse, R., Pontolillo, J., Fisher, S. and Paulsen, R., 2010, Identification of Oxy-PAHs In Ground Water Near the Former Gasworks at Bayshore, New York: Electric Power Research Institute Symposium on Manufactured Gas Plant Site Management, San Antonio, Texas, 27-29 January, abstract.

 

Eganhouse, R.P., Zhang, C., Pontolillo, J., Cozzarelli, I., Barber, L., Gaines, R., Frysinger, G., Giger, W., Gabriel, F. and Kohler, H.-P., 2009, Endocrine disrupters in contaminated ground and surface water – Application of new technology (GCxGC/ToFMS) to the determination of nonylphenol isomers: U.S.G.S. Toxic Substances Hydrology Program National Point Source Research Meeting, San Diego, California, 26-29 January, oral presentation.

 

Zhang, C., Eganhouse, R.P., Cozzarelli, I.M., Pontolillo, J. and Jaeschke, J., 2009, Identification of nonylphenol isomers in landfill leachate and wastewater using steam distillation extraction – GCxGC/ToFMS: U.S.G.S. Toxic Substances Hydrology Program National Point Source Research Meeting, San Diego, California, 26-29 January, poster presentation.

 

Eganhouse, R.P. and Pontolillo, J., 2008, Organic contaminants in Hurricane Katrina flood sediments – Identification using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/ToFMS): 235th American Chemical Society National Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, 6-10 April, abstract.

 

Eganhouse, R.P. and Pontolillo, J., 2003, Reply to Commentary on “Assessing the reliability of physico-chemical property data (Kow, Sw) for hydrophobic organic compounds – DDT and DDE as a case study”: SETAC Globe, vol. 4, no. 1, January-February.

 

Pontolillo, J., Stanton, R.W. and Pierce, B.S., 2003, Vitrinite reflectance trends in Tertiary-age coal basins of Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, U.S.A.: Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology, Washington, DC, 22-23 September.

 

Eganhouse, R.P. and Pontolillo, J., 2002, When bad data happens to good scientists – The case for developing a program to accurately determine the physicochemical properties of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs): International Symposium on the Environment and Analytical Chemistry ISEAC 32 Conference, Plymouth, UK, 17-21 June, abstract.

 

Eganhouse, R.P. and Pontolillo, J., 2002, Assessing the reliability of physico-chemical property data (Kow, Sw) for hydrophobic organic compounds – DDT and DDE as a case study: SETAC Globe, vol. 3, no. 4, July-August, p. 34-35.

 

Eganhouse, R.P. and Pontolillo, J., 2002, Problems with physicochemical property data for hydrophobic organic compounds: 224th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Division of Environmental Geochemistry, Boston, Massachusetts, 18-22 August, short and extended abstracts.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1999, The Gupta affair – no end in sight: TSOP Newsletter, vol. 16, no. 1, p. 25-26.

 

Warwick, P.D., Crowley, S.S., Ruppert, L.F. and Pontolillo, J., 1999,  The San Miguel lignite deposit, Jackson Group (Eocene), south Texas: P.D. Warwick, C.E. Aubourg & J.C. Willett, Tertiary coals in south Texas – Anomalous cannel-like coals of Webb County (Claiborne Group, Eocene) and lignites of Atascosa County (Jackson Group, Eocene) - geologic setting, character, source-rock and coal-bed methane potential, AAPG Energy Minerals Division Field Trip #15 Guidebook, U.S.G.S Open-file Report 99-301, p. 23-36.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1997, Better living through shale leachate?: TSOP Newsletter, vol. 14, no. 1, p. 4 – 7.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1997, Non-traditional applications of organic petrology: TSOP Newsletter, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 4 – 13.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1997, Non-traditional applications addenda: TSOP Newsletter, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 8 – 10, 13.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1996, Marie Carmichael Stopes – Crusading Paleobotanist: TSOP Newsletter; vol. 13, no. 1, p. 5 – 8; vol. 13, no. 2, p. 8 – 11; vol. 13, no. 3, p. 9 – 12.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1996, Fly Ash Petrography: Finkelman, R.B. (Ed.), Characterization of Coal and Coal Combustion Waste Products from the Ghent Generating Station, USGS/KGS/CAER, p. 68 – 69.

 

Crowley, S.S., Warwick, P.D., Ruppert, L.F., and Pontolillo, J., 1995, The Distribution of HAPs Elements in relation to Ash Yield and Petrographic Composition of the A1 Lignite Bed (Calvert Mine), Calvert Bluff Formation, Wilcox Group, east-central Texas: Robison, C.R. (Ed.), Abstracts – 12th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology (Houston, TX), August 28-29, 1995, p. 43-46.

 

Warwick, P.D., Crowley, S.S., Ruppert, L.F., and Pontolillo, J., 1995,  Petrography and Geochemistry of the 3500 and 4500 Lignite Beds of the Manning Formation (Eocene, Jackson Group) of east-central Texas: Robison, C.R. (Ed.), Abstracts – 12th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology (Houston, TX), August 28-29, 1995, p. 39-42.

 

Pontolillo, J., 1995, Dr. V.J. Gupta vs The Scientific Method: TSOP Newsletter, vol. 12, no. 1, p. 10 - 12.

 

Ruppert, L.F. and Pontolillo, J., 1995, Impact of Hazardous Air Pollutants on Mineral Producers and Coal-burning Plants in the Ohio Valley: TSOP Newsletter, vol. 12, no. 2, p. 12.

 

Crowley, S.S., Warwick, P.D., Wheeler, E.A., Hower, J.C. and Pontolillo, J., 1995, Identification of Wood in Tertiary Lignites from the Gulf Coast Province and North Dakota: Abstracts with Program, 1995 GSA Annual Meeting (New Orleans, LA; November 6-9, 1995), p. A-245.

 

McGee, J.J., Finkelman, R.B., and Pontolillo, J., 1995, Microanalysis of Hazardous Air Pollutants in Fly-ash from a Coal-burning Power Plant: Abstracts with Program, 1995 GSA Annual Meeting (New Orleans, LA; November 6-9,1995), p. A-139.

 

Ruppert, L.F., Warwick, P.D., Crowley, S.S., and Pontolillo, J., 1995, Additional investigations of tonsteins and clay-rich layers in coal-bearing intervals of the Eocene Manning Formation, east-central Texas: Durham, C.O. and Shannon, P.J. (Eds.), Lignite Mines and Power Plants and Kaolinitic Sandstone Mining in East Texas, AAPG Energy Minerals Division Field Trip Guidebook (March 9, 1995), p. I-13 - I14.

 

Pontolillo, J., and Stanton, Ronald W., 1994, Coal Petrographic Laboratory Procedures and Safety Manual II: USGS Open-file Report 94-631, Reston, VA, 69 p.

 

Pontolillo, J. (Ed.), 1994, Abstracts - 11th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology (Jackson, WY), September 25-30, 1994, 122 p.

 

Pontolillo, J. and Stanton, R.W., 1994, Vitrinite reflectance variations in Paleocene-Eocene coals of the Powder River, Williston, Hanna, Bighorn, and Bull Mountain basins, U.S.A.: Pontolillo, J. (Ed.), Abstracts - 11th Annual Meeting of The Society of Organic Petrology (Jackson, WY), September 25-30, 1994, p. 82-84.

 

Warwick, P.D., Crowley, S.S., Ruppert, L.F., and Pontolillo, J., 1994, Petrography, geochemistry, and geology of the San Miguel lignite, Jackson Group (Eocene), south Texas: Pontolillo, J. (Ed.), Abstracts - 11th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology (Jackson, WY), September 25-30, 1994, p. 115-118.

 

Warwick, P.D., Crowley, S.S., Ruppert, L.F., and Pontolillo, J., 1994, Petrography, geochemistry, and depositional setting of selected U.S. Gulf Coast coal deposits: Chiang, S-H (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conference (September 12 - 16, 1994), p. 1137-1141.