Christopher D. Catalano has been hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to fill the vacant Chief of Explosives Safety position. Chris previously served for over three years as a Blasting/Explosives Inspector in the Pottsville District Mining Office of the Pennsylvania DEP. Chris worked in various aspects of the blasting and explosives industry for over 23 before entering public service as a regulatory official.
Chris grew up in Elk County, where he was strongly influenced by his mentor, friend, school teacher, and fellow blaster, Dennis Murry. He first began an apprenticeship in 1996 at the Otto-Cupler Torpedo Company (Titusville, PA) assisting with oil and gas well blasting while attending Clarion University, after which he obtained his PA General Blasting license.
Later, while a blaster with Senex Explosives, Inc., Chris worked in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia in the fields of construction blasting, surface coal mining, and industrial mineral surface mining. Over the years Chris gained experience in demolition work and other non-typical explosives applications. As an ATF licensed user of explosives, Chris has also worked as a special effects coordinator and technician in the film and theater industries, having had his work appear on television, the silver screen, and live on stage. His entertainment work has included close proximity pyrotechnics, mechanical rigging, environmental simulations, large cinematic explosions, and dozens of professional fireworks displays for everything from weddings to large community events.
In addition to his employment with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Chris is currently a returning student at Harrisburg Area Community College in the Physical Science (Geology) program. He holds current membership in the International Society of Explosives Engineers and the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals. He is the natural father of one little boy, the soon-to-be adoptive father of three additional little boys, and the husband of Kristie, whom he has known since childhood. Aside from being active in his local church, Chris and his family enjoy spending time together being outdoors and exploring.