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EPI is in many ways a direct descendent of the Iowa Society of Environmental Scientists (ISES), started by Rich Heathcote and Dean Birchenbriter in early 1990. ISES met at the Taste of Thailand in downtown Des Moines and had programs, interesting conversation, and good beer. However, attempts to formally organize the group were not successful and attendance dropped. ISES was disbanded in September 1990, but interest in an organization continued.

In the summer of 1991, a group of environmental professionals started talking about starting an environmental organization that emphasized organization and interdisciplinary professions. The group sent out a letter to environmental firms and interested parties, announcing a meeting on October 10 at the Taste of Thailand. The meeting was such a success that a follow-up was planned for November 14. At this meeting Jeffrey White was elected President and Jeffrey King was elected Vice President/President Elect. The first dinner meeting was held January 16 at the Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant - and we have been meeting, learning, and growing ever since!