About the Asbestos Institute, Inc.

The Asbestos Institute, Inc. is a complete training center, classroom, and information resource dedicated to the asbestos, lead abatement, and environmental hazard control industry.

Our Courses

We’re based in Phoenix, Arizona, and have called it our home since we started offering AHERA-accredited training in 1988. But we’re not limited to serving the Southwest.

Since we’re accredited by the EPA and Cal-OSHA for our initial and refresher asbestos classes, it didn’t make sense to limit the reach of our experienced and well-respected group. That’s why we’ve provided training all of the world for Contractors, Supervisors, Building Inspectors, Management Planners, and Asbestos Abatement Workers.

And we’ve evolved with the times, offering not only live training courses, but also live webinar and online courses to satisfy regulatory requirements in the most user-friendly (and compliant) way.

Want to know more about the people who steer the ship at The Asbestos Institute?

Bill Cavness


Since its founding in 1988, Bill has been at the forefront of EPA-accredited and OSHA-compliant course development and coordination for The Asbestos Institute. Aside from serving as a speaker at numerous national conferences and being published in a number of Asbestos-related articles and papers, Bill has an extensive and impressive list of credentials that solidify his place as an authority in the industry.

  • Bill is the former national chairman of Environmental Information Association’s Asbestos Operation and Maintenance Committee and the Lead Committee.
  • He currently chairs the national Asbestos Committee.
  • Bill is the founding Director, past President, and Board member of the Arizona Chapter of EIA.
  • He is the former Vice President and Board of Directors member of the national EIA.
  • Bill serves on the National Institute of Building Sciences asbestos and lead committees.
  • He is a member of ASTM, participating in the asbestos standards task force.
  • Bill also served for many years on the Advisory Committee to the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Arizona OSHA).
  • Bill has developed and teaches the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 250 training course for asbestos demolition and renovation throughout California.

Gary Johnson

Operations Manager / Instructor

Gary Johnson is the Asbestos Institute’s Operations manager and has been a trainer for the company since 2018. He has over 35 years of Training experience. He was a career Fire Fighter for 30 years with the Mesa Fire Dept. (Mesa, Az) For all of his career, Gary was part of Mesa Fire Department Special Teams (Haz-Mat) Hazardous Materials, (ARFF) Aircraft Rescue Firefighting. Gary was in on the ground floor of Haz-Mat being in the first 200-hour Hazardous Materials Technician in 1984. Gary trained many Fire Fighters and Industrial safety personnel through the State Fire School, Different Fire Academies. Gary started his own business in 1987 (Firehouse Training) There was a growing need for safety training geared towards private sector industrial sites. After a few years of retirement downtime, Gary is still very interested in the Safety/Environmental field and has been actively involved in the Asbestos Field. His credentials include AHERA Accredited Building Inspector, Contractor Supervisor, Management Planner. Renovation Repair and Painting certification Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 40hr ACAC Counsel Certified Structural Mold Investigator

John Cavness


As an owner and operator of both general construction and asbestos abatement companies, John knows the ins and outs of the business. With almost 50 years of general construction experience (nearly half of which dealt with asbestos abatement), he has been at the forefront of refining many of the state-of-the-art procedures currently in use in the asbestos/lead abatement industry. John specializes in training Contract Specifications for the Contractor/Supervisor training and Building Systems for the Building Inspector classes. His credentials include:

  • John was the former National President of the EIA.
  • He served as the former President of the Arizona Chapter of EIA.

J Cavness


J has worked in the asbestos control and construction industry for over 20 years, starting out as a laborer and rising to the level of a general field superintendent and AHERA-Certified Supervisor, Building Inspector, Management Planner, and Project Designer. He supervised medium- to large-scale abatement projects in several states throughout the southwest, and even spent some time in sales with a major supplier to the abatement industry. He has also served as President of the Arizona Chapter of the Environmental Information Association and is currently the Treasurer of National EIA. J conducts training of all AHERA initial and refresher certification classes as well as OSHA asbestos and construction safety classes for The Asbestos Institute.

John Butler


John R. Butler, CIH, CSP, is a Senior Industrial Hygienist with Central Arizona Project. He has worked in the safety and health field since the mid-1960’s as a U.S. Navy Corpsman, Licensed Vocational Nurse, and as an Industrial Hygienist (IH) with the Trident Submarine Base, Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH), State of Arizona Risk Management, Salt River Project, Ahearn & Associates, Western Technologies, and SA&B Environmental Consultants. He has been active in asbestos inspection and abatement activities since 1978 and has taught IH classes at Gateway Community College. Within Industrial Hygiene, John specializes in noise assessments and development of air sampling strategies to document the presence or absence of air contaminants.

  • John serves on the Advisory Board and was past Director of the AZ Chapter of the American Indoor Air Quality Council.
  • He has been a member of the Chapter of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) for nearly two decades.