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A Tribute to Sam Mannan: Pioneer and Legendary Professor in Process Safety

A Tribute to Sam Mannan: Pioneer and Legendary Professor in Process Safety
On September 11, 2018, the brightest star of the Process Safety arena stopped shining; Professor M. Sam Mannan has passed away.

Dr. M. Sam Mannan had an illustrious career, which wowed many academicians and process safety professionals. He was a Regents professor at Texas A&M University, Holder of T. Michael O’Connor Chair I at Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, TEES Distinguished Research Professor, and Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Material Science Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering. Dr. Mannan was the executive director of Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC), a unique institution that led to the research, education, and service to advance process safety. He has authored numerous Journal Articles, Conference Proceedings, Books, Reports, Whitepapers, Technical Presentations, Guidelines with the mission of making process safety a second nature.

Before joining the Texas A&M University, Dr. Mannan was Vice President of RMT, Inc., a nationwide engineering services company. His leadership helped the company to grow and increase its operation. He was a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Texas and Louisiana, a Certified Safety Professional, and Professional Process Safety Engineer.

Dr. Mannan has served the nation in many occasions which include investigating Columbia Shuttle Disaster in 2003; Expert Witness and Congressional Testimony in many occasions, helping legislators in enforcing regulations to prevent incidents such as West TX, Geismar La. He spoke out many times to create dialog, bringing the industry, the regulators, and the public to the discussion table with the objective of finding a better solution and making the nation a safer place.

Dr. Mannan shared his perspective in the 2017 MKOPSC Symposium on how the process safety field has grown over the last 20 years. His pioneering works and dogged perseverance have contributed in changing the process safety engineering from once believed “hard-hat, steel-toed shoe engineering” to a more useful yet complex human-technological engineering. Professor Mannan is the pioneer who helped the academia for making Process Safety Engineering a mainstream engineering course.
Dr. Mannan was a keynote speaker in the 2018 ERI Summit at Las Vegas. In his keynote, he had addressed “Why do process safety incidents occur, and what can you do to prevent them at your company?” In his anecdotal presentation, not only Mannan discussed the lessons learned from the past events but also directed the audience of the Biofuel industry to “where to focus”.

Mannan was a firm believer of science-based process safety regulation and land used planning. He has emphasized that enforcement is more important than creating a new regulation. In his opinion, process safety competency remains the bottleneck in advancing towards the next generation of Process Safety Engineering in Practice. He was excited about the potential of big data analytics and advocated a national database for process safety incidents and near-misses.

Professor Mannan will not be among to us to teach us how to do the “right things”. It is our duty to carry his legacy to advance process safety engineering towards his belief that zero incidents are achievable; that nothing less than 100% is satisfactory when it comes to Process Safety.

Monir Ahammad PhD., E.I.T.
Process Safety Engineer
ERI Solutions, LLC.

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