Award Presentation 2014 FOUNDER’S AWARD Presented to WILLIAM (JACK) BECK at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society Baltimore, Maryland 13–17 July 2014

THROUGHOUT HIS 49-y professional health physics career, Jack Beck has served as a steadfast leader not only for the Health Physics Society and the East Tennessee Chapter but for the profession. Jack completed his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the University of Chattanooga in 1964. Soon after, he was hired by ORAU as a Radiation Dosimetrist and quickly developed a passion for radiation protection. The stage was then set for what was to become a lifetime of dedication to the field of health physics. Jack later graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1971 with a master’s degree in health physics. Both prior to and after receiving his degree, Jack continued to work for ORAU and delighted in the opportunity to serve in various health physics-related roles, including dosimetrist, training coordinator, and as section leader for both emergency response and radiation epidemiology. In The author declares no conflicts of interest.

1972, he became the coordinator for the ORAU Special Training Division’s health physics training programs and helped train hundreds of young health physicists from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the State Rad Health Programs. He also had a significant role in writing the proposal for and overseeing the construction of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS). This facility has been in operation for 38 y, serving not only the U.S. but internationally to provide consultation and assistance any time people are exposed to unwanted radiation. During this time, Jack also received his certification from the American Board of Health Physics; he remains a Certified Health Physicist to this day. From 1982 through 1991, Jack accepted the difficult challenge of serving as a Radiation Safety Manager for the FUSRAP project. Throughout this project, Jack exemplified the tremendous leadership that is required to assure that radiation protection remains in the forefront, even in a sometimes challenging and difficult construction environment.


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Health Physics

In 1991, Jack’s roots brought him back to ORAU, where he served as the Director for the Radiological Safety, Assessment, and Training (RSAT) program. Again, Jack’s dedication to health physics led to a very successful and robust independent verification program for both the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jack hasn’t stopped to this day. After retiring from full-time work at ORAU, Jack returned part-time to serve as a consultant and Senior Health Physicist on the NIOSH Dose Reconstruction Project. Throughout his career, Jack has remained a steadfast proponent of the Health Physics Society. When new employees came to work for Jack, he quickly introduced them to the Society (both national and local chapters) and eloquently articulated the importance of becoming involved. Jack practiced what he preached. Over the course of his career, Jack has served on the HPS Board of Directors (1987–1990) and on three committees (Education and Training Committee, Rules Committee, and Nominating Committee). He was also selected as an HPS Fellow in 1998. On a local level, Jack was and has remained very active in the East Tennessee Chapter of the HPS, and has held the positions of Secretary, President-Elect, and President. Accordingly, the Chapter honored Jack with the Distinguished Service Award in 1990. Although Jack’s resume is incredibly impressive in itself, what distinguishes Jack as a health physicist and a human being is his rare combination of passion and compassion. Jack is a true leader in the sense that he is completely dedicated to his profession and has a genuine desire to perpetuate that enthusiasm and energy in those he mentors. Just listening to Jack talk about the world of

December 2014, Volume 107, Number 6

health physics is enough to excite any new, young graduate or employee; I include myself in that group. I first met Jack as an intern to his program in 1995. As a graduate student in a field I just happened upon, I had little direction. During that summer, Jack took me under his wing and spent hours of his incredibly valuable time teaching me about the vast array of opportunities that exist in the health physics profession. We toured nearly every single facility in Oak Ridge that we could access. He invited me, along with the other employees of the program, to his home for some rest, relaxation, and to meet other health physicists in the community. I left that 3-mo internship program with a clear vision for my future and, most importantly, with the drive to start this exciting journey. I’m not sure Jack even recognized how profoundly his tutelage affected my career and my life. But at least I can express to him now how truly grateful I am. My story is not unique. Jack has positively affected the lives of many HPs. In Jack’s own words, his most important contribution to health physics is “the encouragement and promotion of the careers of the young people that worked for me.” Proof positive of this is his health physics “claim to fame” that he has nominated six young health physicists for the Society’s Elda Anderson Award, and all six were selected. Because of the efforts of him and others, our Society, profession, and the world are better places.

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2014 Founder's Award--William (Jack) Beck.

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