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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Deborah Grubbe

Chemical Engineering alumna Deborah Grubbe was recently elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for her contributions and leadership to improve engineering safety practices in the chemical process industries.

Deborah was a student in Cambridge from 1977 to 1978 as a Winston Churchill Scholar. She completed a Certificate of Post Graduate Studies in Chemical Engineering, having previously gained a first Degree in chemical engineering at Purdue University. She is the owner and President of Operations and Safety Solutions, LLC, a consultancy that specialises in enhancing returns from both hard and soft assets.

She was one of the 106 new members and 18 international members recently announced by the National Academy of Engineering  President John L. Anderson bringing  the total US membership to 2,420 and the number of international members to 319. Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honours those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Amongst soem of her many accomplishments to date, Deborah is a registered Professional Engineer in Delaware, a Chartered Engineer in UK, and a Fellow of both American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). Having previously worked in a variety of executive, operations, engineering, and safety roles with DuPont and BP, she was also the 2021 President of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE). She commented on her latest achievement: “I am very humbled by this recognition of my work in the safe manufacturing of highly hazardous materials. Many people, all around the world, have worked very hard to ensure our collective ability to manufacture and to transport hazardous materials safely.”

“My life has been positively changed by my career in chemical engineering, and I am honoured to be able to give back to my profession;’ she had previously commented.  A licensed and chartered operations executive with over 40 years’ experience in private industry, Deb's main remit is process safety and disciplined operations  (manufacturing, safety, engineering) within the chemical, oil and gas industry, and construction sectors. A long-term member of government and academic advisory board, she was also a member of the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel From 2003-2012, and consulted in safety culture with the Columbia Shuttle Accident Investigation Board.

She also has extensive knowledge of volunteer and not-for-profit governance, and she is a broad thinker with a deep knowledge of safety leadership, culture, and cultural diversity.

Individuals in the NAE newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on 1 October 2023. More information on here.