I received my BA in Biology from Buffalo State College. I also hold an MS in Radiological Hygiene, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Where do you work?
I started my professional career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, working in hospitals in Canton, Ohio and Buffalo, New York. After receiving my graduate degree from UNC in 1986, I took a health physicist position at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL) in Princeton, NJ, where the focus was fusion reactor research. In 1991, I joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY, and became their Radiation and Laser Safety Officer.
My current position is Regional Practice Manager at Upstate Medical Physics in Victor, NY, where I’ve been employed since 2006. Although our focus is primarily diagnostic imaging physics, we also consult on health physics and non-ionizing radiation projects, including laser safety.
Becoming an LSO and CLSO
How did you become the LSO at your facility?
I suspect quite a few LSOs had a start similar to mine. After the person serving as LSO at PPPL left for another position, my boss walked into my office and said, “I have a new project for you!” And everyone knows you do what the boss says. We had about 150 Class 3b and 4 lasers on the inventory. I knew next to nothing about lasers or laser safety, so I attended LSO courses at Rockwell and LIA. Classwork is absolutely essential and provides a decent foundation, but is not nearly enough on its own. Fortunately, I had patient laser users who helped the green LSO who asked many questions.
While at Eastman Kodak, the LSO duties became available, and I pursued it. I had really enjoyed this part of my job while at PPPL, and wanted to continue to expand my skills. We had about 600 Class 3b and 4 lasers, used primarily in R&D, in products we sold, and in the manufacturing process. It was not dull! Projects included a laser projection system for showing movies in a theatre setting, a laser system deployed in low-altitude planes for detection of natural gas leaks in pipelines, and others.
How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
At least two things come to mind; networking and credibility. One of the methods to maintain certification is attendance at professional meetings, like the International Laser Safety Conferences and the summertime LSO Workshops organized by Ken Barat. Since the laser safety community is relatively small, I have been very fortunate over the years to have met some of the laser “Wise Men”, such as Tim Hitchcock, Ken Barat, and Dave Sliney while attending these meetings. Tim in particular has helped me out with some head-scratchers. I’ve also met other CLSOs while serving on various committees.
Also, when someone sees CLSO or CMLSO after your name, I think it provides them with an increased sense of credibility, and like any certification, shows thatyou have the skill, knowledge and desire to go the extra step.