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The Harold E. Nelson Service Award
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the harold e. nelson service award

The Board of Directors created the Harold E. Nelson Service Award in 1987 to recognize dedicated and inspired service to the ideals and goals of the Society. The award is named after Harold E. "Bud" Nelson, P.E., whose unparalleled fire protection engineering and Society careers are truly worthy of emulation.


Harold E. Nelson, P.E., known to most as "Bud," served as director of the Accident and Fire Prevention Division at the General Services Administration and was its principal engineer and advisor on all safety and fire-related issues. From 1975 until his retirement in 1992, Nelson served as senior research engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where he developed a series of hazard grading systems that are now accepted as national codes. He also generated simple engineering equations for measuring fire hazard and the impact of fire safeguards and produced the initial version of a computerized analytic hazard appraisal system incorporating current engineering state-of-the-art practice and applying this system to fire incident analysis.


Nelson received his B.S. in fire protection and safety engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and served as President of SFPE from 1983-1985.


2016 Recipient

Brian J. Meacham, Ph.D., P.E., FSFPE 

Brian is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His research focuses on risk-informed performance-based approaches to engineering and regulation. He has led more than $3M in research, authored more than 200 publications, and given more than 200 presentations. Prior to joining WPI in 2008 his positions included Principal at Arup, Technical Director and Research Director at SFPE, fire safety engineer in the USA and Europe, and engineering manager at Gamewell Corporation. Brian is Chair of the SFPE Committee on Research, Technology and Methods, Chair of the US TAG to ISO TC92 SC4 – Fire Safety Engineering, Chair of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Risk Assessment Methods, and a member of the IAFSS Committee. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Connecticut and Massachusetts, a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers, a Fellow of SFPE, and a Fulbright Scholar.    

Prior Recipients

  • Harold E. Nelson, P.E. (1987)
  • Donald J. Keigher, P.E. (1988)
  • John J. Ahern, P.E. (1989)
  • Jack Bono, P.E. (1990)
  • Rolf Jensen, P.E. (1991)
  • Joseph E. Johnson, P.E. (1992)
  • David A. Lucht, P.E. (1993)
  • James A. Nolan, P.E. (1994)
  • Ralph E. Collins, III, P.E. (1995)
  • Kenneth W. Dungan, P.E. (1996)
  • Richard LP P. Custer, M.S. (1997)
  • Phillip J. DiNenno, P.E. (1998)
  • Arthur E. Cote, P.E. (1999)
  • James R. Quiter, P.E. (2000)
  • John E. "Jack" Woycheese, P.E. (2001)
  • James A. Milke, P.E., Ph.D. (2002)
  • Robert M. Gagnon, P.E. (2003)
  • David D. Evans, P.E., Ph.D., FSFPE (2004)
  • Craig L. Beyler, Ph.D., FSFPE (2005)
  • Professor W. K. Chow (2006)
  • Doug Brandes, P.E., FSFPE (2007)
  • Thomas Izbicki, P.E. (2008)
  • Dr. Kazunori Harada, Eng (2009)
  • Brian M. McGraw, P.E. (2010)
  • John McCormick, P.E. (2011)
  • Randal G. Brown, P.Eng., P.E., FSFPE (2012)
  • David W. Frable (2013)
  • William A. Webb, P.E., FSFPE (2014)
  • Richard J. Davis, P.E., FSFPE (2015)
  • Brian J. Meacham, Ph.D., P.E., FSFPE (2016)

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