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Alumnus Bob Dehart Still Working to Support Tau Beta Pi WV Beta Chapter

Robert (Bob) E. DeHart II Portrait

Republished from: The Bent - Spring 2023

A native of Saint Albans, WV, Robert (Bob) E. DeHart II grew up in a large family, with two older sisters and four brothers, Bob being the eldest son. His introduction to engineering came early. His father worked his entire career as a lineman for Appalachian Power, based in Roanoke, VA. and inspired young Bob to become an engineer. As finances were a challenge for a large family on a limited income, he attended the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU-Tech, cum laude) receiving a B.S. in electrical engineering. He obtained a masters degree in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University.  

Bob joined a fellow WVU Tech student and three professors at the 1971 annual Convention in Knoxville, TN, to witness the approval of WV Beta’s charter. He remembers meeting both “Red” Matthews and Bob Nagel, the first two Secretary-Treasurers of the Association.

These days, Bob is a retired EHS&S [environmental, health, safety, and security] self-employed consultant who resides in Boone, NC. He served in various senior managerial positions with 40+ years of experience in international oil & gas and petrochemical industries, including nearly 20 years of on-site expatriate assignments in Qatar, Oman, and Equatorial Guinea. 

While overseas, Bob served as the representative to senior management to develop and manage comprehensive EHS&S management systems. In 2000, under his leadership, Qatargas, the world's largest Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) company, became the first LNG company in the world to obtain ISO 9000 and 14000 accreditations in quality and environmental certification. He also worked with authorities in Qatar to implement the new environmental "consent to operate” requirements, which were aligned with those of the U.S. EPA. He led efforts to develop the first Industrial Mutual Aid and Environment Association organizations in Qatar, with initial efforts directed at community emergency response and outreach. Bob took early retirement from Mobil Oil (ExxonMobil) in late 2000 but continued to work as an EHS&S contractor manager in Qatar for 13 more years on world-class LNG construction expansion projects and three years in Oman on a major capital project for gas production operations. In his final Qatari project, RasGas Barzan, from 2011-2016, 278 million worker-hours were completed with only nine Lost Time Incidents; none of them serious /life threatening – a remarkable accomplishment for a project workforce of 31,000 at peak construction representing 45 nation­alities and more than 20 languages. The project received numerous international environmental and safety awards and three papers were presented citing the projects EHS&S accomplishments.

Bob was a Director on the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) (1982-88) while serving as president in 1986. During his tenure, BCSP worked collaboratively with the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) to develop the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Technologist exam. From 2016-20, he served as Director on the Board of Global Credentialing or BGC (formerly ABIH). which provides credentialing examination requirements for those aspiring to become CIHs (Certified Industrial Hygienist), QEPs (Qualified Environmental Professionals), CPPS (Certified Professional Product Steward), CPEA (Certified Professional Environmental Auditor) and CPSA (Certified Process Safety Auditor).

While serving on BGC, Bob was Chair of the Financial Oversite and Auditing Committee from 2018-2020. He also served as a Risk Assessment Subcommittee member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS, 1986-93). During this time, he worked on the subcommittee that developed and published CCPS books on chemical process quantitative risk analysis, decision-making, and transportation risk analyses guidelines that have become de-facto industry/government standards. Continuing education is important to Bob, earning professional engineer licenses in OH [1979]. WV [1980], and NC [2004]. and Certified Safety Profes­sional in Engineering Aspects [1979]. His career achievements earned him the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences 2020 Alumni of the Year Award from WVU-Tech. He also received the System Safety Society 1989 Engineer of the Year Award.

Bob suggests to students today, "The world is changing quickly, and one must stay abreast of technological and social/cultural events on a national and international level. Continuing education, ardent professionalism, and self-awareness can help one navigate these challenges. Life will always be a challenge, whether profes­sionally or personally, and one must be prepared to deal with these challenges and consider them as improvement opportunities.”

Regarding his Chapter Endowment Initiative gift to the WV Beta Chapter, he notes, "My wife, Nancy, and I want to give back to our community, state, and country, and endowing the WV Beta Chapter was the right thing to do." 

The endowment was named to honor the memory of the late Ronald J. Larch, WV B '72, and long-time friend and colleague Gilbert O. Tolley, WV B '72, both of whom were fellow classmates and WV Beta charter members.