M Sam Mannan 1954–2018

Article by Trish Kerin CEng FIChemE

M SAM MANNAN, a chemical engineer and pioneer of process safety, passed away on 11 September 2018. Mannan was the executive director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC), and regents professor and holder of the T Michael O'Connor chair I in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

His reputation as a process safety expert led to him to serve as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003. He also edited editions 3 and 4 of Lees’ Loss Prevention in the Process Industries. When faced with a decision he always took the right path, even if it was not the most comfortable.  He published many books and papers, often leading the way in new thinking and research.

Mannan received his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology in Dhaka, Bangladesh, before obtaining his MS in 1983 and his PhD in 1986 in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma, US.  He spent several years working in industry, with his last role as vice president at RMT, a national engineering services company. He then moved back into academia at the encouragement of his friend and mentor, the late process safety expert Trevor Kletz.

Mannan was at MKOPSC for 20 years and led it from a young emerging centre to a leading international process safety research and education centre. Under his leadership MKOPSC expanded to a Doha campus at Texas A&M University Qatar as well as developed undergraduate certificates and post graduate qualifications in process safety. An agitator for improvement, he constantly challenged the status quo and drove the industry forward in improving process safety. During his time at MKOPSC, over 50 PhD students graduated in process safety related fields.

He was a Fellow of IChemE and a Professional Process Safety Engineer as well as a Fellow of AIChE. He was also a friend and an inspiration to me in process safety, always challenging my thinking and pushing me and the IChemE Safety Centre further. He will be greatly missed by the international process safety community, and while he is lost to us, his legacy of making safety second nature will live on.

Mannan is survived by his wife Afroza and their two daughters Joya and Rumki.

Article by Trish Kerin CEng FIChemE

Director - IChemE Safety Centre

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