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Deborah L. Grubbe, PE, CENG.

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Deborah L. Grubbe, PE, CENG.Deborah Grubbe is Owner and President of Operations and Safety Solutions, LLC, a consultancy that specializes in enhancing returns from both hard and soft assets. Her client list includes multinational firms in the chemical, oil and gas, construction and aerospace industries. Deborah is the former Vice President of Group Safety for BP plc, which had its two safest years (2006-2007) ever during her tenure.  She was trained in the characteristics of safe and reduced risk operations during her 27 year career at DuPont, where she held corporate director positions in engineering, operations and safety.  Her 17 different DuPont assignments have included capital governance, project management and execution, process safety implementation, strategic safety assessments, manufacturing management, organizational change leadership and human resources. Today, Deborah works with multinationals and global clients in India, Qatar, Egypt, Malaysia and Singapore. She recently worked with the Canadian Railway System after the Lec Megantic, Quebec, explosion and fire on the subject of safety culture. 

Deborah has been featured in a number of books, and has authored a number of articles in Chemical Engineering Progress and the PE Magazine.  She has co-authored a series of three interactive eBooks on process safety and risk reduction, occupational and process safety for college freshmen and an all-discipline eBook on Ethics – An Engineers’ Professional Responsibility.   This last eBook examines case studies of multi-disciplined engineering disasters, and looks at how silence, fear and adherence to cultural norms contributed to multiple deaths.

Deborah currently advises and supports two start-up companies – one in Philadelphia and one in London.  The firms, Near-Miss Management, LLC, and PetroMall, Ltd., respectively, are both actively engaged with supporting improved safety and reliability in upstream and downstream oil and gas.

From 2003-2012, Deborah served as a member of the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, and was a consultant on safety culture to the Columbia Shuttle Accident Investigation Board. In May, 2012, she received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Deborah currently serves on the Purdue University College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council and the Engineering Advisory Council for   Rowan University.  She also participates with the Advisory Council for the Advanced Safety and Engineering Management Masters’ Program at the University of Alabama – Birmingham.  Deborah is an Emeritus member of the US Center for Chemical Process Safety, and has worked with the National Academy of Sciences to support the Demilitarization of the US Chemical Weapons Stockpile. Deborah is a former member of the Board of Directors of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and is a member of the AIChE Foundation Board of Trustees.  She is the former chair of the AIChE Institute for Sustainability, where she led a global effort to establish a credential in the field of sustainability. Today, Deborah is leading an AIChE programmatic effort to develop an institute-wide Center for Ethical Engineering and Leadership.  She also serves as the Director of Programming for the AIChE Virtual Local Section, and is the incoming Chair for the Licensure and Professional Development Committee.

Deborah received the 1987 Trailblazer Award from the Delaware Alliance of Professional Women for her work as the lead construction engineer on the $85 million building of DuPont’s Greenewalt Laboratory.  In 1994, she received the Purdue School of Chemical Engineering Outstanding Chemical Engineer award, a recognition that is afforded only 1% of the Schools’ graduates.  In 2002, Deborah received the Purdue Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, and was named “Engineer of the Year” in the State of Delaware.  In May, 2010, Deborah was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Purdue University for her work in improving safety in the global process industries, and for her leadership role in diversifying the Purdue faculty. In 2013, she was elected to the National Academy of Construction, where she currently chairs its Safety Committee.

She has been active in the Delaware and Pennsylvania communities; as former president and board member of the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council and a past board member of the YWCA of Delaware. Currently, Deborah is a board member of Girls Incorporated of Delaware, where she serves as Development Director to support minority and underserved girls’ interests in the STEM fields. In 1985, she was the first woman and youngest elected member on the State of Delaware Registration Board for Professional Engineers (DAPE).  During her four year term on the State Board, she spent two years as the Chair of their Law Enforcement and Ethics Committee.  Having been a resident of Pennsylvania since 2001, Deborah is an active member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, Philadelphia Section, where she has spoken about safety, ethics and risk for the past two years at the ASSE Annual Seminar Day.  Deborah is also a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, and is a former vice-chair of the NSPE Organizational Redesign and Renewal work. As a member of the Society of Women Engineers, she has mentored many younger engineers.  Deborah has been active with Mentor-Net since its founding in 1997, and is an on-line mentor with the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement.   For many years, she also served as a judge for the Philadelphia Future Cities Final Competition, and regularly lectures to the Women in Engineering Class at Padua Academy in Wilmington.

Deborah was born in suburban Chicago and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with Highest Distinction from Purdue University. She received a Winston Churchill Fellowship to attend Cambridge University in England, where she received a Certificate of Post-Graduate Study in Chemical Engineering. Deborah is a registered professional engineer in Delaware, and is a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom. A Fellow of both the AIChE and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK), Deborah is married to James B. Porter, Jr., of Knoxville, Tennessee.  They reside in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.