Chirkis receives highest honor in ISSS

Chirkis receives highest honor in ISSSKen Chirkis (right) receives his award from ISSS President Chuck Muniak — Courtesy photo

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By STACIE LAWRENCE

NAWCWD Public Affairs Office

Ken Chirkis, head of the System Safety Engineering Branch at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, was recently recognized as a Fellow by the International System Safety Society during its 36th annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz.

An ISSS Fellow is the highest grade of professional recognition the society may grant. The applicant must demonstrate – in addition to qualifying for the senior member grade – outstanding contributions to the society and to the system safety profession.

Additionally, he or she must have been a senior member for five years and supply three letters of recommendation from other Fellows.

“I was tremendously honored to be recognized as a Fellow,” Chirkis said. “I have devoted my entire professional life to the safety of our joint warfighters and to be honored in such a way by this professional society was truly humbling. Being a Fellow is a reflection of my work over the past four decades, and this recognition serves as an exclamation point on my career desire to mentor and coach the next generation of Navy system safety engineers and analysts.”

Chirkis has been a professional member of the ISSS since 1984. This year, he served as chair for two of the conference’s technical sessions in addition to co-authoring and presenting a paper.

At NAWCWD Chirkis has been the head of the System Safety Engineering Branch at since 1992. He has served as a Naval Air Systems Command principal for safety for many weapon system programs and as the interim team lead for the NAWCWD Anti-Tamper Engineering Branch.

He is considered a NAVAIR technical area expert for weapon-store safety integration, and his past honors include a NAWCWD Michelson Laboratory Award, NAWCWD Research and Engineering Award and, more recently, a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

“When I was introduced to the System Safety Engineering community of practice back in 1980, I was amazed at the ability to get such a big-picture perspective of every weapon system I had the opportunity to analyze,” Chirkis said. “I tell our new Engineer and Scientist Development Program members that system safety engineering presents them with an opportunity to network with all of our NAVAIR competencies and gain an understanding of hazard analysis and risk elimination/mitigation in the process. Completing the mission and returning the warfighter safely is the ultimate goal.”

ISSS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting safety professionals in the application of systems engineering and systems management.

Story First Published: 2018-09-28