All Press Releases for March 28, 2018

Elisabeth Mertz Drake Celebrates 60 Years of Professional Excellence in Engineering

Dr. Drake received the T.J. Hamilton Award for Government Service in 1990

She hopes you will join her in spreading awareness of the importance of reducing our individual and collective environmental footprints.

    AUBURNDALE, MA, March 28, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Elisabeth Mertz Drake, ScD, has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Now with more than 60 years of professional practice in engineering, Dr. Drake has had a varied career with diverse contributions in consulting, academia, and service to society.

She began her career at the consulting firm of Arthur D. Little, Inc. (ADL) with summer jobs in 1956 and 1957. Upon earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1958, she joined ADL's cryogenic engineering group. Their initial research focus was on the design of hydrogen and helium liquefiers; subsequently, NASA contracted with the group for reduced scale testing of the liquid hydrogen fueling system for the Saturn rocket, including research on the safe handling of liquid hydrogen.

In 1962, she took a leave of absence from ADL to pursue a doctoral degree at MIT. Her thesis, inspired by the Saturn rocket project, explored instability phenomena due to stratification of cryogenic liquids in vertical storage tanks. She received her ScD degree from MIT in 1966 and returned to ADL to focus on liquefied gas technologies and to address associated issues of public safety. She led ADL's Technological Risk Analysis group in 1977 and became Vice President for Technological Risk Management in 1980. Clients included major international energy/chemical corporations as well as public sector agencies worldwide concerned with developing performance and safety standards for hazardous chemical production and transportation facilities.

In 1982, Dr. Drake became the Cabot Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University and served in this capacity until 1986, when she returned to ADL as the leader of their Environmental, Safety and Health Practice. In 1990, she moved back to academia as the Associate Director for New Technologies at the MIT Energy Laboratory. She retired from MIT in 2000 but retained an active emeritus status through 2007.

As one of few women in chemical engineering in the 1950s, Dr. Drake soon recognized the importance of developing professional connections. While an undergraduate, she became an active member in the MIT student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Her involvement continued after graduation with the Boston AIChE chapter. Further professional affiliations included: American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Chemical Society; Sigma Xi; AIChE (member since 1956, Fellow (1984), Director (1988-1990); AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS - founded in 1985 shortly after the chemical facility disaster in Bhopal India). Dr. Drake was a participant in the founding of the CCPS and later worked as a part-time consultant with diverse panels of industry experts in producing several early CCPS guideline books for chemical industry use. One of these books, on the safe automation of chemical processes, led to her (with coauthors) receiving the Westinghouse Award for Safe Automation in 2002. She also has served on various expert advisory boards for government agencies including the EPA, the DOE, the USCG, the DOD, and the DOT. In 1990, she was honored with the AIChE T.J. Hamilton Award for Government Service.

In 1992, Dr. Drake was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She became active with the Report Review Committee of their National Research Council (NRC) – the entity that organizes and oversees the production of peer generated and reviewed expert reports as a service to governmental entities. In the 90's, she was an active member of their Committee on the Review and Evaluation of the US Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program - tasked with oversight of stockpile disposal at US chemical weapons stockpile sites. She was Vice Chair of that committee from 2004 – 2007. More recently, she has been involved in the oversight of numerous reports related to issues of energy technologies, climate change and a series on "America's Energy Future."

Attributing her success to her curiosity, intelligence, hard work ethic, and the help she received from friends, family, and several mentors, her interests in nature, science, and mathematics started at a young age. A defiant streak also helped when it came to try something untraditional. Alongside her numerous accolades, she considers one highlight of her career to be the development (with four colleagues) of an interdisciplinary MIT graduate course on sustainable energy in 1992, a time when concerns regarding climate change were beginning to emerge. This course led to the subsequent publication of the MIT Press textbook "Sustainable Energy: Choosing among Options" in its first and second editions.

A listee in numerous honors publications, Dr. Drake has been featured in such books as Who's Who in Finance and Business, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who of American Women. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, gardening, and being involved in environmental activism. Climate change is only one indicator of future dangers resulting from overpopulating and overconsuming the finite resources of our special planet Earth. She knows that future generations will suffer from our present lifestyles, so she hopes you will join her in spreading awareness of the importance of reducing our individual and collective environmental footprints.

Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America®, Who's Who in the World®, Who's Who in American Law®, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who's Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who's Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at

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