Chris Grachanen: A rock star in quality

-December 21, 2013

On November 25, 2013, Chris Grachanen, Master Engineer at Hewlett-Packard, was elected a fellow of the American Society of Quality. Many of you know of Chris through his technical articles and blog here at EDN and prior to that, on Test & Measurement World. In fact, Chris was the winner of Test & Measurement World's Test Engineer of the Year award in 2004. See Calibration's standard bearer. I've known Chris for years and he always tops my list of people to ask about anything related to calibration and metrology. It's been ten years since Chris won the Test Engineer of the Year Award and this year, he nominated an HP colleague for the same award.

To find out what it takes to become an ASQ fellow, I spoke to Chris by phone at his office in Houston, Tex.

Martin Rowe: What does it take to become an ASQ fellow?
Chris Grachanen: First of all, there's an application form and it's a lot of work. Measurement Consultant Dilip Shah, who is also an ASQ fellow, walked me through the process.

The evaluation consists of six parts. The most stringent part requires proof that you developed something unique. That is, you can't just develop something that's a twist on an existing process or device. Your development must truly be unique. You are graded on that development.

Martin Rowe: What did you develop?
Chris Grachanen: Early in my career, I developed a technique using trigonometry in the calibration of a triangular laser system. I've also developed software for calculating measurement uncertainty, but that used existing algorithms, which wouldn't have qualified me to become an ASQ fellow.

In addition to creating something unique, you must have at least two people who have attained Senior or Fellow status within ASQ to "speak up" for you. People of Senior status must have held that position for at least five years.

Martin Rowe: What else were important aspects of your application?
Chris Grachanen: The ASQ evaluators also look at your complete body of work. I had to include every article I'd ever written as part of the application. In addition, you have to show other substantial contributions. In my case, that included creation of the Certified Calibration Technician program at ASQ. I also wrote chapters for The Metrology Handbook. ASQ also considers presentations given in other quality forums such as at the NCSLI Conference.

Martin Rowe: When did you submit the application?
Chris Grachanen: I submitted the application in March 2013 and the ASQ Board of Directors voted in November. ASQ has some 108,000 members, of which about 600 are fellows. I'm the only ASQ fellow employed by HP, so the company put my smiling face on the internal web site. People came to me out of nowhere to congratulate me. Frankly, the notoriety made me a little uncomfortable. People were looking at me in the company cafeteria as though I was a celebrity. At first, I didn’t know why there are looking at me until I saw the story on HP's internal web site.

Articles by or about Chris Grachanen
Calibration's standard bearer
Grachanen wins NCSLI award
Don't let the economy compromise quality
Lab Accreditation Yields Measurement Confidence
Metrology personnel shortage is real
Make metrology a standard occupation
Be confident in VNA measurements
Periodic checks attest to accuracy
Most versatile test equipment
Sniffing for problems
Not Your Father's Calculator
Measurement Sensors: For a Calculator?

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