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Dr. Najmedin Meshkati

Professor Najm Meshkati 

Dr. Najmedin (Najm) Meshkati is a (tenured) Professor of Civil/Environmental Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California (USC).  He was a Jefferson Science Fellow and Senior Science and Engineering Advisor, Office of Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State (2009-2010).  He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering/National Research Council’s Committee on the Analysis of Causes of the BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill to Identify Measures to Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future (2010-2011).

               Dr. Meshkati is an elected Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, an AT&T Faculty Fellow in Industrial Ecology, a two-times NASA Faculty Fellow (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2003 and 2004), and a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1989.  He is the 2007 recipient of the Oliver Keith Hansen Outreach Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and was honored by the HFES for his “scholarly efforts on human factors of complex, large-scale technological systems...[and] efforts to enhance public awareness of critical human factors issue [and] the benefits it brings to humankind.”

Dr. Meshkati is the only full-time USC faculty member who has continuously been conducting research on human factors and aviation safety-related issues (e.g., cockpit design, pilot error, and runway incursions) and teaching in the USC 60-year old internationally renowned Aviation Safety and Security Program, for the past twenty-two years.  During this period, he has taught in the “Human Factors in Aviation Safety” and “System Safety” short courses.  From 1992 to 1999, he also was the Director and had administrative and academic responsibility for the USC Aviation Safety, as well as for the Transportation Safety, and Process Safety Management programs.  For the last two decades, he has worked with numerous aviation safety professionals from all over the world, taught aviation safety short courses for private and public sector organizations, including the US Navy and US Air Force.

In response to a formal request by the Chief of Aviation Risk Management and Training Systems of the U.S. Forest Service from USC for Dr. Meshkati’s advisement, he became the primary Human Factors and Safety Culture Technical Advisor for the agency’s Center for Aviation Risk Management (November 2007).  A major area of Dr. Meshkati’s research since the tragic accident in Tenerife in 1977, for which he has been considered a world’s expert, deals with runway incursions.  He has been studying the (common) causes of the runway incursion accidents at Tenerife and the Milan Linate airport and lecturing about major contributing human factors causes of runway incursions at other major airports.  His research on runway safety at USC have been prominently featured multiple times in the “Face to Face, Eye to Eye”, which is the latest training video production by the FAA Runway Safety Office.  It is the latest video in the “Runway Safety Collection” DVD which contains four movies to “provide a close look at what the risk is and how to avoid a runway incursion and ultimately an accident.”  He was one of the 25 “experts” who participated in the Government Accountability Office’s study entitled, “Aviation Runway and Ramp Safety: Sustained Efforts to Address Leadership, Technology, and Other Challenges Needed to Reduce Accidents and Incidents” (GAO-08-29, November 2007).

Dr. Meshkati has consulted for many domestic and international technological organizations on aviation (and other four modes of transportation), petrochemical, and nuclear safety; design, evaluation, human factors, and safety culture-related matters.  His views on aviation safety have been cited and referred to in many major national newspapers and major international trade magazines, such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Anchorage Daily News, Wall Street Journal, Australian, and Air Transport World.

Dr. Meshkati simultaneously received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a B.A. in Political Science in 1976, from Sharif (Arya-Meher) University of Technology in Iran and Shahid Beheshti University (National University of Iran), respectively; a M.S. in Engineering Management in 1978; and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1983 from USC.  He is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE # 650).