MPR Associates Mourns the Loss of Ted Rockwell, Founder

April 5, 2013

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Theodore Rockwell, MPR's last living founder, and a founding father of the nuclear industry, passed away Sunday at his home in Chevy Chase, MD at age 90.  Former and current employees of MPR remember Ted's vision, spirit, and technical acumen on which the company was built. MPR was founded in 1964 by Ted and two of his colleagues from Admiral Rickover's Navy nuclear power program, Harry Mandil, and Bob Panoff. The trio set out to apply the same level of technical rigor, business integrity, and leadership utilized at Naval Reactors to the world of commercial engineering.

Prior to founding MPR, Dr. Rockwell began his nuclear career as a member of an elite Process Improvement Task Force during the Manhattan Project.  His accomplishments are noteworthy, serving as one of the earliest engineers on then Captain Rickover's Naval Reactors team, leading the Radiation Shield Engineering Group at Oak Ridge. Later he served as Admiral Rickover's technical director during the projects to design, build and commission the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear powered submarine, and the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States. Dr. Rockwell was at the forefront of the process to produce commercial quantities of zirconium and was also editor of the Shield Design Manual, a basic reference guide still used by engineers more than 50 years after its initial publication.  His career was distinguished outside of the nuclear field as well, having served as the only non-medical member of the Advisory Group on the National Artificial Heart Program in 1966, a member of the Advisory Council, Princeton University Department of Chemical Engineering from 1966 to 1972, and, from 1965 to 1968, as a Research Associate with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  

As a measure of his contributions, Dr. Rockwell received numerous awards, including the World Nuclear Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Peaceful Worldwide Use of Nuclear Energy, and the first ANS Lifetime Contribution Award, now known as the Rockwell Award, as well as Distinguished Service Medals from both the Navy and the Atomic Energy Commission. 

Ted's innate dedication and passion for excellence was instilled at MPR and since its inception MPR has sustained its original fundamentals and values. Ahead of their time, Mandil, Panoff, and Rockwell built a company that solves complex technical and business challenges, mitigates risks, and implements successful plans and strategies for its clients.  He dedicated himself to the world of nuclear technology and as this field evolved so did MPR's business.

It is commonly noted that Dr. Rockwell was a pioneer of nuclear energy, a tireless crusader, and one with an infinite passion to educate.  Though he retired from MPR over two decades ago, he never fully retired. Ted was a constant at MPR, mentoring new engineers and lending his brilliance and experience through lectures or participating in various MPR projects. Throughout retirement he was advocating his passion for safe nuclear energy, whether it was as Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, member of the National Academy of Engineering, updating his website (learningaboutenergy.com), or writing one of his books. Most recently he was serving as the technical editor for a documentary about Admiral Rickover, and production is expected to finish in the near future. 

"As MPR mourns the loss of its last original leader, what remains is the foundation of quality work with unsurpassed results," stated Paul Damerell, MPR Principal Officer.  "The impact that Ted made on the nuclear industry is seen in the technical successes and advances that MPR brings to its clients today.  Ted will be greatly missed at MPR."

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