The History of The International System Safety Society

In the early 1960s, a small but dedicated group of managers, scientists, and engineers became personally involved in the initial implementation of system safety engineering in some of the major aerospace programs. They began to meet to share their common interests and visions for the potential of the system safety process in accident reduction. It soon became apparent to them that existing professional organizations and societies did not provide a sufficiently receptive and stimulating environment in which the long-range objectives envisioned for the system safety concept could flourish. Therefore, in 1962, the System Safety Society was organized and chartered in California through the dedicated efforts of Mr. Roger Lockwood and the founding pioneers. As the Society enjoyed a steady growth in numbers, scope and influence, it was incorporated as a non-profit professional organization (IRS Classification 501(c)(6)). The membership now extends to more than 24 different countries.

For more information on the history of the System Safety Society:

The Founding of the System Safety Society

The System Safety Society was founded by Roger Lockwood (USC) on Dec. 1, 1963, as a non-profit organization named the Aerospace System Safety Society. It was eventually chartered in the state of California on Feb. 11, 1964. The main supporters of this founding effort were C.O. Miller (USC) and Jerry Lederer (Flight Safety Foundation). The first chapter to form was the Northwest Chapter in Seattle, Washington in 1964  In 1967, the name of the society was changed to the System Safety Society by a ballot vote of all the members. Company memberships were instituted in 1972 under the guidance of Ed Fosler.

SSS Incorporation

On October 24, 1973, the System Safety Society was incorporated as a non-profit professional organization in the District of Columbia. The initial registered agent was Gordon F. MacDougal. The registered office was 1200 18th St. NW. Signers of the articles of incorporation were:

  • Mr. Emerson Harris (McLean, VA)
  • Mr. E.T. Driver (Reston, VA)
  • Mr. C.O. Miller (McLean, VA)

The original Board of Directors were:

  • Mr. E T. Driver
  • Mr. Donald "Red" Layton
  • Mr. C.O. Miller
  • Mr. Loran W. Sapp
  • Mr. D.A. Smith


Past System Safety Society Presidents

Year Name Affiliation Chapter
1963-1964 Roger Lockwood USC So. Calif.
1964-1965 George Haviland USAF (Major) So. Calif.
1965-1966 Richard Kohlheyer Douglas Missile & Space So. Calif
1966-1967 Charles O. Miller USC So. Calif.
1967-1968 Niel Classon Boeing Northwest (Seattle) ##
1968- * B.P.Hilgeson NASA Wash. D.C.
1968-1970 Elwood Driver DOT Wash. D.C.
1970-1971 Jack Parrish Consultant Wash. D.C.
1971-1972 Roy Harris TRW So. Calif.
1972-1973 Edward Fosler Hughes Aircraft So. Calif.
1973-1975 # Emerson Harris NTSB Wash. D.C.
1975-1977 Rex Gordon Ford Aerospace So. Calif.
1977-1979 George Peters Attorney So. Calif.
1979- ** William Prescott Northrop So. Calif.
1979-1981 Brian Moriarity DeLeuw Cather Wash. D.C.
1981-1983 James Chappee NASA (MSC) Texas 
1983-1985 George Mumma Martin Marietta Denver 
1985-1987 Kenneth Pethe Martin Marietta Denver 
1987-1989 Erskine Harton Consulatant Wash. D.C.
1989-1991 Harris Yeager USAF Wash. D.C.
1991-1993 Charles Hoes Hoes Engineering Davis, CA 
1993-1995 Michael Brown U.S. Navy (NSWC) Wash. D.C.
1995-1997 Paul Kinzey U.S. Navy (NSC) Wash. D.C.
1997-1999 Perry D’Antonio Sandia National Labs New Mexico
1999-2001 Paige Ripani Applied Ordnance Technology Wash D.C.
2001-2003 Clif Ericson Applied Ordnance Technology Wash D.C.
2003-2005 Paul Kryska Novellus Systems San Jose, CA
2005-2007 Larry Jones Dynetics, Inc. Huntsville, AL
2007-2009 Jim Wiggins Huntsville, AL
2009-2011 Warren Naylor Northrop Grumman Washington, DC
2011-2013 Gary Braman Sikorsky Huntsville, AL
2013-2015 Robert Schmedake Boeing St. Louis, MO

*      When elected president, Mr. Hilgeson was Director of Safety for NASA. He died prior to assuming office, and vice president Elwood "Woody" Driver assumed his office.
**   Vice president Bill Wescott assumed the office of president upon the resignation of George Peters.
#      A constitutional change in 1973 provided for a two-year term for elected Society officers.
##           The Northwest Chapter was originally started in 1964 in Seattle, but became inactive in the 1980s.



System Safety Society Officers

Year President Exec VP Treasurer Secretary
1963-1964 Roger Lockwood      
1964-1965 George Haviland      
1965-1966 Richard Kohlheyer      
1966-1967 Charles O. Miller      
1967-1968 Niel Classon   Ed von Wolfersdorff Norbert Ramirez
1968- * B.P.Hilgeson      
1968-1970 Elwood Driver      
1970-1971 Jack Parrish      
1971-1972 Roy Harris      
1972-1973 Edward Fosler      
1973-1975 # Emerson Harris Benedict Leotta Timothy G. Kenney Erskine E. Harton Jr.
1975-1977 Rex Gordon Edward A. Fosler William W. Westcott Nurbert E. Schmidt
1977-1979 George A. Peters William W. Westcott Edward Beck Barbara Peters
1979- ** William Prescott      
1979-1981 Brian Moriarity Carl C. Clark Jack Dixon Jr. James Gibble
1981-1983 James H. Chappee John P. Rankin Emil J. Amberboy Clifton Gremillion
1983-1985 George B. Mumma Travis Pethe Dean Jones Patty Baldwin
1985-1987 Travis (Ken) Pethe Ervin S. Dean Jr. Joyce McDivott Richard. J. Tower
1987-1989 Erskine Harton Joseph Pizzo Richard Clarke Peter Rutledge
1989-1991 Harris Yeager Richard Clarke Vito Longo Ludwig Benner
1991-1993 Charles Hoes Dev Raheja Ira Rimson Paul Kinzey
1993-1995 Michael Brown Harris Yeager Joseph Pizzo Gary Staffo
1995-1997 Paul Kinzey Michael Alloco Barry Richard Karen Fisher
1997-1999 Perry D’Antonio Paige Ripani Paul Kriska Mark Anderson
1999-2001 Paige Ripani Clifton A. Ericson II Jon Derickson Niles Welch
2001-2003 Clifton A. Ericson II Niles Welch William Pottratz Saralyn Dwyer
2003-2005 Paul Kryska Larry Jones Chris Olson Melissa Emery
2005-2007 Larry Jones Melissa Emery Mary Ellen Caro John Livingston
2007-2009 Jim Wiggins Mary Ellen Caro William Pottratz Jeff Speer
2009-2011 Warren Naylor Gary Braman Stacy Medina Gerry Einarsson
2011-2013 Gary Braman Robert Schmedake Dr. Rod Simmons Jean Sauerman
2013-2015 Robert Schmedake Dr. Rod Simmons Pam Kniess Matt Johnson


System Safety Society Directors

Year Director Director Director Director
1963-1964        
1964-1968 Gordon Willard      
1968-1970        
1970-1974        
1974-1978        
1978-1981 Patricia Fiels George Mumma Waymon Johnston  
1981-1985 James Gibble James L. Crawford Waymon Johnston  
1983-1987 Carl C. Clark Richard E. Olson John P. Rankin  
1985-1989 Lawrence Hughes Harris Yeager Louis Rackley  
1987-1991 Roger Lockwood C.O. Miller Gary Staffo  
1989-1993 Rodney Simmons T.C. Noble Dean Jones  
1991-1995 Robert Sweginnis James Covan Scott Ostrowski  
1993-1997 Brian Moriarity Richard Stephans Pat Clemens  
1995-1999 Rodney Simmons James Fitzgerald Ellen Overton  
1997-2001 Charles Hoes Warner Talso Chuck Dorney  
1999-2003 Bob Sweginnis Benny Smith Paul Kryska  
2001-2005 Josh McNeil Barry Hendrix Steve Smith  
2003-2007 Steve Mattern Jerry Banister Jon Derickson  
2005-2009 Ann Waterman Russ Mitchell Geoff McIntyre  
2007-2011 Rodney Simmons Clif Ericson Darrell Stokes  
2009-2013 Clif Ericson Saralyn Dwyer Mark Geiger Mike Allocco
2011-2015 Dr. Chuck Muniak Gerry Einarsson Dave Shampine Robert Fletcher
2013-2017 Saralyn Dwyer Melissa Emery Debbie Hale Steve Mattern
2015-2019 Robert Fletcher Pam Wilkinson Jeff Brewer


The System Safety Society Logo

The current logo of the System Safety Society was designed by Dwight Leffingwell of the Northwest (Seattle) Chapter in 1968. The Chapter had initiated a contest for a logo design, and Dwight's was the winning entry. The two Sigma symbols were intended to represent two S's for System Safety (ref. Hazard Prevention, Vol. 4 No. 6 March 1968). This logo design was then presented to Society headquarters for consideration, and was adopted as the Society's official logo on June 24, 1968, by a majority vote of the Society's Board of Directors (ref. Hazard Prevention, Vol. 5 No. 1 Sept 1968).

Journal of System Safety

Journal of System Safety was originally published under the name Hazard Prevention. HP, as it was often referred to, was started in June 1965 by George Peters (Rocketdyne). George was also responsible for selecting the name Hazard Prevention for the publication. In September 1999, the name of the journal was officially changed to Journal of System Safety (JSS). This change was adopted by the SSS Executive Council as a move to make the Society and the journal much more professional.

JSS Editors

Year Name Notes Affiliation Issues
1964-1965 Roger Lockwood  Aerospace System Safety Society Newsletter   V1 N1 (1/64) through V1 N4, V2 N2
1965-1966 George Peters Chose the name HP in August 1965 issue (Vol. 3 No. 1). New 5.5 x 8.5 format. Rocketdyne V3 N1 (8/65) through V4 N3 (12/66)
  Roger Lockwood Interim editor   V4 N4 (5/67) through V4 N5 (Summer/67)
  Chuck Miller  One issue as an interim editor    
1968-1969 Jim Johncox Started 8.5 x 11 format Boeing, Northwest Chapter, Seattle V4 N6 (3/68) through V6 N2 (12/69)
1970-1977 Don Layton Started bound format Naval Post Graduate School V6 N3 (3/70) through V13 N5 (6/77)
1977-1979 George Peters     V14 N1 (10/77) through V15 N5 (6/79)
1979-1981 David E. Galas     V15 N6 (10/79) through V17 N3 (6/81)
1981-1985 Sergio R. Concha Bi-monthly      V17 N4 (10/81) through V21 N3 (6/85)
1985-1986 Rex Gordon Bi-monthly Ford Aerospace V21 N4 (10/85) through V22 N1 (6/86)
1986-1993 George Kendrick     V22 N5 (10/86) through V29 N1 (1Q/93)
1993-1997 Charles Hoes   Hoes Engineering V29 N2 (2Q/93) through V33 N2 (2Q/97)
1997-2007 Niles Welch Started two-color format. Name changed to Journal of System Safety in 1999. Publication expanded to bi-monthly, including two electronic issues. A.S. Waterman V33 N3 (3Q/97) through Nov.-Dec. 2007
2007-2015 Clif Ericson   EG&G Nov.-Dec. 2007 through Winter 2015
2015- Dr. Chuck Muniak   Syracuse Safety Research Spring 2016 through