The 50-Year Member Recognition acknowledges individuals who have dedicated their careers to ASNT and its mission of making the world a safer place. This recognition was established to honor loyal members with 50 or more years of membership who have contributed to the nondestructive testing (NDT) industry and the Society through their knowledge and dedication decade upon decade. Recognitions are presented at the awards banquet at the ASNT Annual Conference.
The 2019 recipients of the 50-Year Member Recognition are Stanley F. Botten, Neil W. Breslow, David L. Culbertson, Philip A. Oikle, Chester F. Trzuskowski, and William F. Via, Jr.
Stanley F. Botten started his career as a qualified fitter, turner, and machinist in the mining industry and worked in engineering and electronics before beginning nondestructive training in 1967. In 1975, he earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on nondestructive testing technology. He worked for several NDT companies worldwide, including Inspectron NDT (Pty) Ltd., C.H.E.L. Engineering Services, South African X-ray, TÜV Rheinland, PAC Technologies, Independent Testing Laboratories, Inspectron Testing Services, and Physical Acoustics Corp. He started Stan Botten NDT Systems (Pty) Ltd. in 1987, which was bought out by TÜV Rheinland in 1990, and Stan Botten and Associates, which operated from 1998–1999. Botten has been an adjunct lecturer for San Jacinto College as well as other universities.
Botten currently serves as the Acoustic Emission Testing Services Manager for Amerapex, and consults to companies such as Hughes Christensen Co., Aker Solutions, Baker Hughes, TechCorr, and MISTRAS Group Inc. He has published 23 papers from 1969 to 2015, and holds several certificates and qualifications, including ASNT NDT Level III in AE. In addition to other technical societies, he has been a member of ASNT since 1968, and serves on ASNT’s CARP – Committee on Acoustic Reinforced Plastics.
Neil W. Breslow has had a career in nondestructive testing (NDT) for 53 years to date. He is still working in his role of general manager and “The NDT Man” at NDT Supply.com Inc., providing training, application, and equipment advice. Breslow initially received NDT training in 1966 at the US Navy NDT School in San Diego, and was then assigned to the USS Proteus out of Guam. In the four years he was there, he did penetrant testing of pipe welds, magnetic particle testing of hull welds, gamma ray and X-ray radiography of pipe and hull welds, ultrasonic inspection of silver-brazed pipe joints, and more. This provide to be the perfect experience to be hired by Krautkramer Ultrasonics in 1969 as an applications engineer. He later traveled the country for the company teaching Level I and II UT courses.
In 1974, Breslow left Krautkramer-Branson to open a sales office for Radiatronics Inc., covering the western part of the sales territory out of Overland Park, Kansas. In 1977, Radiatronics NDT Inc. was formed, with Breslow serving as president. He worked with all types of customers, from iron foundries to nuclear facilities, refineries, pipelines, railroads, and aircraft manufacturers. He taught dozens of classes in the various NDT methods and developed specialized classes, including ultrasonic thickness testing and ultrasonic rail testing. In order to better run his growing company, he earned a master of business administration degree in 1987 from Rockhurst College (now Rockhurst University). He attended many ASNT conferences, as well as other NDT conferences and supplier sales meetings in the United States, Europe, and China, making many friendships and relationships that have lasted decades.
After 35 years on the road, he realized that the internet offered extraordinary possibilities. In 2000, while still managing Radiatronics, Breslow and his wife, Louise Hipsh, started a new company, NDT Supply.com Inc., to take advantage of the internet and grow the business. He established the persona of “The NDT Man,” offering free NDT advice. NDT Supply.com has continued to grow, currently employing 15 people.
Several years ago, Breslow became interested in the neglected field of demagnetization. NDT Supply.com partnered with Maurer Magnetics of Switzerland to introduce updated degaussing technology. Together with Maurer, they established a well-equipped degaussing lab at NDT Supply.com, with state-of-the-art fixed and mobile degaussing machines, offering degaussing services nationally. The challenges and intellectual stimulation of building and managing a website and teaching customers about NDT have kept Breslow active and thriving well past retirement age.
David L. Culbertson is the founder and president of NDT Technical Services Inc., a consulting training and technical services company that designs nondestructive testing training programs and provides consulting services to meet customer’s specific needs. Culbertson performs quality audits and third-party arbitrations, and provides expert testimony during litigation.
Culbertson, a past president of ASNT (1996–1997), has been a member of the Society and affiliated with the Greater Houston Section for 47 years. Culbertson was a member of the ASNT Board of Directors from 1991 to 1994, serving as the secretary/treasurer, vice president, president, and chairperson of the board from 1994 through 1998. He has also served on the Governance Committee for more than 25 years (serving as chair for 16 years), and served as secretary, vice chair, and chair of ASNT’s Technical Council from 1991 thru 1994, along with involvement in several other ASNT committees.
Culbertson organized and co-founded ASNT’s International Chemical Petroleum Industry Inspection Technology (ICPIIT) topical conference in 1988 and served in key leadership roles at all 14 ICPIIT conferences. He aided ASNT in the development of the “Organizing Topical Conferences and Revenue Sharing Policy” and currently serves on ASNT’s Governance Committee (formerly known as the Constitution & Bylaws Committee) as a member for more than 25 years, with 16 years as chair. He served as President of Pan-American Committee for Nondestructive Testing (PANNDT) in 1999 and 2001. He was a key active member during initial development of ACCP NDT Level II program, and a co-founder and co-program chair at five ASNT/JSNDI research symposiums.
Culbertson has been an actively involved leader of the Greater Houston Section, having served as secretary, vice chair, and chair of the Section from 1980 through 1982. He was a representative from the Greater Houston Section that mentored the start-up of two new ASNT sections in Texas (Sabine and Coastal Bend).He was actively involved as a Greater Houston Section liaison representative to ASNT Student Sections at University of Texas and Texas A&M from 1985 thru 1991 and was a co-founder for the establishment of the Greater Houston Section “Gerald E. Smith – Memorial Scholarship” program.
Culbertson’s honors and achievements include ASNT Fellow (class of 1985), the Charles N. Sherlock Meritorious Service Award (2005), the Phillip D. Johnson Honorary Member Award (2012), the Robert C. McMaster Gold Medal Award (2016), and the Mentoring Award (2017). He holds ASNT NDT Level III certification in MT, PT, RT, and UT, and is also an AWS Certified Welding Inspector. In addition to his leadership within ASNT, he currently serves in many key leadership roles on committees for the American Welding Society, American Petroleum Institute, US Department for Transportation (PHMSA), and NDTMA.
Culbertson retired from El Paso Corp., a natural gas pipeline company, in 2012 after 42 years as their NDE Principal and Radiation Safety Officer. At El Paso he functioned as their technical specialist/advisor on matters of nondestructive testing, quality assurance, and welding inspection. He has 47 years of in-depth experience in nondestructive testing and welding inspection within the pipeline, tubing, and chemical petroleum industries.
Culbertson was actively involved for over six years on the PRCI (Pipeline Research Committee International) Committee, which funded over a half million dollars in NDT-related research projects for the gas pipeline industry, and was actively involved over the past 25 years on the API Standard 1104 Committee – Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities as an ASNT liaison voting member. He has served as chair of the standard’s NDT Subcommittee Chair for 10 years and as chair of the full API Standard 1104 Committee for six years. He was actively involved for over the past 16 years on API Committee 5 – NDT Resource Committee and co-chair of NDT Resource Group for 13 years. He served on the NDTMA Board of Directors, and as an active member on the American Welding Society CCD Subcommittee on Certification of Radiographic Interpreters from 2015 through 2016.
Culbertson was also an industrial radiography instructor for over five years at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, and an associate staff instructor for the past 36 years for the US Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA), Pipeline Safety Division, providing instruction in basic NDT examination for the pipeline industry.
Philip A. Oikle’s 43+ year career in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) began in 1959 at the Mutual Boiler & Machinery Insurance Co. /Factory Mutual Research Corp.’s Metallurgical Laboratory. The laboratory used various NDE methods including RT (isotope and X-ray), UT, MT, and PT to assist in evaluating the serviceability of companies’ insured equipment as well as provide NDE testing services. As assistant chief metallurgical engineer, he supervised laboratory personnel in the performance of NDE and physical, chemical, and metallurgical examinations of boiler and machinery failures.
Oikle later joined the Missile System Division of Raytheon Co. as a reliability engineer providing support in developing NDE procedures to support production and military standard requirements. Test methods involved included RT, UT, PT, MT, LT, and AE. He also provided technical support to engineering and manufacturing to evaluate vendor issues including the development of specialized techniques and applications. The next chapter of his career, starting with the Yankee Atomic Electric Co. and progressing through mergers and acquisitions with Duke Engineering & Services, Framatome ANP, and Areva, was primarily involved with the nuclear power industry. As the corporate principal NDE Level III examiner, he managed the NDE personnel training and certification programs. At one point, Oikle was responsible for the training and certification of over 200 NDE personnel at Yankee and their affiliated nuclear and fossil plants. Similar duties were provided at the Framatome ANP/AREVA. He held corporate Level III certifications in the RT, UT, PT, MT, VT, VT-1, VT-2, and VT-3 examination methods. He has also held ASNT NDT Level III certifications in PT, MT, and VT.
Oikle joined the Boston Section of ASNT in 1966, serving in several board positions including chair from 1972–1973. He continued serving in other capacities such as education chair (six years), yearbook chair, and as a Section board director for several years. On the national level, Oikle served at several different levels including chair of the Publication Activities Division (1991–1993); chair of the Publication Review Committee; chair of the Visual PQ Committee (1994–1996); chair, Fellow Award Committee (1991–1992); and chair, Joint Council Committee (1997–1998). He was involved in planning for several ASNT conferences: as track coordinator (Seattle, 1990, NDT for the Electric Utility Industry); session presenter (Anaheim, 1998); session chair and presenter (Phoenix, 1987); session chair (Cincinnati, 1984; Seattle, 1990; Orlando, 1992; Atlanta, 1994 ; Norfolk, 1996; Houston, 1997). He served three terms through the chairs in the Education and Qualification Council with concurrent terms on the ASNT Board of Directors (1981–1984, 1988–1991, and 1995–1998). Oikle is an ASNT Fellow (class of 1979). Of special note, Oikle served on the Commemorative ASNT Plaque Committee that designed a bronze plaque that was installed at the birthplace of ASNT to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society. During the 1991 Annual Conference in Boston, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the building where the Society was born and the plaque will be permanently displayed.
Oikle is now enjoying retirement along with his wife, Joyce, in Naples, Florida. They play some golf and bocce, enjoy the Florida beaches, and are involved with a local children’s charity, the Guadalupe Center, located in nearby Immokalee.
Chester F. Trzuskowski has worked in quality assurance and the nondestructive methods of radiographic, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, ultrasonic, and visual testing over the course of his career. He served as the quality assurance manager at Gimpel Corp. from 1961 to 1996, and as the quality supervisor/quality engineer at Demag Delaval Turbomachinery Inc. from 1996 to 2001. Trzuskowski has been a member of ASNT since 1969 and is an ASNT Fellow (class of 1991). He has been an active member of the Greater Philadelphia Section since 1982, and served on the executive committee of the Section for several years and as its chair from 1988–1989. He was also the co-chair of the 1989 Annual Conference in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
William F. Via Jr. is a materials engineer and manager of the structures section at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Via began his career with VDOT in 1968 after serving in the US Marine Corps. In 1983, he left VDOT to pursue a career in private enterprise and became vice president of Detek Inc., before returning to VDOT in 1999.
Via obtained his degree in civil and highway engineering while attending Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He actively served on the Education Foundation for J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College for 25 years. Via is an ACCP Professional Level III in RT and UT. He is also an original AWS Certified Welding Inspector and Radiographic Interpreter. He holds Level III certification form the Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute as a concrete inspector.
Via joined ASNT in 1969 and is a lifetime member. He has served ASNT in many capacities, both on the local and national levels. In 1978, he and several others formed the Old Dominion Section, where Via served as the first Section chair, in addition to many other offices and committees. Via has served continually as regional director for the Virginia/Carolinas regions since the inception of the Section Operations Council (SOC) in the 1980s; he has also served two terms as the chair of SOC. Besides chair, he has held all SOC offices, as well as many council-level committees. He currently is a member of the Infrastructure Committee of the Research Council. From 1990 to 1995, Via served on the ASNT Board of Directors. He has served on the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, the Selection Committee, and various awards committees. His distinguished achievements include the ASNT Fellow (class of 1983), Charles N. Sherlock Meritorious Service Recognition (1996), Philip D. Johnson Honorary Member (2010), and the Mentoring Award (2010). In 2014, the Bridge NDT Lifetime Service Award, an award that recognizes outstanding voluntary service to the bridge and highway nondestructive testing and evaluation industry, was created. In 2015, this award was renamed after Via. Via was the chosen recipient for the award in 2016.
Via is also a member of the American Welding Society and the American Society of Highway Engineers. He also serves on the National Transportation Research Board.