Dr. Bob Beaton is a systems engineer who specializes in human factors. His career since 1983 has included positions in military, industrial, academic, and consulting organizations. Currently, Dr. Beaton works for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C., where he supervises human performance and survival factors work in investigations of railroad, pipeline, and hazardous materials accidents. Along with accident investigations, Dr. Beaton is a safety advocate for NTSB, hosting public meetings and providing talks, such as the recent NTSB forums on railroad trespassing, distracted driving, and organizational safety culture.
Previously, Dr. Beaton worked for the U.S. Navy, at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in the Washington Navy Yard, where he served as the Technical Warrant Holder for Human Systems Integration. Dr. Beaton provided technical reviews and certifications for the design of ships and weapon systems. Dr. Beaton also led NAVSEA’s “Educate the Workforce” program, where he taught Human Systems Integration classes to senior engineering and management throughout the Navy’s engineering centers.
In industry, Dr. Beaton worked in the high-tech electronics arena as senior scientist at Tektronix, where he developed human factors models of image quality for advanced electronic displays used in high-resolution applications, such as medical imaging, aerial reconnaissance, and 3-D computer-aided design.
As an academic, Dr. Beaton was a senior member of the faculty in industrial and systems engineering at Virginia Tech, where he directed the Displays and Controls Laboratory. Dr. Beaton has chaired over 60 M.S. and 30 Ph.D. committees, and published numerous articles, book chapters, and presentations on human factors. Dr. Beaton also has held Visiting Professorships in systems and information engineering at Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, as well as currently a Lecturer at University of Maryland.
Dr. Beaton is the inventor on several patents, he has authored over 250 professional publications and presentations, has been elected as a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE #701), and recipient of several international awards, including the Alexander C. Williams Design Award and the Paul M. Fitts Education Award, has received several U.S. Navy recognitions for work in human systems integration, as well as several NTSB Safety Compass Awards for his accident investigations. Dr. Beaton was the first Webmaster of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Founding Member of the HFES Research Institute; both entities continue today after nearly 20 years.