Meet the Team: Colin Armstrong

As part of the Meet the Team series, we are sitting down with AcuTech team members to learn more about their background, specialties, and how they are helping industry.


Today, we are talking to Colin Armstrong, Principal Engineer, who is based out of Washington, D.C, USA

I come from a family steeped in engineering, and I spent a lot of my adolescence tearing apart and/or fixing things with my Father-repairing small engines, rebuilding homes, etc. It was great hands-on learning. I have a BS in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University. After graduation I worked as a process engineer for ExxonMobil, where I got a lot of great technical and hands-on engineering experience supporting refining operations throughout the US and Canada. In my roles there, I lead work in many areas, including project design, daily operations, turnarounds, long term unit optimization, energy efficiency studies, catalyst selection, equipment inspection, catalyst loading, among others.

My role in AcuTech has grown over the years as I have pursued knowledge and experience in multiple areas. I lead our quantitative risk assessment and facility siting practices, which involve modeling and detailed analysis of fire, explosion, and toxic hazards. I also provide specialized assessments and support for ammonia refrigeration processes; over the last decade I have completed more than 100 risk assessments for ammonia facilities, and also provided PSM program development, incident investigation, and expert witness testimony support to clients in the refrigeration industry. In all my roles, my goal is to support our clients to conduct effective, accurate, and efficient risk assessments of their operations.  

In my field roles, I have been involved in several process safety events which taught me the dangers we face first-hand. The reality of our global energy and chemical economy is that the potential for harm in the facilities we care for is great, and the potential hazard scenarios are infinite. It is important that we provide well-informed and accurate assessments of these risk to support safe operations while allowing that global economy to operate efficiently and support humanity. Process safety touches on every part of a process, so we get to constantly learn and gain experience in new fields.

We need to improve our methods of risk identification, assessment, communication, and decision-making. With such advanced analysis methods, so many decisions and communications are still ad-hoc, which too-often results in risk oversight, ineffective communication, lack of action, and prioritization of the wrong actions.

At AcuTech, I get to work on a variety of projects across many industries and all elements of process safety. Every project presents learning opportunities for us, and chances to mentor and educate our clients.

I enjoy running (roads, trails, and races)- last year I ran every single street in my zip code, as shown in the map, and reached my goal of running a sub-1:30 half-marathon. 


My children keep me quite busy outside of work too; much of my time is spent fishing, mountain biking, camping, and golfing with them. I also enjoy supporting our community, organizing local events for children in the community as part of our Civic Association.