Meet the Team: David Heller

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 David Heller, Sr. Principal Engineer, based in Northern Virginia, USA

I was born and raised in New Jersey.  I’ve called many places home and have worked in New Jersey, West Virginia, Texas and Louisiana. 


The first 10 years of my career were in process and production engineering and I’ve been in safety since 1985.  One of my favorite jobs was as Safety Manager at a chemical plant in Willow Island, WV.  I spent six years with the Chemical Safety Board as a Lead Investigator and have been with AcuTech since 2005.

I consider myself a process safety generalist.  These days I spend more time doing audits than HAZOPs, and a lot of time training and mentoring. 


I am currently serving a two-year term as a Public Representative on the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH), which allows me to have a small voice in helping chart OSHA’s path to the future of workplace safety.

I came close to leaving engineering and the process industries when I was working to squeeze a fraction of a percent of yield out of a chemical process.  Getting involved in safety re-invigorated my career and I’ve loved it ever since.   I believe I am making a difference in people’s lives.  My work is still fun after 47 years in the industry.

Normalization of deviation is one of the biggest threats to our plants and one of the hardest to eliminate.  It takes communication and trust and constant attention to detail to ferret it out and keep it out.

The two things I like best about AcuTech are the travel and the teamwork.  I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places and work with fantastic people on five continents.  The work atmosphere at AcuTech is very uplifting and positive.  If I am stumped on a question in the field, I can send an email to our employees and know that within hours I will have long and detailed responses with advice, quoting chapter and verse from standards and regulations. I’ve never worked in an organization with so little backstabbing or company politics.    

My wife and I love to travel, especially anywhere around the Mediterranean.  I build wooden ship models and try to spend some time on the piano and guitar every week.