Richard L. Backe
Richard Backe was born on January 18, 1934 in New York City. He received a B.S. in Physics from Iona College, New Rochelle in 1955 and subsequently did graduate work at several universities. Since 1955, he has worked for the same company operating under the names Sperry, Unisys and now Paramax Systems, Incorporated. From 1955-1965, Mr. Backe was an engineer at Sperry-Long Island working in precision electrical measurements, electronic standards and related R&QA investigations. Since 1965, he has supported the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in programs ensuring the reliability of orbiting scientific satellites. As director of the Paramax-Goddard facility, Mr. Backe manages all technical and business aspects of 16 departments with a staff of 300 engineers and scientists. Their work includes investigations of integrated circuits, failure analyses of complex devices, electronic standards and metrology, audit of spacecraft hardware and software, and related assurance functions. The labs have been honored with NASA Group Achievement awards, Safety Awards and Finalist awards from NASA and from the U.S. Senate in the contests for Excellence in Quality.
Mr. Backe has been active in IEEE since 1960. His early contributions were in the Parts and Hybrid Group where he co-edited the PHP Transactions. Since 1970, he has been involved in professional activities. He helped form USAB, the United States Activities Board, (then USAC) and the IEEE office in Washington, DC, was vice-chairman of USAB, chaired many USAB committees including Employment Assistance, Pension, Government Affairs, and Congressional Fellows, and was a member of many others. Mr. Backe testified before committees of Congress leading to the 1974 Pension Reform Bill, edited the Employment Guide for Engineers and Scientists, and wrote a number of articles for Spectrum. He was a member of the IEEE committees for Long Range Planning, National Awards, Membership and Tech Policy, among others. He served on Region 1Wo committees, held offices in the Washington, DC Section through Chairman, and served as delegate to inter-society groups (ACE, AAES, EMC).
Outside IEEE, he chairs the EIA Service Contracts Committee and the Goddard Contractor's Association, was vice-president of the Washington Technical Personnel Forum, served on the Engineering Manpower Commission and on the Congressionally appointed Commission on Engineering Compensation.
He and his wife, Eileen, live in Silver Spring, Maryland where they raised their sons (Rich, Kevin, Brian, Dennis, Mike and Pete). He is exceptionally proud of the accomplishments of his wife (who recently returned to school to obtain two B.A. degrees and an M.S. degree) and of his six sons and three grandchildren. His other interests include marathon racing, triathlons, skiing, shooting and reading.
Mr. Backe was awarded the 1992 IEEE Haraden Pratt Award 'For dedication to the professional needs of the employed engineer, and to the broader technical and educational goals of the IEEE.'