Uday Mehta, mechanical engineer for CBARR, is retiring after 30+ years of federal service. We had a chance to sit down with Uday as he reflects back on his years of service and looks forward to a new chapter.
A. I was born in Mumbai (Bombay), India and studied metallurgical engineering before moving to the U.S. in 1973 as a student. In 1974, I worked for the City of Baltimore for Veterans Affairs at Loch Raven VA Hospital before the Baltimore District office of the FDA hired me.
Q. How long have you been working at CBARR?A. Since February 1990, I worked as chemist for the Monitoring Branch, which was looking for a chemist who could operate the brand new gas chromatographs in its laboratory. I developed analytical procedures for the detection of HD, GB, GD and Lewisite. By then, ECBC’s role had significantly increased beyond Edgewood and our expertise was called upon at various military installations and home and abroad. As program manager, I wrote specifications for mobile laboratories and explosive containment structures called Interim Holding Facilities (IHF). I was also a “traveling salesman” for CBARR, attending various trade shows and workshops where I talked with representatives from industry and government. Additionally, I managed an Inter Agency Agreement (IAA) with the Environmental Protection Agency, under which ECBC provided analytical and technical support during various decontamination incidents.
Q. How has the CBARR organization evolved throughout the years?A. In 1990, we were supporting only the local tenants on Aberdeen Proving Ground. Since then, our boundaries have expanded exponentially by looking for opportunities beyond Edgewood and Formerly Used Defense sites. Now we are supporting an international community.
Q. What has been your favorite part about working for CBARR?A. The Chemical Biological Defense COM Commanding General MG John Doesburg invited my family for a group photo as he presented me with a 20 year service certificate and pin, and gave a commendation letter for my father who had served on the Supreme War Council in Burma during World War II.
A. I will miss the group of highly talented scientists and engineers from various backgrounds, and I’ve learned that team effort has brought us to the forefront of CB science.
Q. Use one word to describe your 30+ year career in the federal service.A. Collaborative.
Q. What are your retirement plans?
A. I want to be near my granddaughters. The second one is arriving in the middle of September, my retirement gift. I am traveling to South America in October with my college friends, and Florida in November. This winter, I am going to Turkey and India to be with my mother.