Brian Wodka, RMF engineering division manager and associate, has been named the 2021 recipient of the George Westinghouse Silver Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
The award recognizes eminent achievement or distinguished service in the power field of mechanical engineering. Considering power in the broad sense, the basis of the award includes contributions of utilization, application, design, development, research, and the organization of such activities in the power field. The medal is awarded from both the Power and Nuclear Divisions of ASME. To perpetuate the value of the rich contribution to power development made by George Westinghouse, honorary member and 29th president of the Society, the Westinghouse Educational Foundation established the gold medal in 1952 and the silver medal in 1971.The silver medal is bestowed upon one who is not yet 45 on June 30 of the year in which the medal is awarded.
Wodka has spent his entire career involved in steam systems and power plant engineering, inspection, operation, commissioning, reliability, and forensic analysis. He has published multiple technical papers and articles on power plant performance and reliability. He is a professional engineer actively licensed in nine states, a certified commissioning authority (CxA), a construction quality manager (CQM), certified energy manager (CEM), and a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP). He is a commissioned boiler inspector through the NBBI and holds a Maryland first grade stationary engineer (plant operator’s) license. For the past 10 years, he has been a member of both the Maryland Board of Boiler Rules and the Maryland Board of Stationary Engineers where he has led sub-committees to change State regulation.
Wodka has touched more than 150 new and refurbished heat and power plants and this work has resulted in real, measurable benefits including the successful use of renewable fuels, the reduction of tens of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, and significant thermal improvements, often gaining 10 to 20 percentage points in operating efficiency. His work has included all aspects of assessment, design, and commissioning of many different power plants utilizing a broad spectrum of different fuels. He spearheaded the effort for his employer RMF Engineering Inc. to become an authorized inspection agency to perform jurisdictional inspections on power boilers and pressure vessels. As a licensed boiler inspector, he has identified critical safety issues before they could result in catastrophic failures. He has investigated operating plants that support mission critical facilities to identify and eradicate any single points of failure. He earned accreditation for his team as an EPA recognized energy assessor, leading to multiple opportunities to evaluate and improve operating plants nationwide.
Wodka enjoys training and mentoring the next generation of power engineers. Brian leads by example and often self-performs internal pressure vessel and furnace inspections at power plants, conducting the tuning of burners on operating high-pressure boilers, and commissioning solid fuel conveying systems.
He is the current secretary and treasurer of the executive committee of ASME’s Power Division. He vice-chairs the ASME RAP Committee on power plant performance and chairs the RAM Sub-Committee on power plant reliability, availability, and maintainability. He is the conference co-chair of the ASME Advanced Clean Energy Summit (ACES) and is the co-host of the ACES webinar series.
Wodka earned a bachelor’s degree in marine (mechanical) engineering from SUNY Maritime College and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering (thermo-fluid mechanics) from The Johns Hopkins University.