I’d be surprised if more than a small number of you know who Jack Hendrick was. Many of you know his son, Bill, who is in charge of sales at Magnetrol. But I knew Jack. I worked with him at Texas Nuclear.
Jack was a cast plated Texas sonofableep. He was an original. He was the chief of Health Physics for Texas Nuclear for decades, and for a generation, he was the person you got your radiation safety training from when you needed to work with nuclear density and nuclear level gauges. He was a brilliant, cantankerous and crusty man with a deep and sincere heart.
It was his influence on the practice of nuclear gauging that made Texas Nuclear the number one nuclear gauging company in the world for years and years. He made sure it was safe, that we were all highly trained, and that Texas Nuclear’s customers were kept safe and secure.
I remember when I was a new employee. All new sales people were put through the Radiation Safety Course, taught by Jack. What I didn’t know was that Jack used us to be the butts of his wry comments– and some not so very wry– throughout the class. “Look, folks,if Walt there can get this right, ANYbody can get this right, so come on!”
I don’t think I have ever worked harder at a class since college. I got the second highest score in the class, too, a fact I continue to be proud of, and I still have my diploma from the course saying that I was qualified to apply to be a Radiation Safety Officer if I worked at a process plant using nuclear gauges.
Jack was also a big influence on the licensing practices for nuclear gauging, not only in Texas but in all of North America. His biggest contribution to radiation safety was his insistence that Texas Nuclear continue to retrieve its sources, as working sources regardless of condition, so that TN’s customers would not be stuck with impossible to dispose of properly radioactive waste.
In later years, Jack was the principal of his own firm, Radiation Technology, in Austin.
Jack passed away Saturday at the age of 71. He will be missed by his family, by me, and by an entire generation of radiation safety officers all over North America.