UCDS Staff

Get to know the UCDS Staff

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IAN NIMMO, President, Ian is a member of IET (CEI) in the UK as well as a Fellow Member of ISA. He joined Honeywell, Inc. in 1990 as a Chemical Engineering Specialist. During his time at Honeywell, he was instrumental in leading the efforts to obtain NIST government funding and the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium program. Mr. Nimmo is a founder and former Program Director of the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium. Mr. Nimmo saw a need in the marketplace for overall control room and human factors expertise. To fill this void he left Honeywell and founded User Centered Design Services, Inc. in 2000. Prior to beginning the work of founding the ASM consortium in 1991, Mr. Nimmo was Computer Applications Section Manager for a large petrochemical company (ICI) and worked with the British Government’s Health & Safety Executive introducing National & International standards for computer systems. Ian has over 40 years working experience in the Refining and Petrochemicals Industry.
Ian NimmoEmail:
DAVID LEE, VP, David has a Chemical Engineering Degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK and is a Chartered Chemical Engineer.  David has over 25 years of experience in the Chemical Industries as an engineer and project manager and has held various positions within production management.  In this time, he was instrumental in many greenfield and upgrade process and automation projects ranging from a few thousand dollars to multi-millions of dollars.  David has been fortunate to have worked on the full range of technologies from pneumatics to state of the art DCS and bussed instrumentation.  Within the companies he worked for, he was considered a subject matter expert in batch operation, human machine interface design, alarm management and safety system design.  As such David helped with early adoption of industry standards such as IEC-61508, ISA-84 and ISA-88.Since first joining UCDS in 2007, David has been involved in successful projects encompassing the full range of UCDS services across multiple industries around the world.David is an active member of ISA, VP and Secretary of his local branch and involved in the development of several new automation standards.
David Lee
HARLAN GRAF, Senior Consultant, Harlan has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tulsa.  His 33 year career with a major oil company has given him a vast diversity of experience in both the technical and the operations/management arena.  He has specific experience as a design engineer, chief process engineer, operations superintendent, operations manager, project manager, tech services manager, and refinery site manager.  With two international assignments, he has a better understanding of how cultural differences play a key role in refining management organizations.During his career, Harlan was intimately involved in the implementation of the Central Control Room concept at four different locations.  This involvement included initial project development, construction, operations and maintenance organizational staffing, and final implementation and move-in.In addition, Harlan has a vast working experience with refining safety, operations, optimization and trouble shooting.  At one of his international assignments, he was involved with completing construction, operator staffing and training, and starting up a grass roots refinery.  This was particularly challenging since many of the processes and computer aids we take for granted didn’t exist at their location.
Harlan Graf

HARRY WILLIAMS, Consultant, Harry has an extensive background in training and recently worked for our good friend Jack Pankoff and TTS Performance Systems.  Together, with Jack’s support, we are developing NEW improved operator effective practices. Everyone has management systems but few have systems that have a solid ROI and good Human Factors Engineering behind them. If your company wants to eliminate Human Error and improve Ergonomics while improving your Risk Control Systems and developing Leading Indicators to supplement existing Lagging Indicators you need to check out this new service and the support staff.  As UCDS continues to improve our services, we continuously seek out best practices, provide continuous improvement and qualified staff with solid industrial experience.
Harry WilliamsPhone:
STEVE MADDOX, Sales Director, Steve has an extensive background in Alarm Management Software sales and has helped thousands of customers develop solutions to improve situation awareness through alarm management, HMI design, control room design. In the last 2 years Steve has participated in the development of solutions for 39 pipeline companies due to the pipeline industry PHMSA regulations for Control Room Management.He joins UCDS to help our customers understand the services and benefits we provide and will be contacting both our new and previous customers to improve our services as we expand our company offering.
Christopher Heil

Christopher Heil, Over the last 20 years, Christopher Heil has gained invaluable knowledge and experience in providing Building Design, Project Management, Quality Assurance Analysis, Construction Document/Specification preparation and Construction Owner Representation for a diverse range of building types in Operations Control environments. With involvement in over 40 projects, Chris has focused on total plant building architecture including Control Buildings, Warehousing, Laboratories, Administrative Offices, Operations Residences, Recreational Amenities and Fire/EMS Facilities in both blast and non-blast configurations. His familiarity of Industry Procedures both inside and outside the fence lines brings strong design skills, technical proficiency, and well-rounded experiences that add great value to any facilities project. His addition to the team compliments UCDS’s many services and provides the next level of Control Building and Facility planning.
 Steve MaddoxEmail:
Christi Mezzic, Senior Consultant, Christi has a Chemical Engineering Degree from Texas A&M University. She has 20 years of experience in the polyolefins and chemical industries, primarily in production management. Christi served on many teams involved with troubleshooting, process improvements, and design of new equipment systems, as well as redesigning, refurbishing, commissioning and operating a moth-balled production unit. In her most recent role, Christi served as co-facilitator, along-side a union representative, introducing a new employee-driven behavioral-based safety process.
Melinda LehmanEmail:
MELINDA LEHMAN, Executive Administrator, Melinda graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has worked as an assistant to executive directors and presidents of several companies for the past 17 years. Melinda’s organizational, administrative and accounting skills are a great asset to our company.

© 2013 User Centered Design Services


UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.