Eivald M. Q. Røren

Senior Vice President
Det Norske Veritas
MSCE '61, PhD '64

[Eivald M. Q. Roren]

For his outstanding technical accomplishments, particularly in risk analysis; his leadership within one of the world’s foremost maritime service organizations; and his service to civic life, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to Eivald M. Q. Røren.

On choosing Purdue

The idea of attending Purdue originally came from IBM. Mrs. Thomas Watson [the wife of IBM's founder] was living in New York, and my aunt attended to Mrs. Watson for many years. The Watson family had high regard for Purdue, and so Purdue was strongly recommended to me. I received my first degree from the Norwegian Institute of Technology, but I spent two undergraduate semesters as an exchange student at Purdue in 1956-57. Then I came to Purdue for my graduate degrees in 1960.

Purdue was a new experience, very unlike the education I had in Norway. Norway has a much freer educational system, with only one exam per course at the end of the semester, plus project work during semesters. Attending classes was not mandatory. American universities require frequent quizzes and thus mandatory class presence. You needed to be on your toes every day—just like high school.

On Det Norske Veritas

Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is a private, trans-national company that was established in 1864 to certify [classify] ships. The company sets standards for safe ships, approves design drawings, surveys ships at shipyards during construction, certifies materials and components at manufacturing plants, and surveys ships in operation. DNV certifies about 4,500 oceangoing ships, or 15 percent of the world fleet.

The company broadened its business to include the petroleum industry when oil was found offshore Norway in 1969. Subsequently, DNV also became the certifying agent for mobile drilling units and, throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, gradually became involved in certifying systems and products in many industries all over the world. Today DNV considers itself a leading service company in risk management, applying skills and knowledge to many industries, such as maritime, petroleum, automobile, airline, and railway.

On career highlights

At Det Norske Veritas I took part in the introduction and the use of data programs for analyzing ships, such as very large ships for carrying crude oil and ships for carrying liquefied natural gas, which employed very slender spherical tanks of enormous dimensions—and which posed enormous structural, materials, and fabricational challenges to me and my colleagues.

Then, in 1980, I headed the commission to investigate a tragic accident in the North Sea: the capsizing of a mobile platform that led to 123 deaths. This was a demanding and special task, one I've never forgotten. What caused the accident, and how could such an accident be prevented in the future? We found the answers and learned.

My current responsibilities involve strategy planning and processes—intriguing work in which we consider what-if scenarios and plan for alternative futures.

On an early influence

Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring made a great impression on me in the early 1960s. It was the first book that opened the eyes of the general public with respect to the environment and how we use this planet we live on. A natural part of my work with Det Norske Veritas deals with safety, not only for people and property, but for the environment as well. As I have become involved in maritime and petroleum-related issues over the years, concerns for social responsibilities—whether about oil spills or CO-2 emissions to the atmosphere or other matters—are also something that I cherish.

On a prospective teaching career

I am retiring this year from Det Norske Veritas. Thereafter, I am considering taking up teaching at the Norwegian School of Economics and Management, in strategy and risk management. Teaching keeps you alive, ensures that you are staying in touch with young people, and ensures that you stay in touch with the future.

1996– :
Strategy Planning and Processes, Use of Scenarios, Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
1996– :
Chairman, Industrial Council, Norwegian University for Technology and Natural Sciences
1994– :
Vice President, World Petroleum Congresses
Certification of Ships, Strategy Planning, DNV
1991– :
Senior Vice President, Corporate Functions
Project Manager, Total Safety Class (of Ships)
Group Executive Vice President, Corporate Staff
President, Polytechnical Society of Norway
President, Veritas Offshore & Technology Services
Executive Vice President, DNV
Vice President, Offshore Department, Ship Division
Chairman, A. L. Kielland Accident Commission
Corporate Staff, DNV
Managing Director, Aker Engineering
Vice President and Head of Research, DNV
Research Engineer, Department Manager, DNV
Norwegian Navy
MScCE '59, Norwegian Institute of Technology; MSCE '61, PhD '64, Purdue University