Celebrating Chris Bingel’s 15 Year Anniversary at Northeastern

An Interview with Chris Bingel

Today we are celebrating Chris Bingel’s 15th anniversary at Northeastern University as a radiation safety manager, then official Radiation Safety Officer (RSO). Through the years, Chris has been an essential asset in our office, embodying steady dedication, expertise, and commitment to ensuring a safe environment for all. Join us as we reflect on Chris’s outstanding contributions and extend our heartfelt appreciation for his years of service and dedication. 

What are some of the roles and responsibilities you have as a radiation safety officer?

My main focus is radiation safety and laser safety.  I oversee the entire radiation safety program, including radioisotope use, X-rays, magnets, and lasers. I’ve been involved with the hearing conservation program and the respiratory protection program, especially during COVID. Additionally, I occasionally get involved with lab safety and other related tasks that come up. 

What are some perks and challenges that come with managing a program by yourself?  

There are quite a few. The program has grown since I started here, particularly in radioisotope and laser use. It’s been rewarding to see the expansion, but it also means more responsibilities. Here at Northeastern [compared with prior positions], I have control over the entire operation, which I welcomed as a challenge. Overall, I’m happy with where I am now. 

How has OARS (formerly EHS) changed over the past 15 years?  

Dramatically. When I started, we were a small group. But as the university expanded, so did our department. We’ve seen changes in management and reporting structure; we now operate under the Office of the Provost, which aligns well with our focus on academic and research labs. It’s been interesting to witness the evolution over the years. With the university’s growth in the number of research labs, our department had to grow, too. I’ve been involved in the safety field, especially radiation safety, for 34 years. So, for me to see the evolution today has been quite impressive.  

 Change can be hard. But at the same time, having people come in with new ideas — especially the much younger colleagues — means I can understand modern lab culture better.   They bring a different perspective to work. I’m not afraid to receive criticism or to mentor younger staff. It makes for a much more productive and conducive work environment.”  

Altamirano training students in Biosafety

Anniversary celebration for Chris Bingel from Northeastern’s HR Happenings Magazine.

What are some of your favorite parts about working at OARS? 

People get along, understand each other, and work together; this has been the common denominator during my 15 years here at Northeastern. I’ve witnessed the evolution of the safety industry and relationships within it, especially in academia. When I arrived here at NU, I felt understood; people comprehended our purpose and existence. This made me feel comfortable working here. While you may encounter some resistance [to safety obligations] in research settings, regardless of location, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the acceptance and willingness of faculty/staff to work with safety personnel. 

What are your favorite memories from working at Northeastern? 

The most positive memories were always with the people that I worked with. Even as a longstanding staffer, I had concerns about fitting in with new faces and dynamics. The current atmosphere puts me at ease with the influx of new ideas and attitudes which foster a sense of engagement that I find invigorating. In the past, our small team worked on our own programs, mostly in isolation from each other, but now there’s greater integration and communication among colleagues, which I appreciate. This shift has made my work environment more dynamic and stimulating. While we each have our specialized areas, I value the opportunity to engage with colleagues across different disciplines. It enriches my perspective and keeps the work environment vibrant and engaging. 

What have you learned from your 15 years working at Northeastern? 

The best things you learn from life come from bad decisions, whether you are making themor somebody else. I was fortunate to be able to take all of the things that I’ve learned that didn’t work well, be proactive, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I do take pride in the programs that I oversee.”

Thank you, Chris Bingel, for your 15 years of dedication and the impact you have had on the safety of our research community!