Spotlight: RCE Consulting, LLC provides 'missing link' for owners and operators of X-ray equipment
RCE Consulting, LLC makes sure manufacturers, distributors, installers and owners are aware of and understand regulatory requirements and responsibilities
Company name: RCE Consulting, LLC
Headquarters: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Signature Product: Turnkey, comprehensive, regulatory required written Radiation Protection Programs, work instructions, forms, State Regulations and more
1. Where did your company name originate from?
As I was trying to come up with a company name, many had already used the keyword word X-ray. One day I was preparing an FDA Initial Product Report for a cabinet X-ray equipment manufacturer, when I pulled up the FDA abbreviation on the eSubmitter software, the Product Code for CABINET X-RAY, INDUSTRIAL was (RCE). I checked some URLs and success, and RCE Consulting, LLC was born.
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
As a veteran, I served in the Navy's Nuclear Power Program as a Machinist Mate and Nuclear Chemist (ELT). I qualified on two pressurized water reactor systems. During most of my time in the Navy, I had additional duties as the Training Petty Officer for the ships I sailed. I have been teaching radiation safety since 1981. In my civilian career, I worked at nuclear power plants, nuclear waste processing facilities and nuclear cleanup projects primarily as a Corporate Radiation Safety Officer. I also continued to provide radiation safety training for all new employees.
Having left the industry briefly, I saw an ad in the newspaper in March 2004 for a Radiation Safety Officer position for a very large cabinet X-ray machine manufacturer. Because I had a close working relationship with most of the state regulators at this point, I was hired on the spot and quickly began learning the regulatory requirements for X-ray emitting devices. It did not take long before I realized that the owners of these industrial X-ray machines needed a substantial amount of more guidance and training than what was available. There was a missing link between the manufacturer who sold the X-ray equipment and the owner responsible for meeting the regulatory requirements and I knew I could help.
I used my knowledge and experience gained in over 25 years of regulatory compliance, radiation protection program development and my training skills to develop regulatory required written RP Programs for each state and Canadian Province and then proceeded to develop the training materials required for security and industrial cabinet X-ray systems, full body backscatter and transmission X-ray screening systems and other radiation emitting devices. RCE fills that void by now offering a full range of regulatory compliance materials and training options, including our online training courses, which have now exceeded 1,000+ X-ray operators and 100+ RSO's in just two years since we purchased our LearnDash Learning Management System.
I started RCE Consulting LLC part-time in March 2008 and went completely on my own July 1, 2015. It has been the best career decision I have ever made. I have a compassion for compliance and for helping people obtain a clear understanding of what is required and helping them meet those requirements.
3. What is your signature product and how does it work?
RCE offers turnkey, comprehensive, regulatory required written Radiation Protection Programs, work instructions, forms, State Regulations and more to any owner of a radiation emitting device such as security or industrial cabinet X-ray systems, Category 1 and Category 2, Class A Full Body Screening Systems used at correctional facilities, bottle fill checkers, handheld XRF and density thickness gauges to name a few. These RP Programs are available for onsite training or prior to for webinars and online for immediate download from our website.
In addition to the required RP Program, RCE also offers on-site, webinar and online X-ray operator radiation safety courses and RSO courses specific to the type of equipment being used, specifically security/industrial cabinet X-ray equipment and full body scanning systems.
Interested owner/operators can contact RCE directly by phone or email and request a quote for onsite or webinar services or they can go directly to the website and purchase the applicable RP Program for their State or Province and they can purchase any course (single user or group). For large group orders of 25+ seats or more, we will offer a discount via a purchase order. We have options for every budget. We do except purchase orders or direct secure payment using any major debit or credit card.
4. Why do you believe your products are essential to the corrections community?
Police departments, courthouses, jails, correctional facilities, critical infrastructure buildings, corporations using private security officers use security type cabinet X-ray machines to scan materials before entering a facility. These systems are used primarily for “threat detection.” There are many facilities who have more than one cabinet X-ray machine with the second used at the exit of a facility for “theft prevention.” Correctional facilities are using both backscatter X-ray full body scanning systems and now the transmission X-ray full body scanning systems to reduce the amount of contraband smuggled into the facility by inmates, staff and visitors.
Unfortunately, many of these X-ray systems have not been registered with their State as required, they have no designated facility Radiation Safety Officer as required who is responsible for regulatory compliance and radiation safety. They do not have the required postings and they are not routinely inspecting the X-ray equipment, testing the safety features when required and routine radiation surveys are not being performed.
The biggest problem I see is from a lack of knowledge and training in the operations, precautions and potential radiation hazards that exist with these X-ray machines.
Since the human body cannot sense the presence of radiation, operators and maintenance personnel make bad assumptions since they cannot hear, see, smell, touch or taste radiation. I have encountered numerous X-ray systems with missing, altered or removed shielded curtains at the entry and exit of the X-ray machine creating elevated radiation levels. I have found machines with missing warning labels, warning lights burnt out, extension shrouds removed, E-Stops unplugged and several X-ray machines with the safety interlocks intentionally bypassed. You can go on the internet and see numerous pictures of people riding through the X-ray machine or using the X-ray machine for frivolous purposes on a dare or as a joke. The radiation levels emitted by the “primary beam” inside these machines is more than 10,000 times greater than on the outside of the machine. A properly trained and knowledgeable work force is a safe and compliant work force.
5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
Our biggest challenge is making sure manufacturers, distributors, installers and owners are fully aware of and understand their specific regulatory requirements and responsibilities. Have you ever tried to read regulations? You really have to know the language and their meaning in order to understand what is applicable to your application and X-ray equipment. There is a regulatory check and balance built into the manufacturing, distribution, installation, reporting and registering of these X-ray systems. When one link is broken, the regulatory system is compromised as is the potential safety of the operator and the general work force.
6. What makes your company unique?
RCE Consulting, LLC is unique because we offer a complete compliance package. You will find many companies who will sell you an X-ray machine, but very few offer the actual guidance, assistance, materials and training a new owner requires. We have assisted manufacturers, distributors and installers in meeting their regulatory registration and reporting requirements and we especially pride ourselves in being one of the only companies to our knowledge to provide the owner/operator with all the guidance, materials and training required to be fully compliant. RCE provides written RP Program materials, which no other company offers to our knowledge and RCE training courses and materials meet the most stringent State requirements (CA Title 17, paragraph 30337).
RCE Consulting, LLC provides a COVID safe online training solution for cabinet X-ray and full body scanning systems so gathering large groups is not necessary. We are available 24/7 if our client has questions and we can accommodate live video chat via Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams.
7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?
Most of our customers' feedback includes comments like they are so glad they found out about our services and training because they had no idea what was required initially. They tell me there was no way they could have developed such a State compliant comprehensive RP Program and the training I provide was excellent, fun, interactive and they even like my bad jokes. With 40+ years of experience, I have lots of stories I can share. I had a INPO Instructor at a nuclear power plant tell me in December 2020 it was some of the best online training he had seen. He ordered 210 radiation safety courses for the cabinet X-ray security officers to take. That was a huge complement and my personal favorite to date, which I am very proud of.
We currently have long-term contracts and provide online training to some of the largest companies in the world, as well as many city, county and state police officers, private security officers located at jails, courthouses and correctional facilities throughout the U.S. Whether you need materials and training for one person or 500 people, our product can serve any number; we are doing it now. References are available upon request.
8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?
As I mentioned before, I have a compassion for compliance and safety. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and I am absolutely gobsmacked (my wife is British) when my clients express their appreciation with the course presentations and our regulatory services and materials. I have been very fortunate in my career to work with some very intelligent and amazing people, who I have learned so much from. I feel it is my turn to mentor and share my life experiences with others so they, too, can learn. I do enjoy hearing from my clients after they get inspected and tell me they passed with flying colors. There has been more than one occasion where one of my clients told me the State absolutely loved the Radiation Protection Programs I provide.
9. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety or the community?
My wife and I do support the Salvation Army and the ASPCA. I have been known to occasionally give away a few online courses here and there to my first responder clients in need of just a couple more courses than anticipated.
10. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you'd like to share with our users about you or your company?
I taught 100 onsite radiation safety training courses from November 2009 to February 2010 to 1,500+ cabinet X-ray operators for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. This was the first time civilians were trained to operate the security machines at any Olympics. I am currently a working member of the ANSI N43.17 Standard committee.
The highest radiation level from a radioactive source I have ever encountered during a cleanup project was 1000 Roentgens/hour. That is 1,000,000,000 microRoentgen. You are exposed to about 10 microRoentgen/hour from background radiation sources.
11. What's next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
We have never really advertised or marketed our business until now because most of our clients we do business with have heard of RCE Consulting, LLC by word of mouth, our website and mainly through the distributors of radiation emitting systems selling our services and products as an optional add on.
We are in the middle of providing a substantial amount of online training to some very large companies at multiple facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada. We have updated all of our regulatory programs, added some new helpful guides and instructions and all of our online training courses now include video, audio and visual instruction, exams and certificates. We have plenty of bandwidth to accommodate multiple students taking the courses at the same time. If you need a copy of an operators training certificate or a training status report, we can provide that as well.
Utilizing Corrections1 by Lexipol is our first marketing investment and outreach campaign to reach this very important industry. We hope to get our message out to those of you who own and operate X-ray radiation emitting equipment and to those of you who are responsible for security, radiation safety and regulatory compliance. For those of you who may be curious to find out if you are compliant or not and to those of you who are searching for a complete solution to your regulatory compliance needs, we are here, ready to serve and assist.