Dale Norwood of Norwood NDT Consulting describes how he blew the whistle on an NDT company in the 1990s after seeing falsified inspections. He's a 45-year veteran of the NDT industry, as well as the owner of the Norwood NDT Consulting and the author of the recent book, Diary of an Aerospace Whistleblower. He will also be speaking at the Quality Show South coming up this May in Nashville. His session is called Ethics in NDT, an Aerospace Whistleblower Shares His Story.

Quality: I really enjoyed reading your book and I want to read more like it. It was such an interesting story and true. Such unusual characters and experiences you had. So can you start by just telling our audience a little more about the book itself?

Dale: The book takes a reader through what I went through in the late 80s and up to 1990, when I was working for an independent testing laboratory in Dallas, Texas. And over the years, they started falsifying NDT inspections and it finally just got too much to handle. And I talk about how I hired an attorney and blew the whistle on the company and worked with the DOJ and helped shut down this company that was doing all the falsifications. So it's kind of a quick summary of the book. And we originally, me and the co-writer started the book, probably 20 something years ago, but since I was still actively employed in the industry, I put a stop to publishing it because whistleblowers still do not have that good of a reputation in the industry and I needed to provide for my family. So after I retired, I figured, you know what? It's time to put the book out there.

Quality: You talked about whether or not things have changed, but would you talk a little bit about that? I know we were talking about your presentation and you were saying, does the NDT industry still have an ethics issue? Yes or no? Give us a little, some thoughts on that.

Dale: Some things I will cover in my presentation. I'll go over examples of not only falsifications that cost companies millions of dollars, but just situations where individuals did not do the proper inspection and it still costs their company millions of dollars. The industry is getting a lot better. It is a lot better than it was back in the 90s, but the industry still has an ethics issue where, and it's mainly from individuals acting on their own and I don't think they realize how serious it is until they get caught. I would say back in the 80s and 90s, there were a lot of companies that were working this way. But now, especially in the aerospace industry, not we're familiar with the industrial and oil and gas side, but in the aerospace industry, there is now NADCAP oversight audits and it's a lot easier to detect a large fraud that's going on than it used to be. Definitely. That's kind of comforting to think it's more of a single bed actor versus like a company-wide, you know, systemic overlooking something. That seems to be what it is now. Though there has been instances in the last few years where it has flown down from the top of the company, but that is not the norm.

Quality: So I know you kind of talk a little bit in the book about why you wanted to write it, but could you tell us more about what made you want to put this down on paper?

Dale: Well, I guess over the years, I got very lucky. I like to say that it was it was from possibly incompetence of the local Dallas, Fort Worth media during my whistleblower case where. We assumed, my attorney and the DOJ, everyone assumed that when it got to the federal courthouse that, and it became known that I was the whistleblower, that everyone would be wanting to, my name would be out there and they let me know it was not gonna go well. But the fact that it didn't, and most people didn't know, but in the North Texas area, word got around and I had multiple people over the years say, you know, you should really write a book about this experience and you should really let everybody know what's going on in your case and what's going on in the industry. So that is part of the reason and part of the reason just to, I'm an older guy, document everything. So I committed, I guess it's just a little bit of history of what me and my wife went through. And I I mean, without her, I don't think I would have gotten through it. There were some difficult times, but we can't pay and I just wanted to get the story out there because there are a lot of especially in the Dallas fourth area, there are a lot of stories going around about what happened to Ultrasonic Research Corporation and they were just untruths. And so I think let's just put it out there. Yeah, that sounds really great. And yeah, that was gonna be one of my questions. It seems like your wife was so supportive and it must've been so hard for your family to handle the experience. Yeah, just, you know, and again, it seemed so difficult because it was such a long process of the, yeah, yeah. Years long.

Quality: How did you guys get through it?

Dale: It was lots of prayers. But when we, I, originally told her that I was going to blow the whistle, originally I talked to my attorney a few times about what was going on. And I think he, when I made the decision, he was surprised at the amount of fraud that was going on at the company. But there was a, on a fighter jet, there was a failure of a wing skin that was supposed to have been inspected at that facility. And I think that was, when that happened, I decided, you know, I've got to do something about this. Everybody at that company knew it was going on, but most people just left and went to work somewhere else.

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Dale will be speaking at The Quality Show South May 1 at 3:30 p.m. For more information, view the agenda here.