Faculty Directory

Spivak, Steven M.

Spivak, Steven M.

Professor Emeritus
Fire Protection Engineering
6301 Beachway Drive, Falls Church, VA 22044-1510



Dr. Steven Spivak is Professor Emeritus and served as Chair of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering from 1993 until 2001. On the faculty from 1970, his main affiliation with Fire Protection Engineering was from 1992; he also worked in textile fire research, fiber science and polymer/chemical engineering. He presently maintains a full-time consultancy as textile fire safety expert, plus textiles and furnishings cleaning and restoration performance specialist. These activities include advisor and chair for technolgy and research with the Cleaning Industry Research Institute [CIRI], a unique not-for-profit research entity in the multi-billion dollars jan san, cleaning and restoration industries. He continues with CIRI a decade of service as science council chairperson, and leader of its Editorial Advisory Board for the Cleaning Science Quareterly research journal [CSQ for CIRIscience.org]. He also served as a fabric, wearing apparel and and textile materials science advisor to the National Assn. of State Fire Marshals and industry. He remains active and publishing in fire protection engineering, especially textile and clothing flammability, fire safety and burn injury potential.

Contributions have been as: (a) author and professor of national and international standards principles, practices, information and education, (b) in consumer, clothing and textiles fire safety standards and promotion of safety with consumer product standards, c) contributions to private and public sector standards and regulatory systems, including ANSI, ISO, ASTM Intl, NFPA Intl, NASFM and several Federal agencies (GSA, CPSC, DoC, FTC, Treasury), and (d) as a research scholar in fiber and textile science including textiles, clothing and furnishings flammability and fire safety. 

He received the Leo B Moore Medal from the Standards Engineering Society (SES) for "...the highest achievement, extraordinary contribution and distinguished service in the field of standardization." He also received the George S. Wham Leadership Medal from ANSI for contributions to national and international standardization. In 2001 he was honored with the Wm. T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award from ASTM International – its highest accolade with the status of Honorary Member. In 2003 he received ASTM International’s Margaret Dana Award for contributions to voluntary standards for the safety of consumer products. Dr. Spivak is a professional member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE ASSP), Fiber Society, a senior member of AATCC, He holds the rank of Fellow with The Textile Institute (FTI), Society of Fire Protection Engineers (FSFPE), and the Society for Standards Professionals (SES/SSP). 

He is the author of many scientific or technical publications and papers, and over 300 other trade press articles on textile science, consumer product standards, care and maintenance of textiles and furnishings, fabrics, clothing and furnishings flammability, also cleaning science, infection control and high performance cleaning and restoration  He is also coauthor/editor of two seminal books on national and international standardization policy and practices [ASTM Int'l., ANSI, ISO/IEC et al]..The latter tome by Drs. Spivak and F.C. Brenner is Standardization Essentials: Priciples and Practices - published by Taylor and Francis worlwide. An earlier standards information and education book with K. Winsell was A Sourcebook on Standards Information: Education, Access and Development published by G.K. Hall divn. of Macmillan & Co. 

Dr. Spivak served four terms as Director with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and Chairman (1982-1991) of the ANSI-CPSC coordinating committee and voluntary standards forum for consumer product safety. From 1991 through 1995 he was Chairman of the International Organization for Standardization's Committee on Consumer Policy (ISO/COPOLCO) and headed five years of ISO COPLCO plenary meetings. In prior years he headed USA / ANSI delegations to COPOLCO. In 2019 he co-chiared the CIRI Cleaning and Restoration Sciences research symposium. He continues a decade of service as lead science and research chair for the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (www.CIRIscience.org). He is also editorial advisor to CIRI's new (2019-2020) Cleaning Science Quarterly. a cleaning and disaster restoration sciences research journal available both print and on-line.  
While at the Univ. of Maryland, he completed annual sabbatical leaves serving the US General Services Administration (GSA) headquarters in standards and quality management; and two year-long sabbaticals in product standards policy with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST/DoC). Professor Emeritus Spivak holds B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in textile engineering, and in polymer and fiber science, the latter from the University of Manchester (UK) and prior from the Georgia Inst. of Technology. While at the Univ. of Maryland, he held faculty appointments in departments of textile science, chemical engineering, and prominently in fire protection engineering. A comprehensive curriculum vitae is available on request. Dr. Spivak's university email is



1,000th Undergrad FPE Degree Awarded

Fire protection engineering program is the only one offering accredited undergraduate degrees.

Other professional society fellows

  • American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE/ASSP), Standards Engineering Society (SES)

Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)