Charles Jokel, a noise control engineer at the Army Public Health Center (Provisional), was recently named a winner in the fiscal year 2015 Defense Standardization Program. An achievement award was presented to Jokel at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes ceremony March 16.
Jokel and his fellow Department of Defense teammates earned the award for work they did to develop a new noise limit standard for military materiel. The previous noise limit standard was developed in the 1970s, when scientists and engineers had limited information on how loud noise impacts overall hearing. Forty years later, and by using modern tools and equipment, Jokel and his team were successful at developing a new, evidence-based noise standard that was recently adopted by the DOD.
"The new noise limit is a significant achievement because it allows us to take another step in preventing hearing injuries for our DOD personnel," said Jokel.
Those who know Jokel well say they are not surprised that he received such a prestigious award. His colleagues say he makes tremendous contributions to the Army.
"Chuck is one of those people who make coming to work very enjoyable," said Lt. Col. Martin Robinette, the Army Hearing Program manager at the APHC. "His intellect and grasp of acoustical problems makes every discussion a learning experience, and his depth and breadth of experience and knowledge make him a unique resource within the DOD. I'm very glad that he is a part of our team."
While Jokel was proud to be recognized by the DOD, he does not take all of the credit for his success.
"It wasn't just me…it was a team effort," said Jokel. "The people who worked on the committee are the world's foremost experts in each of the service branches. All of them were key elements in getting the work done."
Jokel's path to becoming an Army employee was not a straight one, but a varied one that took many detours. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Brooklyn College and a master's degree in teaching at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. His first job consisted of teaching science to seventh grade students in Montgomery County, Maryland public schools, pioneering a new science curriculum to these young students.
But Jokel was not satisfied with his career, so he went back to school for his first love: engineering. He earned a second master's degree in the engineering field from the University of Texas.
He then landed a job working as a noise consultant for industry and worked at
Bolt, Beranek and Newman firm, where he had the privilege of working with experts in noise and noise control. BBN designed the acoustical features in many of the world's most renowned concert halls and famous buildings, starting with the United Nations facility in New York City.
Eleven years ago, Jokel was recruited to work for the Army, and he admits that it is the highlight of his career.
"I think it was fortunate for the Army and me that we found each other," said Jokel.
He enjoys his current job duties which include serving as a subject matter expert for noise in preparing health hazard assessments for new Army equipment and materiel; making recommendations for safe levels of noise exposure and performing general consulting on noise questions worldwide.
"It's good that I have teaching experience," said Jokel. "I often have to take technically complex issues and communicate then in a way that a general audience can understand."
Although Jokel has been working for more than 40 years in the noise consulting business, he does not plan to retire anytime soon.
"Every day presents a new challenge at APHC," said Jokel. "I love the work I do, and I am having fun."