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College honors illustrious alumni at 18th annual awards celebration

Fifteen alumni from The Ohio State University College of Engineering and one community volunteer were honored during the 18th Annual Excellence in Engineering and Architecture Awards on October 9, 2015.

Since the 1950s, the College of Engineering has honored alumni for extraordinary personal achievements, outstanding contributions to the fields of engineering and architecture, and remarkable service to the college.

“Tonight is about celebrating the accomplishments of 16 of our best and brightest…..and how well you represent this great college in all corners of the globe,” Dean David B. Williams, the Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean’s Chair, said during the celebration. “What an extraordinary, diverse group we have here, representing the best that the College of Engineering has produced over the decades.”

Thomas E. Claugus (BS ’73, chemical engineering) received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership. He is the president and senior portfolio manager of GMT Capital, a hedge fund with $5 billion in assets. Claugus’ innovative, data-driven and persistent approach in the highly volatile field of hedge fund investing has earned superior returns for his investors and received widespread recognition. Prior to founding GMT Capital, he spent a total of 17 years with Rohm and Haas, beginning his career with the company as a process engineer and culminating as regional director for Europe.

Jim Cates (MS ’71, computer and information science) received the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal and has more than 30 years of experience in the IT field, including at IBM and four high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. He currently works with startups, non-profits and the California Community Colleges system to increase diversity in the STEM disciplines for industry and is co-leading the creation of a two-year cyber security degree program at Merritt College in Oakland.

George J. Kontogiannis, founder of architectural firm George Kontogiannis and Associates and the Colonial American Development Corporation, was awarded the Meritorious Service Citation. A supporter of many charitable and philanthrophic causes, his many contributions to the college include funding a yearly scholarship at the Knowlton School of Architecture, serving on the school’s campaign committee and contributing time and resources to the school’s mentoring efforts.

Honorees at the 18th Annual Excellence in Engineering and Architecture Alumni Awards

Chakka Parker (BS ’02, electrical and computer engineering; MS ’04, electrical engineering), a strategic project and engineering manager at Raytheon Company within Space and Airborne Systems, was presented with the Texnikoi Outstanding Alumni Award. Exemplifying service and mentoring to others, Parker is actively involved in Raytheon’s diversity and inclusion, STEM and recruitment efforts. She also serves her alma mater through her involvement in undergraduate recruiting efforts and on the Board of Governors of the university’s Undergraduate Admission, University Orientation, and First Year Experience Alumni Society.

The 12 alumni honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards for outstanding professional achievement in engineering and architecture include:

  • Ardeshir Contractor (MS ’86, mechanical engineering), is the CEO and founder of Kiran Energy, India’s leading solar energy utility, supplying power to the government and top industrial firms from large power plant sites in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Richard B. Davis (PhD ’89, biomedical engineering) retired following a 35-year career at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He served in various administrative roles, including associate executive director for University Hospital and the Ross Heart Hospital. Davis led the planning, design and opening of the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, oversaw two of its expansions, and served as associate project manager for the center’s $1.1 billion expansion project.
  • Robert B. Dybdal (BS ’64, MS ’64, PhD ’68, electrical engineering) is a distinguished engineer with The Aerospace Corporation, where he has worked for 45 years, and an adjunct professor with Ohio State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Carrie Maykuth Gordon (BS ’74, metallurgical engineering, MS ’79 welding engineering) coordinated quality and cost optimization efforts at Ford Motor Company during her 28-year career in the automotive industry. Now retired, Gordon spends much of her time volunteering in the community.
  • Raymond S. Kalouche (BS ’83, MS ’85, civil engineering) is president and chief executive officer of Tube City IMS, LLC as well as a member of its board of directors. He is also a member and previous chairman of the National Slag Association’s Board of Directors.
  • Edward Henry Martin (BS ’57, MS ’64, electrical engineering) is a retired Boeing Company Technical Fellow who is recognized nationally for his extensive expertise in the evolution of the Global Positioning System (GPS). In addition to Boeing, Martin also held positions at Autonetics, Rockwell-Collins and Rockwell Satellite.
  • Jeffrey P. Morosky (BS ’81, landscape architecture) is the managing executive for the Landscape Architecture Design Studio at Walt Disney Imagineering. Since 1997, he has led the Landscape Architectural Studio responsible for Disney Theme Parks and Resorts worldwide, including retail, dining and entertainment districts.
  • Frank A. Paluch (BS ’86, aerospace engineering) is president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., which is responsible for the complete product creation of Honda and Acura automobiles and light trucks, as well as Honda powersports and power equipment products, for North American and global markets. Before joining Honda, he was a lead project engineer for McDonnell Douglas Corporation’s aircraft modification programs throughout the United States and in Italy, Portugal, England and Thailand.
  • Bhavesh (Bob) V. Patel (BS ’88, chemical engineering) is chief executive officer of LyondellBasell and chairman of the company’s management board. He also serves on the executive committee and the board of directors for the American Chemistry Council.
  • Omar A. Sawaf (BS ’77, industrial and systems engineering) is the chairman and CEO of Yellowstone Capital Partners, a boutique merchant bank and venture capital firm based in Houston, Texas. Previously, he was president of Capital Guidance Corporation.
  • Mark Schendel (MS ’87, architecture) is managing principal of Studio Gang Architects, an award-winning architecture and urban design practice based in Chicago and New York. He has taught courses at Chicago’s renowned Illinois Institute of Technology since 1996.
  • Deborah Shands (MS ’88, PhD ’94, computer and information science) is a program director for the National Science Foundation’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program, which provides more than $70 million annually in funding for scientific research and education in the areas of security and privacy. She is on rotation from The Aerospace Corporation where she is a researcher and consulting security architect/engineer for space systems.

Learn more about the 18th Annual Excellence in Engineering & Architecture Alumni Awards honorees in the awards program and brief recap video, or view photographs from the event.