College recognizes 22 elite alumni for achievement, service

Posted: October 4, 2019
Awardees pose with Dean Williams at the Alumni Awards
Honorees at the 22nd Annual Excellence in Engineering and Architecture Alumni Awards

A renowned roboticist, a professor who is revolutionizing drug delivery, a former Olympian, and an oil and gas executive who advanced energy production are among the 22 alumni who will be honored at the 22nd Annual Excellence in Engineering and Architecture Alumni Awards on October 4, 2019.

The annual celebration recognizes exceptional alumni from across the College of Engineering who have achieved distinction in their fields or through their extraordinary service contributions since graduating from The Ohio State University.

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership will be presented to William G. Lowrie (BS ’66, chemical engineering), a successful oil and gas industry executive who played a major role in advancing energy production and drilling technology during his 33-career with Amoco. He has also remained a steadfast supporter of Ohio State whose transformative gifts include supporting the construction of the Koffolt Laboratories in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) Building and creating the H.C. “Slip” Slider and Umit Ozkan Professorships.

Renowned roboticist Vijay Kumar (MS ’85, PhD ’87, mechanical engineering), the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, will be awarded the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal. The National Academy of Engineering member is recognized around the world for his work on multi-robot systems and micro aerial vehicles.

Meritorious Service Citation recipient Gary L. Kinzel (BS ’68, MS ’69, mechanical engineering) is an emeritus professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) at Ohio State. During his 23-year tenure, he supervised the research of more than 100 graduate students and was strongly involved in the mechanical engineering program’s capstone design course and curriculum revisions associated with the semester conversion. He also established the Kinzel Scholarship, which supports MAE students.

Two alumni will receive the 2019 Texnikoi Outstanding Alumni Award. Laura M. Ensign (BS ’07, chemical engineering) is the inaugural recipient of the Marcella E. Woll Professorship in Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University and vice chair for research for the John Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. She created several approaches for improved drug administration that lead to increased and sustained delivery to precisely targeted cells and tissues, which minimizes side effects and reduces the frequency of doses.

Fellow Texnikoi Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient Ozan Kaya (BS ’03, industrial and systems engineering) is the chief financial officer at ShopRunner, where he leads the corporate development, data analytics, enterprise account management, finance and innovation teams. He is also an advisor for STEM company and online baby retailer Monica + Andy.

Seventeen alumni will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards for outstanding professional achievement in three distinct categories.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic Excellence

  • Peggy Agouris (MS ’88, PhD ’92, geodetic science) is the sixth provost of William & Mary, the second-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. She has authored more than 100 articles and has received more than $35 million in external research funding for her research.
  • David C. Kraft (PhD ’64, civil engineering) is professor emeritus of civil engineering and engineering management at the University of Kansas, where he served as dean of engineering, and VP and director of the Center for Research Inc. Kraft designed and fabricated the first automated cone penetrometer, which was used by the U.S. Air Force and NASA to evaluate soil runways for military aircraft and the Space Shuttle.
  • Renowned researcher and scholar Teik C. Lim (PhD ’89, mechanical engineering) is provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is an internationally recognized leading scholar in the field of structural vibrations and acoustics, as well as modeling and simulation technology.
  • A thought leader and scholar in artificial intelligence, Amit P. Sheth (MS ’83, PhD ’85, computer and information science) is the founding director of the University of South Carolina’s Artificial Intelligence Institute. He founded three companies and is among the highly cited computer scientists based on h-index (103).

Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement

  • Ana Amicarella (BS ’87, electrical engineering) serves as an independent director on the boards of Forward Air Corporation, a $1.4 billion transportation and logistics business, and Warrior Met Coal, a $1.4 billion mining business. She has over 30 years of U.S. and international experience in the energy sector. Amicarella competed in the 1984 Olympics in synchronized swimming and ended her 15-year swimming career in 1987 as the top NCAA USA collegiate athlete in the sport.
  • Denise M. Burcham (BS ’87, chemical engineering) is the venture executive in the Major Growth Ventures organization of ExxonMobil Chemical Company in Houston. She focuses on commercializing new technologies and bringing new businesses to ExxonMobil Chemical Company.

  • Cecilia (Ceal) D. Craig (BS, ’74, mechanical engineering) is a retired technology and manufacturing executive with more than 35 years of experience in high-tech industries, where she helped design and build products like the Space Shuttle computers, personal computers, and disc drives. Her passion is researching and supporting activities that inspire young women to pursue engineering, physics and computer science careers.
  • Alex Cruz (MS ’90, industrial and systems engineering) is chairman and CEO of British Airways and sits on the management committee of parent company International Airlines Group (IAG). He also is the founder of Barcelona-based airline Clickair, which merged with Vueling Airlines in 2009.
  • As a senior product development leader in Philips’ Sleep & Respiratory Care division, Stephen F. Mozelewski (MS ’91, biomedical engineering) leads the development of new medical products and software applications used in diagnosing and treating various sleep disorders. He is also the author of seven invention disclosures on new product innovations.
  • Perennial innovator William David Rudolph (BS ’83, mechanical engineering; MBA ’86) excels at growing and adapting businesses. As chairman of the Rudolph Libbe Group—five construction, energy and facility/property management companies—he has transformed the company into a multidiscipline construction services firm.
  • Tim Schmalenberger (BS ’80, landscape architecture) is co-founder and chief operating officer of MKSK, a landscape architectural, urban design and planning practice with seven regional metropolitan studios. His works include a number of signature central Ohio projects such as the Scioto Greenways and Arena District.
  • A leading expert in construction management with over 38 years in the industry, James W. Smith (BS ’81, civil engineering) is the chief executive officer of Elford Inc., central Ohio’s largest locally owned and operated construction company. He also serves on the boards of several organizations, including Elford and the Builders Exchange Foundation.
  • Susan Vasko (BS ’79, MS ’80, industrial and systems engineering; MD ’86) is a plastic surgeon with Columbus Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery and program director of Riverside Methodist Hospital’s plastic surgery residency program. She pioneered three advanced studies, one examining liposuction methods as well as research focused on infection prevention protocol utilizing tissue expanders during breast reconstruction.
  • Michael White (BS ’88, architecture) is managing director and principal at Gensler in Los Angeles, a global architecture, design and planning firm with 48 locations and worldwide revenues of over $1.2 billion. He is a leader of the firm’s global Media and Technology Practice Areas, and he has been responsible for some of today’s most innovative workplaces in these industries.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

  • Michael J. Reidelbach Sr. (BS ’69, ceramic engineering) is co-founder and past president and CEO of American Health Holding Inc., a national leader in medical management owned by Aetna. He is also co-founder of Franklinton Rising, a non-profit that purchases abandoned properties in Columbus’ Franklinton area and teaches young people how to renovate them.
  • John L. Smucker (BS ’67, mechanical engineering) founded MCE Technologies, a microwave technology company serving the defense and communications industries. As CEO, he expanded MCE Technologies’ revenues from $3 million in 1994 to $100 million in 2001. Currently, Smucker is pursuing private company acquisitions in the specialty plastics area.
  • Biotechnology innovator Michael Triplett (BS ’97, PhD ’04, chemical engineering) is co-founder of 1787 Bio LLC, a gene and cell therapy company headquartered in Columbus, and president of Carmen Partners, a life science commercialization and innovation consultancy. Triplett currently leads the InnovateOhio Life Sciences Working Group for Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, charged with proposing a life sciences economic development strategy for the state.

Learn more about the 22nd Annual Excellence in Engineering & Architecture Alumni Awards honorees in the awards program or view photographs from the event.

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