School Honors Eleven

The School of Engineering celebrated the accomplishments of 11 alumni and friends during a gala awards banquet held on March 15, 2011. The celebration capped a day in which the new inductees to the School of Engineering Hall of Fame presented seminars and panel discussions on widely ranging topics, including America’s highway infrastructure, the “intrapreneurial mind,” the role of university/industry/government collaboration in research, entrepreneurial mentorship, GE’s strategies of reducing water consumption, and strategies for women engineers in a predominately male profession, among others.

In his introductory remarks, Dr. Peter Nicholls, UConn’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, applauded the School on the important economic contributions made by faculty and alumni and noted that in his meetings with state legislators, the School of Engineering is always a point of pride. Surveying the diverse assembly, he reflected upon the generosity and critical support of alumni, industrial partners and friends in building a stronger UConn community, championing the university, supporting new business launches and collaborating with faculty.

Dean of Engineering Mun Y. Choi, Associate Dean for Research & Strategic Initiatives Kazem Kazerounian, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education & Diversity Marty Wood, and Dr. Nicholls presented the Distinguished Engineering Service and Academy of Distinguished Engineers awards. In receiving their awards, each of the new inductees reflected upon their relationship with UConn and the strong influence it had on their career or current endeavors. Several mentioned specific engineering professors who profoundly influenced their educational and career choices. The recipients unanimously lauded Dean Choi for his leadership in transforming the engineering culture into a more agile, business-friendly and collaborative environment.

The Distinguished Engineering Service awards honor individuals who have generously provided service, time and resources to the School of Engineering. The Academy of Distinguished Engineers honors alumni whose careers are characterized by their sustained and exemplary contributions to the engineering profession.

Receiving the Distinguished Engineering Service Awards were:

  • Allan J. Brockett, PE – Vice President of Engineering – Module Centers, Pratt & Whitney

    Al Brockett is Vice President of Engineering – Module Centers for Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford. During his 32-year career with the company, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in systems and module center engineering, and operations. In 2002, he received the ASME Hartford Section Engineer of the Year Award. He has fostered strong alliances between Pratt & Whitney and the UConn School of Engineering. He led Pratt & Whitney’s establishment of a Center of Excellence at UConn for advanced research in the field of advanced sensors, diagnostics, and controls for use in aircraft propulsion systems. He also spearheaded the United Technologies Corp. effort establishing the “Engineering Ambassadors” program among UConn and several other universities, aimed at attracting greater numbers of qualified female and minority students into engineering professions. He serves on the Advisory Boards for the Georgia Tech University School of Aerospace Engineering, the UConn School of Engineering, and Pennsylvania State University School of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. Mr. Brockett is also Board Chairman for Infotech Aerospace Services—Puerto Rico, and a director for Infotech Enterprises—India. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University.

  • Heidi S. Douglas – founder and Managing Partner, Nuventus LLC

    Heidi Douglas is founder and managing partner of Nuventus LLC, serving small to mid-size high tech and life sciences companies. She is a Director at Decision Options, LLC, Corporate Secretary for Mystic Technology Partners Inc., and a co-founder, former President and CEO of MysticMD Inc. Earlier in her career, she was a partner in Deloitte Consulting’s High Technology practice and held managerial positions at Pfizer Inc. and Syntex (USA) Inc. (now Roche Bioscience). In 2010, she received the Connecticut Technology Council’s Women of Innovation award for Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership, and in 2009 she received the University of New Haven’s (UNH) Distinguished Alumni Award. Ms. Douglas serves on the UConn School of Engineering Advisory Board and has worked diligently to develop a grass-roots fundraising effort. She is a member of the Connecticut-based Angel Investor Forum and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut Women and Girls Fund Grant Committee. Ms. Douglas and her husband endowed the Joel S. and Heidi S. Douglas Engineering Scholarship at UConn in 2007. She received her B.S. in biology from UConn, an M.S. in computer and information science from UNH, and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Hartford.

  • Daniel Serfaty – founder, Chairman and CEO, Aptima, Inc.

    Daniel Serfaty is founder, Chairman and CEO of Aptima, Inc. a leader in the emerging field of human-centered engineering, with 125 employees and $25 million in annual revenue. Under his stewardship, Aptima has pioneered the use of quantitative modeling of human systems for the purpose of optimizing system performance. Mr. Serfaty began his career at Alphatech, an MIT-UConn spin-off (now BAE Systems), where—starting as a graduate student—he developed the now widely-used distributed dynamic decision-making multi-person gaming simulator for research on team performance, under the direction of UConn professor David L. Kleinman. He served on the UConn School of Engineering’s Advisory Board(2006-08) and currently serves on UConn’s Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Department’s Industrial Advisory Board. He holds B.S. degrees in mathematics/physics, psychology, and aeronautical engineering from the Universite de Paris and the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology; an M.S. in aeronautical engineering from Technion; and a MBA from UConn. Under Dr. Kleinman, he conducted doctoral work in UConn’s ECE department involving a systematic approach to the analysis of distributed decision-making in dynamic and uncertain environments.

Distinguished Engineers Awards were presented to:

  • Gary H. Bernstein (B.S. Electrical Engineering, ’79) – Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering, Notre Dame

    Gary Bernstein is the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. During his 22 years at Notre Dame, he has been founding Director of the Notre Dame Nanoelectronics Facility, received an NSF White House Presidential Faculty Fellowship, and was a co-principal investigator in Notre Dame’s SRC/NSF-funded MIND (Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery) Center. He co-founded Indiana Integrated Circuits, LLC, which aims to improve the efficiency and scale of microelectronics systems through compact packaging solutions based on his invention of Quilt Packaging. Dr. Bernstein, who holds eight patents, demonstrated the smallest transistor gate length at the time (1986), contributed to the development and first demonstration of Quantum-dot Cellular Automata, was a co-inventor of improved electron beam lithography processes, and demonstrated a world-record chip-to-chip bandwidth (at least 100 GHz). Dr. Bernstein has authored or co-authored more than 190 publications, has been the principal investigator on more than $9 million in funded research projects, is a Fellow of the IEEE and received the Notre Dame Kaneb Teaching Award in 2001. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and Arizona State University, respectively.

  • Hadi Bozorgmanesh (B.S. Mechanical Engineering, ’70) – Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences, UConn R&D Corporation; formerly Senior VP of corporate development, SAIC

    Hadi Bozorgmanesh is Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences for the UConn R&D Corporation. Before joining UConn, he was the Senior Vice President for corporate development of Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), La Jolla, CA. He is regarded as an authority on high-tech defense and energy technologies. As a co-inventor of thermal neutron activation technology for use in air transport, he was honored with induction into Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Laureate Hall of Fame (1989). Thermal neutron analysis and related nuclear based devices were commercially developed by SAIC and are used in airports and other high-traffic transit centers for bomb and contraband detection. During his long career with SAIC, he served as Operation Manager at the San Francisco unit; Corporate and Senior Vice President for Corporate Development at SAIC in La Jolla; President and Managing Director of SAIE France; and Chairman of SAIC Europe Ltd. and SAIC Ltd. Dr. Bozorgmanesh led SAIC’s development of a $300 million/year subsidiary, SAIC Europe. He also secured the contract for, and oversaw design of, a bomb-detection system to screen cargo and freight trains traveling through the Eurotunnel. He received a B.A. from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn (’70), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (’77) in nuclear science and engineering at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

  • Richard D. Breault (B.S. Chemical Engineering, ’64) – consultant to United Technologies Corporation (retired from UTC)

    Richard Breault enjoyed an impressive 34-year career with United Technologies Corp., East Hartford before retiring in 1997. Mr. Breault worked on the research, product development and manufacture of phosphoric acid and PEM fuel cells and is recognized at UTC for having made significant contributions toward the development of fuel cell stack designs for stationary phosphoric acid power plants. During the 1980s and 1990s, he led UTC Power’s development of the PureCell Model® 200 cell stack for stationary power applications and was instrumental in the novel design of the five-year cell stack design that distinguished the Model 200 power plant. This unit has been the most widely used fuel cell product in the world, with over 270 systems installed across 19 countries on six continents. Later, as a consultant to UTC Power, he helped the company design the next generation stationary cell stack; these efforts doubled the life of the Model 200 and underpin UTC Power’s PureCell Model® 400, currently in production. Mr. Breault is an inventor on more than 75 patents, authored a chapter in the Handbook of Fuel Cell Fundamentals, Technology and Applications, and received a Pratt & Whitney Special Award in 1991 for “Outstanding Contribution to another UTC Business Unit.”

  • Shi-Chung Chang (M.S., Ph.D. Electrical & Systems Engineering, ’83, ’86) – Commissioner, National Communications Commission, Taiwan

    Shi-Chung Chang is serving a four-year term as Commissioner of the National Communications Commission, Taiwan, Republic of China. He is responsible for regulation policy design, deployment and execution for telecommunication and broadcasting systems and services. In addition, he is a professor of electrical engineering at the National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei. He has held various academic and administrative positions at the National Chi Nan University and NTU. Dr. Chang has published more than 160 technical papers, and received the Annual Class A Research Award from the National Science Council of Taiwan 11 times. Dr. Chang has made outstanding contributions to semiconductor manufacturing system optimization, and he pioneered collaborative research on optimal production scheduling and control with Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing industry, which accounts for more than 20% of the world semiconductor supply. His novel integration of system theories and optimization methods and innovative scheduling algorithm designs led to successful field applications of more than 15% production increases and more than 10% inventory reductions in major foundry companies in Taiwan. In 1996, he received the National Award of Outstanding Achievements in University-Industry Collaboration from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

  • Michael D. Curtis, PE (M.S., Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, ’80, ’87) – Director of Strategic Development and Executive Vice President, Fuss & O’Neill

    Michael Curtis is Director of Strategic Development and an Executive Vice President at Fuss & O’Neill Consulting Engineers, Manchester, CT. Early in his career, he worked with the Connecticut DEP Bureau of Water Management’s Planning Section, and for two years he served as a lecturer in the Civil & Environmental Engineering department at UConn. Since then, for his nearly 25 years with Fuss & O’Neill, Dr. Curtis has concentrated on municipal and industrial facility and environmental issues, including wastewater treatment, waste minimization and pollution prevention efforts. He has managed numerous municipal and industrial study and design projects throughout the region. For the last decade, he has been instrumental in creating a diverse set of new services at Fuss & O’Neill, bringing cutting-edge facility energy management, industrial maintenance excellence and production, and ‘carbon engineering’ to many facets of facility design and construction. For several years, he has concentrated on transforming portions of Fuss & O’Neill from a service company to a leader in sustainable/green research initiatives. Sponsored research projects in microbial fuel cells, cathode and anode design, indoor air quality improvement and innovative approaches to advanced wastewater treatment are ongoing. New research initiatives in real-time facility commuter trip reduction and anaerobic process are being planned. These efforts are changing the firm from a classic engineering firm to a recognized leader in innovation and design.

  • Victoria Margiott (B.S. Chemical Engineering, ’83) – Lead Systems Engineer, Hamilton Sundstrand’s Extravehicular Mobility Unit

    Victoria Margiott is the lead Systems Engineer for Hamilton Sundstrand’s Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), NASA’s spacesuit used on shuttle missions and on the International Space Station. Ms. Margiott’s responsibilities include management of staff to ensure adherence to customer requirements, validation and verification. Under her guidance, the team has modified the original ‘70s space suit design to support 25 space walks over a six-year deployment—a four-fold increase over the EMU’s early capabilities. During her 20 years with the company, she has also provided technical support for spacesuit failure troubleshooting, analysis and resolution; real-time support of spacewalks from both the Windsor Locks facility and Houston’s Mission Evaluation Room; and new hardware development, including the IRC02 transducer and the enhanced caution and warning system. She has received the coveted Silver Snoopy award and the NASA Manned Spaceflight Award for overall achievement and technical acumen. Earlier in her career, Ms. Margiott worked with the Treadwell Corporation and International Fuel Cells (now UTC Power). She is committed to encouraging young women to pursue careers in science and engineering, volunteers for the UConn Multiply Your Options one-day workshop for middle schools girls, and supports community outreach through numerous space suit demonstrations such as “Women Take Flight.”

  • Kristin Morico, PE, BCEE, CSP (M.S. Civil Engineering, ’90; EMBA, Business Administration, ’04) – Global Leader, General Electric’s Water Program

    Kristin Morico is Global Leader of General Electric’s Water Program working in the Corporate Environmental Program department in Fairfield, CT. Overseeing a variety of global programs across GE, she is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of GE’s 4th ecomagination commitment to reduce water consumption 25% by 2015; leads global wastewater and EPCRA/PRTR compliance programs; spearheads GE’s new Environmental Excellence Certification Program; and provides strategic leadership for a companywide PSM task force. During her 26-year career, Ms. Morico has held positions of increasing responsibility within companies that include Clairol; Malcolm Pirnie; ABB/Combustion Engineering, where she was Environmental Compliance Officer; Pratt & Whitney, where she was Director of Global Environmental Programs, and EHS Governance; and Tyco International, where she was Director of Environmental Programs. She is a licensed Professional Engineer, Board Certified Environmental Engineer in the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, Certified Safety Professional, and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, advisor to the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, and was recently appointed a lecturer at Yale FES. Ms. Morico received her B.S. in biology from Fairfield University, a MEM in Environmental Management from Yale University, and an EMBA from UConn.

  • Jeffrey F. Paniati, PE (B.S. Civil Engineering, ’82) – Executive Director, Federal Highway Administration

    Jeffrey Paniati is the Executive Director of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). He serves as the chief operating officer, and assists the FHWA Administrator in establishing policies, programs and priorities for the $40 billion annual federal-aid highway program. He oversees a workforce of approximately 2,900 transportation professionals nationwide, and an annual operating budget of $400 million. Mr. Paniati served as Acting Deputy Administrator in 2009 and led the initial implementation of the $27.5 billion highway investment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). He has overseen the Act’s successful implementation in funding more than 12,000 projects, improving thousands of miles of roadways and bridges nationwide. As Executive Director, Mr. Paniati has led significant organizational changes, enhanced employee learning and development, and implemented workplace and work life flexibilities at FHWA. Earlier in his career, he served as the FHWA Associate Administrator for Operations, led the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program across the U.S. Department of Transportation, and held various positions with the FHWA Office of R&D. He has received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives (2003) and the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives (2010). Mr. Paniati received his M.S. degree from the University of Maryland and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia.

Published: March 22, 2011