Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Class of 2020 awards

Apr 12, 2021 23:00 · 8233 words · 39 minute read

WILLIAM A. CROSSLEY: Good evening. Welcome to the 21st Annual Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Awards.

00:10 - Tonight we’re excited to honor nine gifted alumni who have made significant contributions to aeronautics and astronautics.

00:16 - I’m Bill Crossley, the J. William Uhrig and Anastasia Vournas Head of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

00:21 - I certainly wish we were able to be together in person, engaging in conversations, posing for photos, and welcoming our outstanding alumni back to campus to meet with our students, faculty, and staff.

00:32 - But we’re happy to present this virtual event as a slightly belated way to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of our 2020 Class of Outstanding Aerospace Engineers.

00:42 - Generally referred to as the OAE, this award was established by the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1999 to honor the professional contributions of top graduates, and to thank them for the recognition their achievements bring to both Purdue and our school.

00:57 - This prestigious award has been given to about 2% of the school’s alumni since its inception.

01:02 - This group has made impacts in academia, industry and government, in technical roles, executive leadership roles, and in other endeavors that reflect the value of an aerospace engineering degree.

01:11 - You’ll hear from all nine of our recipients tonight, as well as members of our faculty.

01:16 - Thanks for joining us as we celebrate the 2020 Class of Outstanding Aerospace Engineers.

01:20 - RAN DAI: Good evening. I am Ran Dai, Associate Professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

01:31 - I have the privilege of introducing the first in our class of 2020 Outstanding Aerospace Engineers tonight.

01:43 - Douglas Adams is a member of the Principal Professional Staff in the Space Systems Engineering Group at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

01:57 - Currently, he serves as the spacecraft systems engineer on Dragonfly, a New Frontiers project that will send an octocopter to explore the surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan.

02:14 - Dragonfly, projected to launch in 2027, marks the first time NASA will fly a multirotor vehicle for science on another planet.

02:28 - It will also become the first vehicle to fly its entire science payload to multiple locations for repeatable and targeted access to surface materials.

02:42 - It will be a fascinating journey of exploration, allowing photos and video to be taken of previously undiscovered country, whether it will be a sea dune, an impact crater, chunks of ice, ridges and the ranges.

03:02 - Prior to APL, Doug spent 12 years at the Jet Propulsion Lab, working on projects ranging from Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, the Phoenix Mars Scout lander and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover.

03:26 - The School of Aeronautics and the Astronautics recognizes Douglas Adams as an outstanding aerospace engineer for his successful engineering and leadership in remarkable planetary exploration systems, including an impressive collection of success in delivering on responsibilities for critical systems, in historic US and international Mars orbiters, landers and rovers.

04:01 - DOUGLAS ADAMS: Hello, my name is Doug Adams.

04:05 - And I want to start by saying that I’m greatly honored by having been selected as an OAE.

04:12 - It’s simultaneously thrilling and humbling for me, and I thank you, sincerely, for including me in such a great tradition.

04:20 - I also want to thank all those who aided and abetted my education at Purdue I will be forever grateful to you, as well.

04:29 - My primary career impact has been as a member of the Planetary Robotic Entry Descent and Landing, or EDL, community.

04:39 - I’ve worked on, or been involved with, six Mars landings, and am now currently the Flight System Engineer for Dragonfly, a new frontiers mission that will send a rotorcraft lander to explore the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

04:55 - I’ve also developed concepts for Venus orbiters and landers, comet sampling systems on Earth return vehicles, and participated in the conceptual design of a Europa Lander.

05:08 - Probably, the single biggest foreshadowing of my career was the senior design class, AERO 451.

05:16 - Serendipitously, our project was to design a test vehicle that would launch from, and re-enter, Earth’s atmosphere.

05:23 - And looking back, it’s somewhat amazing to me how much of that experience I still use today.

05:29 - But that wasn’t an isolated incident. And over the course of my career, I found that I use something from almost every class I took at Purdue.

05:38 - And I’ve often marveled at how well Purdue prepared me for the aerospace profession.

05:44 - The professors at Purdue were fantastic. And their deep knowledge and enthusiasm for the subjects they taught were infectious.

05:51 - This fostered a curiosity in me that I still carry today.

05:56 - I came to Purdue because of its reputation, and was most definitely not disappointed.

06:03 - One of the things I enjoyed most about studying at Purdue was the opportunity to participate in the Cooperative Education Program.

06:12 - I co-oped at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which was a pretty big deal for a 19-year-old.

06:18 - And that experience added excitement to my studies, and helped me to focus on my areas of interest.

06:25 - Rather than single out a specific memory, I think the thing I recall most fondly from my days at Purdue is the camaraderie of the other students, and the support of the professors and the staff.

06:39 - I could always find a willing ear and an inquisitive mind to explore an idea.

06:45 - And that’s what we are, after all, a community of explorers.

06:50 - Thank you again, and hail Purdue. RAN DAI: I’d now like to welcome Professor Stephen Collicott to introduce our next honoree.

07:01 - STEPHEN COLLICOTT: Thank you, Professor Dai.

07:04 - The second honoree tonight is Christopher Clark, who started his career with Navy flight test at the Naval Air Test Center, and accumulated 37 years of flight test experience before retiring in February, 2018, as Chief Test Engineer at Air Test Squadron 23.

07:22 - Chris provided technical direction to a network of more than 400 engineers, technicians, and support personnel from the nav air flight test and engineering communities, support contractors, and the air frame and product manufacturers.

07:36 - The test teams under his direction conducted technology insertion experiments, mission capability evaluations, and concept exploration, using flight test and fleet exercise participation, as well as LVC test methodologies.

07:52 - Throughout his career, Chris served in numerous positions on a variety of tactical aircraft programs.

07:57 - His technical engagements spanned the fields of applied aerodynamics, flight mechanics and flight controls, aircraft weapons integration, avionics, propulsion mechanical systems, and aircraft ships suitability.

08:12 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics presents Christopher Clark with an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award for his exemplary aerospace career culminating in 17 years service as Chief Test Engineer of a US Navy flight test squadron, leading the testing of aircraft and systems, including the newest experimental carrier-based drones.

08:33 - CHRISTOPHER CLARK: I really wish we could have done this in person.

08:37 - I was looking forward to seeing Armstrong Hall and just walking the campus with my family, but it is not to be.

08:44 - My name is Chris Clark. Thank you for this incredible honor.

08:48 - And thank you to the faculty and staff of the Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics for recognizing my career and contributions to US Navy flight test.

08:56 - There are a lot of people I must thank for all the wonderful opportunities in my career.

09:01 - But first, I want to thank my wife Barbara and daughter Allie for their continuous support.

09:07 - I could never thank you enough. Many hours and trips away from home.

09:11 - You two are the center of my life. I love you always and forever.

09:16 - Also, my parents, who are now deceased, for their strong emphasis on getting a great education with solid fundamentals.

09:24 - They would say a great education gives you choices and opens doors.

09:30 - I was a civil servant with US Navy flight test community for 37 years, and given opportunities to work on some of Naval aviation’s most iconic aircraft, as well as help solve some really difficult technical problems.

09:43 - Some of these airplanes were the F18 and all of its variants, including the Super Hornet, the F14 Tomcat, the T45 Gawshawk, and even some work with the venerable F4 Phantom Two.

09:55 - I also had the opportunity to attend the US Navy Test Pilot School’s Test Engineering Curriculum.

10:00 - I graduated from there in 1983. Some of the projects assigned to me took me to NASA Dryden, where I met a lot of Purdue engineers.

10:09 - I think this experience really put Purdue front and center when I realized I needed a solid, technical master’s degree.

10:18 - Over time, you figure out that the lion’s share of aircraft test and development work is done on teams, and the scope of these teams spans a lot of technical disciplines.

10:26 - Aerodynamics, stability control, flight performance, structural dynamics, as well as shipboard integration, and weapons integration.

10:37 - That just is to name a very few that would fall under the umbrella of a large integrated test team.

10:42 - This list could go on, instrumentation team, the maintenance team, flight ops.

10:47 - And all of these teams need to work together to meet the objective of delivering a product to the Navy’s aircraft carriers.

10:54 - The individual contributions within a team are also critical.

10:59 - You need to show up prepared. I felt that the breadth and depth of the education I received at Purdue gave me the prerequisites to make positive contributions and help solve problems, or demonstrate needed capabilities for the Naval aviation fleet.

11:15 - Some of the really interesting problems included finding solutions to the Super Hornet’s wing drop, which was an asymmetrical shock induced separation that occurred maneuvering flight, the T45’s landing approach flying qualities, slow thrust response and low air frame drag made it difficult to manage precise glide slope control, which of course, is a necessity to land on an aircraft carrier.

11:38 - Near the end of my career, the shipboard integration and demonstration of the X47B.

11:44 - This was an unmanned, autonomous vehicle. Throughout my career, I served on numerous teams in a variety of capacities as a flight test engineer, a team leader, a supervisor.

11:55 - I concluded my career as the Chief Test Engineer at the Test and Evaluation Squadron VX23, with responsibilities for test execution and risk management.

12:05 - Many of the engineering problems that our teams worked on had no one right answer.

12:10 - But I think my Purdue education helped us find the best compromises.

12:14 - In addition to the academics, I made good friends that I’m still in contact with today.

12:20 - I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Bob Seltzer, who is from the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Pennsylvania.

12:27 - We spent many hours discussing the head-scratchers that Dr. Schmidt would dispense to his students.

12:34 - In closing, I would like to thank fellow Boilermakers, Lisa Kurt Sals and Tom Rider, who nominated me, as well as all those that helped them assemble the nomination package.

12:43 - I know these are never easy to do. I want to thank the Nav Air Test Squadron VX23 and the Navy flight test community for a wonderful career full of opportunities.

12:53 - And finally, a thank you to the professors whose reputation drew me to Purdue in 1986, professors Dave Schmidt, Dominick Andrisani, and Terrence Weisshaar.

13:05 - Thank you all very, very much. STEPHEN COLLICOTT: To present our next honoree, please welcome Professor Li Qiao.

13:13 - LI QIAO: Good evening. I’m pleased to introduce our next honoree, Darin DiTommaso.

13:21 - Darin’s career spans more than 30 years in the aviation industry.

13:26 - He has held numerous roles of increasing responsibility within GE Aviation in positions spanning preliminary design, product development and certification, and revenue service operation.

13:42 - He has led GE Aviation’s Digital Engineering Team, Vehicle House Management Business, and the Commercial Advanced Technology Department.

13:53 - Currently, he leads military engineering. Darren’s career has been a constant journey of learning.

14:02 - There still isn’t a day that goes by he doesn’t learn something new in the technical or leadership realm.

14:10 - He notes, this is what has made his career so satisfying.

14:15 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics recognizes Darin DiTommaso as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer for his technical leadership in the design and development of new and derivative military engine products of GE, and for successfully growing GE’S military business significantly.

14:37 - DARIN DITOMMASO: Hello, my name is Darin DiTommaso.

14:41 - Thank you. I’m honored and extremely pleased to receive the Purdue Outstanding Aerospace Engineering Award.

14:47 - I was thinking back on my experiences at Purdue University.

14:51 - It was more than just an excellent education.

14:53 - It’s the interaction with the faculty, the perseverance of your fellow students, all driving every Boilermaker to achieve success.

15:01 - My father worked in the aviation industry and my brother was a pilot.

15:04 - That, coupled with tendencies towards math and science, made aerospace engineering a pretty clear choice for me.

15:10 - And the choice for Purdue was simple. It was an excellent engineering school, and the fact that it was located in the Midwest near where I lived, was an added bonus.

15:18 - Purdue constantly challenged me to find creative solutions, applying not only the theory, but real-life experience.

15:25 - It is here where I had my first co-op experience in the aviation industry.

15:28 - And this hands-on work, coupled with the theory that I was learning at Purdue, really solidified my skills as an engineer.

15:35 - I’m fortunate to have had 34 years in the aerospace industry.

15:40 - Many opportunities to achieve challenges, experience the thrill of being part of significant successes, serving our customers, and creating solutions for the aviation industry.

15:51 - Congratulations to my fellow Outstanding Engineering Award recipients.

15:55 - It’s truly an honor to be a part of this team.

15:58 - LI QIAO: Our next Outstanding Aerospace Engineer introduction is presented by Professor Dengfeng Sun.

16:06 - DENGFENG SUN: Thank you, Professor Qiao. Douglas Joyce’s career spanned 40 years, including 27 on active duty in the United States Air Force, and 13 as a university of college educator and aviator.

16:21 - During his career with the Air Force, Doug held a variety of roles and flew and tested a variety of aircraft before retiring as a colonel in 1994.

16:31 - Early in his career, he served as a pilot and instructor in air defense, and a tactical fighter squadrons in the US and Thailand.

16:40 - That included 283 combat missions flying an F4 Phantom and F111.

16:47 - He was the first Air Force test pilot to fly the EF111 prototype aircraft.

16:53 - His a military career cumulated as the Vice Commander of a highly classified test and evaluation unit in Nevada.

17:00 - He was inducted into the Purdue ROTC Hall of Fame in 2011.

17:06 - Upon retirement from the military, he was hired as Director of a Flight Operation for Daniel Webster College, where his expertise was crucial to establishing an aerospace engineering program and gaining accreditation.

17:22 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics acknowledges Douglas Joyce as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer for his contributions in two careers.

17:30 - Earning Distinguished Flying Cross three times, test pilot and deployment of weapons systems, and leading a classified organization as a US Air Force officer, and educating students in aviation and aerospace engineering at Daniel Webster college.

17:46 - DOUGLAS JOYCE: First, I’d like to say that I’m overwhelmed and awed to be selected to join this special select group of Purdue Aerospace Engineering Alumni.

17:55 - My journey to Purdue was probably somewhat unusual.

17:59 - When I was growing up in Vermont, my dad was a corporate pilot.

18:03 - When he would have to fly the company airplane empty, like to a location for maintenance, I was able to go with him and visit a college or university nearby the destination airport.

18:14 - I had the opportunity to visit several institutions that were too far to drive to by this method.

18:21 - During the spring of my junior year in high school, my dad needed to take the airplane to Dayton, Ohio for an avionics refit.

18:29 - Mom and I were able to travel with him. My parents were then taking an airline to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where my dad was receiving a safety award at the annual National Business Aviation Association Meeting.

18:43 - I took an airline to RPM from Dayton. When I arrived at the airport, I was very impressed by the Purdue University monikers on the hangers and other buildings.

18:55 - I discovered that Purdue owned and operated the airport.

18:59 - I said to myself, this is a really aviation-oriented university.

19:04 - I took the shuttle to the main campus, got a room at the Union Hotel, and began to explore the campus on foot.

19:11 - I asked one of the students walking around where the Aeronautics and Astronautics School was and he gave me directions.

19:17 - I went in the building unannounced and asked who I should talk with to discuss applying to the school.

19:25 - I was directed to Larry Cargnino’s office. He spent a couple of hours with me explaining the curriculum and the admission process.

19:32 - He then took me out to the airport and showed me the Aero Science Laboratory with the wind tunnels and other test machinery.

19:39 - I was very impressed. He then took me back to the main campus and let me attend a class in subsonic aerodynamics.

19:47 - I was convinced that I wanted to attend this school.

19:50 - The next day, I flew to Pittsburgh to rejoin my parents, where I told them that I really wanted to attend Purdue.

19:58 - When we got back to Vermont, I immediately filled out the application paperwork and sent it off.

20:05 - I received my acceptance letter a few months later, and I was elated.

20:09 - I had even purchased a Purdue aeronautical engineers patch that had Purdue Pete with wings, which I sewed on a windbreaker and showed off to my friends.

20:18 - I still have that patch. When I got to Purdue in the fall of 1963, Larry became my faculty advisor.

20:27 - He was a great mentor and motivator, and a very big help in navigating the trials of freshman engineering.

20:34 - The sophomore year was where the fun really started.

20:37 - I was extremely impressed with the curriculum, and especially the faculty.

20:41 - The highlight of my undergraduate experience was the ANES 451 and 452 Design One and Design Two courses, taught by George Palmer.

20:53 - In Design One, we had four teams. Two teams were to design a corporate jet, and two teams were to design a fighter aircraft.

21:01 - I was in one of the fighter design groups, and we designed a strike fighter which we named The Pterodactyl.

21:07 - We won the competition between the fighter groups that was judged by engineers from industry.

21:13 - Several of the members of our design group have stayed in touch all these years, and we have had several reunion get-togethers that often included George.

21:23 - Following my Air Force career, I became a professor of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire.

21:30 - George was my model of what a great teacher should be like.

21:34 - George also became my graduate committee leader following my undergraduate career when I stayed on at Purdue for graduate school as an Air Force Lieutenant.

21:44 - In my Air Force career, the biggest career impact was my attendance at the Air Force Test Pilot School.

21:50 - During this time, the average pilot accepted into the Air Force Test Pilot school had two combat tours in different aircraft and a graduate degree in engineering.

21:59 - I had the two combat tours, and a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue most certainly helped.

22:07 - Purdue is very well thought of in the flight test community.

22:11 - In closing, I’d like to say again how honored I am in being selected for this award, and what a beautiful award it is.

22:20 - Thank you so much. DENGFENG SUN: To present our next two honorees, Professor Bill Anderson.

22:27 - WILLIAM ANDERSON: What a special honor for me to introduce a pair of my former graduate students.

22:34 - The next honoree tonight is Yen Matsutomi. I first met Yen in 2002 when she arrived at Purdue from halfway around the world, knowing no one here, but fully ready to take on all the challenges Purdue could offer.

22:48 - The experimental results she published on combustion instability, as part of her PhD research, have been used by leading CFD groups across the world as a benchmark for validating their predictive codes.

23:00 - After her PhD, Yen stayed at Purdue for one year as a postdoctoral researcher, and joined Blue Origin in 2010.

23:07 - Yen quickly advanced within Blue Origin. She spent her early years developing Blue’s test facilities in Texas.

23:14 - Then she was responsible for developing the main injector for the BE3 that has flown on all new shepherd missions, and then transitioned to a variety of lead roles.

23:24 - As Senior Director for the Engines Design Office, she is responsible for the development of design processes and tools.

23:32 - She leads a team of more than 300 engineers and technicians, and supports the executive leadership and technology roadmaps and strategy formulation.

23:41 - She is directly responsible for the talent and skills management in the engine’s office.

23:47 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics honors Yen Matsutomi with an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award for her leadership and technical expertise, and the design and development of engineering standards formulation across all engineering products of Blue Origin, including successfully demonstrating rocket booster usability with the New Shepard human spaceflight vehicle.

24:08 - YEN MATSUTOMI: Hi, everyone. My name is Yen Matsutomi.

24:13 - I find it really hard to talk about myself, all by myself.

24:17 - So I hired a mini Boilermaker to make this video with me.

24:23 - SPEAKER: How do you feel to receive this award? YEN MATSUTOMI: I’m deeply honored and humbled to receive this award.

24:34 - It goes without saying that Purdue provided all the foundational knowledge and training that are essential to start my engineering career in this industry.

24:44 - I wanted to use this opportunity to thank this one very special person to my career.

24:50 - Without this person, I would probably be back home in Taiwan, selling fire-rated safety shutters for my dad.

24:58 - This person is Bill Anderson. A professor in AAE Department, who opened the door to rocket engine propulsion, introduced me to model combustion experiment when I was still clueless on what’s next after undergrad degree.

25:17 - He mentored, and coached, and even intentionally watched me struggle at times, so that I can learn the hard way.

25:27 - I would not have stayed in the US, continuing one step after another in this career path, working on technology and products that directly enable space access.

25:39 - So thank you, Bill. SPEAKER: What are your major career impacts? YEN MATSUTOMI: Career impact is kind of subjective.

25:51 - But my most memorable career moment so far is November 13, 2015.

25:58 - It’s the first time a suborbital booster rocket had returned from space to make a successful vertical landing.

26:06 - Up until that point, people turned on TV to watch rocket launch.

26:11 - But from then on, people turn on TV to watch a rocket land.

26:18 - The direct satisfaction that the component, that I have developed with a small team, flew and landed is phenomenal.

26:31 - SPEAKER: What was the best part about Purdue? YEN MATSUTOMI: The best part of my time at Purdue, undoubtedly, is my time at Zucrow Lab.

26:43 - I remember the days I had to gear up in full safety suits to load hydrogen peroxide in hot, humid summer.

26:51 - Transferring propellant from storage shed to lab locker in icy winter.

26:58 - Both had their fun to it. I also remember pulling cables and plumbing [INAUDIBLE] line to test article.

27:07 - Or have fired the model combusters and analyzed data.

27:11 - Zucrow Lab’s complete hands-on design, build-test philosophy provides an excellent platform to exercise constant problem-solving and collaboration to perform safe experiment.

27:24 - This experience is priceless. The lab’s capabilities to enable experiment near or at a rocket-engine condition are also one of the kind opportunities in this lab.

27:39 - The people from the lab were also top notch.

27:42 - Everyone had elements that I aspire to model after.

27:48 - SPEAKER: How did you help you prepare for your current job? YEN MATSUTOMI: Undoubtedly, Purdue gave me a solid foundation on technical engineering skill.

28:02 - Most importantly, the strong emphasis of engineering ethics, team collaboration, and their can-do, problem-solving mentality has accompanied me throughout my career.

28:15 - My journey started out with childhood firework, but it has more to see the engine fire, hear the engine sound, feel the engine vibration, witness the rocket fly, celebrate the rocket land, and do it over and over again.

28:33 - I was trained to develop rocket engines. Now I build teams to design, develop, and test rocket engines.

28:42 - I am positive and look forward to be part of the future advancements in space access and exploration.

28:50 - The Boilermaker spirit in me will always be part of it.

28:54 - Thank you, Purdue. WILLIAM ANDERSON: Next on our 2020 OAE Class is Loral O’Hara.

29:01 - Loral is another of my graduate students, and actually received a lot of her initial lab training from our previous honoree, Yen Matsutomi.

29:09 - Loral first visited Purdue as a part of a group of high-potential graduate students that AAE was recruiting in the spring of 2007.

29:17 - When I asked Loral why she was interested in Purdue, she answered, in a very matter-of-fact way, that she wanted to be an astronaut, and thought Purdue would be a good fit for her.

29:28 - Unfortunately, when Loral graduated from Purdue, NASA was not accepting applications for the astronaut program.

29:35 - So she chose, instead, to go to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute where she could apply her talents in the extreme environments of the deep ocean.

29:43 - As Loral says, she is oddly comfortable in very uncomfortable situations.

29:49 - In the end, Purdue was a good choice for Loral, as she was selected by NASA for the 2017 astronaut class.

29:56 - Laurel joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps in January, 2020 after completing NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program.

30:03 - While awaiting space flight assignment, Loral serves as NASA Director of Operations in Star City, Russia, where she supports crew training and operations in Russia.

30:14 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics recognizes Loral O’Hara as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer for her contributions to NASA’s space program, and benefiting society on Earth as a NASA astronaut, and for technical expertise in the engineering and operations of deep ocean research, submersibles, and robots.

30:33 - LORAL O’HARA: Hello, my name is Laurel O’Hara.

30:38 - It is a great honor to be receiving the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award.

30:43 - First, I would like to thank Professor Crossley and the support staff for making this event possible.

30:48 - And I would like to congratulate all of my fellow award recipients.

30:52 - I wish we could be here together in person, but this just means our next visit to campus will be that much better.

31:00 - By far, the best part of my experience at Purdue was the people.

31:04 - Everyone I met, from professors, to students, to all the wonderful people who supported us, had so much enthusiasm and passion for their work, and always strived to do their very best.

31:15 - It is knowing all of you that makes me feel it is such an honor to be here today.

31:21 - Most of all, I want to thank my advisor Dr. Bill Anderson.

31:25 - He is the primary reason I chose to attend Purdue.

31:28 - He set the bar high, and challenged me in so many ways that I am grateful for today.

31:33 - Bill truly laid the groundwork for the rest of my engineering career.

31:36 - He, more so than anyone, taught me how to approach a technical problem, develop and test solutions, and efficiently communicate the work to others.

31:46 - Thank you, Bill, for your mentorship and friendship all of these years.

31:50 - I would also like to thank fellow award recipient Yen Yu as well as Jim Sisco, who were both invaluable colleagues and friends.

31:59 - Yen and I spent many hours conducting rocket tests and puzzling over code together.

32:04 - She’s brilliant, far more brilliant than me.

32:06 - And yet, was always incredibly patient and willing to explain things, like a technical concept we learned in class, or lend a hand in the lab.

32:16 - Jim is similarly talented and generous with his time.

32:19 - And he really taught me all of the fundamentals of rocket engine testing.

32:25 - Yen and Jim, along with the other members of our lab group and the bigger Zucrow family, really made my day-to-day life at Purdue what it was.

32:33 - Many thanks to all of you. Besides the people, I also really appreciated Purdue’s emphasis on real-world problem solving.

32:44 - I was, and still am, very impressed with Zucrow Laboratories and the quality and breadth of work being done there.

32:52 - Working at Zucrow, I gained hands-on experience designing and building hardware, and conducting tests.

32:58 - That experience is largely why I ended up pursuing the career path that I did after Purdue, that led me all the way to NASA.

33:07 - I’m very thankful that I got to call Purdue home for a few years.

33:11 - Thank you, again. This is truly an honor.

33:14 - And boiler up. WILLIAM ANDERSON: To present our next honoree, please welcome Professor Emeritus Dominick Andrisani.

33:21 - DOMINICK ANDRISANI: Thank you, Professor Anderson.

33:26 - David Schmidt is a former colleague and current friend.

33:31 - And I’m proud to acknowledge his contributions to the aerospace industry tonight.

33:38 - Dave is an internationally recognized leader in the dynamic modeling and control of atmospheric, exoatmospheric, subsonic, and hypersonic aerospace vehicles.

33:53 - He has served on the aerospace engineering faculties of several major universities, including 14 years in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue.

34:06 - Currently, Dave is Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

34:15 - In 1999, he founded the Aerospace Engineering Consulting Firm DK Schmidt and Associates, which has conducted research for NASA, ARIC Research, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Systems Technology, Inc. , and also has offered on-site short courses on the modeling of flexible aircraft.

34:43 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics recognizes David Schmidt as the next recipient in our 2020 Class of Outstanding Aerospace Engineers for world-recognized expertise in dynamic modeling and control of a wide range of aerospace vehicles developed throughout a career encompassing academic faculty and administrative positions, consulting and short course construction, and service on major engineering review panels.

35:24 - DAVID SCHMIDT: Hello, everyone. First, I want to thank Professor Crossley and the AAE faculty for this wonderful honor.

35:34 - I want to thank the staff for helping us all prepare for this celebration.

35:39 - They’ve told me that I can have up to five minutes for these remarks.

35:43 - Unfortunately, as a long standing engineering professor, I’ve been programmed to talk for 50 minutes.

35:52 - But I’ll try to keep it short, here. I’m truly grateful and humbled to be invited to join such a prestigious group of OAE honorees, both present and past.

36:04 - A group that includes AAE former faculty colleagues and heads Elmer Bruhn, Bruce Reese, and Henry Yang.

36:14 - While an undergraduate at Purdue, I had taken a course in stress analysis from Professor Bruhn.

36:19 - And we all enjoyed hearing his experiences while working in the aerospace industry.

36:25 - After graduation, I drove across the country to Southern California and took an aerospace engineering position with the Douglas Missiles and Space Corp.

36:35 - working on the Apollo Launch Vehicle. Neil Armstrong had not yet landed on the moon.

36:43 - One day while walking through the engineers’ offices in the structural analysis division, I noticed that a copy of Professor Bruhn’s book on stress analysis was on every engineer’s desk.

36:56 - Years later, while a graduate student back at Purdue, I frequently chatted with a young assistant professor named Henry Yang about such things as Purdue basketball and home mortgages.

37:08 - He was about to buy his first house. I’m sure that today, there are copies of Henry’s book on finite element analysis on many structural engineers’ desks around the country.

37:22 - Then after graduate school and my joining the AAE faculty, I frequently was invited to play golf with Professor Bruce Reese when he wanted to escape the office.

37:33 - A young assistant professor does not decline such an invitation from the head of AAE.

37:41 - Well, I’m pleased to note that this prestigious group of OAE honorees also includes many of my former students.

37:49 - And I always try to keep up with my students.

37:53 - This group of students includes, for example, Dan Ramer, Dave Waggy, Richard Van Allen, Frank Bauer, Charlene Edinborough, Rakesh Kapania, and Jeff Schroeder.

38:06 - And this year, this group now includes fellow honoree, Chris Clark, or C squared, as we called him.

38:14 - All have been very successful aerospace engineers, and their accomplishments enhance Purdue’s reputation.

38:24 - Continuing on the subject of students, since I’ve served on the faculties of several universities, I’ve had the unique opportunity of teaching and interacting with the engineering students at these various universities.

38:37 - So I’ll share this observation. It’s clear to me that the engineering students at Purdue, both undergraduate and graduate, are by far the best I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

38:49 - They are, of course, bright. But more importantly, they are intellectually curious.

38:54 - They respond positively to a challenge, and have a great work ethic.

39:00 - In that regard, I’ll also share that during the 14 years I was on the aero-astro faculty, the faculty raised the undergraduate degree requirements a few times, including increasing the credit hours required for graduation.

39:16 - Rather than this negatively impacting student interest in AAE, our enrollments actually increased with each of these curriculum enhancements.

39:26 - In discussing this later with several AAE students in these cohorts, they all replied that, yes, they were aware that the requirements were increased.

39:37 - But they were proud to pursue the most demanding academic program in the Schools of Engineering at Purdue.

39:44 - I think this tells us a lot about AAE students.

39:49 - So in closing, I’d like to applaud all you students.

39:53 - You can be proud to be a part of this legacy, and a member of such a wonderful student body.

39:59 - Plus, I want to encourage the faculty to always appreciate having such exceptional students to work with.

40:05 - They are a large part of what makes Purdue great.

40:09 - Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts and memories with you.

40:13 - And Thanks again to Bill Crossley and to all of my AAE faculty colleagues.

40:19 - DOMINICK ANDRISANI: Our next Outstanding Aerospace Engineer is presented by Professor Karen Marais.

40:28 - KAREN MARAIS: Good evening. Our next Outstanding Aerospace Engineer recipient is Stevan Slijepcevic.

40:36 - Upon completion of his master’s degree from AAE, Steve joined Honeywell Aerospace.

40:41 - After holding a wide range of positions with increasing responsibility in engineering, program management, sales and marketing, customer support, and general management, Steve now leads a global business with 10 major manufacturing facilities, and more than 6,000 engineers, customers, and program managers, and sales and marketing professionals.

41:01 - He leverages nearly 26 years of experience in the aerospace industry to run a $5 billion business unit that provides safety critical avionics equipment and software for air transport, business aviation, defense, and space.

41:15 - Prior to his current role, Steve was President of Mechanical Systems and Components and served as the board of directors chair for National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC.

41:27 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics presents Stevan Slijepcevic with an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award for his ascension in aerospace engineering, and leadership responsibilities in a career starting as a stress analyst, through numerous executive positions, to his position as a senior executive.

41:42 - STEVAN SLIJEPCEVIC: I’m very honored to receive this recognition from Purdue School of Aeronautics.

41:51 - Let me start by thanking the faculty that nominated and selected me for this recognition.

41:58 - Also, a very special thanks to my parents for supporting me and funding my college education.

42:05 - Without their support, none of this may have been possible.

42:10 - Also, very special thanks to Dr. Tom Farris, who gave me the opportunity to extend my stay at Purdue and pursue a master’s degree.

42:21 - I’ll always cherish my experience at Purdue, both academically and socially.

42:28 - I firmly believe that my six years at Purdue provided a strong foundation for what has now been a 25-year career in aerospace.

42:40 - Not only did Purdue give me the technical tools to succeed as an aerospace engineer, it gave me the ability to think strategically, to analyze data, to solve difficult problems, and make sound decisions.

42:58 - Those tools and skills help me pursue an early career as an engineer, and now, to succeed today, as a global business leader.

43:11 - While my career path has been very deliberate, my journey to Purdue was not.

43:18 - I grew up in Ohio. And although I knew I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, Purdue was not on my radar screen.

43:28 - My high school guidance counselor was promoting several in-state schools.

43:33 - And I was inclined to stay in state. However, I did my own research.

43:40 - And I came across Purdue very quickly. It was clearly one of the top aerospace schools in the country.

43:48 - I decided to apply, but really didn’t think it was going to happen.

43:53 - As fate has it, my guidance counselor submitted my application late to my first pick, which was an in-state school.

44:03 - I was devastated, but only for a moment. When the acceptance letter came in from Purdue, I knew it was where I belonged.

44:13 - And I’m very grateful it turned out that way.

44:17 - As I reflect back on my time at Purdue, I think about the cutting edge technology, the amazing laboratories, the engaging faculty.

44:30 - I’m so happy to see that Purdue has maintained a first-class program.

44:34 - I can only imagine what it’s like to be there today.

44:38 - I’m proud to be an alumni of Purdue. And Thanks again to the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics for this recognition.

44:47 - And boiler up. KAREN MARAIS: I now turn our program off to Professor Tyler Tallman to announce the final award recipient of the evening.

44:55 - Thank you. TYLER TALLMAN: Thank you, Professor Marais.

44:58 - Rhonda Walthall is an industry-recognized leader in prognostics and health management.

45:03 - She has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility, both in engineering and management, with Collins Aerospace and United Technologies Corporation, before being promoted to her current role as a Technical Fellow Enterprise Engineering.

45:15 - Rhonda leads the design for prognostics and health management initiative for the connected aircraft.

45:20 - Prior to joining UTC, Rhonda worked for Northwest Airlines Technical Operations as an engine condition monitoring plant engineer, and McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company as an engine performance flight test engineer.

45:32 - A passionate mentor, Rhonda supports young women in STEM fields, and guides aerospace engineers in their early-to-mid careers.

45:37 - She is a mentor for the AAE Alumni Mentorship Program, and is active as a member of the School’s Industrial Advisory Council.

45:45 - The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics presents Rhonda Walthall as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer for her leadership in the development of industry standards and best practices for prognostics, health management, applied aerospace vehicles and systems, and for recognized leadership activities in the Society of Automotive Engineers and the PHM Society.

46:02 - RHONDA WALTHALL: When I walked across the stage at Hovde hall 35 years ago, my heart was full of joy.

46:11 - A sense of pride in accomplishment consumed me.

46:14 - As I reached out my hand towards Dean Yang, the commencement photographer captured the moment.

46:20 - A huge smile came across the dean’s face as he reached out with both hands to cup his hands around mine.

46:28 - I had the privilege of getting to know Dean Yang when he was the head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and then later through my activities with the Society of Women Engineers when he was the dean.

46:39 - In his smile, I could see his excitement and happiness for me.

46:43 - In his handshake, I could feel his confidence in me.

46:49 - Today I am once again filled with joy and gratitude for being recognized as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer by the Purdue Faculty of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

47:00 - I congratulate all of the 2020 awardees. It is truly an honor to be among you.

47:08 - Purdue, and especially my professors provided me with the foundation I needed to have a rewarding and successful career in aerospace.

47:17 - My dream was to work on the Space Shuttle Program.

47:20 - Sadly, during my senior year, the Challenger disaster happened.

47:25 - That changed the trajectory of my career. Instead of working in solid and liquid rocket propulsion, I went to work for the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California as an engine performance engineer.

47:40 - When I flew on a test aircraft for the first time as a flight test engineer, I realized that I had found my true calling.

47:48 - I was in love with aircraft. I was able to apply the knowledge and the perseverance I had learned at Purdue to solve some very difficult and challenging problems associated with aircraft and engine performance.

48:01 - When I look back on those days, I realize that I was one of the first data scientists.

48:07 - While most of my friends were designing aircraft structures, I was analyzing aircraft data.

48:14 - In 1995 I went to work for Northwest Airlines as an engine condition monitoring engineer.

48:20 - My role was to monitor the wide-body aircraft to ensure that they were safe for flight and to carry passengers.

48:28 - I gained a true appreciation for how my engineering decisions could impact the lives of so many people through on time departures, inconvenient delays, or worse, an accident.

48:42 - In 2003, I joined the United Technologies Corp. , now Raytheon Technologies, where I remain employed today.

48:50 - At this point in my career, I was no longer doing an engineering job.

48:54 - I was leading an engineering initiative. For the next 17 plus years, I dedicated my career to advancing the technology of aircraft and engine health management, as more and more aircraft became capable of producing large quantities of data.

49:11 - In 2018 I was inducted into the Fellows Program at Collins Aerospace.

49:16 - And today I am fortunate to be able to spend a great deal of my time giving back to the aerospace community through the development of industry standards, driving regulatory changes, participating in the IAC, and mentoring the next generation of engineers.

49:37 - Life is full of chance happenings. You have to grab opportunities when they come along.

49:42 - My career path did not turn out to be the path that I had originally envisioned for myself.

49:48 - However, I have loved every single minute of the path that I have been on, and that path started the day I arrived on the Purdue campus.

49:57 - In closing, I’d like to thank my mother for the personal sacrifices she made to help fund my first two years at Purdue.

50:06 - I’d like to thank my husband for sticking by me all these years.

50:10 - I’d like to thank my study partners, Joe Speth and Christine Grandon Ross, for all the times we spent together studying and working on those really difficult classes, like orbital mechanics.

50:23 - I’d like to thank Professor Gustafson, who was my undergraduate academic advisor, and Professor Weisshaar, who provided me guidance when I was the president of the AIAA Student Chapter.

50:34 - I also would like to thank Professors Howell and Sullivan, for providing those “aha” moments when it truly sunk in and I understood what it was they were trying to teach me.

50:45 - And lastly, I’d like to thank Tom Shih and Bill Crossley and the entire faculty of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics for bestowing upon me this prestigious award.

50:57 - It truly means so much to me. Thank you.

51:01 - WILLIAM A. CROSSLEY: We’ve been celebrating the school’s 75th anniversary this academic year.

51:07 - Our history is rich in the explorers, innovators, and pioneers that we’ve helped shape.

51:12 - In the way we’ve assembled our team of world renowned faculty.

51:16 - In the way we’ve served to advance aerospace with contributions to safe, efficient, and sustainable air transportation.

51:22 - Exploration of, and access to, space. Maintaining defense and security.

51:27 - And using aerospace to facilitate new opportunities.

51:30 - As faculty, we persistently and diligently work to mold young engineers, ideally preparing them for life after Purdue.

51:38 - Again and again, we find that work rewarded by what our alumni continue to achieve.

51:43 - We’re proud to say we are one of the world’s top producers of aerospace engineers.

51:47 - Our graduating students not only have a firm grasp on engineering fundamentals, they spent years in practical application, and are equipped with problem-solving skills.

51:56 - Most importantly, we have helped them learn how to learn.

52:00 - Over the 75 years that the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics has existed as an independent academic unit at Purdue, we have nearly 9,100 alumni spread across the world.

52:10 - They’ve contributed to the industry’s most important technologies, they have risen to the highest ranks of leadership in commercial and government entities, and they’ve provided so many of the small steps necessary to take the giant leaps we have seen in aerospace.

52:23 - The success of our students is arguably our greatest accomplishment, and we look forward to many more years of giant leaps enabled by Purdue AAE alumni.

52:32 - Thank you Class of 2020 Outstanding Aerospace Engineers for all you have done for the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

52:38 - Our reputation as one of the world’s best aerospace engineering institutions certainly has been and impacted by you and your work.

52:45 - Congratulations on your outstanding accomplishments.

52:48 - I can’t wait to see each of you in person to celebrate, as soon as it is safe.

52:52 - Thanks to all who spent time with us tonight.

52:55 - Good night, and hail Purdue. .