Engineers’ Day

2005 Early Career Achievement Award

Randy D. Cortright
Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Virent Energy Systems, Inc.
Madison, WI

2005 Distinguished Achievement Awards

James G. Berbee
Chairman
Berbee Information Networks Corporation
Madison, WI

Roger W. Huibregtse
Volunteer, ACDI/VOCA (Agricultural Cooperative Development International/
Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance)
(Retired) CEO, The Larson Company, VP, Dean Foods
Green Bay, WI

Will S. Kenlaw III
Chief Executive Officer
Third Day Corporation
Silver Spring, MD

Yongmin Kim
Professor & Chair, Department of Bioengineering
Professor, Electrical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Radiology & Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

William J. Mielke
President & Chief Executive Officer
Ruekert/Mielke, Inc.
Waukesha, WI

Thomas J. Overbye
Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

Susan L. Reinhold
Regional Vice President of Operations
Comcast, South Florida
Miramar, FL Interrupt

Timothy C. Scott
President
Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Knoxville, TN

2005 Early Career Achievement Award

Randy D. Cortright

Randy D. Cortright view larger image

Randy D. Cortright
Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Virent Energy Systems, Inc.
Madison, WI

Randy Cortright's life has the quality of a classic story in which someone grows from humble beginnings to achieve great things. Like many Michigan farm kids, he helped with chores at an early age. He walked a mile and half through the snow to attend class in a one-room schoolhouse. At about age 10, someone gave Cortright a chemistry set. It was the late 60s; the country was focused on going to the moon and Cortright fell in love with science.

He attended Michigan Tech University for its chemical engineering program and the area's ample snow for cross-country skiing. After earning his BS in 1977, he was hired by the petrochemical company UOP, which trained him to start and troubleshoot refineries.

For four-and-a-half years, Cortright visited more than 88 locations in more than 30 countries. As a young engineer, he had to prove himself each time. His work took him to Europe, Saudi Arabia, China and finally Siberia. After six months in Siberia, he decided he would like to try something else.

He returned to Michigan Tech and in 1986 earned his MS in chemical engineering. After a brief return to industry, Cortright applied for research positions at several universities. He joined UW-Madison's chemical engineering department in 1987. With his knowledge of industry and skill as a researcher he became a valued instructor and scientist.

Cortright earned his PhD and a patent in 1994 for his work developing catalysts for making olefins. During this time, he also met his wife (Amy Krohn, MD 1993) and started a family, cementing his relationship with Madison and Wisconsin.

Former Chemical Engineering Professor Doug Cameron suggested to Cortright the concept of utilizing carbohydrates as raw materials for chemicals. With Steenbock Professor James Dumesic, Cortright's initial work in this area led to patented technology that converted lactic acid from corn to make propylene glycol. Success there led Cortright and Dumesic to look at using biomass to make hydrogen.

Cortright suggested using ethylene glycol instead of ethanol in the investigation. "We walked across the street, put ethylene glycol into the reactor system and saw improved results," Cortright says. "That led to the patent of generating hydrogen from sugar."

In June 2002, Cortright and Dumesic founded Virent Energy Systems Inc. The company now has 19 employees, more than half of them UW graduates, and will unveil an alpha version of a five-kilowatt electrical generator this fall.

2005 Distinguished Achievement Awards

James G. Berbee

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James G. Berbee
Chairman
Berbee Information Networks Corporation
Madison, WI

Long before most people had even heard of the Internet, James G. Berbee recognized the potential of computer networks and information technology to transform business. In 1993, fueled by his vision and a willingness to take risks, Berbee left his position as systems engineer at IBM to start Berbee Information Networks Corporation in his basement. Within a year, the company established its renowned partnership with the catalog retailer Lands' End, and gained enough employees to move out of its basement quarters.

Today, just a decade later, it has become a top provider of hosted computing, network consulting, data storage, security and other e-business services, with more than 700 staff members, offices in 11 Midwest cities and customers throughout the country. Berbee has also developed partnerships with many leading information technology companies including Microsoft, Cisco and IBM. It was named Cisco's Regional Partner of the Year in 2001, U.S. Partner of the Year in 2003, and Global IP Partner of the Year in 2004.

Equal to Berbee's success in business is his commitment to community service and charitable giving. His company is a major contributor to the United Way of Dane County, on whose board of directors he has served since 2000. Through employee donations, volunteerism, and contributions of equipment and services, the company also supports many other organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Madison Opera, the Madison Art Center, the Wisconsin AIDS Ride, and the new City of Madison swimming pool. This past November, the company held its first "Berbee Derby" running race, a charity event that raised $30,000 to benefit Berbee’s Technology Education Foundation, which helps area schools and non-profit organizations further educational goals through the use of technology. Berbee is also known for the respect, generosity and kindness he shows to his employees. In recognition, they surprised him and his wife with a 10-day vacation to Switzerland in 1998.

Berbee holds a BS and MS in mechanical engineering and an MBA in finance from UW-Madison. He maintains close ties to the university, currently serving on the UW Foundation Board of Directors and the Chancellor's Board of Advisors. Berbee is also a four-time Ironman triathlete, a multi-engine pilot, and an avid traveler and hiker who has scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Rainier. He and his wife, Karen Walsh, live in Madison with four of their own cats and usually several foster felines.

Roger W. Huibregtse

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Roger W. Huibregtse
Volunteer, ACDI/VOCA (Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance)
(Retired) CEO, The Larson Company, VP, Dean Foods
Green Bay, WI

As a chemical engineering (BS '50) and business executive, Roger Huibregtse had a long, distinguished career in the food processing industry. He rose to the position of CEO of the Larsen Food Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dean Foods Company. But perhaps more telling about how he achieved his success are examples of Huibregtse's hard work and dedication as a volunteer in retirement. This 50-year veteran of industry went from the board-room to hand-processing sweet corn in Poland in less than a year.

In 1993, Huibregtse offered his services to ACDI/VOCA, the Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance. This private, nonprofit organization promotes broad-based economic growth and development of civil society in emerging democracies and developing countries.

One of the very first questions he was asked upon visiting the organization's headquarters was, "Do you have a passport?" One week later he was in Warsaw. He was asked to help Polish farmer Alex Bohenski process sweet corn for an international fast food company. "I asked Alex to have 25 women at the small plant he had rented. It had a cooking kettle, a freezing room, a steam generator and that was it," he says. With no husker and 8,000 cobs of corn, the team held an old-fashioned husking and processing bee. Bohenski's customer wanted one variety of corn, but the farmer had planted four varieties together in one field. Huibregtse went to work separating the desired variety from the pile of mixed corn.

Huibregtse continued to work with Bohenski over the next 12 years. He showed him how to find growers, worked with Polish machinists to fabricate processing equipment, and arranged for used equipment to be shipped from the United States. He also helped install all equipment for the new corn line in Wloclawek, Poland.

Today, Bohenski processes about 15 tons of corn per hour and employs more than 400 people at a plant operating on a 24/7 basis. He supplies corn on the cob to more than 50 fast food restaurants in Poland and exports products to Russia and countries in Europe. Bohenski now owns the formerly state-owned processing plant and produces a variety of other food products in addition to corn.

ACDI/VOCA asked Huibregtse to visit Bulgaria next, where, with his help, a Bulgarian farmer processed and shipped 40,000 cans of cobbed corn to Russian in the first year.

His Eastern European friends have asked Huibregtse, "What do you get paid for this work?" He says "Nothing." And they say, "Well that is a poor way of making money." But for Huibregtse, having enjoyed his own success, the reward is in being able to give something back.

Will S. Kenlaw III

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Will S. Kenlaw III
Chief Executive Officer
Third Day Corporation
Silver Spring, MD

As a University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate, Will S. Kenlaw III received guidance and support from his mentors in the College of Engineering's Minority Engineering Program (now the Diversity Affairs Office) that he has never forgotten. He describes former assistant dean Al Hampton and Naomi Walton-Winfield of the program, as people who "embodied their jobs" and "worked to help people achieve dreams that were unthinkable beforehand." These words now also describe Kenlaw, who has become both a leader in the information technology industry and a role model to generations of minority engineering students.

After receiving a BS in industrial engineering from UW-Madison in 1981, Kenlaw earned an MBA from Harvard University. During his subsequent 19 years at IBM, he held a variety of successively more senior positions, including national practice leader for sales force transformation, principal in the IBM Consulting Group, and global services executive for Citigroup worldwide, where he grew revenues by more than 40 percent in just two years. After serving seven years on the board of directors of Global Management Systems, Inc., a top network and systems integration provider, Kenlaw joined the company in 2000 as executive vice president of corporate strategy. Most recently, Kenlaw and his wife Lydia (Graves) Kenlaw launched Third Day Corporation, which facilitates the commercialization of intellectual property developed at federal laboratories and universities, and assists small companies with business development.

From the time he was an undergraduate, Kenlaw has also encouraged others to succeed and to serve. At UW-Madison, Kenlaw became the first president of the Wisconsin Black Engineering Student Society (WBESS), and founded the Minority Engineering Program's summer recruiting fair. He has also served as editor of Wisconsin Engineer magazine. In 2000, Kenlaw and his wife — who met through the Minority Engineering Program — established the Hampton & Walton-Winfield Service Award to honor their mentors. The award recognizes minority students who render exceptional service to the Diversity Affairs Office and to WBESS. Kenlaw is also currently a member of the ISyE department's Board of Visitors.

In addition to his engineering degree and MBA, Kenlaw holds a master's degree in theological studies and is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His hobbies include fishing, golfing and reading, and he recently published a book: A Father's Guide to Raising Daughters: Because I Need One. Kenlaw and his wife have four daughters.

Yongmin Kim

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Yongmin Kim
Professor & Chair, Department of Bioengineering
Professor, Electrical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Radiology & Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

For Yongmin Kim, it's highly satisfying to see the technologies he and his students have developed, including low-cost computer chips and faster, less expensive ultrasound machines, implemented in clinical environments and making a difference in the quality of patients' diagnoses and care. Even more rewarding, he says, is watching the students he has trained graduate with maturity and readiness to contribute to society.

A professor of bioengineering and electrical engineering and chair of bioengineering at the University of Washington, Kim earned his bachelor's degree in electronics engineering in 1975 from Seoul National University and his master's and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from UW-Madison in 1979 and 1982, respectively.

As a child, he became interested in using engineering technologies to improve the quality of people's lives — and when he arrived at UW-Madison, he found a number of engineering faculty members working on biomedical engineering problems. He says the decision to apply his electrical engineering background in that way was easy — thanks in part to the training and mentoring he received from now-Biomedical Engineering Professors Willis Tompkins and John Webster.

Today, Kim is an internationally renowned scholar and innovator in high-performance programmable-processor architecture, image processing, and systems for multimedia and medical imaging. He regularly transforms basic research into state-of-the-art products, including Hitachi's MAP processor and two Texas Instruments multimedia video processor chips that can simultaneously handle both moving television images and CD-quality audio signals. His research has resulted in 23 commercial licenses and more than 70 patents or patents pending.

He is president of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and of IEEE. Among Kim's research grants are $10 million in Whitaker Foundation funding for bioengineering in the 21st century and a $14 million National Science and Technology Board grant for the Singapore-University of Washington Alliance in Bioengineering.

He and his wife, Ellen, of 29 years, enjoy traveling throughout the United States and the world. They have three children: Janice, in her final year of medical school; Christine, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Daniel, a college freshman.

William J. Mielke

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William J. Mielke
President & Chief Executive Officer
Ruekert/Mielke, Inc.
Waukesha, WI

If there is a southeastern Wisconsin community that is in need of municipal engineering services, including infrastructure man-agement, street or highway design, water supply and system design, and geographical information systems mapping, there is a good chance it will turn to William J. Mielke.

After graduating from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1971, Mielke joined Ruekert/Mielke, Inc., the engineering and surveying company his father, John (BSCEE ‘40), co-founded in 1946. Now its president and CEO, he has grown the firm to a staff of 150 people who serve more than 75 Wisconsin communities. Because of his ability to reap best practices from past successes and combine them with his instinct for future trends, Mielke has given the company a reputation not only for first-class engineering, but also for helping local officials formulate long-range plans and resolve complex issues.

Several years ago, Mielke represented suburban communities’ interests in the “sewer wars” with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District; recently he designed a revenue-sharing agreement for eastern Racine County that is one of the most comprehensive intermunicipal agreements ever negotiated in Wisconsin. Mielke has testified before Wisconsin’s legislature about issues ranging from septic-system use to the Public Service Commission’s regulation of utilities, and has been an expert witness on a variety of water-related topics. He has served on a multitude of state committees and recently was the vice chairman of the Wisconsin Land Council. In addition, he has helped author legislation, from the clean water loan program and impact fee legislation to tort reform. Throughout his career, he has championed regional cooperation in dealing with southeastern Wisconsin’s groundwater supply.

Mielke is a registered professional engineer, land surveyor, and diplomat in environmental engineering. He maintains a variety of professional affiliations and involvements, including the Wisconsin and National Society of Professional Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin, American Public Works Association, American Water Works Association, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The National Society of Professional Engineers in Private Practice recognized him as an outstanding engineer in private practice.

A licensed private pilot, Mielke enjoys flying, boating, hunting, golfing and riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He and his wife, Barbara, have a daughter, Anne, and live on Lake LaBelle in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Thomas J. Overbye

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Thomas J. Overbye
Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

Throughout his 22-year engineering career, Thomas J. Overbye has distinguished himself as an outstanding educator, a successful entrepreneur, and a top researcher in the field of electric power transmission and grid behavior. An electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Overbye is known for his ability to combine deep, analytical insights into the complex dynamics of power grids with his practical industry experience. He is also the founder of PowerWorld Corporation, a leading developer of software that has improved the accuracy and efficiency of power system analysis.

As an assistant professor in the early 1990s, Overbye witnessed dramatic changes in the U.S. utility industry epitomized by the state of California's efforts to deregulate its power markets. After observing that individuals with limited knowledge of power-system behavior were crafting many of the key policies driving deregulation, Overbye created PowerWorld Simulator to facilitate more informed decision-making. The software not only depicts a wide range of physical phenomena in the nation's power grid with extreme accuracy, but also allows non-specialists to see how proposed regulatory and business decisions will interact with these phenomena. Since the founding of PowerWorld in 1996, Simulator's success has far exceeded that of many long-standing packages offered by more established companies. In recognition of his creation and transfer of Simulator to the marketplace, in 2005 Overbye received the first annual Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation from the I/UCRC Association, an organization of past and present members of the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Center program. Overbye has also become a highly respected science commentator in the press, appearing many times in the national media following the August 2003 blackout in the eastern United States.

Overbye holds a BS, MS and PhD in electrical engineering from UW-Madison. While earning his master's and doctoral degrees, he also worked as a transmission engineer for the Madison Gas & Electric Co., helping to develop its real-time power system analysis software. He is the author of more than 90 scholarly publications and the recipient of numerous honors, including the IEEE Third Millennium Medal and the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer award. He and his wife, Jo, have three children: Tim, Hannah and Amanda. In the spare time his work and family allow, Overbye enjoys riding his bicycle through the flat central Illinois countryside — a welcome change, he says, from biking the hills around Madison.

Susan L. Reinhold

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Susan L. Reinhold
Regional Vice President of Operations
Comcast, South Florida
Miramar, FL

Turn on the television in South Florida and you'll probably see evidence of Susan L. Reinhold's leadership. Reinhold is vice president of operations for telecommunications and cable-television company Comcast's South Florida region, which serves more than a million customers. In that role, she focuses on developing operational efficiencies that improve customers' overall experience with the company. Under her direction, Reinhold's department of more than 850 staff members has engineered and optimized network services to support all of the company's products and processes. In addition, its work has increased the South Florida region's revenue, employee- and customer-satisfaction, and technology-upgrade performance against its goals. Her philosophy of success revolves around creating teams focused on a common goal, while providing team members opportunities for personal growth and development.

From the time a customer speaks with an account executive to the point at which a technician completes a job at a customer's home, service is Reinhold's No. 1 priority. She has designed and implemented several initiatives within the company to ensure that staff in all departments become familiar with new technologies and can pass their information to Comcast customers. She also developed rapid action plans after four hurricanes hit Florida within a year's time, assembling a national team to restore normal service to more than 60,000 customers. For those efforts, Reinhold and her team received the Comcast National Circle of Success Award.

Reinhold's first engineering experience occurred when she was about 12. After the family's lawnmower broke, she took it apart — although she's not sure if she put it back together again. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering mechanics in 1979 and took her first job with Wisconsin Bell as a radio engineer, designing microwave radio systems for voice communications. When Ameritech took over the Midwest "Bells," Reinhold stayed on, holding progressively more responsible engineering, operations and leadership roles. After completing UW-Madison's executive MBA program, she left in 1996 to join Comcast. Reinhold worked first as vice president of engineering for Comcast's Southeast Florida region, then moved to a position as vice president and general manager of the company's Montgomery County, Maryland, office before assuming her current role in 2003.

A Kenosha native, Reinhold and her husband, Mark, have two daughters: Stephanie and Michelle. In her free time, Reinhold enjoys short-distance running, water sports and boating with her family on their 30-foot Sundancer, The Happy Hour.

Timothy C. Scott

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Timothy C. Scott
President
Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Knoxville, TN

 A self-described "lab brat," Timothy C. Scott grew up "helping" his father conduct experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) on the weekends. As a research engineer, his father reached the level of senior corporate fellow and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

It's no wonder then, that Scott chose engineering as a profession or that he excelled as a high school student and was the top college of engineering graduate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Scott participated in the engineering co-op program at ORNL and completed his PhD in chemical engineering at UW-Madison in 1985. Like his father, he first worked as a research engineer with the national lab. He quickly rose to senior positions and was named director of ORNL's Bioprocessing R&D Center. He achieved national recognition for the use of advanced biotechnology in the production of energy, fuels and chemicals. In addition, he has conducted research in areas involving effects of electromagnetic fields on multiphase systems, separations science, materials science, nuclear technology, laser systems and medical applications.

In November of 1985, Scott took advantage of an entrepreneurial leave program and joined a team in forming Genase, LLC, a company that produces industrial enzymes using technology Scott helped develop at ORNL.

Rather than return to ORNL, he remained in private industry and was a member of the founding team of Photogen Technologies. Scott helped to found a total of eight companies, seven of which went public.

Currently, Scott serves as president and director of Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The corporation has four subsidiaries involved in oncology, dermatology, biotechnology, laser systems and over-the-counter products. Scott is co-inventor of Provectus' flagship drugs Xantryl and Provecta which are currently in clinical trials for psoriasis, melanoma and breast cancer.

Scott holds 17 U.S. patents and has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers. Several of his innovations have been licensed to the oil, gas and biotechnology industries.

He received the R&D 100 Award for creating a new industrial enzyme, the National Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, the Inventor's Forum Advanced Technology Award and the Martin Marietta Energy Systems Inventor of the Year Award. He also has been an adjunct associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, while advising successful PhD and MS degree candidates in chemical engineering.