College honors 15 at Oct. 17 Engineers' Day
The College of Engineering will honor 15 faculty, staff and alumni Oct. 17 during its 56th Engineers' Day banquet at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. The day-long celebration includes several seminars that highlight faculty research in health care, microfluidics, hydrogen from biomass, and student entrepreneurship; as well as luncheons, lectures and tours. For a complete schedule of events, visit the Engineers' Day website.
Faculty and staff honorees include:
Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Engineers
John W. Moore
Professor of Chemistry
His colleagues describe him as prolific, innovative, an outstanding educator, a mentor and a leader. Chemistry Professor John Moore's students praise his personal, energetic and engaging teaching style.
Moore excels at motivating students and encouraging a learning environment. "Although I was sitting in a lecture hall with over 300 people, the class seemed as personal and interactive as a class of 20 people," says one student.
Moore's excellence in teaching also stems from the "extras," says a colleague. He presents information via multimedia, incorporates chemical demonstrations into every lecture, and develops CDs for students so that they have relevant, up-to-date chemical software resources and tools.
His influence on chemistry education doesn't end in the classroom. As head of the chemistry department's general chemistry program, Moore has transformed both the laboratory courses, which emphasize experiments that enable students to discover chemical principles, and the way they are taught. He modeled new teaching methods and mentored faculty on how to teach large freshman lecture courses that actively involve students. And he developed a training program that transfers these approaches to teaching assistants.
Nationally, Moore is director of the Institute for Chemical Education and editor of the Journal of Chemical Education, for which publication he developed the Journal of Chemical Education-Software, which publishes peer-reviewed instructional software. He was principal investigator on a multi-university, $3.6 million NSF initiative to bring active learning methods to the chemistry curriculum and is co-author of one of the most successful general-chemistry textbooks, Chemistry: The Molecular Science. In 1982 he founded Project SERAPHIM, which collects, evaluates and distributes educational software throughout the country. At present, he heads an NSF-sponsored initiative to create a national science library for access to web-based instructional materials.
He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the American Chemical Society, National Science Teachers Association, and Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, among others.
Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Engineers
Michael J. Smith
Robert Ratner Professor of Industrial Engineering
"Best professor I have ever had." "I enjoyed going to class." "Thought-provoking." "Real-life examples were valuable." Comments such as these regularly appear in student evaluations of Professor Michael J. Smith.
To engage students with human-factors, organizational management, ergonomics, and other issues, he presents a melange of videotapes, websites, slides, overheads and personal anecdotes. And though his courses often draw as many as 100 students, Smith wanders into the aisles to talk with them about the ideas they're learning. "We discuss, argue, comment, agree, disagree, complain and laugh," he says.
This hands-on, student-centered, "active-learning" approach is so successful that many of Smith's colleagues regard him as a mentor and seek to emulate his style. "Watching him teach, you see how he is able to be interactive with a class of 70-plus students and how the students try to participate as much as possible," says one faculty member. "He continuously challenges the students while making the learning experience pleasant and interesting," says another.
During his 18 years in the college, Smith has advised 80 master's and PhD students. Recently, a group of those students honored him with a surprise party and an award for excellence in holistic education. "He respects you as an equal and gives you the freedom to explore your interests, challenge his ideas and talk to other professors. His door is always open," says a former PhD student.
In Smith's view, that open-door policy is crucial to students' out-of-classroom experiences with faculty. During the past 15 years, he has spent about 15 hours a week meeting with undergraduate and graduate students about assignments, theses, career counseling and more.
Smith, who earned his PhD in industrial psychology from UW-Madison and worked 13 years in industry before joining the industrial engineering faculty, also regularly volunteers to teach additional classes to ensure coverage of critical courses.
He has received Polygon Engineering Council Outstanding Teaching Awards in 14 of the last 18 years. The industrial engineering undergraduate honor society, Alpha Pi Mu, named him 2002 instructor of the year and in 1991, the Wisconsin Student Association chose Smith as one of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's top-100 teachers.
Bollinger Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award
Administrator, Department of Engineering Physics
As a registered professional engineer with an MBA and experience in the nuclear power industry, Mark Swandby is uniquely qualified to serve as administrator for the Department of Engineering Physics. In fact, his title does not quite capture the value of his performance.
"Mark's title was 'Assistant to-,' but it could reasonably have been 'Assistant Chair' or even 'Associate Chair,'" says Emeritus Professor and former nuclear engineering department chair Max Carbon. "Certainly, he performed duties handled by faculty members in many departments."
Swandby's duties are far reaching. He says his philosophy of being an administrator is to support the faculty "…so that they can do what they should be doing — teaching and research — to serve as a bulwark against the tide of university paperwork. Try to never say no, to figure out a way to accomplish what the faculty need, legally, ethically, within whatever rules and regulations apply to a given situation."
Over the years, there have been many situations. He is responsible for detailed preparation and monitoring of the department budget and plays a major role in hiring and supervising departmental classified staff. Having earned his BS in nuclear engineering from the department in 1972 and worked in the Dresden nuclear power plant of Commonwealth Edison, he had the perfect background to serve as an advisor to students. This ultimately earned him the informal title of "Big Brother" of nuclear engineering undergraduates.
Since 1995, when nuclear engineering and engineering physics merged with the engineering mechanics department to become the Department of Engineering Physics, Swandby has concentrated on the management of the combined departments. Prior to the merger the two departments had 7.8 total support staff, today it has 4.8, including Swandby.
In addition to having served as assistant to the director of the Fusion Technology Institute and the Phaedrus Laboratory for Plasma Science, he chaired and continues to serve on many college and university administrative committees.
Swandby and his wife have two children. In his free time, he enjoys curling and serves on numerous committees including the United States Curling Association and the West Side Swim Club. He is active in the Midvale Community Lutheran Church.
Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication
James D. Callen
Kerst Professor of Engineering Physics and Physics
James Callen is the recipient of the 2003 Byron Bird Award for his contributions to the theoretical prediction and experimental identification of neoclassical tearing modes (NTMs) in controlled fusion plasmas. NTMs are now recognized as a major potential obstacle to operation of a tokamak fusion reactor.
A tokamak is essentially a toroidal magnetic bottle used for holding high-temperature plasma. The magnetic fields are produced by a combination of currents flowing in external coils and currents flowing within the plasma itself. Researchers have been studying tokamaks for more than 50 years with the goal of creating a suitable magnetic bottle for a stable, sustained fusion reaction — a problem that has been compared to trying to hold Jell-O with rubber bands.
NTMs are one of the most serious instabilities in a steady-state high-performance tokamak plasma. The instability produces macroscopically large deformations which lead to confinement degradation and, in some cases, termination of the plasma discharge. Callen developed the theory of these instabilities in a series of papers primarily with his postdoctoral students in 1985. Callen, Chris Hegna (now Associate Professor of Engineering Physics) and other co-authors then detailed the phenomenology in a series of papers throughout the early 1990s. Callen, and Z. Chang also developed models for quantifying the energy confinement degradation due to magnetic islands and applied the theory to Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) plasmas. Subsequently, Chang, Callen, Hegna and colleagues at Princeton reported definitive experimental evidence of the instability in a 1995 paper, now considered a classic. To a large degree, most of the present research on NTMs builds upon the original interpretation and theoretical insights introduced by Callen and his postdocs.
Callen earned his PhD in nuclear engineering in 1968 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and did postdoctoral research at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. After three years on the MIT faculty and seven years with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Departments of Engineering Physics (then Nuclear Engineering) and Physics in 1979. Callen is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
2003 Distinguished Service Award Recipients
Bruce C. Beihoff
Director, Innovation and Technology
Whirlpool Research and Engineering Center
A dedication to lifelong learning led Bruce C. Beihoff to his current position as a director of innovation and technology at Whirlpool Corporation. Based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, he leads engineering teams in developing new platforms, corporate technology and electronic development.
Beihoff began his career as an apprentice, and later journeyman electrician, before attending UW-Milwaukee including coursework at UW-Madison. His background gave him a unique perspective on the electrical manufacturing industry. After earning his BS in electrical engineering from UW-Milwaukee in 1977, Beihoff worked in research and development for Black and Veach and United Parcel Service. In 1985 he joined Eaton Corporation where he served as principal engineer and manager of the Sensors and Machine Control Laboratory. There he led research programs serving a variety of divisions. In 1991, Eaton honored him with its CoRD Team Award for Electronic Circuit Breaker Programs.
In 1992, Beihoff accepted a position with Rockwell Automation and was named manager of the electromechanical group in 1993. He was instrumental in the development of four major power conversion product lines. He was also responsible for the implementation of the Rockwell Automation Solid State Power Laboratory (RASSPL) and served as lab manager from 1997 until he left in 2002 to join Whirlpool. During his tenure, Beihoff helped build Rockwell's reputation as a recognized center of excellence in the design of high-performance, low-cost power modules, culminating in the development of the state-of-the-art Automotive Integrated Power Module for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Beihoff has successfully managed more than a dozen technology programs into profitable products in the marketplace. His efforts earned him numerous Rockwell Innovation Awards as well as Rockwell's Engineer of the Year award in 1999. He holds 29 patents with nine pending, has served as an officer of a small engineering consulting firm, managed the design-installation-maintenance of three major engineering-computational networks, and has invented and applied two innovation-creativity methodologies.
Beihoff is a strong and vocal advocate for university-industry cooperation and has provided for many graduate student research opportunities.
Kenneth L. Blaedel
Engineer, EUVL Photomask Program (Retired)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Precision engineering — the ability to manufacture parts to exacting standards — has earned Kenneth Blaedel a worldwide reputation for excellence in the field.
Blaedel enjoyed a 28-year career at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), which started shortly after receiving his doctorate in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison in 1974. Blaedel earned his BS in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison in 1970.
At Lawrence Livermore, he designed and built a number of high-accuracy machine tools. The machines have been used by LLNL as well as the automotive, electronics and optics industries. The components they produced have been used in space- and ground-based telescopes, nuclear weapons, magnetic recording heads, and automotive engine fuel injectors. In many cases, the components have been among the most precise ever made. Other tools have also garnered awards such as the "OptiPro-AED Proximity Sensor," developed by Blaedel and his colleagues at Lawrence Livermore, which R&D Magazine named as one of the top 100 technological achievements in 1998.
Blaedel served in several leadership posts at the national laboratory. As leader of the Precision Systems Group, he was responsible for developing a cadre of precision engineers at LLNL. Later, as leader of the Center for Precision Engineering, he was responsible for developing and investing in new precision-engineering technologies at LLNL.
Blaedel is a charter member of the American Society for Precision Engineering, serving on the board of directors, the journal publication review committee and the organizing committee for annual conferences. In addition, he has taught tutorials on precision engineering for the society.
Blaedel is also a member of the American National Standards Institute, where he has served as chairman of standards-setting committees.
In his time away from work, Blaedel races bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles, and practices Jujutsu, a defensive martial art. He regularly shoots in high-power rifle matches throughout California, and travels extensively throughout the country and the world with his wife, Jan.
Having retired from Lawrence Livermore in 2002, his first official act of retirement was to join former COE Dean John Bollinger in sailing from San Francisco to San Diego.
Duane E. Collins
Chairman of the Board
Parker Hannifin Corporation
If you have ever flown in an airplane, or been scared by a dinosaur at Disney World, or simply picked up a gallon of ice cream on the way home from work, you've probably come in contact with products made by Parker Hannifin Corp.
For the past decade, the Cleveland, Ohio, company has been led by Duane Collins. He currently serves as chairman of the board for Parker Hannifin, having been selected to the post in 1999. For eight years beginning in 1993, Collins served as president and chief operating officer of the company.
With sales exceeding $6 billion annually, Parker Hannifin is the world's leading manufacturer of motion and control technologies, providing precision-engineered products for aerospace markets. Jet planes use Parker Hannifin's leak-tight fuel settings. Amusement park attractions utilize the company's motion and control systems. Grocery stores rely on its cooling and refrigeration systems.
Collins' ascension to chairman of the board of Parker Hannifin culminated a career with the company that began in 1961 following graduation from UW-Madison's College of Engineering. The Jefferson, Wisconsin native joined the company as a sales engineer and quickly rose through the company's ranks. He spent several years overseeing the company's international operations before being named company president and chief executive officer in 1993.
Under his tenure, Parker Hannifin doubled its number of employees, increased sales 2.5 times, and quadrupled its earnings. The company employs more than 48,000 people in 44 countries.
Collins has been active in a number of civic organizations in the Cleveland area. He's served as a trustee for the Cleveland YMCA and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation. He has also served on the boards of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and Cleveland Tomorrow. He currently is serving on the boards of University Hospitals of Cleveland, Hospice of the Western Reserve, and is a member of the visiting committee of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He is also a member of several corporate boards.
Collins is married to his high school sweetheart, Joyce, and has two daughters, Sharon and Pam. Outside interests include golf, bridge, hunting, traveling and sports — especially University of Wisconsin football and the Green Bay Packers.
James L. Denkmann
Denkmann Thermal Storage, Ltd.
When he was about four years old, James L. Denkmann received a small reciprocating compressor from his father. "It quickly became my favorite toy," Denkmann says. "I spent many hours taking it apart and putting it back together — only to start all over again."
By age six, Denkmann had built a complete, working refrigeration unit, with some help. "I must have been quite a pain for my father with all of my questions why this worked and why that didn't," he reflects. "But this period of time was formative for the mixture of refrigerants that now courses through my veins."
He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1962 from Washington University in St. Louis and joined Condaire, Inc., his father's mechanical-contracting firm, as a project manager. There Denkmann credits many mentors for imparting their incredible knowledge of refrigeration and steam-boiler plants to him. He became the company's president in 1969.
Following Condaire's sale in 1970, Denkmann took project-engineering and project-manager positions at a number of Chicago firms, including Lester B. Knight & Associates, Dolio & Metz Associates, and Cosentini Associates. In 1986 he founded Denkmann Thermal Storage, Ltd. in Chicago. President of the company, he also was a partner at Powell Energy Products, Powell, Ohio, from 1992 to 1998.
An expert in direct expansion, gravity recirculation, liquid overfeed systems using air-cooled, water-cooled or evaporative-cooled heat rejection in single multistage compression and cascade configurations, Denkmann holds a patent for a multi-mode high-efficiency air-conditioning system. He has given seminars and lectures in a number of academic and university settings, including the Department of Engineering Professional Development.
As a private in the U.S. Army, he served at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and received an honorable discharge in 1960. Among his affiliations, Denkmann is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.
He shares his home with Fritz and Buster, his littermate twin cats. Noted by his friends for his "killer" desserts, Denkmann enjoys cooking and entertaining.
Robert M. Engelke
When people who are deaf or hard of hearing speak, Robert Engelke listens. As a result, his company's many innovations enable them to "listen," too.
For more than 25 years, Engelke has designed and developed text-telephone (TTY) technologies and devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. He received his bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering in 1967 from UW-Madison where he later became a lecturer. Later, as a researcher at the college's Trace Research & Development Center, he helped design assistive devices for people with a range of disabilities. He founded Ultratec in 1978 — back when a TTY cost as much as $1,000.
Since then, Engelke has been instrumental in bringing new and affordable communications technologies to deaf and hard-of-hearing people, including a pocket-sized TTY, a pay-phone TTY, and a large visual-display TTY for people who are both low-vision and hard of hearing. Among Ultratec's innovations is the captioned telephone, an instrument that delivers both text and sound. Engelke refines his technologies based on user comments and has received more than 25 U.S. and numerous foreign patents.
In addition, Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI), an international agency that promotes telecommunications access for the disabled, named him one of the 30 most influential people in telecommunications accessibility for America's deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens. The organization also bestowed on Engelke its Andrew Saks Engineering Award for his contributions to improving telecommunications accessibility. His other recent honors include a Wisconsin Governor's Workforce Innovation Award, recognizing Ultratec's innovative approaches and solutions to developing and sustaining the state's workforce, and recognition from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers for outstanding achievement in information technology in accessibility for Fastran and CapTel technology.
Engelke lives with his wife, Susan, who received an MS in computer sciences from UW-Madison and is executive vice president of Ultratec. They have two sons: Christopher, a graduate student in anthropology at Northern Arizona University; and Timothy, a junior at UW-Madison studying political science. The family enjoys sailing, tennis, golf, and downhill and cross-country skiing.
Gregory J. Hildeman
Manager of Technology Transfer
Greg Hildeman's career in metallurgical engineering has enabled him to assume leadership positions in research and technology at Alcoa, the world's leading manufacturer of aluminum.
Hildeman has been with Alcoa for 26 years and is currently a program manager of Technology Transfer. He began his career in 1977 as a scientist with its Powder and Forgings Division and has advanced through the technical side of the company, becoming a supervisor in the Alloy Technology Division in 1983 and manager of the Ingot and Solidification Division in 1987. In that position, Hildeman was responsible for leading Alcoa's research in recycling, melting, metal treatment, casting and solidification. In 2002, he was named program manager of Technology Transfer and is currently working on deployment of casting technology to Brazil, China and Spain.
Hildeman earned a BS in metallurgical engineering from UW-Madison in 1970. He later earned an MS degree in metallurgical engineering from UW-Milwaukee in 1974 and an ScD degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978.
He is the author or co-author of 16 papers in the field of metallurgical engineering, editor of two books and holds 11 patents in areas such as aluminum powder metallurgy alloys and processing, cathodes for electrolysis, and ingot casting processes. Hildeman has also been active since 1981 in the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), a technical organization for metallurgical and materials engineers. He is currently vice president of TMS and will become president in 2004. He has also been active in ASM International, was elected a fellow in 1991, and served as chairman of its Pittsburgh chapter.
Originally from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Hildeman currently resides in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, with his wife Joy, who also graduated from UW-Madison with a BA degree in economics. They have two sons: Chris, an occupational therapist, and Doug, currently attending the Yale School of Drama.
In his spare time, Greg enjoys reading about history and visiting historical sites. He is also a loyal Packer fan who was fortunate to survive the "Ice Bowl" between Green Bay and Dallas in 1967.
Matthew D. Kuckuk
Vice President, e.Services
As an undergraduate, Matthew Kuckuk enrolled in a one-credit course in which he received an overview of each engineering discipline. Immediately, he identified industrial engineering as the right choice. "The focus on systems that include combinations of people and technology was particularly appealing," he says.
Then in his senior year, he took a course from Professor David Gustafson, in which Gustafson derived the "likelihood ratio" form of Bayes equation for conditional probability and showed how to apply it to business problems. "This was an epiphany for me," says Kuckuk. He used the knowledge as the intellectual basis for at least the first 10 years of his career. "I still come back to it repeatedly for insight into how information is used in decision-making," he says.
Today, with a UW-Madison bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and a master's degree in operations research from the University of California-Berkeley, Kuckuk is a veteran professional-services consultant in the software industry. He has a history of running profitable professional-services organizations that have grown rapidly in size and scale.
Perhaps best-known for his predictive analytics work in the financial industry — particularly in customer relationship management (CRM) — Kuckuk has been part of a team that developed and implemented the first commercial predictive models in several areas of banking. Recently, he gained notice in technology-industry circles for developing successful professional-services practices around software products. Kuckuk focuses first on business value to customers while maintaining a high level of technical quality.
As vice president of e.Services for Actuate Corporation's North American Operations, Kuckuk is responsible for all professional services, consulting and training delivered to the software company's North American customers.
Prior to joining Actuate, Kuckuk's achievements included founding the CRM consulting and systems integration practice at American Management Systems, Fairfax, Virginia, where he was a vice president. He also was a senior project manager at Fair, Isaac Company in San Rafael, California.
Kuckuk is a member of the Department of Industrial Engineering Visiting Committee. He has been kayaking with Hoofers every year since 1975. He and his wife, Christine, live in Redwood City, California and have four children: Robert, 19; Rachel, 17; Jennifer, 8; and David, 6.
Erick J. Laine
Chairman of the Board
Erick Laine's journey to the executive boardroom began 70 years ago as a young child in the former Soviet Union. Laine, born to Finnish parents in Russia in 1933, moved shortly after his birth to Finland, and at the age of five journeyed with his parents to Milwaukee. He attended the city's public schools, graduating from Milwaukee's Washington High School in 1951, and then enrolled at UW-Madison, where he obtained a BS in civil engineering in 1955.
Laine went to work immediately after college for ALCOA, an aluminum manufacturing company. He worked his way up the ranks of the corporation serving as chief production engineer, chief industrial engineer, and operations manager at ALCOA plants in Ohio, Iowa and Pennsylvania. In 1977, he was promoted to president of Alcas Cutlery Corp., a subsidiary of ALCOA that manufactured household knives and other products under the brand name of CUTCO Cutlery.
In 1982, Laine, with three other executives from Alcas, arranged a leveraged buyout of the company from ALCOA. Under Laine's stewardship, Alcas' sales grew from $5 million in 1977 to more than $250 million in 2002. Employment has grown from 180 people to nearly 1,200. Alcas is now the largest kitchen cutlery manufacturer in the United States, and has expanded its sales overseas.
Laine was inducted into the Direct Selling Association Hall of Fame in 2002. It is the highest honor accorded to individuals involved in manufacturing and distributing goods directly to consumers. "His life has been marked by integrity, ethics, compassion, leadership and vision," said Neil Offen, president of the Direct Selling Association.
Laine was awarded the Academy of Marketing Science Distinguished Marketer Award in 1999. He has also earned the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for manufacturing and consumer products, and is a member and chairman of the Direct Selling Education Foundation. He received the foundation's Circle of Honor award in 1999.
He has served as a director of the Greater Olean, New York, Area Chamber of Commerce, the Olean General Hospital, the American Cutlery Manufacturers Association, and the Cattaraugus Economic Development Zone. He also served as a trustee of St. Bonaventure University in Olean and currently serves as a trustee of Alfred University in Alfred, New York.
Laine and his wife, Marianne, have four grown children and live in Olean.
Ronald J. Schuh
Executive Vice President
Ronald Schuh took the road less traveled to the executive ranks of a major U.S. chemical company — Oxychem. Most chemical engineers start their career in manufacturing, sales or marketing. Schuh chose the procurement side because he realized great leverage could be had in large corporations if purchasing people were as technically knowledgeable as the sales/marketing people that call on them.
Over the last 38 years, Schuh's leadership roles expanded to include a diverse group of process industries — paper, agchem, specialty and commodity chemicals. For example, in 1977 at International Paper Co., he directed procurement responsibilities and led a team in optimizing the supply chain structure by applying advanced technologies to drive business processes. As a result, IBM recognized Schuh as an innovator in the design of optimization applications.
Schuh started his career as an assistant buyer for Archer Daniels Midland Company and progressed to senior purchasing responsibilities at Beatrice Chemical Corporation., International Paper and Oxychem. Later, he was appointed executive vice president of petrochemicals and specialty businesses at Oxychem.
Schuh retired from Oxychem in 2001 but not from the chemical industry. His career continues as a consultant to several companies. He is a board member of Damon Disposal LTD., and an executive vice president for Source XL (originally Chem XL), an electronic marketplace geared toward chemical purchasing professionals. Source XL allows buyers to research and electronically source chemical requirements. As success of the young company spread, Source XL expanded to meet the needs of nonchemical-based customers.
A Manitowoc native, Schuh earned his BS in chemical engineering from UW-Madison in 1965, an MBA from the University of Dayton in 1974, and a graduate degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1981. He has been on the board of directors for several industry associations; NAPM, NPRA, World Chrome Association and SOCMA.
Ron and his wife Jo have been married 38 years. They live in Dallas, Texas and have three children, Jackie, Mark and Nicki. Schuh's main interests include golf, baseball, travel and backyard astronomy with his grandchildren.
Rajan I. Sheth
President and Chairman of the Board
Mead and Hunt, Inc.
Rajan Sheth makes no small plans. Indeed, he wants to transform the company he has headed since 1994 — Mead & Hunt — into the world's best engineering consulting firm.
Under Sheth's tenure as president and chairman of the board of the Madison-based company, Mead & Hunt has more than doubled its employees, with earnings up more than 300 percent. Annual sales total nearly $30 million. The company, founded in 1900, operates offices in many states, and is ranked among the top 350 architectural and engineering firms in the country. It was recently named one of the 100 fastest growing consulting firms in the country.
This incredible growth aside, Sheth is most proud of Mead & Hunt's reputation as a family-friendly company that is supportive of the personal and professional growth of its employees. The company provides services in the areas of bridges, highways, airports, water resources, flood and industrial facilities, historical preservation, and infrastructure.
Sheth came to the U.S. in 1970 to complete his training as a civil engineer in Madison. Born in Bombay, India, he received his BS in civil engineering from Maharaja Sayajirao University in 1970. He earned his MS in civil and environmental engineering from UW-Madison in 1972.
He was responsible for Mead & Hunt's recognition as one of the top bridge and highway design firms in Wisconsin and has designed more than 200 bridges in his career.
Sheth has earned several awards in his field, including the 1982 Young Engineer of the Year award from the southwest branch of the Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers. The same organization named him Engineer of the Year in Private Practice in 1983 and Engineer of the Year in 1988. He was also named Outstanding Civil Engineer in 1993 by the Madison branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
He has been active in the ASCE, the Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Council of Engineering Companies. He currently serves on the Industry Advisory Board for the college's Engineering Learning Center and actively assists the university in establishing an endowed professorship for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Sheth and his wife, Kashmira, a UW-Madison alumna, have two daughters attending UW-Madison: Rupa is a senior majoring in industrial engineering and French; and Neha is a sophomore majoring in industrial relations and French.
Daylight Chemical Information Systems, Inc.
David Weininger has taken his lifelong interest in chemistry and developed a leading-edge company in the emerging field of chemical informatics.
Weininger is co-founder and president of Daylight Chemical Information Systems. He received his PhD in water chemistry from UW-Madison in 1978. Weininger was a research scientist before founding Daylight Chemical Information Systems. The privately held company focuses on chemical informatics — the application of information technology to the investigation of chemistry problems and the analysis of chemical data. The goal of chemical informatics, according to Weininger, is to create systems that can handle not only large amounts of data, but can also organize and evaluate data to provide new insights into chemical research. Daylight is widely regarded as the leading chemical informatics innovator in the life sciences industry. The company has offices in California, New Mexico and England.
In particular, the company has worked with the pharmaceutical industry and other companies that design chemicals with specific chemical properties.
Weininger's doctoral thesis work at the college focused on the accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in lake trout in Lake Michigan. His work was considered groundbreaking in the developing field of bio-accumulation of organic chemicals in the environment. He then joined the EPA's National Environmental Research Laboratory in Duluth.
In 1983, he began work with the Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships chemical modeling group at Pomona College. His advances in the field led to the development of SMILES (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry Specification), a simple yet comprehensive chemical nomenclature. It is utilized throughout the pharmaceutical and chemical industries for designing organic chemicals with specific chemical properties. Weininger's role in developing SMILES, and the larger role he has played in fostering the emerging field of informatics, has been chronicled in the book, The Info Mesa (Norton). Writer Ed Regis focuses on Santa Fe, New Mexico, home to Daylight's research laboratories and Weininger's personal home, as the next-generation Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs such as Weininger analyze and catalogue huge amounts of information.
In his spare time, Weininger flies his Alon A-2 Aircoupe single-engine airplane and rafts on the Colorado River.