UW-Madison College of Engineering to honor eight outstanding alumni
The 66th annual Engineers’ Day will celebrate the diversity of astounding things University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering alumni can accomplish. The eight alumni who will receive achievement awards at the Engineers’ Day ceremony on Friday, October 11, 2013, are not mere engineers. They are leaders who have proven themselves by rescuing a struggling company; changing the way amusement-park patrons wait for rides; advancing microchip-manufacturing technology; created powerful software tools for analyzing rock mechanics; investing in healthcare innovation; guiding the New York Stock Exchange into the future; supporting technology entrepreneurship around the world and founding a leading electronics research center.
Engineers’ Day festivities will begin with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the lobby of Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive. Seminars will begin at 8:30 in Room 1610 of Engineering Hall. The evening banquet and awards ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive.
Early-Career Achievement Award Recipient
Kristin Myers (BS ’02, biomedical engineering ) began her post-UW-Madison career developing and selling implantable medical devices for Medtronic, moved to the investment side of healthcare as a partner at Skyline Ventures in California and later, as principal of Arboretum Ventures in Michigan, also earning an MBA from Harvard University in 2009. In 2012, she moved to the Hartford, Connecticut, area to begin her current role as chief of staff of the CEO of Aetna. UW-Madison Department of Biomedical Engineering recently recognized Myers as a distinguished entrepreneur, and Crain’s Detroit Business named her one of the Detroit area’s top young professionals during her time at Arboretum Ventures.
Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients
Brian L. Haas (BS ’86, mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics) has led large engineering teams to accomplish manufacturing advances that made next-generation microchips possible, first at Applied Materials and now at KLA-Tencor. He holds his MS and PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University and currently lives in San Jose, California.
Paul R. LaPointe (PhD ’80, mineral engineering) has spent his career driving the development of discrete fracture network modeling technology, which helps engineers in the energy industry and beyond understand the complex role of fractures in rock. He has worked for Golder Associates since 1992 and lives in Woodinville, Washington.
Susan B. Ortenstone (BS, ’79, civil and environmental engineering) strove to transform the El Paso Corporation from a struggling, embattled company to a desirable company, in an eight-year process that culminated in the company’s sale in 2012. Before that, she rose from engineering to leadership roles in the gas industry. A resident of Spring, Texas, Ortenstone recently retired.
Michael G. Pecht (MS ’78, electrical and computer engineering; MS ’79, engineering mechanics; PhD ’82, engineering mechanics) founded the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland in 1987. Since, he has since made CALCE into a powerhouse of research on electronics reliability, receiving funding from 150 of the world’s leading electronics companies. Pecht recently celebrated the milestone of graduating 50 PhD and 100 MS students from his program. His writings—including more than 20 books—have been cited almost 1,900 times.
Jeff Sprecher (BS ’78, chemical and biological engineering) has advanced from engineer for the Trane company to steering the New York Stock Exchange into the next era of stock trading. This latest venture builds on the Madison native’s success as head of the Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, a global operator of derivatives exchanges and clearing houses.
Kristine Ann Theiler (BS ’88, industrial engineering) drastically changed the way visitors experience the Walt Disney amusement parks through her role in developing Disney’s FastPass system. She is most proud of giving industrial engineers a strong voice at Disney and nurturing many engineering careers. Theiler lives in Long Beach, California and holds an MBA from the University of California-Los Angeles Anderson School of Management.
Roy Thiele-Sardina (BS ’82, electrical and computer engineering) builds on more than three decades of industry experience to help young technology startup companies grow and thrive. He worked for 10 years at Sun Microsystems. He co-founded and still serves as a managing partner at investment firm HighBAR Partners, which specializes in supporting infrastructure and enterprise software companies, in addition to serving numerous other roles in business development and investment. He holds an MBA from New York University and lives in Menlo Park, California.