Distinguished Engineering Service Award Recipients
The School of Engineering Distinguished Service Awards were established in 1994 to honor individuals who have made momentous contributions to the School of Engineering through their time, energy or other support. These individuals are often the broad shoulders who have helped us reach toward the fulfillment of our highest ideals as an educational and research institution.
The recipients of the Distinguished Engineering Service Award appear below. Citations for each recipient since 1998 may be viewed by clicking on the individual's name. Note that citations date from the year of the award.
Al Brockett is Vice President of Engineering - Module Centers for Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford. During his 32-year career with the company, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in systems and module center engineering, and operations. In 2002, he received the ASME Hartford Section Engineer of the Year Award. He has fostered strong alliances between Pratt & Whitney and the UConn School of Engineering. He led Pratt & Whitney’s establishment of a Center of Excellence at UConn for advanced research in the field of advanced sensors, diagnostics, and controls for use in aircraft propulsion systems. He also spearheaded the United Technologies Corp. effort establishing the “Engineering Ambassadors” program among UConn and several other universities, aimed at attracting greater numbers of qualified female and minority students into engineering professions. He serves on the Advisory Boards for the Georgia Tech University School of Aerospace Engineering, the UConn School of Engineering, and Pennsylvania State University School of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. Mr. Brockett is also Board Chairman for Infotech Aerospace Services -- Puerto Rico, and a director for Infotech Enterprises -- India. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University.
Heidi Douglas is founder and managing partner of Nuventus LLC, serving small to mid-size high tech and life sciences companies. She is a Director at Decision Options, LLC, Corporate Secretary for Mystic Technology Partners Inc., and a co-founder, former President and CEO of MysticMD Inc. Earlier in her career, she was a partner in Deloitte Consulting’s High Technology practice and held managerial positions at Pfizer Inc. and Syntex (USA) Inc. (now Roche Bioscience). In 2010, she received the Connecticut Technology Council’s Women of Innovation award for Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership, and in 2009 she received the University of New Haven’s (UNH) Distinguished Alumni Award. Ms. Douglas serves on the UConn School of Engineering Advisory Board and has worked diligently to develop a grass-roots fundraising effort. She is a member of the Connecticut-based Angel Investor Forum and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut Women and Girls Fund Grant Committee. Ms. Douglas and her husband endowed the Joel S. and Heidi S. Douglas Engineering Scholarship at UConn in 2007. She received her B.S. in biology from UConn, an M.S. in computer and information science from UNH, and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Hartford.
Daniel Serfaty is founder, Chairman and CEO of Aptima, Inc. a leader in the emerging field of human-centered engineering, with 125 employees and $25 million in annual revenue. Under his stewardship, Aptima has pioneered the use of quantitative modeling of human systems for the purpose of optimizing system performance. Mr. Serfaty began his career at Alphatech, an MIT-UConn spin-off (now BAE Systems), where—starting as a graduate student—he developed the now widely-used distributed dynamic decision-making multi-person gaming simulator for research on team performance, under the direction of UConn professor David L. Kleinman. He served on the UConn School of Engineering’s Advisory Board(2006-08) and currently serves on UConn’s Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Department’s Industrial Advisory Board. He holds B.S. degrees in mathematics/physics, psychology, and aeronautical engineering from the Universite de Paris and the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology; an M.S. in aeronautical engineering from Technion; and a MBA from UConn. Under Dr. Kleinman, he conducted doctoral work in UConn’s ECE department involving a systematic approach to the analysis of distributed decision-making in dynamic and uncertain environments.
Kevin A. Bouley is President and CEO of Nerac, Inc., a Tolland, CT-based global research and advisory firm. He joined Nerac as a telesales specialist in 1980 and rose through roles of increasing responsibility. In 1999, as Executive Vice President, he bought Nerac and transformed it into a value-added technology and intellectual property advisory research firm. Nerac has since been recognized repeatedly by Deloitte & Touche as among the 50 fastest growing Connecticut technology companies. At the Tolland facility, he has provided incubator space for start-up companies many headed by UConn alumni and faculty. He has maintained close working alliances with the schools of Business and Engineering, as well as UConn's Technology Incubation Program and Office of Technology Commercialization. Mr. Bouley serves on the School of Engineering Advisory Board and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation Advisory Board, and he previously served on the boards of the Connecticut Technology Council and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Mr. Bouley was instrumental in the establishment of the Entrepreneurship in Senior Design Program, a collaborative effort between the School of Engineering and School of Business. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Connecticut.
As Vice President, Engineering & Technology, Dave Carter leads Hamilton Sundstrand’s worldwide engineering organization. Mr. Carter joined Hamilton Sundstrand in February 2009, after serving more than 20 years at Pratt & Whitney. In his most recent position, Mr. Carter was Pratt & Whitney’s vice president, Engineering – Module Centers, where he provided leadership to improve F119 producibility issues, resolve technical issues to achieve F135 STOVL flight clearance and achieve technology readiness for the Geared Turbofan engine family. He also fostered collaborations with worldwide engineering sources and universities to improve capability, as well as serving as Chairman of Infotech Aerospace Services in Isabella, Puerto Rico. Previously, Mr. Carter was General Manager, Compression Systems Module Center, where he led the engineering and manufacturing activities, focusing on performance improvements in quality, cost reduction and delivery. He also played key roles in the development of the F135 and GP7000 engines. During his tenure at Pratt & Whitney, Mr. Carter held positions of increasing responsibility, including director, PW4000-112 Engine Programs; chief engineer, PW6000; and engineering director, CSMC. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia. He holds two patents and is a board member for Infotech Enterprises Limited in Bangalore.
Peter Halvordson is Vice President of Engineering at General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, CT. He joined Electric Boat in 1979 as a career-development shipbuilding trainee and progressed through a variety of engineering and managerial positions, including Seawolf-Class program manager, Vice President of Operations and other roles. He received his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1979 and his MBA from the University of New Haven in 1984. Mr. Halvordson has been a strong advocate for the engineering profession and engages in outreach efforts aimed at enhancing awareness of engineering contributions to the development of society, including serving as the keynote speaker for the 2007 Connecticut Invention Convention. A member of the School of Engineering external Advisory Board, Mr. Halvordson has been a staunch supporter of Senior Design collaborations linking UConn's Mechanical Engineering students and Electric Boat, and he was instrumental in the company's decision to offer its employees electronic access to the Master of Engineering (MENG) degree program as a means to enhance the skill set of the company's engineers.
Christopher R. Bentley is Executive Vice President of Government R&D Operations and Strategic Manufacturing Development at FuelCell Energy, Danbury, CT, a position he has held since January 2005. FuelCell Energy is a leading developer of stationary fuel cells for power generation. Mr. Bentley joined the company in 1990 to develop manufacturing and operations capability in support of the company's fuel cell commercialization initiative. He was promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer in 1998 and served on the Board of Directors from 1993-04. Prior to joining FuelCell Energy, he was Director of Manufacturing (1985), Vice-President and General Manager (1985-88) and President (1989) of the Turbine Airfoils Division of Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corporation, a major manufacturer of gas turbine hardware. From 1960-85 he was with the General Electric Company where he served a four-year apprenticeship and completed the GE Manufacturing Management Program prior to a series of increasingly responsible manufacturing positions. He currently serves as a director of Versa Power Systems, Inc., a developer of solid oxide fuel cells, and he is a former director of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Bentley received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts University in 1966.
Raymond P. Necci, PE, is the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) and Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas), two of Northeast Utilities’ (NU) operating companies and Connecticut’s largest electric and natural gas utilities. Mr. Necci has responsibility for all operations and for ensuring that customers receive safe, dependable and reasonably priced energy. He joined NU in 1976 and has held several leadership positions, including Vice President of Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs ('98), and Vice President of Nuclear Technical Services (2000). In 2001 he joined Dominion Nuclear Connecticut as the Vice President of Operations before rejoining NU in January 2002 as Vice President -- Utility Group Services. Mr. Necci earned a B.S. in engineering from the State University of New York Maritime College and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Connecticut, a member of ASME, and a member of the University of Connecticut School of Engineering Advisory Board. He serves on the boards of directors of the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Gas Association. He also is Chairman of the Board of the United Way of the Capital Area.
Dr. Mahmoud Melehy is a professor emeritus of UConn's Electrical & Computer Engineering department. Dr. Melehy's research has focused particularly on generalizing Einstein's 1905 theory of Brownian motion to surfaces, membranes and other interfaces. The generalized theory has led to a unified theory for semiconductor diodes and solar cells that is supported by experimental data reported over a 25-year period by some 27 authors. Dr. Melehy has published some 80 scholarly journal publications and one book on this subject and presented his work in numerous international conferences, including the Paris, 2005 "Einstein Century International Conference." In 1960, he consulted at Shockley Transistor in Mountain View, California. There, he published two scholarly papers with Dr. W. Shockley, inventor of the junction transistor and co-recipient of the 1958 Nobel Prize in physics. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in 1952 and came to UConn in 1958.
Valerie F. Lewis is Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Connecticut, a position she has held since 1999. She began her career with the 45-member Department of Higher Education in 1987, starting as an intern in the agency's budget division before serving in a variety of capacities, from Special Assistant to the Commissioner, to Assistant Commissioner and then Deputy Commissioner in 1992. In her role as Commissioner of Higher Education, Ms. Lewis has been instrumental to the growth in enrollments and degree options -- as well as the future direction -- of the School of Engineering. She has been an integral partner in helping the School double its undergraduate degree offerings from six baccalaureate programs to 12 since 1999, a process requiring approval of the Department of Higher Education for each new B.S. degree program proposed. Ms. Lewis has been an ardent advocate for technology education throughout the state of Connecticut. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Engineering and in this capacity Ms. Lewis has shared her recommendations and insights relative to the School's academic direction, educational focus and performance measures. Ms. Lewis earned her bachelor's degree in English from Mount Holyoke College and her master's degree in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Connecticut.
Senator Christopher Dodd began his career in Washington, DC in 1974 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. After serving three terms, he subsequently ran for the U.S. Senate and was elected as the youngest person ever to the U.S. Senate in Connecticut history. He is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a recognized expert on Latin and South America who recently received the Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award recognizing leadership in foreign policy. Senator Dodd is currently a senior member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is the senior Democrat on its Children and Families Subcommittee. He serves on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and is the senior Democrat on its Securities and Investment Subcommittee. He also is the senior Democrat on the Rules and Administration Committee. Following his graduation from Providence College, Senator Dodd spent two years in the Peace Corps working in a rural village in the Dominican Republic. Upon returning to the U.S., he enlisted in the Army and served in the reserves. In 1972, he earned a law degree from the University of Louisville School of Law. Senator Dodd has been a passionate supporter of the University of Connecticut and the School of Engineering’s efforts to secure Federal funding for fuel cell research and commercial development.
Dr. Preli is Vice President of Engineering for UTC Fuel Cells. Managing a development staff of more than 360 engineers, he has helped UTC Fuel Cells realize a 100% increase in power density and a 50-fold service life improvement of the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stacks used on stationary and automotive applications, reduce by 70 percent the size of fuel processors for transportation applications, and attain best-in-class steady state and dynamic modeling capabilities in support of conceptual design and development of power plants. He joined UTC Fuel Cells in 1998 after 20 years in various research and materials engineering and managerial positions with Pratt & Whitney. Dr. Preli has authored many archival technical publications and delivered numerous technical presentations around the globe throughout his career. He has been a strong supporter and advocate in establishment of the Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center (CGFCC) at the University of Connecticut and serves on the CGFCC Advisory Board.
Congressman Rob Simmons is currently serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Connecticut representative from the Second District. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Before his election to Congress, he served five terms in the Connecticut General Assembly. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1967, and spent 19 months in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Star Medals. In 1969, he joined the CIA, working as an Operations Officer for a decade, including five years on assignment overseas in East Asia. Later, he was awarded the CIA’s Seal Medallion, its highest civilian award. Congressman Simmons retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2000 with the rank of Colonel. He is a 1965 graduate of Haverford College and a 1979 graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he earned a Master in Public Administration. He was a Visiting Lecturer at the Political Science Department at Yale University from 1985 to 1995 and a Teaching Assistant at the University of Connecticut from 1988 to 1991. He remains an Associate Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale. Congressman Simmons has provided dedicated support for Connecticut in development of cutting-edge technologies, and he was instrumental in securing Federal funding for the School of Engineering’s initiative in fuel cell research and commercial development.
Mr. Arthur Diedrick is Chairman of Development, Office of the Governor. He chairs the Board of Directors of Connecticut Innovations (CI), the Clean Energy Fund (a unit of CI), the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA), the Connecticut Brownfields Redevelopment Authority, (a subsidiary of the CDA), and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). Through his foresight, Mr. Diedrick has brought together resources and individuals with innovative ideas to help Connecticut establish and maintain preeminence in a number of key technologies of the future. In addition, he has supported the University of Connecticut and the School of Engineering many times in recent years through seed and challenge funding in areas as diverse as fuel cell technology and environmental studies. The School of Engineering has benefited directly from his vision, most recently in developing the agreement between CI and the School of Engineering for establishment of the nascent Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center. Mr. Diedrick is a graduate of Yale University. During his service in the U.S. Air Force he was awarded the American Spirit of Honor Medal.
Mr. Dennis Welch is Director, President and Chief Operating Officer, Yankee Energy System, Inc., a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities. In his previous capacity as Vice President of Environmental, Safety and Ethics for Northeast Utilities, he was instrumental in negotiating important agreements between NU and the School of Engineering, including establishment of the NU Foundation Chair in Environmental Engineering and the Northeast Utilities Environmental Engineering Clinic. Mr. Welch is a director of the New England Gas Association, a member of the American Gas Association's Leadership Council, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy. He earned his B.S. from Indiana State University and his M.S. from the Hartford Graduate Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Welch has been a dedicated and imaginative advocate for the School of Engineering and an insightful ally helping the School of Engineering evolve in the last three years. He continues to contribute his intelligent, insightful advice as a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Engineering, a position of great import and influence for the School.
Dr. John Cassidy, Senior Vice President for Science & Technology at United Technologies Corporation (UTC), East Hartford, oversees responsibility for all of UTC’s research and engineering efforts, including expenditures of $1.3 billion annually. He is also Vice President and Director of United Technologies Research Center. Dr. Cassidy previously served as UTC’s Corporate Director of Technology Management. Prior to joining UTC, he held research management positions with General Electric and General Motors. Dr. Cassidy earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Through his commitment, vision and leadership, Dr. Cassidy has served the School in many diverse ways. He has been instrumental in helping forge strong alliances between the School of Engineering and UTC. His role in helping negotiate complicated contractual details between the academic environment and the industrial sector has been of incomparable value to the School of Engineering. His numerous presentations at the School have helped our students embrace lifelong learning and a commitment to excellence in their careers. For his outstanding support, the School of Engineering is honored to present Dr. Cassidy with a 2001 Distinguished Engineering Service Award.
Mr. Michael G. Morris is Chairman, President and CEO of Northeast Utilities system (NU), New England's leading supplier of energy products and services, with 1.7 million customers. Before joining NU in August 1997, he was President and CEO for Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, and President of CMS Marketing, Services and Trading. He also was an officer and Executive Vice President of natural gas, marketing, rates, regulatory affairs and wholesale power transactions for Consumers Energy. Mr. Morris earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in science from Eastern Michigan University where he received the distinguished alumni award in 1995 and his law degree (cum laude) from the Detroit College of Law. He serves on the Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University and is director of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Edison Electric Institute, the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) and Webster Financial Corporation. Mr. Morris has been a dedicated supporter, contributing his energies and expertise toward development of strong strategic alliances between NU and the School of Engineering. His vision and support have been of inestimable value, and the School of Engineering is privileged to present Mr. Morris with a 2001 Distinguished Engineering Service Award.
Michael J. Cheshire is Chairman and CEO of Gerber Scientific Inc., South Windsor, CT. Mr. Cheshire joined Gerber Scientific in 1997 as President and Chief Operating Officer. The following year, he was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Before joining Gerber Scientific, Mr. Cheshire worked as a project engineer with Underwriters Laboratories (UL); a technical applications manager, and later president, of O-Z/Gedney, a division of General Signal Corporation; and president of General Signal’s entire Electrical Group. Mr. Cheshire is a member of Gerber Scientific's board of directors, and he serves as a vice chairman of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and Director of WESCO International. Mr. Cheshire earned his B.S. in applied physics from Dowling College. Mr. Cheshire has played a major role in supporting engineering education throughout Connecticut, and particularly at the University of Connecticut, where his advocacy has enhanced the educational quality and opportunities for undergraduate engineers through scholarships and grants, research grants and senior design projects, and internships.
Christopher Fuselier, General Manager of General Electric Industrial Systems, Plainville, is a 32-year veteran of General Electric, where he has held a variety of engineering and marketing positions in aerospace, corporate, factory automation, and industrial systems operations. He serves on the Engineering Committee of the GE Fund and on the Board of Directors for the Greater Hartford Junior Achievement, and he is the GE Executive for the University of Connecticut. He also has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Department of Union College and as a member of the National Research Council Manufacturing Studies Board. Through his commitment, vision and leadership, Mr. Fuselier has been instrumental in helping forge strong alliances between the UConn School of Engineering and General Electric. His role in helping negotiate complicated contractual details between the academic environment and industry has been of incomparable value. For his outstanding support, the School of Engineering is honored to present Mr. Fuselier with a 2000 Distinguished Engineering Service Award.
Dr. David "Ed" Crow is Senior Vice President of Pratt & Whitney's engineering organization . He oversees the design, development validation and certification of all of Pratt & Whitney's large commercial engines, military engines and rocket products. He also leads research and development of advanced technology systems to meet future aircraft requirements. In 1998, Dr. Crow was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He is a past secretary of the Society of Automatic Engineers and a member of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Dr. Crow's advocacy has led to significant scholarship grants for students (including under-represented groups), research grants for various departments, endowments, internships for students, and visiting positions for faculty. He has worked diligently within UTC, Pratt & Whitney's parent corporation, to improve the University of Connecticut’s standing as the leading supplier of UTC engineers. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1972.
Hugh MacKenzie is President of the Retail Business Group of the Northeast Utilities system. He is also President of the Connecticut Light and Power Company, Holyoke Water Power Company and Western Massachusetts Electric Company. Mr. MacKenzie is a member of Governor Rowland’s Industry Cluster Advisor Board. He has strongly supported, both within Northeast Utilities and at the state level, closer ties between private industry and the University of Connecticut. In particular, he has been instrumental in convincing NU management to continuously and generously support scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Engineering. This includes financial aid and mentorship of the Minority Engineering Program. In 1998, Mr. MacKenzie worked diligently and successfully with the leadership of both organizations to establish the Northeast Utilities Endowed Chair Professorship in Environmental Engineering.
William J. Sheeran
Richard F. Gamble
John S. Rydz