Virginia Tech's College of Engineering inducted seven new members into its Academy of Engineering Excellence, an elite group that now consists of only 97 people out of its more than 55,000 living alumni.
The Academy of Engineering Excellence was founded in 1999 by F. William Stephenson, past dean of the college of engineering, and the College's Alumni Advisory Board. This year marked the eleventh anniversary of the first induction. In 2009, college produced a book on the first 90 inductees, called In the Land Grant Tradition: Reaching the Pinnacles . The book is available at the University Bookstore.
This Academy and the College's published book "represents another way the College of Engineering has selected to showcase our loyal ambassadors. These alumni all represent people who have lived their lives representing the spirit of Ut Prosim, Virginia Tech’s motto, meaning 'That I may serve,' " said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering and the holder of the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering.
The 2010 inductees are: Richard Arnold, of Blacksburg, Va., Class of 1956, industrial engineering; H. Pat Artis of Pogosa Springs Springs, Colo., Class of 1972, engineering science and mechanics; John “Jack” Boyd, of Saratoga, Calif., Class of 1942, aeronautical engineering; Nicholas DesChamps of Fincastle, Va., and Las Vegas, Nev., Class of 1962 and 1967, mechanical engineering; Dennis M. Kamber of Poolesville, Md., Class of 1964, civil engineering; Mary G. Miller, of Blacksburg, Va., Class of 1985, computer science; and E. Minor Pace of Mt. Vernon, Ill., Class of 1943, mining engineering.
Richard Arnold has a distinguished Virginia Tech background – a star track athlete who was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, service in the corps of cadets and several campus organizations – and a stellar career. He worked just shy of 30 years at Union Carbide Corp., and then 12 years at Allied Signal. He has worked as a production engineer, plant manager overseeing 200-plus employees, senior management consultant, and held jobs in corporate public affairs. He is a member of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Committee of 100 and the Industrial and Systems Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni, as well as the industrial and systems engineering advisory board.
H. Pat Artis and his wife Nancy founded Performance Associates Inc., which focuses on the characterization and performance of storage subsystems of computers. Performance has developed industry standard tools for the characterization and testing for storage performance, reliability, and replication. Its clients include a plethora of Fortune 500 companies the world over. The couple has committed $10 million in monetary gifts to the Virginia Tech engineering science and mechanics and aerospace and ocean engineering departments, while also supporting nearby Radford University. Artis serves on the College of Engineering’s Campaign Steering Committee, and previously chaired the College Advisory Board. He and Nancy are members of the Legacy Society and Ut Prosim Society, and he has guest-lectured in the classroom.
John “Jack” Boyd started his lifelong career with NASA at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in Mountain View, Calif. He worked on a wide variety of craft such as the F102 to the B-58, the Apollo, Mercury and Gemini missions, and the original planetary probes for Mars and Venus. His awards are enviable: the Stanford Sloan Fellowship, the NASA Exceptional Service Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Award, the Presidential rank of Meritorious Executive, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Command Medal. He is a member of the NASA Ames Hall of Fame and a Fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. After his retirement, he returned to NASA and established the Ames Aerospace Encounter, an education program for K-12 students and teachers. The program is renowned for its hands-on learning environment.
Nicholas DesChamps and his classmate, Frank Bliss, made history at Virginia Tech as the first Ph.D.s in mechanical engineering to graduate in 1967. The owner of 19 patents, Des Champs opened Des Champs Technologies in 1974 in the middle of the oil crisis and a deep recession. The Buena Vista, Va., company developed the Wringer®, the first product in the field that allowed the control of humidity inside a building without overcooling it and simultaneously reducing the cost of dehumidification by more than 30 percent. The Wringer® was named Plant Engineering magazine’s product of the year in 1992. Des Champs sold his company to Munters Corporation, a billion dollar-a-year business located in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2007, and remained as an executive vice-president until July of 2009. Today, he continues to act as a consultant for the company, through his ownership of eForay Consulting LLC, of Las Vegas. At the end of 2008, sales of the Des Champs Products Division were at $50 million for the 225-employee company.
Dennis M. Kamber, who worked for a start-up company, Bertram D. Tallamy, says he decided to branch out on his own and eventually formed Kamber Engineering Inc. The firm conducted work in wastewater treatment, and designed the first sequenced batched activated sludge plant which won a national engineering award in 1986. Kamber Engineering also held contracts with the National Park Service for work at Harper’s Ferry, and performed on such Washington sites as the Kennedy Center and the Jefferson Memorial. Kamber held multiple contracts with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and provided engineering support at the U.S. Naval Academy, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Camp David, and other locations. He sold the company to Chester Engineers of Pittsburgh, Pa., and today works as a senior vice president of ARCADIS, a top five global engineering company.
Mary G. Miller founded Interactive Design and Development (IDD), an information technology development company and a producer of educational materials. Her clients include such organizations as the American Federation of Teachers, members of the health care industry, and Fortune 500 companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Citibank, and Dow Chemical. For the past 20 years, Miller has served both Democratic and Republican governors of Virginia, starting with the first ask from Secretary of Technology Don Upson in the 1980s to help him confront information technology problems. She has assisted in Virginia’s efforts to strategize and implement the use of technology across the state’s agencies and institutions of higher learning, and remains a member of Virginia’s Information Technology Investment Board. She was one of the founders of this board, and served is a former chair of its evaluation and governance committee.
E. Minor Pace spent his career with Inland Steel Coal Co., working his way up the ladder to the executive vice president, earning a reputation for modernizing the company and improving its profit margins. He was also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. While with Inland, Pace served as vice chairman of the Kentucky Coal Institute, chair of the Illinois Coal institute, chair of the Coal Division of the Society of Mining Engineers, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Mining Engineers (SME). He received two national awards, SME’s Percy Nicholls Award, and the American Institute of Mining Engineers’ Erskine Ramsay Award, for his contributions to the industry.