Floyd Hall at night

Alumni Awards

Each year, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences honors alumni who are making an impact in their fields and in their communities. They represent what it means to be a Bronco engineer through their personal and professional lives and their commitment to personal integrity. To recognize their contributions to our college and the industries they represent, a permanent Wall of Fame recognizes recipients in Floyd Hall.

Emerging Alumni Award: Recipients have a minimum of 5 years professional experience in an engineering field and are no more than 15 years post-graduation. Through a nomination process, a select number of alumni are honored each year.

Submit a nomination

Alumni Excellence Award: This elite group of alumni are recognized for their achievements in their profession, contributions to their organization and field as well as their reputation for having high personal integrity. Alumni Excellence Award recipients are selected from their respective departments. Award recipients prior to 2023 received the Alumni Excellence Academy Award.

Spire Award: One outstanding alum who represents the best of the best is selected each year for the Spire Award, having achieved exceptional success in their field, outstanding service to their communities and significant influence on young Bronco engineers. Spire Award recipients are selected from previous Alumni Excellence Award winners.

  • We celebrate the remarkable achievements of our award recipients who truly exemplify excellence in their respective industries. This celebration is not just about the award, but about the profound impact our alums have made on their fields. We are honored to have these exceptional Broncos join our other distinguished alumni award honorees.

    Dr. Steve Butt, dean

  • 2023

    Spire Award

    Jim Castellano, B.S.E.’87

    Vice President Design Engineering xEV
    Hitachi Astemo

    Jim CastellanoJim Castellano, B.S.E.’87, is vice president design engineering xEV at Hitachi Astemo where he leads a team of engineers who are designing motor/generators, inverters, battery controllers, and drive units for many of the top automotive manufacturers (OEMs). His responsibilities entail the North American plants making the electrified components. He is passionate about reducing the world’s carbon footprint and growing electrified vehicles.

    Castellano started a 35 and a half year career at Ford Motor Company in 1983, working his way through school and earning a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering from WMU. Early in his career at Ford, Castellano took an international engineering assignment in England to work on a World Car, developing a common global platform. In 1999, he was selected as one of the first managers to lead a team of engineers on developing Ford’s first production hybrid vehicle. After his time working on hybrids, Castellano assumed various management roles at Ford, including leading the development of the next generation of vacuum-less and bi-wire braking. When he retired from Ford in 2018, he was managing the North America Steering Applications and Systems. He has received two patents for his work on high voltage battery systems.

    Castellano serves on the industry advisory board  of WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

    Favorite Bronco memory: I had lots of great memories during my time at Western Michigan University. My favorite memory has to be the completion of my senior project during the last semester. There were three of us working together and our project was studying natural gas and an alternative fuel for automobiles without significantly changing the internal combustion engines. The best part of this was that the Canadian government asked for our findings and recommendations.

    Alumni Excellence Awards

    Sandeep Badida, M.S.'94

    Founder and CEO
    Apex Semiconductor Inc.

    Sandeep Badida headshotSandeep Badida, M.S.'94, is the founder and CEO of Apex Semiconductor Inc. - a Bay area startup, specializing in delivering complex, high-performance and low-power SoCs, chiplets, and system designs using bleeding-edge FinFET process technologies. Badida graduated from WMU in 1994 with a master’s degree in computer science specializing in VLSI design and joined AMD in the Silicon Valley as a design automation engineer. While at WMU, Badida published several research papers in the field of  MCM routing. He also co-authored a book on MCM packaging technology titled Introduction to Multichip Modules.
    Prior to his time at WMU, Badida worked for an automation company in Hong Kong designing and installing plating machineries for PCB and IC manufacturing. Post AMD, Badida has worked at several successful startups and large companies enabling productization of several complex systems in the networking, storage and general purpose computing space. Some of the companies he has worked for are Siara Systems, Redback Networks, Montalvo Systems, Ericsson, Veloce Technologies, Applied Micro and Ampere Compute-leading diverse teams across the globe as the head of Silicon Engineering and helping them take multiple products to production.
    Favorite Bronco memory: Teaching undergraduate computer science courses in algorithms and data structures and defeating the University of Michigan Cricket team in an inter collegiate cricket tournament at Ann Arbor.
    Nominated by the Department of Computer Science

    Jason Joseph, B.S.E.’97

    Chief Digital and Information Officer
    Corewell Health

    Headshot of Jason Joseph in professional dressJason Joseph, B.S.E.’97, is the chief digital and information officer for Corewell Health where he leads strategic and operational information services with a primary focus on creating efficiencies and simplifying experiences through digital technology and automation. Joseph leads efforts across all categories of technology including applications, cybersecurity, data and analytics, clinical technology and emergency preparedness services.

    At Corewell, he implemented multiple consumer-facing digital technologies and unified the system on an integrated clinical and revenue cycle platform. He also created and grew a regional health information exchange, advanced the system’s business intelligence and analytics capabilities, and helped build a culture of excellence and innovation. Previously, Joseph served as vice president, information systems and services for IdeaSphere. He began his career with EY, where he specialized in enterprise software development and integration.

    Joseph earned a B.S.E. in electrical engineering at WMU. He received the John R. Malone Award for the highest academic performance from the University of Notre Dame, where he earned his MBA. Joseph holds a certificate in health care project management from Harvard School of Public Health, and is a graduate of Spectrum Health Executive Leadership Institute at University of Michigan.

    He is a board member and past board president at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and serves on the Fifth Third Bank West Michigan, STEM Greenhouse and Scottsdale Institute boards. He is actively involved in International CIO Leadership Association, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and actively supports many other organizations.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Hanging out with friends on weekends around campus and watching the Bronco hockey team who was in the top tier nationally. We had a tight group of people that seemed to all get along really well, and I have lots of fond memories of those days!

    Nominated by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    David H. Nall, B.S.E.‘86

    Vice President, Strategic Development, Partnerships, and Human Resources
    Covenant HealthCare

    Headshot of David Nall in professional dressDavid Nall, B.S.E’86, is a 37-year veteran of the healthcare industry and currently is vice president of planning and strategic development, partnerships, and human resources at Covenant HealthCare. 

    Nall entered the healthcare industry after graduating from WMU, taking a job in management engineering first at Bronson Methodist Hospital then at Bay Medical Center. Nall then moved to Covenant HealthCare and transitioned into an administrative role. 

    Before being named to his current role, Nall was the administrative leader of Covenant’s employed physician group for 14 years, recruiting the medical staff, negotiating their contracts, and overseeing the management of their practices. 

    As a student at WMU, he was named the Outstanding Student in Industrial Engineering. He earned his MBA from the University of Michigan. Nall currently serves on the faculty advisory committee of the Department of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering at Western Michigan University. He is the chair of the Board of Elders of his church and has served on the boards of the Underground Railroad in Saginaw, the Girl Scouts, and BWell Saginaw, a community-wide collective focused on increasing the health status of the community.  

    Favorite Bronco Memory:  Pulling "all-nighter" sessions at Kohrman Hall working on robotic projects. 

    Nominated by the Department of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management

    Paul Pagano, B.S.E ‘10

    Project Superintendent

    Headshot of Paul PaganoPaul Pagano, B.S.E.’10, is a project superintendent for Walbridge building design and construction consultants. In this role, he completed work on the new $100 million WMU Student Center and Dining Facility, where he was a lead building enclosure and interior finishes superintendent. In 2010, he worked as a project engineer on the $69 million Sangren Hall. Pagano looks forward to representing Bronco Nation on the $3.5 billion Ford BlueOval Battery Park.

    Through the influence of his grandfather, a pipefitter, and his dad, a research scientist, Pagano is a balance of hard work and critical thinking. At WMU, he learned civil and construction theory as well as the practical hands-on experiences, laying the foundation for his career.

    Pagano competed on WMU’s concrete canoe team and remains involved in mentoring the team. He serves on the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering's industrial advisory board, sponsors and judges senior design projects, speaks in classes, partners with faculty on research projects and recruits students to join the construction industry.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Senior year leading the WMU concrete canoe to its highest placement (2nd) at the American Society of Civil Engineers North Central Regional Conference. It was incredible to see what a highly motivated group of individuals can accomplish when they put their individual talent towards a common goal. Plus, we stole enough conference points to prevent Michigan Tech from going to nationals.

    Nominated by the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering

    Anne Saad, B.S.E.’06

    Senior Leader for Verticals Integration – Test Program Manager
    The Boeing Company

    Anne Saad, B.S.E.'06, is senior leader for verticals integration in the test organization at The Boeing Company. She has been in test leadership since 2019, and is a career-long test engineer at heart.

    Saad joined The Boeing Company in 2010 as a certification engineer on the 787. She soon joined the test organization to leverage her previous skills from Flowserve Corporation on fluid handling and propulsion. Most notably, she was the lead test engineer during the global grounding of the 787 battery issue, working with global regulatory authorities to safely bring the product back to the flying public. 

    During her career at Boeing she was part of the United Launch Alliance launch team, focusing on ground propulsion loading and handling and even launched rockets from both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base. This was a childhood dream come true!

    Saad’s true passion resides in engineering student support and breakthrough technologies. She is an alumnus committed to supporting and empowering Broncos by hosting career preparation events and connecting students to prospective senior design projects through The Boeing Company.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Winning the WMU Spirit Award my freshman year!


    Greg Serkaian, B.S.E ‘06

    Lead Program Manager
    Target Corporation

    Headshot of Greg SerkaianGreg Serkaian, B.S.E.’06, serves as a lead program manager at Target Corporation, leading the lighting asset management team. His responsibilities include developing and managing the capital replacement program for lights, including retrofitting over 500 sites annually. His cross-functional leadership earned him Target’s Big Dog Award in 2021.

    Serkaian started his career at Armstrong Service, utilizing his energy management skills to design energy savings solutions for various customers, including food manufacturers and VA hospitals.

    After Armstrong, Serkaian continued to champion energy management at the Meijer Corporation, implementing energy savings projects throughout the chain. During his time there, he also launched several programs, including several facilities asset management programs and a maintenance central stores, and created a warranty management program for new store construction.

    He stays connected with Western and the chemical engineering program, presenting his work annually to students.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Grabbing all-you-can-eat Mongolian BBQ before heading back to Parkview for late nights of studying.

    Nominated by the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering

    Matthew Simon, B.S.E.’96, M.S.’03

    Research and Development Engineering Manager
    Parker Hannifin Corporation

    Headshot of Matt Simon in professional dressMatthew Simon, B.S.’96, M.S.’03, is a research and development engineering manager at Parker Hannifin where he leads projects in the development and commercialization of complex hydraulic assemblies for global customers. He manages an engineering team responsible for the development of hydraulic pump products. Simon joined Parker as a product engineer in 1995. He has served as a design engineer on Parker’s Boeing 787 main hydraulic pumps project and as senior engineer, working on hydrostatic and hydraulic transmissions. 

    During his career, Simon has been awarded numerous patents and was nominated for the Parker Hannifin Engineering Fellows program. Two of his products won the Parker Hannifin Best Mousetrap award, which recognizes products based on innovation and commercial success. He participates in the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, which seeks to advance industry-education partnerships in transforming fluid power. He participated in the Parker Chainless Challenge as an industry mentor for WMU students and has mentored senior design project teams. He has also hired five WMU engineering interns during his time at Parker.

    Simon earned both his bachelor and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at WMU.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Attending Bronco hockey games at Lawson.

    Nominated by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

    Robert Smalldon, B.S.’00

    Landscape Forms

    Headshot of Robb SmalldonRobb Smalldon, B.S.’00, is the president of Landscape Forms’ structure business segment,  responsible for rapid growth in the landscape architecture and commercial exterior space industry. Landscape Forms’ structure solutions include powered louvered roof systems, decorative barrier systems, exterior space defining wall systems, and exploring new solutions including planted green wall systems and surface grade architectural elements. Smalldon joined Landscape Forms in 1998 as an intern; in 2001 he began full-time work as a manufacturing engineer. He joined the Landscape Forms management team in 2013 and executive team in 2017. Smalldon was developed as a future leader within Landscape Forms, throughout periods of design industry change, company growth, and exposure to all aspects of the business. Smalldon has created strong teams within Landscape Forms and has forged many initiatives, including Studio 431, the custom product division, into the preferred industry partner in branded solutions, through strategic relationship building and delivering value-added performance to venue projects.    

    Smalldon earned a bachelor’s in engineering graphics and design technology degree from WMU in 2000 and completed Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management executive development program in 2014.

    In addition to his work at Landscape Forms, Smalldon is proud to be a community leader helping to connect creative people and drive collaboration among industry leading companies in southwest Michigan. He currently serves on the boards of directors for Southwest Michigan First, Select Products, and Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and is highly engaged with Western Michigan University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Richmond Institute for Design Innovation.    

    Favorite Bronco memory: The first Bronco hockey home game at Lawson! Wild and crazy crowd and such great spirit that helped create a school connection from day one that has followed ever since!

    Nominated by the Department of Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems

    Mark Zempel, B.S.E.’92

    Vice President and General Manager 
    Axchem USA

    Headshot of Mark ZempelMark Zempel, B.S.E.’92, is vice president and general manager for Axchem USA, the U.S. business of Axchem Group, a global leader in specialty chemical programs and solutions for the pulp and paper industry. Prior to taking on this role in 2019, Zempel held sales, marketing, supply chain, and business management roles at Ecolab Nalco Water, Georgia-Pacific Chemicals, AkzoNobel Eka Chemicals and BetzDearborn Hercules. He started his career as a process engineer and supervisor at Miami Paper. The true beginning to his industry experience, however, was working as a student in the WMU Paper Pilot Plant with Jack McCoy and Andy Lapekas. He learned more invaluable lessons while interning at Crown Vantage. Zempel also holds an MBA from Kennesaw State University (Georgia).

    Zempel met his wife Lisa, B.S.’91, when they both lived in Ernest Burnham Hall, and both have many fond memories of WMU and Kalamazoo. They now reside in Georgia, where they avidly follow the adventures of their children, including volunteering in organizations around their interests.

    Zempel is active as a board member in the WMU Paper Technology Foundation, where he enjoys contributing to the continued success of the program and foundation that led to his fulfilling career in the pulp and paper industry.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Meeting the love of my life!
    Runner-up memory: Euchre games between classes in the coffee room in McCracken Hall

    Nominated by the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering

    Emerging Alumni Awards


    Mark ClapperMark Clapper, B.S.E.’13

    Director, Global Facility and Utility Systems

    “Mark’s leadership to get him to the director level within 10 years of graduation is impressive and he will be taking Kellogg buildings into the next generation of stability and sustainability.”—Brianna Franks, B.S.E.’07, Senior Director North America Engineering, Kellogg Company





    Joanna Croes headshotJoanna Croes, B.S.’17

    Master Control Systems Project Engineer
    Ford Motor company

    “Joanna is a successful industrial engineer and leader, who is president of IISE Michigan Chapter, a professional chapter encompassing all of Michigan.”—Dr. Tim Greene, professor, WMU
    “In addition to her professional work, Joanna has taken on the very important role of Michigan IISE Chapter president where she has revived the chapter. Joanna has done a tremendous job connecting and engaging IISE members through webinars, mixers, and lunch and learn type events to promote chapter growth.”—Dana Hammond, B.S.’04, faculty specialist, WMU

    Alex FleckAlex Fleck, B.S.E.’18, M.S.’23

    K2 Assistant Superintendent
    Graphic Packaging

    “Alex is currently working in a position that traditionally is achieved after several decades of working in the industry. He has an exceptional blend of technical knowledge and people skills. and is a resource for young interns and students at WMU.”—Jen Johnson, B.B.A.’97, Paper Technology Foundation

    Dr. Alexandra FeinDr. Kendra Fein, B.S.E.’15

    Product Development Engineer
    Ahlstrom Corp.

    “Her doctoral research was in nano cellulose technology including working on initial successful commercial application at a paper mill. As a product development engineer at Ahlstrom, she is developing new products with broad scale commercial applications.”—Charles Klass, B.A.'62, President and Owner, Klass Associates Inc.




    Jesse HendershotJesse Hendershot, B.S.E.’14

    Mechanical Engineering Supervisor
    Tower Pinkster

    “Jesse influences his team to look at each design project holistically and find the best option available based on maintainability, energy efficiency, and operating expense. He has become very trusted in the company and is often asked to provide a younger perspective at Tower Pinkster leadership meetings.”—Perry Hausman, B.S.E.’99, Tower Pinkster




    Lance McCauleyLance McCauley, B.S.E.’17

    Paper Machine Superintendent
    New-Indy Containerboard

    “Lance is an individual of strong moral character, and his work ethic has resulted in rapid advancement for a young process engineer.”—Jen Johnson, B.B.A.’97, Paper Technology Foundation

  • 2022

    Brian Pahl, B.S.E.’80

    Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering
    Managing director of the Paper Technology Foundation
    Western Michigan University

    Brian Pahl, B.S.E.’80, is the managing director for the Paper Technology Foundation at Western Michigan University. From 2008-17, he served as president and CEO of BTG Group based in Eclepens, Switzerland. Prior to that he was the head of papermaking effects for CIBA Specialty Chemicals in Basel, Switzerland, and president of the paper technology division of Hercules, Inc. from 2001-2005. He joined Hercules, Inc. in 1980 as a technical representative in Portland, Oregon, and moved through various assignments in sales, marketing and business management over 25 years in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and at Hercules’ headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. 

    Brian earned his Bachelor of Science in paper engineering in 1980. In his local church, Brian serves in the Stephen Ministry to those suffering hardship.

    Favorite Bronco memory: September 1976 move in day into Valley II !

    Nathan Tate, B.S.E.’08

    Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering
    Senior Manager of Engineering and Maintenance

    Nate TateNathan Tate is a senior manager of engineering and maintenance for Perrigo, a leading global self-care company.  Tate has responsibility for the facility engineering and maintenance team, tablet manufacturing engineering and maintenance team, and warehouse engineering and maintenance team. He has led the tablet manufacturing engineering team to successfully implement improved manufacturing equipment in multiple unit operations of high-volume, over-the-counter medicine, significantly increasing quality and productivity. Additionally, Tate has been able to lead several efforts focused on improving Perrigo's award-winning apprenticeship program for skilled trades, including working with peers to improve outreach to local high schools and technical centers to encourage and develop the next generation.

    Tate has been with Perrigo for 13 years and started as an intern from WMU. Because of his experience, he is very passionate about the internship program and connection to WMU. He has recruited at WMU career fairs many times, presented in intro to chemical engineering classes, and has been leading the overall engineering internship program at Perrigo for the past four years.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Winning the 2005 Indoor Dorm League Flag Football Intramural Championship!!

    Jason Thomas, B.S.E. ’08, M.S. ’11

    Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering
    Director, Life Science Design Market 

    Clark, Richardson and Biskup

    Jason ThomasJason Thomas received his B.S.E. in chemical engineering as a member of the Lee Honors College and graduated cum laude. He went on to receive his M.S. in engineering management while working full time and later obtained his Professional Engineering license. Throughout his time at WMU, Thomas was an active member in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers. He was also a member of the men’s club soccer organization, where he served as vice president and two-time national tournament participant.

    Thomas has spent the majority of his professional career at Clark, Richardson and Biskup. CRB provides consulting, design and construction management services supporting the life science and food and beverage industries. He currently serves as a director, life science design market team leader. In this role, Thomas leads a team of approximately 50 engineers, architects and administrators to deliver technical solutions to clients in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana.

    Thomas met his wife Betsy during his first week at WMU. After dating throughout undergrad, they were married in 2010 and were honored to help WMU break the Guinness World Record for the largest vow renewal in 2016.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Winning the Midwest Alliance Soccer Conference, which includes Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Ohio State University, and leading WMU to a top 16 finish at the NIRSA national tournament.

    Robert Michael Krueger, B.S.E.’90

    Department of Civil and Construction Engineering
    Vice President – Operations
    Fessler & Bowman

    KruegerRob Krueger currently serves as the vice president – operations at Fessler & Bowman. Joining the leadership team at Fessler & Bowman in 2019, Krueger was tapped to improve the company’s competitive advantage through operational excellence across five regional offices. His primary focus is on operational alignment of management functions and field production. By empowering the tradeswomen and tradesmen with cutting-edge technology, Fessler & Bowman is advancing the paperless jobsite. Krueger continues to emphasize employee engagement while leading a team of 16 department directors. Under his operational leadership, Fessler & Bowman has grown to become one of the 15 largest commercial concrete contractors in the country. Previously, Krueger served as the chief executive officer and chief operating officer at Wieland Corporation, a national general contractor and construction manager.

    Graduating from WMU with a Bachelor of Science in construction management and business, Krueger was awarded the Presidential Scholar in Engineering Technology. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

    Krueger holds several prominent roles throughout the construction industry and his local community. Most recently, he serves as the co-chair of the industrial advisory board for the WMU Department of Civil and Construction Engineering.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Sledding down the hill at Waldo Stadium on cafeteria trays. I'm sure we returned the trays to the cafeteria after we were finished.

    Frederic Rowe, B.S.E.'77

    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Retired Automation Engineer
    Kendall Electric

    frederic roweFrederic Rowe is retired from Kendall Electric where he was employed for nearly 33 years as an automation engineer, assisting customers in Southwest Michigan and Northeast Indiana with their factory automation needs. Although his main focus was sales, he relished the opportunity to get involved with the design, startup, training, and troubleshooting of their Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) systems. In 1993, he was awarded the Charles Kodis Award (Kendall Founders Award).

    Rowe earned his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1977 and remained at WMU as a full-time instructor, teaching freshman- and sophomore-level courses in the electrical engineering department until 1980. He was then hired by General Motors as an Associate Controls Engineer for the HydraMatic plant in Three Rivers, Michigan, before accepting an offer to work at Kendall Electric in 1981. Rowe also had the opportunity to teach a service course for non-electrical majors in the electrical engineering department from 2002 to 2005 during the transition to the Parkview campus.

    Favorite Bronco memory: My favorite Bronco memories are from my engineering laboratories experiences. As a freshman and sophomore, I quickly realized how little I knew about electrical engineering, especially compared to those students who already had real-world experience. But the lab instructors like Dr. Mason and Mr. Kelemen shared their substantial knowledge of all things electrical which helped me get ready to enter the profession of electrical engineering. I liked the coursework, but I really liked the labs because of the collaboration with other students.

    Roshan Gidwani, M.S.’91

    Department of Computer Science
    Senior Technical Program Manager
    Meta Platforms


    Roshan Gidwani is a senior technical program manager at Meta Platforms, working on system-on-chip solutions for augmented reality products.

    Gidwani graduated from WMU in 1991 with a master’s degree in computer science and joined AMD in the Silicon Valley as a design automation engineer. During this time, he worked at Sun, Ericsson and several startups in various capacities.

    Before joining Meta in 2021, Gidwani spent several years at Apple, where he worked on silicon and technologies that enabled many products, including the MagSafe Battery Pack, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, and most recently the Apple Silicon based Macs.

    While at WMU, Gidwani published several research papers earning him the Research and Creative Scholar award in April 1990.

    Gidwani earned his B.S. degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Bombay.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Teaching my first undergraduate computer science course as a TA.

    Mark Hayley, B.S.E.‘93

    Engineering Design, Manufacturing, and Management Systems
    Battery Plant Manager
    BlueOval SK

    Mark HayleyMark Hayley is currently Battery Plant Manager at BlueOval SK, leading the manufacturing operations for the recently announced joint venture for Ford Motor Company and SK to deliver a greenfield battery manufacturing facility in Kentucky to support the EV transformation. Prior to his current role, Hayley held various positions at Ford throughout the globe, including Assistant Plant Manager at Sterling Axle Plant, China Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering Program Director, Changan Ford Plant Manager Advisor for Powertrain Operations, Asia Pacific Production Engineering & Planning Manager, and Changan Ford Transmission Plant Chief of Manufacturing Engineering. 

    Hayley joined Ford in 1994 and has over 28+ years of manufacturing experience in engineering and operations, having launched complex powertrain programs in casting, engine, transmission, axles across the globe, including greenfield sites in China. He has led large diverse multicultural teams to successful Best in World Manufacturing results. He was a key contributor for ICE and EV manufacturing footprint development, including multiple new process technologies and supporting new suppliers to high volume manufacturing.

    Hayley graduated from WMU in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering metallurgy. He also received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. 

    Favorite Bronco memory: I had so many opportunities to meet lifelong Bronco friends to this day that I do life with including being blessed with meeting my wife Nikki at Western!

    Dr. Bob White, B.S.E.’72,  M.S.‘76

    Department of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management

    Western Michigan University

    Bob WhiteDr. Bob White, P.E., is a professor of industrial and entrepreneurial engineering at Western Michigan University and is the coordinator of the industrial engineering Ph.D. program. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from WMU in 1972, and after working as a corporate industrial engineer joined WMU in 1973 as the director of off-campus engineering and technical programs. He has had the opportunity to work with thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, supervising numerous senior design projects, master’s theses and Ph.D. dissertations.

    White has been recognized several times for excellent teaching. In 1986, he was named the outstanding engineering laboratory instructor in the United States by the American Society for Engineering Education. In 1994, he received the Alumni Teaching Award, the highest award given by WMU for teaching. In 2022, he was recognized by the Office of Disability Student services with the Outstanding Faculty Award, which is given to one WMU faculty member each year. He has also been chosen by over 25 student Presidential Scholars as the faculty member most influential in their academic career. 

    White has been a consultant to over 50 local and national companies. He has numerous journal publications and conference proceedings and has served in leadership positions in the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. He received his master’s in operations research from WMU and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He is a registered professional engineer in Michigan.

    Favorite Bronco Memory:  Going to the home games during the 1975-76 men’s basketball season, when the Broncos went 25 – 3, advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, and finished the season ranked #10 in the country.

    Dr. Claudia Fajardo-Hansford, B.S.E.'02

    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

    Western Michigan University

    Dr. Claudia Fajardo-Hansford is a professor of mechanical engineering at Western Michigan University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from WMU in 2002 and her master and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. Fajardo-Hansford found and directs the WMU Combustion and Flow Research Laboratory, where she conducts research in the areas of turbulence, combustion and non-intrusive experimental diagnostics, with emphasis on energy conversion. Her research is funded by federal agencies, foundations and industry and has been published in numerous journals and conference proceedings.

    While at WMU, Fajardo-Hansford has enjoyed working with many undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom and laboratory and as an advisor to extracurricular activities, such as the WMU Formula SAE student organization. She has supervised numerous master theses and doctoral dissertations, as well as senior design and undergraduate research projects.

    Fajardo-Hansford has an extensive research and collaboration record with industry and national and international academic institutions. Since 2015, she has served as director of the Center for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation, an interdisciplinary center that collaborates with industry and government partners to address technical challenges in the transportation industry. Fajardo-Hansford was honored with the 2008 Silver Combustion Medal from the Combustion Institute, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Outstanding New Educator Award in 2010, and WMU’s Excellence in Discovery Award (2012-2017). She is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Combustion Institute.

    Favorite Bronco memory: Meeting my husband (a fellow Bronco) while working on WMU's Sunseeker vehicle project.

    Jonathan Strombeck, B.S.E.'06

    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    Engineering Senior Manager - Everett Delivery Center

    Boeing Company

    StrombeckJonathan Strombeck, B.S.E.’06, joined the Boeing Company in 2010 and is currently the engineering senior manager at the company’s Everett Delivery Center. He is responsible for flight performance and the center’s factory support collaboration center. Throughout his Boeing career, he has managed and led teams in production automation, customer introductions, certification and stress analysis.

    Prior to joining Boeing, Strombeck had a wide range of experience in the aviation industry, primarily in the design, analysis and certification of multiple modification and repair projects, including the repair of a damaged composite space test vehicle, a re-engine supplemental type certificate and glass cockpit installations on multiple aircraft.

    Jonathan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Western in 2006.

    Favorite Bronco memory: AIAA roadtrip to Naval Air Station Patuxent River for our Design, Build, Fly competition. It was a great bonding experience with my fellow students and we got a VIP tour of the Naval base.

  • 2021

    Robert Hansen, B.S.’81

    Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering
    Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
    Albany International

    Robert HansenRobert A. Hansen is senior vice president and chief technology officer at Albany International. He previously served as Vice President – Corporate Research and Development from April 2006 to January 2010.

    Hansen joined Albany in 1981 as a design engineer for press fabric. Following a position in Charleston, SC, he moved to Helsinki, Finland, where the company built a new plant to serve the Finnish market. In 1996 to become technical director in Dieren, The Netherlands. When Albany International acquired Geschmay group, Hansen became technical director for press fabrics, from 2004 to 2006. Previously, he served the company in a number of technical management and research and development positions in Europe and the U.S. In 2008, he returned to the United States when he was named CTO.

    Hansen earned his WMU Bachelor of Science in 1981, double majoring in paper science and chemistry. He resides in West Michigan with his wife, and has three fantastic children

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Meeting my lovely bride! A Bronco Story

    Amber Thomas, B.S.’05, P.E.

    Department of Civil and Construction Engineering
    Director of Public Works and Village Engineer
    Village of Grafton, Wisconsin

    Amber ThomasAmber Thomas is the director of public works and village engineer for Village of Grafton, Wisconsin where she leads the engineering, public works and water/wastewater utility departments. This position has allowed her to grow her knowledge in many different areas while focusing on public service.

    After graduating from Western Michigan University, Thomas joined Collins Engineers Inc. as a construction engineer in Milwaukee. During her 11 years with Collins Engineers, she worked on several high-profile freeway interchange construction projects, being promoted to project manager for several $100M+ projects. During her tenure, she increased her technical skills and developed expertise in team management.

    While at Western, Thomas was an active member in the CCA, which included AGC, ASCE & NAWIC student organizations, holding positions of secretary, vice president and president. She went on to be a member of the National Association of Women in Construction in both the Kalamazoo and Milwaukee chapters. In 2015/2016, she was the president of the Milwaukee NAWIC Chapter.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: There are so many! A few that stand out include leading the first WMU Concrete Canoe team in rowing and presentation, assisting Dr. Abudayyeh in research and co-authoring papers, and being the undergraduate representative on the committee that hired Dr. Greene as Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

    Steve Sedore, B.S.’98

    Department of Computer Science
    Executive Director of Operations

    Allegan (Michigan) County

    Steve SedoreSteve Sedore is the executive director of operations for Allegan County where he leads efforts to increase organizational efficiency through the use of continuous improvement methodologies and performance measurements. He also is responsible for providing management, leadership and direction to the operations team consisting of the information services, facilities management and central dispatch departments. He works closely with his leadership team to perform workflow analyses across county processes in order to develop strategies to support the organizational vision of providing citizens with superior and innovative services. During

    Sedore’s 20+ year tenure at the county, he has served in various roles within the organization and on numerous boards and committees across the state including the Michigan affiliate of Government Management Information Sciences; Western Michigan University Computer Science Curriculum Advisory Board; Michigan Digital Summit Advisory Board; and Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center Advisory Board.

    Sedore has a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Western Michigan University and a Master of Science in management, strategy and leadership from Michigan State University.

    He and his family are proud residents of Kalamazoo and enjoy attending community activities and various local sporting events.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Aside from graduating with my degree, attending WMU sporting events in the student section. 

    David L Hartmann, B.S.’73, M.S.‘75

    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Mentor in Residence, University of Michigan

    Angel and Venture Limited Partner Investor

    Dave HartmanDave Hartmann joined the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer as a mentor-in-residence in 2008 where he has focused on Physical Science new company formation advisory and first time C level mentoring. He also serves on the advisory boards of the university’s MBA Zell Laurie Commercialization Fund, MEDC funded MTRAC translational fund, and Center for Entrepreneurship as a mentor in establishing the first cohort of the NSF iCorps.

    An active angel and venture limited partner investor, Hartmann served as the president of Ann Arbor Angels from 2013 to 2016 and is a member of the Michigan Angel Fund. Hartmann was the founder, president and CEO of Avail Networks, served as founding CTO of Network Express, and also founded Arbor Blue. 

    Before becoming an entrepreneur, Hartman led advanced product development for Bell Northern Research and did post graduate work as an electrical engineering instructor at WMU. His journey to become a Life Member of IEEE started at WMU IEEE student branch as an officer.

    Hartmann currently serves on the board of directors of several early-stage businesses, the Ann Arbor Angels, and Ozone House, a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy, and productive lives. 

    Andrew Malpass, B.S.’96

    Department of Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems
    Vice President of Business Processes and Systems


    Andrew malpassAndrew Malpass is vice president of business processes and systems for EJ, a company specializing in providing infrastructure access solutions globally. Malpass has worked in a variety of roles at EJ including positions in the quality department and leading product development, marketing, and distribution. He also worked in France at the EJ foundry near Paris. His most recent role was leading the implementation of a global ERP system. Malpass began his career as a quality manager for City Aluminum Foundry before joining East Jordan Iron Works, now EJ, in 1999. He earned his Bachelor of Science in 1996 from WMU and received a Master of Business Administration in 1999 from Oakland University (Michigan).

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Working as a lab assistant in the casting laboratory and completing the Senior Design Project. Conferences, hours in the computer lab, and collaborating with classmates inside and outside of classes.

    Courtney Stevens, B.S.’04

    Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management
    Director of Virtual Care

    Henry Ford Health System

    Courtney StevensCourtney Stevens is the director of virtual care for Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, one of the nation’s leading comprehensive, integrated health systems. In 2016, she accepted this leadership role in virtual care, developing the strategy and standards for telehealth expansion throughout Henry Ford Health System’s continuum of care.

    In 2007, Stevens started with Henry Ford in process improvement as a management engineer, where she applied her industrial engineering and project management skills to various projects to aid in health system integration and alignment. She transitioned to customer engagement/care experience where she helped to improve the customer experience through project management, data/root cause analysis, training, and process improvement initiatives. These applications, including real time video and secure online messaging, produced over 420,000 virtual visits/consults in 2020 (compared to 17,000 in 2019), saving patients over 3 million miles or almost 4,000 days of travel.

    Stevens also has four years of experience as a senior product engineer at TRW Automotive Occupant Safety Systems in their driver-side airbag and steering wheel division. Stevens has a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Western Michigan University and Master of Science in engineering management from Wayne State University.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

    Michael Preston, B.S.’05, MBA’18

    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    Engineering Manager - Engineering Functional Excellence

    Eaton Corporation

    Mike PrestonMike Preston is the engineering manager for engineering functional excellence, vehicle group at Eaton Corporation. He also has responsibility for the materials engineering and reliability engineering Centers of Excellence. Preston has worked at Eaton Corporation for over 13 years in a variety of roles, beginning in the hydraulics group working on hydraulic hybrid technologies. One of his career highlights was supporting a prototype UPS vehicle delivering packages with a hydraulic hybrid drivetrain. His career path eventually led him to the vehicle group where he has spent most of his time in either reliability engineering or systems engineering. Preston started his career as a test engineer at Parker Hannifin within their aerospace group. He is passionate about WMU and has been involved with the university for many years. Most recently, he has served as chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He has also been involved in the advisory board for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and various industry events across the engineering and business colleges and served as a mentor in the Broncos FIRST program.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Two stand out. One is when WMU beat Michigan State in hockey when MSU was ranked #1 in the country. That was a wild weekend. The second is being able to represent WMU as a Bronco athlete on the Men’s Track and Field team.

    David Schulte, B.S.’02

    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    Managing Director of Marketing


    Dave SchulteDave Schulte serves as managing director of India, Southeast Asia, and Asia Pacific marketing at Boeing, a role he assumed in December 2020. He directs Boeing’s marketing activities supporting the sale of Boeing commercial airplanes to customers in the region as well as the development of analyses and strategies to help inform and shape Boeing’s market share. Prior to his current position, Schulte spent 10 years in the Boeing commercial airplanes sales and marketing organization, with responsibilities including maintenance and operational economics analysis. He also worked as regional marketing director, working closely with customers throughout Asia. Schulte has extensive technical and engineering experience in multiple roles including new airplane product development. Prior to joining Boeing in 2005, Schulte held positions at Reliant Airline and Roush. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering and holds a Master of Science from the University of Texas, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Seattle University.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Having the opportunity and ability to utilize the then new wind tunnel facilities at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek airport, take textbook to practice airflow visualization tools, and in general being present at the airport.

  • 2019

    Amy Armichardy, B.S.'02, Electrical Engineering

    After graduating from Western Michigan University, Amy Armichardy joined Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global defense and aerospace company, where she has worked for 15 years. While at Lockheed Martin, she has held various positions in Systems Integration & Test, Systems Engineering, Program Management, and Supply Chain. Armichardy has worked at several Lockheed Martin sites, starting with Mission Systems and Sensors in Minneapolis, Minnesota, followed by Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas, and currently with Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) in Marinette, Wisconsin. She briefly left Lockheed Martin in 2008 to work at Seagate Technology as a Firmware Test Engineer but returned to Lockheed Martin in 2009. 

    One of the highlights of Armichardy’s career was working as a Systems Engineer on the Japan Ballistic Missile Defense program, where she performed hardware/software installations on the Japan Kongo Class Destroyers. This experience led her to the Lockheed Martin Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, which she has worked on for the past seven years at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) Shipyard. While working on the LCS program, she has been closely involved in all aspects of ship construction, from keel laying, to module construction, to dockside and at-sea testing, to delivery. In her current role as a Supply Chain Subcontract Program Manager, Armichardy manages the FMM shipyard as well as other shipyard suppliers. She has been recognized internally with two RMS Evening of Excellence awards for superior performance during her career.

    Armichardy resides in Escanaba, Michigan with her husband Dave. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, biking, skiing, camping, and cooking.

    Favorite Bronco memory:  Working as a Mathematics Tutor in the Math Tutoring Lab.

    Gerard DeVito, B.S.'88, Mechanical Engineering

    DevitoGerard DeVito served Eaton Corporation in a variety of roles beginning in 1987 until his recent retirement. DeVito, who most recently was Vice President of Technology, Vehicle Group, began his career with Eaton as a Development Engineer. Prior to his last position with the Vehicle Group, DeVito served as Executive Director, Next Generation Automated Transmission Platform Team. DeVito’s 31-year tenure at Eaton also included roles of increasing responsibility in product design engineering, application engineering, product planning, product strategy, and sales and marketing. 

    DeVito was responsible for global technical development of Eaton’s vehicle group products. In addition, he focused on building organizational capability in the company’s technology and engineering functions. He holds two patents.  

    Favorite Bronco memory: The snow storm of 1985, two snow days and lots of winter fun.

    Bob Dunning, B.S.'01, Computer Science

    Bob Dunning is Vice President of Technology for Consumer’s Credit Union, a $1 billion financial institution that serves nearly 100,000 members across lower Michigan. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Dunning completed an internship for the credit union which became a full-time job. Dunning worked his way up through the ranks of the organization, including serving as technical lead for the credit union’s core banking platform conversion in 2009. Today, Dunning’s responsibilities include overseeing IT operations, software development, information security, and data analytics. He also provides strategic direction and vision for new and emerging technologies. 

    Additionally, Dunning serves on the Credit Union Industry Board for Hyland Software; the Kalamazoo Promise IT Training Partnership—working to bring IT training to disadvantaged groups in Kalamazoo; the Build IT Together Advisory Council—providing local meetups and technology events to IT professionals in the greater Kalamazoo area; and the WMU Computer Science Advisory Board.

    Dunning resides in Texas Township with his wife Abby and children — Audrey, Bobby and Isaac. He enjoys live music, golfing, movies, and spending time with the family, including attending and coaching the children’s sports and scouting.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Favorite memories include late nights working with friends on projects, the local music scene, and finding a great local job!

    Steven Myers, B.S.'91, Paper Science, B.A.'91, Chemistry '91

    Steve Myers is currently Vice President of Operations for Ahlstrom Munksjö North America Specialty Solutions. Myers has responsibility for A-M’s four-mill complex, including 15 paper machines, and two pulp mills in Wisconsin. Additionally, he has been responsible for the management of the group’s safety, environmental, capital expenditure, and five-year strategic plans.   

    After graduation, Myers went to the Institute of Paper Science and Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating with his Master of Science in 1993. He has also received a Master of Business Administration in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business.  

    Myers has spent his career working in the paper industry, starting with the market leader for printing and writing companies Consolidated Papers, Stora Enso, and NewPage. He progressed through several quality and operational roles at various mills across North America. In 2009, Myers joined his current company at the Thilmany Mill in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, advancing through multiple leadership positions including Mill Manger. In 2014, he took on a role accessing strategic investment opportunities for the company, which lead to the purchase and start-up of a pulp mill in Maine. In 2016, he accepted the position of VP Operations – Integrated Mills, having overall responsibility for the two pulp-integrated paper mills. Ahlstrom Munksjö purchased Expera Specialty Solutions in 2018, and now Myers has taken over responsibility for all the former Expera Mills in Wisconsin.  

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Working with classmates in the pilot plant in McCracken Hall, learning machine operations and cramming for exams with copious amounts of coffee.

    Erik Pederson, B.S.'99, Aeronautical Engineering, M.S.'01, Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.'03, Mechanical Engineering '03

    After graduating from Western Michigan University, Erik Pederson ran his own consulting business for five years where he worked with many different companies including Parker, Williams International, Cirrus, Kelly Aerospace, and Cessna. In 2007, Pederson joined Kelly Aerospace Thermal Systems in Cleveland, Ohio as Vice President of Engineering and General Manager. In 2012, he joined Woodward Turbine Combustion Systems in Zeeland, Michigan Engineering Manager and where he’s taken on roles of increased responsibility. Currently, Pederson serves as Vice President and General Manager for Woodward Turbine Combustion Systems.

    Pederson is married his high school sweetheart, Lisa. They have three children and return often to the WMU campus for hockey and football events. 

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Hopefully I can share two. The memory I think about often is flying the Flight Test Aircraft with Art Hoadley for the Flight Test Engineering Class as well working to setup the Wind Tunnel Facility at the Kalamazoo Airport. Another fond memory (the building no longer exists) is the fun times many of us engineers had at Knollwood Tavern.

    Andrew Rossell, B.S.'02, Construction Engineering

    Andrew Rossell, P.E., M.ASCE, was active in the CCA/AGC/ASCE during his time at WMU and interned at Wilcox Professional Associates in Caledonia, Michigan. After graduation, Rossell worked as an EIT for a local engineering firm for several years before obtaining his Professional Engineer license in 2008. Rossell received the American Society of Civil Engineers Young Civil Engineer of the Year award for both the Southwest Michigan Branch and the Michigan Section in 2011. In 2012, he took the Director of Engineering role in Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering, LLC, a start-up owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Rossell spent the next two and a half years in that position, helping grow the company.  

    In early 2014, Rossell founded AR Engineering, a civil consulting firm that works throughout the Midwest. Rossell is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Southwest Michigan Branch and sits on the board as a director. He has co-chaired the branch’s golf outing for the past nine years, which is the only fundraiser for the annual WMU scholarship. Rossell also sits on the ASCE Michigan Section Board as Treasurer. He is also a member of the American Council of Engineering Companies. Rossell has been a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters and volunteered with the Kalamazoo Humane Society’s senior-dog therapy program. 

    Rossell has been married for 15 years and has two beautiful girls. He likes sports and enjoys hunting and fishing when time permits. He appreciates spending time with his family and friends and being outdoors. 

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Graduation, Broncos Men’s Basketball 1st & 2nd Round in NCAA Tournament. 

    Mark Wallace, B.S. Production Technology, M.S. Engineering Management '97

    Mark Wallace has been employed by Tenneco in Marshall, Michigan, since 2004. He has had the opportunity to serve in management jobs for environmental, health and safety, process engineering, facilities and maintenance, and continuous improvement. Currently, Wallace is a Continuous Improvement Manager focused on the development of operations management leadership team members, training them in effective leadership and Lean Manufacturing Principles. 

    Employed at Hi-Lex of America from 1990 to 2004, Wallace managed manufacturing engineering and technical team members and beginning in 1991; Wallace started what has become almost a three-decade-long journey to sponsor WMU engineering senior project teams. One of the best rewards of these WMU engineering projects has been the numerous seniors that Wallace has had the opportunity to hire and develop into successful engineers and managers. 

    From 2016 through 2017, Wallace had the opportunity to serve as an adjunct instructor for WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and considers these two years as some of the best memories of his career. He’s gratified when he hears from former students that their careers are advancing, and they thank him for teaching them some of the “tools” that have helped on their journey. 

    Since 2011, Wallace has had the opportunity to sponsor and aid several high school robotics programs, always trying to encourage young people to develop an interest and passion for science and technology. 

    Favorite Bronco Memory: My fondest memories are of several of my professors and the positive impact they have had on me: David Lyth has been a guide and friend for many years, and Fred Sitkins was an inspiration and positive light every time we met. Robert White, A. Houshyar, Larry Mallak and many more showed me how to inspire those around me to have a passion for engineering, and I cannot say enough for how they developed in me a pride of being a graduate of the WMU School of Engineering and Applied Science.

    Nichole (Nikki) Weber, B.S.'05, Chemical Engineering

    Nikki Weber is currently an Operational Excellence Consultant at Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana where she leads projects to lower the pharmaceutical manufacturing costs of first-in-class and best-in-class medicines. Her focus is to help cross-functional teams prioritize complex scientific agendas, that enable Eli Lilly to supply life-changing medicines to patients at a lower cost. 

    After earning her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 2005, she spent several years as a pharmaceutical process engineer at GlaxoSmithKline in North Carolina, and then at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. In 2010, Nikki earned an MBA at North Carolina State University. During this time, she also became a certified Lean Six Sigma black belt, where she found her passion for continuous improvement. Nikki used these skills in her later role (Product Delivery Project Management) to advance the pharmaceutical portfolio, which allows patients to get quicker access to new, innovative medicines. 

    Since she was a little girl, Nikki wanted to cure cancer someday. She is achieving that goal and continues to help and inspire others to do their best and make life better. 

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Late nights studying at Parkview are unforgettable! But my favorite memory was chairing the regional AIChE conference when I was the WMU student AIChE president.

    Todd Woods, B.S.'92, Industrial Engineering, M.B.A.'15

    Todd Woods is the Global Director of Program Management at Eaton Corporation, Vehicle Group Division. He has been with Eaton since 1997 in various roles in engineering, quality, advanced manufacturing, and operations. Todd had led the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering group and the North American Operations team. Todd’s success has been defined by his team’s ability to work together in both a positive and impactful manner to his teams and to the organization. 

    Todd started his career in the automotive industry developing work standards, facility layouts, method analysis, and process development. Early in his career he worked directly with Toyota Manufacturing lean manufacturing experts with the deployment of the Toyota Production System lean manufacturing methodology. As leader of an advanced manufacturing engineering systems team he developed innovative manufacturing process resulting in the award of two patents.  

    In his current role, Todd leads the global integrated product teams consisting of seven engineering centers and 31 manufacturing locations with the responsibility of commercializing Eaton’s new and existing bench mark technologies.   

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Post exam debriefing sessions at Knollwood Tavern and walking across the stage to receive my engineering degree.

  • 2018

    John Bayha, B.S.'06, Civil Engineering, M.S.'09, Civil Engineering

    John Bayha is District Floodplain Engineer/Environmental Engineer for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Water Resources Division. His responsibilities include enforcing environmental regulations for a wide variety of construction and development projects, reviewing construction permits and working with local governments on efforts related to the National Flood Insurance Program.

    Following his formal education, John worked for Jones & Henry Engineers, based out of the firm’s Kalamazoo office, in the design and field services group for seven years. During his time at Jones & Henry, he worked on a wide variety of municipal projects from large water towers to wastewater treatment plants, and gained important field experiences working on many construction sites as the site engineer.

    John joined the MDEQ’s Kalamazoo District Office in 2013 as the District Floodplain Engineer, covering the eight counties in Southwest Michigan. He has been involved in many permitting and compliance projects with the MDEQ and has recently been striving to strengthen his outreach and training efforts. He continues to have a strong connection to WMU and routinely teaches civil engineering courses at the university. He is a Professional Engineer for the state of Michigan.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Spending long hours on Saturdays in the lab working on our senior design project.

    Robert (Rob) Missman, B.S.'09, Chemical Engineering

    Rob Missman currently works at Amway in Global Sales as a Senior Marketing Specialist.  A trained Expert & Master Speaker, Facilitator, and Moderator, Rob now uses these skills to grow business and product knowledge across Amway’s global direct selling business. Working with global partners in the US and around the world, Rob has had the opportunity to experience global culture and develop competency and organizational strategy.

    Rob began at Amway in 2009 as an associate scientist in the water filtration department.  During his seven years in Research & Development, Rob worked on product development for water filtration technology, technology investigation, and university and industry partnerships. Rob’s responsibilities centered on Amway’s eSpring brand, developing water filtration technology, which culminated in 2012 with his support of the largest product launch in company history. 

    Whether through science or education, Rob has a passion for helping others. At Amway, the ability to positively impact people’s lives gets Rob excited to go to work every day.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Waiting outside Lawson Arena hours ahead of the hockey games to watch the Broncos take on U of M, MSU and Notre Dame and the many long nights spent at the Parkview campus.

    Alexander (Alex) J. Porter, B.S.'89, Aircraft Engineering, M.S.'92, Mechanical Engineering

    Alex Porter is the Global Director of Engineering at Intertek. He has been with the company since 1992, holding additional positions in materials testing, finite element analysis, sales and engineering development.

    Starting in 1996, Alex began working with automotive, furniture, industrial and appliance manufacturers to develop accelerated test methods that could quickly identify design inherent failure modes and reduce development time. He has three patents related to accelerated testing equipment, and is the author of Accelerated Testing and Validation as well as more than 40 articles and technical papers on accelerated testing.

    In his current role, Alex serves as principal architect for Intertek’s current global qualification system that tracks engineering qualifications across three continents. He also has deployed a global system for tracking non-standard and benchmark testing.  Alex has personally tested everything from robotic babies, kitchen sinks and parts of the International Space Station.  

    Alex is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and is a Professional Engineer in the state of Michigan.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Flying with Art Hoadley in the experimental Cessna 182 doing zero g parabolic flights to test the liquid cooling capability of a data acquisition system being developed for NASA for high angle of attack airflow study on the F/A-18.

    Timothy (Tim) Schultz, B.S.'90, Industrial Engineering, M.B.A.'99

    After earning his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, Tim Schultz started his career at the Perrigo Company in Allegan, Michigan. From 1989 to 1999, Perrigo, a leading global healthcare supplier, was experiencing significant growth and Tim quickly advanced through positions in engineering, purchasing, shift supervision, plant management and eventually became the Director of Graphics Services, overseeing all functions for Perrigo’s printed packaging needs. During this time he also earned his MBA at Western.

    In 1999, Tim facilitated the sale of Perrigo’s printing operations to The John

    Henry Company and then became President of the The John Henry Packaging Division, supplying printed packaging components, primarily to the healthcare industry. In 2005, The John Henry Company was purchased by a private equity group and became a new entity, Multi Packaging Solutions (MPS). Tim served in a variety of leadership roles with the company, helping grow the business to $1.6 billion, and culminating in an IPO in 2015.

    In 2015, Tim moved back to his hometown of Alpena, Michigan, to join the family businesses, where today he is the President of Terra Caloric, LLC, a startup that manufactures a unique hybrid geothermal system. He also provides oversight and advising to his family’s construction company and wood manufacturing business.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: While my academic foundation from WMU has served me well, the opportunity to play for Western’s men’s club volleyball team led to years of enjoyment both playing the game (to this day) and coaching my kids’ travel volleyball teams.

    Richard (Rick) Sutton, B.S.'80, Metallurgy Engineering

    Rick Sutton serves as Vice President of Operations and is responsible for manufacturing operations, lean manufacturing and change management across the Waupaca Foundry enterprise. Waupaca Foundry is North America’s leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction, and industrial markets, producing gray and ductile iron casting components using state of-the-art processes and technology.  Headquartered in Waupaca, Wisconsin, Rick leads the manufacturing operations of Waupaca’s seven strategically located manufacturing sites in five states, employing some 4,400 people.

    Prior to joining Waupaca Foundry, Rick completed a 30+ year career at General Motors where he held a number of manufacturing executive positions in casting, machining and engine assembly operations.   

    Rick is featured in the Jon Katzenbach book titled “Why Pride Matters More Than Money,” on pride building and motivational leadership. His awards include receiving the “William Grede Award” from the American Foundry Society for major contribution in the field of management and education resulting in expanding the effective use of metal castings.

    Favorite Bronco Memory: Bilbo’s Pizza, Knollwood parties, Friday night guitar playing and Professor Pridgeon’s casting lab.

  • 2017

    James Castellano, B.S.'87, Automotive Engineering

    Jim Castellano graduated with a B.S. in Automotive Engineering in 1987. He joined Ford Motor Company in 1983, working his way through school, and has spent his entire professional career there, holding a variety of engineering and management positions.

    Early in his career Jim took an International Engineering Assignment in England to work on World Car, developing a common platform for vehicles across countries as an engineering liaison. In 1999, Jim was selected as one of the first people to develop a hybrid electrical vehicle. After his time working on hybrids, Jim assumed the role of Global Brake and Applications Systems manager, leading the global development of the next generation of vacuum-less and bi-wire braking systems. Jim currently works as a manager for North America Steering Applications and Systems. He has received two patents for his work on high voltage battery systems.

    Jim has been married to Christina for 25 years. They have three children, Jimmy, Sarah and Mark. Jim enjoys spending time with his family, cooking Italian cuisine, being a Boy Scout leader, and serving on Western’s Engineering Board of Visitors.

    Michael Dozeman, B.S.'01, Electrical Engineering

    Michael D. Dozeman received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from WMU in 2001 and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2007. A Medallion Scholarship recipient, Michael was a member of Lee Honors College and held a year-round internship at Stryker Corporation while pursuing his studies. He was named a Presidential Scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2001. 

    After graduating from WMU, Mike joined Stryker full time as a Research and Development engineer, working on the design of new medical devices used by surgeons in the operating room. During his 19 years at Stryker, Mike has participated in a number of successful product launches, and is a two-time winner of Stryker’s Global R&D Best Invention Award. Michael currently is Chief Engineer and leads a complex multi-disciplinary project consisting of engineers working at multiple Stryker facilities across the world.

    Michael lives in Portage with his wife Debra and his four young children, Henry, Gabriel, and twins Anna and Andrew. Michael enjoys playing golf and participating in all sorts of activities with his children. Looking back at his time at WMU, Michael’s fondest memories are of the friendships he made and the interaction and mentorship with his professors in Electrical Engineering.

    M. Andrew Eick, B.S.'91, Computer Science, B.A.'92, Philosophy

    M. Andrew Eick is a technologist, dedicated to crafting scientific innovation into practical solutions for the Intelligence Community (IC). He graduated from WMU in 1991 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in Philosophy. In 1995, Andrew graduated from Oakland University with an M.S. in Computer Science. 

    While working at Ford Motor Company, Andrew created a system to manage the development and printing of service manuals, which earned him multiple technology awards and one U.S. software patent. In 2003 he became Chief Technology Officer at SSS Research, a Department of Defense contracting startup. His innovations for optimizing the processing and transmission of geospatial data received multiple U.S. software patent awards. In 2008, Andrew started his own company, Mission Focus, focusing on the “Big Data” problems inherent in the IC domain. As CEO, he orchestrates technology and operations, employing cloud technologies to address the storage and processing of information. 

    Andrew lives in Northern Virginia. When he isn’t working on “Big Data” solutions, he enjoys photography. His wife, also a 1991 WMU graduate, and two daughters, ages 13 and 14, are his favorite models. On any weekend during soccer season he can be found on the sidelines of a soccer field.

    Dr. Ali Fadhel, B.S.'04, Chemical Engineering, M.S.'07, Paper Science and Engineering

    Dr. Ali Fadhel made Kalamazoo home for six years after moving from the Middle East in 2001. The warm people of WMU and the cold winters of Michigan will forever be happy memories in his heart.

    Ali obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a focus on Energy Management in 2004 and an M.S. in Paper Science and Engineering under the direction of Dr. John Cameron, Dr. Said Abubakr, Dr. Andrew Kline, and Dr. Peter Parker. With a passion for learning, Ali moved to Atlanta and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.

    He worked as a research engineer at GE Water & Process Technologies and at Georgia Pacific Gypsum before joining the Patent & Trademark Office as a patent examiner for petrochemical technologies.

    Ali currently lives in Seattle and enjoys spending time with his family, reading history books, hiking with his rambunctious 10-lb Yorkie, and being by the water.

    Charles (Chas) Hammond, B.S.'05, Construction Engineering, M.S.'07, Engineering Management

    Chas Hammond received his B.S. in Construction Engineering in 2005. He also holds an M.S. in Engineering Management from WMU and attained his Professional Engineering (PE) License.

    Chas is Director of Project Planning for The Austin Company, an international design-build construction company with an office located in Kalamazoo. He began working for The Austin Company after graduation and has since progressed from managing field work to coaching staff and leading business development regionally for the company.

    Chas maintains active involvement in professional organizations, including the ISPE, ASCE student society, Chief Engineers and Southwest Michigan First – Council of 100. Forever a Bronco, Chas has been privileged to serve on the Industrial Advisory Board for the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and recently became a part-time faculty member at WMU.

    Married to Dana, a fellow Bronco engineer, Chas has four beautiful daughters. In addition to chasing kids, Chas enjoys playing all sports from volleyball to shooting sporting clays. A Kalamazoo local, he continues to support the university at campus events, including Miller Auditorium, football and hockey games. Go Broncos!

    Jeff McInerney, B.S.'92, Manufacturing Engineering '92

    Jeff McInerney received a B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from Western in 1992. The recipient of 11 competitive academic scholarships, he also received the Presidential Scholar Award for the IME department and graduated cum laude. He also holds an M.S. from Kettering University (formerly GMI).

    Jeff is Vice President, Supply Management, Americas, for Rolls-Royce North America Inc. He is responsible for leading the company’s supply management strategy and operational organization in North America. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Jeff was the North America Purchasing Director at Nexteer (formerly Delphi Steering Systems, GM) in Saginaw, MI. 

    Jeff serves on the Manufacturing Engineering Technology Advisory Board at WMU and the Executive Advisory Board for Michigan State University’s Eli Broad Supply Chain program. During his time at WMU, he held various leadership roles in the student chapters of both the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Society of Plastics Engineers.

    One of Jeff's favorite memories of WMU is the soap box derby car race that used to be held on Homecoming weekend. Student organizations would build a car and race down hill to the Valley dorms. Jeff lives in Indianapolis, is married and has four children. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching various sports teams for his kids. He also has a love for the water and enjoys boating. 

    Jason Tedrow, B.S.E.'97, Industrial Engineering

    Jason Tedrow received his B.S.E. in Industrial Engineering in 1997 and is a member of the WMU IEE Curriculum Advisory Board. He also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

    Jason currently is the Vice President of Supply Chain at James Hardie Building Products where he is responsible for all transportation, planning, customer service, procurement, new product introduction and inventory management activities. He previously was the Vice President of Supply Chain for US Silica and has held a variety of supply chain, engineering and operations management positions with Lafarge Cement, ConAgra Foods and Amway.

    While at WMU, Jason completed an internship at the Kellogg Company where he met his wife (and fellow Industrial Engineering graduate) Jennifer (Pierce) Tedrow. They currently live in Chicago with their three children, Andrew, Addison and Connor. The family was thrilled to travel to Dallas earlier this year to support the Broncos at the Cotton Bowl. Jason reflects fondly on his time at WMU, and feels strongly that his experiences at Western provided an excellent foundation for each phase in his career.

    Dr. Roger Veldman, M.S.E.'95, Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.'01, Mechanical Engineering

    Roger Veldman received his M.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering at WMU in 1995 while working full-time for the automotive component supplier Donnelly Corporation (now Magna) in Holland, MI. In 1998 he joined the faculty at Hope College as an assistant professor of engineering. Roger continued his studies at Western and completed a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2001.

    Roger currently is a professor of engineering at Hope College, serving as the chair of the Engineering Department. He teaches a variety of mechanical engineering courses, including a senior capstone design course.

    Roger is also active in research involving both numerical predictions and experimental trials to determine the effects of explosive detonations on structures. He has received continuous research funding from various agencies since 2001. Roger is a named inventor on 48 United States patents.

    In his free time he enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and three children.

  • 2016

    WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences inducted the following 11 graduates into the Alumni Excellence Academy during the fall 2016 homecoming festivities.

    Trevor E. Bilicke, B.S.'89, Industrial Engineering

    BilickeTrevor E Bilicke, born and raised in Albion, MI, is a 1989 WMU graduate of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences with a BS in Industrial Engineering.  He was also a 4 year letter winner on the 1984-1987 Bronco football team at inside linebacker.  In 1987 he was recognized as the prestigious inaugural Ellis Scholar Athlete for athletics, academics, leadership and character.

    Full Biography

    Brianna Franks, B.S.'07, Chemical Engineering

    FranksAs an undergrad, Brianna was an active member of the Society of Women Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, Alpha Lamda Delta, treasurer of AIChE, and a graduate of Lee Honors College. Brianna interned with Alticor (now Amway) during her sophomore year as well as with The Kellogg Company in her sophomore, junior and senior years. One month prior to graduation, Brianna was in a severe car accident. Bedridden, she finished her senior design project and final exams from home with the help of dedicated Western faculty.

     Full Biography

    Kevin Khaw,  B.S.'02, Computer Engineering, M.S.'05, Engineering Management

    KhawKevin Khaw is currently an Engineering Manager at Google. Over the last ten years, he has seen Google grow from a mid-size company to one of the most vibrant and innovative companies in the world. He continues to feel empowered to make a difference, solve difficult problems, and learn from the best and brightest in every field. Cloud Computing continues to change the IT landscape and he currently works on growing and expanding Google’s new Cloud Platform business into new industries and markets.

     Full Biography

    Michael Kounelis, '94, Construction Engineering

    KounelisMichael Kounelis is a regional vice president with the Skillman Corporation. While at WMU he majored in construction science and management. An internship with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) led to further career success in his field of study. For more than 22 years, Michael has been managing construction projects throughout Indiana and Michigan.

     Full Biography


    Brad McCaskey, '83, BS Computer Systems Engineering

    BradBrad has worked in the Electrical and Electronics Design Automation Industry since 1982.Throughout his 34 years in the EDA industry, Brad has been part of two start up companies along with early leaders in this industry.

     Full Biography



    Jim Medsker, B.S.'91, M.S.'99, Mechanical Engineering

    In 1998, Jim founded a company that is now known as Keystone Solutions Group. Within Keystone SolutionsGroup, there are two business units; Keystone Product Development and Keystone Manufacturing. Keystone Product Development is a turnkey product development firm offering design, analysis, testing, and other services tailored toward turning ideas into real products. Keystone Manufacturing provides contract manufacturing services, primarily in the medical device market. 

     Full Biography

    Carrie Reid, B.S.'80, Computer Science

    Carrie Reid began her career in software engineering at Hughes Aircraft Company in California. She continued for a decade in the military/aerospace industry at not only Hughes Aircraft, but also Science Applications International Corporation and Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. She then joined Ascent Logic Corporation, and was a principal engineer on their Systems Engineering automation tool, one of the world’s largest Smalltalk applications. From there she accepted a position in Apple’s Developer Publications Department, authoring reference documentation for their Objective-C framework, Cocoa, and then transitioned to the engineering team responsible for the tools suite used for authoring and publishing Apple’s developer documentation. Prior to retiring last year, Ms. Reid worked four years as a contract data analyst at Telenav and Apple, ensuring map Point of Interest data quality world-wide.

     Full Biography

    Mike Smitley, B.S.'86, Engineering Graphics

    Mike Smitley is a Section Leader of Production Engineering Planning at DENSO Manufacturing Michigan, Inc. (DMMI) in Battle Creek. He spent the first 25 years of his engineering career at DMMI, Ralston Foods and Kellogg Corporation, joining DENSO as an advanced engineer in 1997. At DENSO, Mike led engineering teams dedicated to a variety of automotive heating and cooling products, including starting up an automated heating-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) assembly process and launching new production processes in Canada, Arkansas and Mexico.

     Full Biography

    Eric Thompson, B.S.'95, Paper Engineering

    Eric Thompson is the lead IT Solution Architect for Manufacturing Systems at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. He is responsible for the overall design leadership of system implementations and integrating business, information, and technology architecture for Manufacturing Execution, Quality Management, and Product Lifecycle Management solutions corporate-wide at over 70 global manufacturing locations. He also provides functional and technical leadership to outsourced application service providers and internal IT team members to deliver system capability per changing business needs.

    Full Biography

  • 2003 through 2015


    • Michael Accavitti, B.S.'83
    • Nitin Bhargava, B.S.'06
    • Michael A. Dunlap, B.S.'89, M.S.'94
    • Yasir Khogali, B.S.'00
    • Tonya M. Noble, B.S.'96
    • Dr. Hamid Parsaei, M.S.'80
    • Carl Wendell, B.S.'86
    • Erin Zahnow, B.S.'03


    • Bob Carlson, B.S.'74
    • Jennifer L. Lentner, B.S.'96
    • Kurt Lentner, B.S.'96
    • John J. Nigro, B.S.'84
    • Carl D. Roberts, B.S.'70, MBA'89
    • Rajesh Voddiraju, M.S.'93


    • Dr. Richard R. Hartman, B.S.'77
    • Charles P. Klass II, B.A.'62
    • Brian A. Mack, B.S.'90
    • David F. McGorrin, B.S.'80
    • C. Wesley Smith, B.S.'61


    • Patrick B. Armstrong, B.S.'86
    • Farshad Fotouhi, B.S.'81, M.S.'82
    • Thomas E. Gross, Jr., B.S.'83
    • Larry D. McArthur, B.S.'65
    • Donald P. Rizzetta, B.S.'66  
    • Douglas Szopo B.S.'73


    • Robert J. DePierre, B.S.'83, M.S.'93
    • Joseph R. Dudak, B.S.'69
    • Margean V. Gladysz, B.S.'75 
    • Mark G. Smith, B.S.'83


    • Daniel E. Bergsma, B.S.'52
    • Marc H. Cohen, B.S.'87 
    • William P. Cousineau, B.S.'78  
    • Joseph  Nowak, B.S.'72, MBA'76
    • Frank H. Rewold, B.S.'80
    • Rajeev Singh, B.S.'91
    • Nick L. Stanage, B.S.'85


    • Robert J. Birch, B.S.'67
    • Scott A. Hatfield, B.S.'85
    • John S. Hoch, B.S.'66, MBA'67
    • John D. Koenig, B.S.'69
    • Martin J. Peck, B.S.'77
    • Michael D. Tompkins, B.S.'80
    • Steven J. VonHofe, B.S.'83


    • Dr. Arvon D. Byle, B.S.'61
    • Fred D. Lawrence, B.S.'70
    • D. Curtis Shaneour, Jr., B.S.'59
    • Rodney A. Smith, B.A.'77, M.S.'81
    • Dr. Nick Triantafillopoulous, B.S.'81, M.S.'85 


    • William M. Barrett, B.S.'69
    • Steven A. East, B.S.'90 
    • Robert P. Humphrey, Jr., B.S.'76
    • John P. Rohrer, B.S.'68


    • John T. Bales, B.S.'64
    • Robert W. Smillie, B.S.'69


    • John F. Bergin, B.S.'66, M.A.'68
    • D. James McDowell, B.S.'66