Alumni Excellence Academy
Alumni Excellence Academy inductees have embraced the expectations of our graduates to change the world. Each of these distinguished alumni has achieved a high level of authority within their chosen profession, have benefited significant the mission of their organization, and have demonstrated personal integrity of the highest caliber.
2021 Alumni Excellence Awards
Since 2003, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences department chairs have selected alumni to be recognized during homecoming weekend for their outstanding achievements and contribution to their field of expertise in the communities surrounding them. To recognize their contribution to our college and the industries they represent, the Wall of Fame, located at the entrance of Floyd Hall, has a permanent display of plaques awarded to each recipient.
Robert Hansen, B.S.’81
Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Robert 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 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 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 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 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 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
Mike 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 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.