Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Each year, the College of Engineering honors a select group of alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and have a record of exemplary service to the community and/or Montana State University. These individuals are inducted into the COE's Academy of Distinguished Alumni and also receive the Montana State University Alumni Achievement Award at the annual Homecoming ceremony in September. The award was first given in 2013.
2019 Distinguished Alumni
Jeffrey earned his bachelor’s in computer science from MSU in 1985. After graduation he worked as an engineer for Frontier Scientific, developing robotics, motion controls and process controls. He developed industrial control systems for automation and CNC manufacturing. After themerger of Frontier Scientific and a gaming company he helped develop the lottery, horse racing and casino business technologies for that company. He became the general manager of Australia operations and senior vice president of sales for Video LotteryTechnologies (VLT) and ultimately Power House Technologies (PHT) in Bozeman. He was instrumental in guiding the growth of VLT from its beginnings to more than 3,000 employees in 20-plus countries and helped to take that company public.
He met and married his wife Diana in Billings in 1977 and shortly after moved to Bozeman. Jeff, Diana and both of their daughters, Jillian and Rikki, are all MSU graduates. Aside from several years in Australia, Jeff and Diana have lived in Bozeman for more than 40 years. After leaving the gaming industry, Jeff became a consultant for the international aerospace industry in cockpit display systems and was instrumental in the success of several startup aerospace technology companies. Jeff also works with his wife in property development in the Bozeman area. He is board member and investor in Agile Legal Technologies, an artificial intelligence software development company based in Missoula. He is also involved in community service as president of the Gallatin County Planning Board and vice chairman of Gallatin County Consolidated Board Of Adjustment.
John Daniel Keil
A native of Conrad, John received his bachelor's in mechanical engineering from MSU in 1996 and moved to Seattle to join the Boeing Company in 1997.
He led development of a new composite material for the 777 and a prototype wing for testing at the beginning of the 787 program. John leveraged his degree to lead the development of a trailblazing new aerodynamics technology, hardware and systems architecture and production system. He earned a master’s in business administration from Seattle University in 2012. Throughout his career he has partnered with companies in Italy,Germany, Japan, Israel, Turkey and the United Kingdom and has studied Japanese, Italian, German and Hebrew languages to improve collaboration.
John is the senior engineering manager on Boeing’s 777 Wing, leading teams responsible for product design, production support and product integrity for the wing and empennage of the 777, including the new 777X model. His teams lead suppliers in Japan and the U.S. to deliver the large wing pieces of the metal 777 wing and new 777X composite wing.
John serves on the Industrial Advisory Board for MSU’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and served as chair of the board from 2012 to 2017. He leads Boeing’s team for on-campus engagement at MSU, including recruiting and curriculum involvement. He helped instruct the aircraft structures course at MSU in spring 2019. Like many Bobcats, John is an avid skier and currently spends winters teaching and working as the training director for Lyon Ski School at Stevens Pass in Washington.
A native of Scobey, Joe worked his way through college to earn his bachelor's
in construction engineering technology from MSU in 1976. He joined Barnard Construction Company early and was their first vice president and operations manager. Joe helped shape the company’s winning culture as it grew from a small local organization to a firm that now ranks in the top 200 contractors inthe U.S. and Canada. Joe encouraged Barnard’s adoption of a business style called “partnering,” in which win-win solutions are found rather than win- lose. In his leadership role, Joe helpedreinforce the company’s culture of being a “people-business” rather than just a construction business.
Joe recently retired from Barnard after 34 years, and lives in Belgrade.
In addition to assisting the hiring of many MSU grads, Joe has served as an advisor to and a guest lecturer at MSU’s engineering college and was a 2007 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. He served on the board of the Bozeman Area Hockey Association and was a key player in the building of the Haynes Arena. He has been an elder at his church and was co-chairman of the committee to build a new structure. Joe currently serves as the chairman of the board for the Central Valley Fire District where they just moved into their new fire station.
Jeremiah J. Wolahan
Jeremiah “Jerry” Wolahan was born in Butte. He was one of seven children and his father worked in the Butte mines. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics from Carroll College in 1971 andwent on to earn a bachelor’s in civil engineering from MSU in 1972.
After graduation, Jerry took a job with ExxonMobil, where he spent his entire career traveling the world for international project development, living in such places as Saudi Arabia, Japan, Hong Kong and Qatar. In Qatar, he was the managing director of Ras Laffan LNG company. After Qatar, hewas assigned to ExxonMobil Development Company in Houston as vice president and executive vice president. He retired from ExxonMobil in 2014 after a 42-year career. He and his wife Barbara have three children and spend their retirement enjoying their children and grandchildren as well as hiking, fishing and golfing.
Eugene James Woodward
Jim is a retired quality assurance and process engineer from Whitehall, where he grew
up and graduated from high school. He earned his bachelor’s in industrial and management
engineering from MSU in 1969. After graduation
he began a 44-year career with 3M Company, working in Fairmont, Minnesota, Aberdeen, South Dakota and St. Paul, Minnesota. He was instrumental in the growth of the personal safety business at 3M, including turning the initial disposable respirators of the early 1970s into the second- largest business at 3M by the time of hisretirement in 2013. He provided training and support for quality assurance activities at all locations associated with 3M’s personal safety business. He helped design and implement systems for managing product and process information for several areas of 3M’s operations.
Jim comes from a family of MSU graduates. To recognize MSU’s contribution to the success of his family, Jim and his wife, Carol, established the Woodward Family Scholarship fund to support Montana students attending MSU’s engineering college.
Jim has lifelong interests in aviation, photography and railroading. He has served on the boards of the Minnesota Transportation Museum and the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association. He and Carol enjoy travel and have visited most of the states in the U.S. and most of western Canada, as well as much of Europe and Scandinavia, Chile, Peru, Australia and New Zealand. They currently reside in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. They have one son, Jay, who lives in Maryland.
2018 Distinguished Alumni
Robert W. Jesperson
Robert (Jesse) Jesperson grew up in the small ranching community of Ekalaka in eastern Montana. He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from MSU in 1971. After graduation he moved to Colorado and began a career in the foundation drilling business with Meredith Drilling Company. Initially hired as a superintendent and surveyor, he was promoted to CEO within afew years. In 1984 he partnered with a utility company for construction of high-voltage transmission lines. After three years in this field and a stintin Israel as a consultant to the Israeli government on the Maor David Generating Station, he founded EvergreenCaissons, Inc. (ECI), which constructs foundations for high voltage transmission lines and substations.
His education, hard work and intimate knowledge of the region
has resulted in the firm’s unique ability to construct foundations under energized lines and in difficult mountainous terrain throughout the Rocky Mountain West and beyond. The company designs and fabricates many of its own tools. Jesse’s life’s work has been building this highly respected firm. His wife, Sylvia, and daughters are also actively involved in the company.
Jesse and Sylvia reside primarily in Denver but enjoy spending much of their summer
with family and friends at their property north of Whitefish. Jesse
and Sylvia have found great satisfaction in their many philanthropic endeavors including their work with Engineers Without Borders, an organization that they deeply respect and look forward to supporting in the future.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Reggie received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Master of Science in Computer Science and Doctorof Education from Montana State University. After earning these three degrees (his wife, Queenie, is also an alumnus of the MSU’s computer science department) and spending 19 years in Montana, he thinks of himself as at least half Montanan.
Reggie started his teaching career at Montana Tech in Butte in the mid-’80s and became full professor in the late ’90s before returning to Hong Kong.
He was also the chair of Montana Tech’s computer science department from 1990 to 1998. One of his proudest moments during those 12 years was to get the department accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Board. He returned to Hong Kong to take care of his ailing father. While in Hong Kong, he joined the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) where he was the head of computing and mathematics in the School of Science and Technology. Besides leading the university’s largest department, he also started the school’s first graduate program.
Reggie worked for OUHK for nearly eight years until leaving in 2006 to serve as president of Caritas Francis Hsu College, which, in 2011, became a degree-granting institute and changed its name to Caritas Institute of Higher Education. He later also became the president of Caritas Bianchi College of Careers in 2007. Expanding these two campuses in Hong Kong consumed most of his 10 years at Caritas. In 2016, he was invited to return to OUHK to be the academic vice president.
Steve is CEO of Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), a leading global solar energy
in Norway and Singapore. Through integrated manufacturing from silicon to wafers, cells, and high-quality solar panels, REC provides the world with
a reliable source of clean energy. REC employs more than 2,000 people worldwide and produces more than 1.5 GW worth of solar panels annually. Steve is also vice chairman of the Clean Energy Committee, a board director of the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore, and a founding member of
Prior to REC, Steve was CEO of Tyden Group, a leading provider of specialized security products, and senior vice president at TE Connectivity, a $13 billion global technology and manufacturing leader creating a safer, sustainable, productive and connected future. Steve began his career in product development at Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. He has lived and worked in the U.S., U.K., Germany, China and Singapore.
Steve is a fifth-generation Montanan from Kalispell. He met his wife, Peggy, from Livingston, while a freshman at MSU, and they married after both graduated with bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering. Steve later went on to receive an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in 2018, Steve and Peggy maintain a home in Bozeman and are currently living in Singapore.
Originally from Miles City, Bill Sanderson graduated from MSU in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Since then, Bill has spent more than 40 years in the global petroleum industry in a variety of roles including technology research and development, process engineering, economics and planning as well asin senior management positions in downstream petroleum operations, research and consulting.
Bill served as president and CEO of Purvin & Gertz, Inc., a global energy research and consulting firm from 2000until the firm was acquired by IHS, a global information and research firm, in 2011. After the acquisition, Bill led IHS’s global downstream energy research and consulting business until he retired in 2014. He currently is a senior advisor to IHS. In addition to his business activities, Bill serves on MSU’s Engineering Advisory Council the Alumni Advocate Network and is a mentor in the Bobcat Mentoring Program.
Bill and his wife Cheryl (Nursing ’76) currently reside in the Flathead Valley. They have worked with the MSU Alumni Foundation to create the William and Cheryl Sanderson Scholarship in Energy Studies and are enthusiastic supporters of the Hilleman Scholars Program.
Leona Strizich devoted her entire 39- year engineering career to the Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company. After earning her engineering degree from MSU in 1978, she began her career as the first woman engineer in the Boeing’s payloads organization, which consisted of engineers, scientists and technologists who were responsible for developing state-of-the-art interiors and cargo systems for airline customers across the world.
Her long career culminated as chief engineer of payloads engineering, where she led a team of more than 100 peopleto create new and innovative interior concepts, promoted a sound working relationship with the Federal Aviation Association to ensure her engineering team developed safe and compliant airplane interior designs, and fostered the professional growth of payloads engineering skills. In addition, she also led the Payloads Washington Design Center Site, and played a major role as the engineering team expanded across three Boeing design centers located in Washington, South Carolina and California.
She also served in a number of other roles, including chief engineer on the 737 interiors team, where she led the development of the first—and now much appreciated—“Boeing Sky Interior,” which is currently used on both the 737 and 787 airplanes. She had key engineering roles on every Boeing commercial airplane program.
Leona is passionate about the future of young engineers and their potential roles in the aerospace industry. She has mentored numerous individuals, guiding them on their career in engineering and other disciplines. As an advocate for women engineers, she has supported the Montana State Women in Engineering program and is still a devoted supporter of MSU.
Leona and her husband currently live in Seattle while spending much of their time traveling, camping and enjoying their second home in Montana.
2017 Distinguished Alumni
After being raised in Anaconda, Dominic enrolled at MSU in 1990 after earning a scholarship in Chemical Engineering. During his four years at MSU, Dominic was active in multiple intramural sports and volunteered with the Eagle Mount ski program.
Upon graduating in 1994 with his B.S. in chemical engineering, Dominic joined Cargill,
the largest private company in the U.S., as a member
of their production engineering and supervisor team. During seven years with Cargill, he advanced through roles including shift leader, operationsengineer and control engineer before moving into leadership roles as an engineering manager for joint ventures between Cargill, Mitsubishi, and Purac. He led key engineering e orts to design and build facilities for a new, all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener, and to increase the sourcing of feedstock for the rst biodegradable plastic made from a renewable resource.
After seven years with Cargill, Dominic enrolled at the Kellogg School
of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he graduated with his M.B.A. in nance, marketing and analytical consulting. During his time at Kellogg, Dominic was active in several areas including Kellogg Service Initiatives and the Biomedical Club.
Following graduation, Dominic joined Fluke (then part of Danaher Corporation) as a marketing manager in the company’s industrial business. During his 14-year tenure with Fluke, Dominic has held roles in marketing, mergers and acquisitions, operations leadership and sales. In 2013, Dominic was promoted to President of Portfolio Brands, a group of ve businesses spanning advanced metrology, biomedical, industrial automation, food safety and retail analytic market segments.
Dominic has several things that are very important to him, foremost his wife Erin
and two daughters, Isabelle and Delaney. In addition to family, Dominic places considerable
priority on his role on the Board of Directors for the Boys
and Girls Club of Snohomish County and as a member of the MSU alumni community. Since starting recruiting e orts at MSU three years ago, Fluke has hired 10 MSU graduates across multiple functions and is proud to have partnered with MSU to deploy equipment for the soon-to-be-unveiled Fluke/Tektronix Instrumentation Lab inside Norm Asbjornson Hall. He looks forward to more collaboration and successful additions to his team in the future.
A native Montanan, Dan is a founder and president of Great West Engineering, a civil
engineering rm based in Helena. Great West employs over sixty people
in its six Montana and Idaho locations. Dan’s 37-year career has involved
design and management for a variety
of civil and structural engineering projects, including water, wastewater
and stormwater systems, street and road networks, bridges, culverts, rest areas, trails and sidewalks, parking lots, solid waste disposal and transfer facilities, as well as forensic analysis and reporting. Dan has been instrumental as a plannerand grant writer in assisting numerous nancially challenged public entities throughout Montana secure grants and loans to complete much-needed infrastructure projects.
Dan is a licensed professional engineer in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. He served eight years on the Montana Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. He served one year as Board Chair, and also chaired several standing and ad hoc committees. He has also been active in professional societies at local, state and national levels.
Dan was born and raised in Big Timber, graduating from Sweet Grass High School in
1976. He then enrolled in civil engineering at MSU, where he graduated with honors
in 1980. He was inducted into the Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon engineering honor societies
while at MSU. Dan currently sits
on the MSU College of Engineering Advisory Council and has served in the past on the MSU Civil Engineering Department Advisory Board. He has also served on the MSU-Helena Chapter Alumni Scholarship Committee. He has been a lifelong Bobcat fan. He and his wife have endowed an MSU athletic scholarship for engineering and education student athletes and supported MSU’s South Campus Project.
Dan and his wife of thirty-six years Cheryl (an education graduate of Eastern Montana College), have two children, Quinn and Katy. e family enjoys outdoor activities, particularly spending time at their cabin in the Tobacco Root Mountains.
Julie, who is originally from Deer Lodge, graduated from MSU with a B.S. in Chemical
Engineering. She later received her M.B.A from University
of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She spent nearly 20
years at 3M Company in a variety of engineering and management roles. She was most recently the general manager for 3M’s U.S. Atlantic and Paci c area, with responsibility for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Julie is currently the senior vice president and chief operating o cer at Doyon, Limited in Anchorage. Doyon,Limited is a top-tier Alaska Native regional corporation with more than 12.5 million acres, 19,000 shareholders and business operations throughout Alaska and the Lower 48.
Julie is actively involved in the community and supports the Dimond High School Engineering Academy, the Society of Women Engineers, MSU’s Chemical Engineering Advisory Board, Junior Achievement and the Doyon Foundation. She founded a local program, “Smart Girls Rock!” to inspire and encourage young women to pursue engineering education and careers. She is passionate about the power of education and is a devoted supporter of MSU.
Julie and her husband, Ryan, have a son and reside in Anchorage, where they enjoy skiing, hiking, kayaking and exploring. ey recently worked with the MSU Foundation to create the Morman Family Scholarship to support rural Montana students enrolled in the chemical engineering at MSU.
John Tubbesing is vice president of Manufacturing Technology Integration and leads
the Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T) Research Center
in Washington State. BR&T provides innovative technologies that enable
the development of future aerospace solutions while improving the cycle time, cost, quality and performance of existing Boeing products and services.
John leads a team of engineers, scientists, technologists and technicians who are responsible for developing and implementing advanced manufacturing technologies and processes into theproduction systems for Boeing’s commercial airplanes and as well as defense, space and security division. Prior to this assignment, he was director of BCA Production Engineering, where he led the development, implementation and optimization of the BCA build plan and was responsible for the functional excellence of manufacturing, tooling and liaison engineering.
Since starting his career at Boeing in 1987, John has served in a number of key leadership
roles, including director of payloads engineering, with responsibility for overseeing
safety and product integrity, the integration
of the functional requirements and aesthetics within the airplane payload, in order to deliver value for airline customers and for Boeing. He was also responsible for executing functional excellence across the payloads skill and leading the ammability compliance system. He has also served as chief engineer for Boeing’s 747, 767 and 777 interiors.
John earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from MSU, and certi cates in aerospace operations management and business administration from the University of Washington and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, respectively.
Ray Webb, a fth-generation Montanan, retired in 2013 after 35 years working
in the aerospace and defense sector
on avionics, missile, missile defense, unmanned system and advanced technology programs. Ray founded Broadwater Enterprise Solutions, LLC, in 2000 and continues to help clients develop customer solutions. He is known as a leader who can ignite innovation in teams to provide technology, products and services quickly. He has workedin all phases of product development, including research and development, concept development, detailed design,production, and on the ight line with the Warfighter. Ray is a longtime member of the MSU College of Engineering AdvisoryCouncil. His contributions include serving as an industry liason on college committees focused on advancing engineering curricula to better prepare students to excel on multidiscplinary design teams, and thus to ful ll the Norm Asbjornson Hall promise of “changing the way engineering is taught.”
Ray is also a member of the Engineering Advisory Board at CETYS Universidad in Baja California, Mexico. He has a B.S. in electrical engineering from MSU (’78) and an M.A. in Management, Human Relations, and Organizational Behavior from the University of Phoenix (’89).
2016 Distinguished Alumni
'83, Chemical Engineering
Born and raised in Bozeman, Lindsay graduated from Montana State University in Chemical Engineering (‘83). He earned a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. He also is a graduate of the Leaders for Manufacturing Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned dual Master of Science degrees in Management and Materials Sciences and Engineering.
Lindsay has been a member of the MSU College of Engineering Advisory Council for the past 20 years. He also serves on the advisory committee for Seattle University’s Center for Leadership formation. Lindsay is immediate past-president of the Boeing Management Association and a member of the Board of Directors for Seattle Theatre Group. He, his wife Janet, and two daughters love to explore the Pacific Northwest, as well as travel the world.
'78, Civil Engineering
After completing his master’s degree in civil engineering in 1978, Bob worked for CH2M in Boise, Dallas, and Denver. He began at Morrison-Maierle as a senior project manager and operations manager in their new Great Falls office in 1991. In 1998, he became the company’s Chief Engineer and in 2006 was named the firm’s seventh President and CEO.
Bob specializes in process design for water, wastewater, pumping, pipeline, and sludge handling facilities. In 2006, he earned the George Warren Fuller Award from the American Water Works Association’s Montana Section, the highest award an engineer can attain in Montana’s water and wastewater field.
'86, Chemical Engineering
In her 30-year career, she has held a variety of positions, including manufacturing engineer, operations management, Six Sigma Black Belt and Master Black Belt, division quality manager and division supply chain manager. In her current role, she is responsible for partnering with the seven divisions within the Industrial Business Group to achieve supply chain, quality, and EHS excellence around the world.
In addition to her direct responsibilities, Nancy is also a very active mentor and
advocate for women at 3M. She has been involved with the formation of
a global Women’s Leadership Forum and is passionate about developing new employees.
Nancy grew up in northwest Montana and attended Montana State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering.
Nancy enjoys being active and loves the outdoors—skiing, boating, skiing, gardening, and running. She and her husband, Pat, live an hour north of St. Paul in a log house on 20 acres of woods.
Daniel C. Smith
A native Montanan, Daniel has lived and worked in high tech for 22 years since he graduated from Montana State University. After completing his B.S. in Computer Science and working at Microsoft Corp., he returned to MSU to complete his B.A. in English Literature. His passion for innovation and the positive change that computing brings to industry has led to many senior executive appointments in the USA and around the world.
Most recently, Daniel managed Zoetis’s international technology operations in 78 countries. Zoetis is the world’s largest animal health company. Daniel currently holds the position of Chief Information O cer in a leading worldwide allergy biopharma company with global headquarters in central London.
Daniel’s innovative work related to the Internet, security, and healthcare technology has resulted in many published research papers and a U.S. patent.
Michael J. Weaver was born and raised in Billings. He enrolled at Montana State University in the summer of 1980, immediately after graduating from high school. Mike was a four-year varsity letterman on the Bobcat tennis team and graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (ME) in 1984. Mike received an M.S. in ME in 1986, and joined the Weapon Engineering Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
He has more than 30 years of experience in the U.S. nuclear weapons program, spending a signi cant amount of time at the Nevada Test Site during the underground testing days. Mike has served in a variety of programmatic and line management roles in the weapons and emergency response programs. He is an active, deployable member of the U.S. nuclear emergency response programs as a Weapon Engineer and Technical Home Team Leader.
Mike has served on the Industrial Advisory Board for the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department for the past 15 years. He is proud of his Montana heritage and passionate about helping train and equip the next generation of engineers.
Mike is married to Jacqueline. ey reside in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where they raised four children, now grown. ey are currently enjoying being grandparents to ve grandchildren.
2015 Distinguished Alumni
Karen Arnold is a co-founder and CEO of Nanocopoeia.
Nanocopoeia is a drug development company leveraging a proprietary ElectroNanospray™ technology platform to create complex therapeutic nanoparticles. These nanoparticles exhibit enhanced bioavailability, which can improve drug efficacy. They can also enable novel delivery methods for drug formulations.
Karen joined Nanocopoeia after serving as founder and CEO of Education Platform Group (SchoolExtra), a K-12 student information solution system provider. With an extensive track record of growing technology businesses and moving products and technologies into commercial scale operations, Ms. Arnold has had a successful 30+ year career in engineering, research, business development, technology commercialization, corporate partnering, corporate restructuring and venture capital.
Ms. Arnold has worked with technology businesses in industries as diverse as medical devices, biotechnology, information technology and industrial manufacturing. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Montana State University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Manufacturing from the University of St. Thomas.
A fifth-generation Montanan, Steve Daines brings 28 years of private-sector business experience to Washington, D.C., as he serves the people of Montana in the U.S. Senate.
Steve is a lifelong sportsman and grew up in Bozeman, Mont. After attending public schools (K-12) in Bozeman, Steve worked his way through college at Montana State University and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He spent thirteen years in a management role for Procter & Gamble, and then returned to Bozeman in 1997 to work in a family construction business.
In 2000, Steve took on the role of VP at RightNow Technologies, a Bozeman-based cloud computing start-up company. The company grew rapidly and became a publicly traded software company with 17 offices around the world, and products in more than 30 languages. The company was acquired by Oracle in 2012 and remains one of Montana’s largest commercial employers.
Steve was elected to serve as Montana’s United States Representative in 2012. During his time in the House, Daines championed legislation to expand responsible development of Montana’s energy resources, move forward meaningful forest management reform, increase transparency and accountability in government, and require members of Congress to balance the budget—or see their pay terminated. Additionally, he passed the most significant public lands bill for Montana in more than 30 years. He was ranked the most effective first-term House member in 2013 and again in 2014.
Wesley D. Kremer
Wesley D. Kremer is president of Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), a division of Raytheon Company.
Raytheon, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., specializes in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets worldwide.
IDS is headquartered in Tewksbury, Mass., and has 28 locations around the world. Its portfolio of weapons, sensors and integration systems supports its customer base across multiple mission areas. IDS provides integrated solutions to a broad international and domestic customer base, including the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Kremer joined Raytheon in 2003 as general manager of its Advanced Products Center in Dallas. Prior to his current role, Kremer was vice president of the Air and Missile Defense Systems product line.
Previously, Kremer was the director of the SM-3® program, where he was responsible for the development, testing and production of all variants of the SM-3 missile portfolio. He has also served as the director of Systems Design and Performance Engineering, leading an organization of more than 1,700 engineers responsible for a large variety of design aspects for Missile Systems programs.
Kremer served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force as a weapon systems officer, flying the F-111 and F-15E, with more than 1,500 hours of flight time in fighter aircraft, including more than 90 combat sorties in Iraq and Bosnia. He was the first person to be named the top graduate of both the Electronic Warfare Officer course and the Fighter/Bomber course at Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training. Kremer was ranked first of 411 graduates and named as the Air Training Command Navigator of the Year for 1989.
Kremer received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Montana State University and his MBA in Engineering Technology Management from City University of Seattle.
Jerry Miller is the Senior Vice President for the Southwest Region of Ames Construction Inc. (an ENR top 50 contractor providing heavy civil, mining, industrial, and transportation construction services throughout the U.S. and Canada). Jerry started with Ames in their Salt Lake office in the spring of 1996.
After a short stint in Utah, Jerry was transferred to Phoenix, where he worked as a project engineer in operations and as project manager on many of the region’s projects.
In 2009 Jerry left Ames to pursue the position of General Manager of the Arizona Region at Skanska, a large international construction company. Jerry returned to the family company he loved in 2011 to oversee Ames’ Phoenix and Los Angeles offices and operations as Vice President. In 2014 Jerry was promoted to Senior Vice President and is responsible for overseeing the entire Southwest Region.
Jerry graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering (‘96). The family-like atmosphere of the Civil Engineering Department, his time spent working as a grader and lab instructor, and the recognition and support he received from his professors are all lessons Jerry took away from his time at MSU and now puts into practice on a daily basis. Jerry is still actively involved with MSU, and, for the past five years, he has been serving on the Civil Engineering Academic Advisory Board.
Jerry and his family are originally from Libby, Mont., where he grew up with two older brothers and a younger sister. Jerry is married to his wife of 26 years (yes, right out of high school!) and he has one 15-year-old son. Jerry states “I attribute most of my success to the support of my wife, the mentorship of my father and brother, and the superior education I received at MSU.” In his spare time, Jerry enjoys restoring old cars, golfing, and boating.
Michael C. Stears
From humble origins in Butte, Montana, Michael C. “Mike” Stears built an international career in the data storage industry.
After earning a Mechanical Engineering degree from MSU in 1978, Mike launched his career with StorageTek. In 1996, MiniScribe recruited and ultimately promoted him to senior management. It was at MiniScribe that Mike got hooked on international manufacturing operations.
In 1990, Conner Peripherals chose him to launch their notebook product drives. By 1995, he was Senior Vice President and a member of Conner’s team that orchestrated a merger with Seagate Technology.
Based in Singapore, Mike significantly improved Seagate’s manufacturing productivity while serving as Senior Vice President of Asian Operations. As a member of Seagate’s Corporate Management Council, Mike helped define its strategy. In 2001, Mike repatriated to Boulder to work for Exabyte, where he oversaw most of its critical functions.
Since retiring, Mike has been very active in non-profit organizations. He is President of Colorado Youth Lacrosse Association, which has more than 5,000 participants. He is a charter member of mentoring programs at the University of Colorado Leed’s School of Business and at MSU. He also serves on MSU’s College of Engineering Advisory Council.
2014 Distinguished Alumni
'85, Mechanical Engineering
Kevin Cummings,ME’85,isCEO of GKN Aerospace. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA. He has more than 20 years of experience in the advanced weapon and space systems industry. He previously worked at ATK and Hercules Aerospace Company, which ATK acquired in 1995. Kevin held leadership positions in both companies across program management, operations, engineering, strategic planning, business development, and corporate development. ATK went through several management changes, and, with each, Kevin was promoted to bring the company to new levels. Being an engineer with business acumen has served him well and he is eager to share his experience with engineering graduates from MSU.
Larry Hattery, CS and EE ‘84, is Vice President of Software Engineering for TriplePoint Incorporated, which he co-founded in 1990. TriplePoint works with hardware manufacturers worldwide to help develop software for their hardware.
Their primary expertise is developing software that works close to the hardware (drivers, firmware, BIOS, automation, and diagnostics). They know how to integrate these components into a wide variety of operating systems and custom platforms. TriplePoint also offers development services on an as-needed basis. According to TriplePoint’s president, Brian Colony, Larry has mentored many engineers through projects big and small while always keeping a level head and a laser focus on getting products completed with the highest quality in a timely manner.
After volunteering to read the Computer Science Department’s business plan, he provided excellent feedback to strengthen it. In addition, he identified resources that can be shared with K-12 students to help them learn about computational thinking and to increase future demand for the Computer Science major.
James H. Nordahl
'63, Chemical Engineering
James (“Jim”) H. Nordahl, ChE, ’63, earned his bachelor’s degree in 1963. Despite a heavy course load, he was President of the Sigma Nu fraternity and served in the student senate and was President of Septemveri.
Upon graduation, Jim worked for General Electric for two years. From 1965 to 1972, he held an engineering management position at Atlantic Richfield Hanford. From 1972-1989, he worked for Exxon Nuclear in sales and management, and his career culminated in 2001 as President/CEO at the nuclear fuel design and manufacturing companies of Siemens/AREVA in the U.S. and Far East. While in this position, Jim was honored by Siemen Power Corporation's more than 700 employees for creating a Supportive Work Environment Program to improve communication and team effectiveness.
Jim has also served his community, focusing mainly on his church and organizations that provide activities and support for youth. At MSU, he shares his wealth of knowledge, particularly about safety and business ethics, through guest lectures, typically several times each year. He is a charter member of the MSU Mentoring Program, through which he mentors a Chem/Bioengineering student.
Mary Ann Pearce
Mary Ann Pearce, ChE ’76, was among the students whom Dr. Lloyd Berg recruited to study chemical engineering at MSU. She frequently acknowledges the impact of having “Doc” Berg as a teacher and mentor. After graduating in 1976, she joined ConocoPhillips’ natural gas processing group. With the exception of a four-year stint as an independent consultant, she stayed with ConocoPhillips for more than 30 years.
Mary Ann headed projects for ConocoPhillips in six states and seven foreign countries. She was in charge of more than 300 people, 5,000 miles of natural distribution lines, seven processing facilities, and a coal-bed-methane system. Under her leadership, her department’s earnings rose in one year from $7 million to $75 million. ConocoPhillips chose Mary Ann as one of 14 employees to help it establish strategies and tactics as it entered the 2000s. In 2010, Mary Ann retired from ConocoPhillips as manager of commercial activities in the lower 48 states.
While at MSU, she started the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Mary Ann has maintained her passion for community service and mentoring through her work as a Junior Achievement instructor in the Houston-area Women’s Energy Network and as the program director of the ConocoPhillips Houston Area Retiree Association.
In support of MSU, Mary Ann helped found the Houston-area MSU Alumni Association Chartered Chapter. With her husband, she established the Olive Pearce Presidential Scholarship in honor of her mother’s 85th birthday. It is awarded to an exceptional engineering student each year and covers the full cost of tuition.
Bill Wuertz, EE ‘80, has worked in the semiconductor electronics field, primarily in digital computer components. He has held design, marketing, and management positions with NCR Corporation, AT&T, and Symbios Logic. He has also had several key positions with LSI Corporation, his current employer. He has served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for LSI’s Storage Components Division and is currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of its RAID Storage Division. RAID stands for redundant array of independent disks.
Bill has been involved in community service throughout his career. A proud Bobcat engineer, he has stayed in contact with MSU over the years, and he recently re-engaged formally when his son, Riley, chose to attend MSU’s College of Engineering.
2013 Distinguished Alumni
'88, Computer Science
Margaret Mitchell is Vice President of Information Management and of Technologies at American Express. She has worked for more than 24 years in the information technologies industry. She began her career developing operating systems software for Honeywell and Bull Information Systems. In 1994, she joined American Express as a Senior Software Engineer and has held a variety of positions within American Express Technologies, including being part of the team that launched the first American Express website. She is currently leading a global team in the migration of the 600+ mid-range databases and associated storage to American Express’ new data center. In 1999, she received a Master’s in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). In 1988, she received her bachelor’s of science degree in Computer Science from Montana State University. She holds two U.S. Patents for inventions developed at American Express. She is a member on the Arizona State University’s Department of Information Systems Professional Advisory Board, the Engineering Advisory Council for MSU, and the sponsor of the Arizona Chapter of Women in Technologies for American Express.
Ryan Parker is Director of Cloud Planning for Intel's Datacenter Group. In this role, he leads Intel's long-term cloud strategy and solutions roadmap. Ryan regularly guides his clients and customers to create innovative solutions in an effort to realize the flexibility and economies of scale derived from the cloud. He began his career at Intel as an industrial engineer, implementing its factory capacity planning system and managing the development of complex software projects. He quickly gained responsibility in strategically determining target market segments for business investment and managing product planning teams. Ryan joined Intel’s Ericsson account team in Sweden, and then returned to Arizona to lead the Embedded Computing Division’s marketing department, which consisted of segment marketing, product marketing, silicon design, platform architecture and application engineering. In service to MSU, Ryan has served the College of Engineering for a number of years as a member of the Engineering Advisory Council. Recently, he has been an advocate and consultant for the newly proposed bachelor’s of science degree in Financial Engineering. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Money Magazine, Business Week, and Wired, among others. He is a W.P. Carey MBA Distinguished Speaker.
Bryan Robertus has distinguished himself as a successful entrepreneur, inventor, and longtime member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department’s external advisory council. Bryan founded his company, Advanced Electronic Designs (AED), here in Bozeman in 1994. Since then he has grown the business to a dozen employees, with ten being MSU EE alumni. AED is a company representing the best achievements of MSU alumni. In addition to hiring many MSU College of Engineering alumni, Bryan has been a highly influential member of the ECE Department's External Advisory Council for more than ten years. He has also volunteered as an advisor for senior design projects and has hosted many tours and talks regarding his engineering design and entrepreneurial work. In recent years Bryan has received national attention for his company's work in designing large LED display units in New York's Times Square, which is an astonishing accomplishment for a small company located in Bozeman. What's more, he and his team designed the large new LED video display screen in MSU's renovated scoreboard for Bobcat Stadium, along with the incredible audio sound system that is also part of the scoreboard.
Michael Sanderson is President and CEO of Sanderson Stewart, a regional engineering and planning firm with offices in Montana, North Dakota and Colorado. In this role, Michael oversees business operations for the firm and all of its offices. In addition to his executive role, Michael is actively engaged in project management on a variety of transportation and land development projects. His expertise is in planning and designing transportation facilities that promote non-motorized connections and enhance community sustainability. His past project experience includes working on complex and sometimes controversial projects with diverse constituencies. Michael is particularly recognized for his effective communication and consensus building. He is a Fellow in the Institute of Transportation Engineers and currently serves on its International Board of Direction, the first Montanan to hold this distinction. He is a licensed professional engineer (PE), a certified professional traffic operations engineer (PTOE) a LEED Accredited Professional, and a National Course Instructor certified by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Michael is an active MSU alumnus who serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Council, the Museum of the Rockies Board of Trustees, the MSU President’s Advisory Council and the MSU Planning Council.
'76, Chemical Engineering
In 1976, Jean Sweeney was among the first women to graduate from Montana State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering. After graduation, Jean started working for 3M as a process engineer, and her early success led to a number of promotions and new opportunities at 3M. In 1993 she was appointed the International Manufacturing Manager for Post-it Products and in 1996 she moved to 3M Australia where she was the Manufacturing Director. Today, Jean is the Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety at 3M. Jean has been very active in serving communities where she has lived. While living in Taipei, Taiwan, she volunteered as a Management Committee Member for the Community Services Center. She is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Jean has been an extraordinary contributor to Montana State University and has served on the Chemical Engineering Advisory Board from 1996 to 2004 and is currently serving on the College of Engineering Advisory Council. She also serves on the Board of Governors for the Montana State University Alumni Foundation.