College bestows 2016 Distinguished Engineering Alumni, Recent Alumni Awards

Published: May 23, 2016

Photos of DEAA recipients The University of Colorado Boulder recognized six outstanding engineering alumni for contributions to their fields and to the university at a banquet April 22.

The recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards are:

•    Frank T. Buzzard of Bryan, Texas;
•    Paul T. Hamilton of Boulder;
•    Moriba K. Jah of Tucson, Ariz.;
•    Michael R. McAtee of Missouri City, Texas; and
•    Douglas G. Smith of Boulder.

The winners, who distinguished themselves through outstanding personal qualities, knowledge and contributions to their fields, join a prestigious group of alumni award recipients dating back to 1966.
The College of Engineering and Applied Science also will recognize Vanessa Aponte of Littleton as recipient of the Recent Alumni Award, given to alumni who have made exceptional early career achievements and remained involved with CU-Boulder within 10 years of graduation.

“These award recipients are leaders and visionaries in the engineering field as well as valuable contributors to their communities and to the CU-Boulder campus,” said Dean Robert H. Davis. “It’s fitting that we recognize and thank these alumni with the highest honors bestowed by the College of Engineering and Applied Science.”

Buzzard, a private aerospace consultant and speaker, retired from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 2003 after leading the Columbia Task Force accident investigation team. The U.S. Army veteran served as NASA’s chief engineer of the International Space Station during construction and earned three service medals from the U.S. space agency. Buzzard earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from CU-Boulder in 1974.

Hamilton, who earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in civil engineering and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from CU-Boulder, is president and founder of Novello GTL, which develops low-emissions facilities to produce gasoline from natural gas. He previously served as president and CEO of Shell Global Solutions U.S., where he enjoyed a 32-year career. Notably, Hamilton served for eight years on the college’s Engineering Advisory Council.

Jah is the director of Space Object Behavioral Sciences for the University of Arizona, a fascinating new program that researches space debris and space junk. He previously directed the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Sciences and Technology Research Institute for Astronautics and worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Jah earned a master’s degree and PhD from CU-Boulder in aerospace engineering sciences.

McAtee earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1984 and quickly launched a 32-year career with BASF Corporation, where he now serves as senior vice president of engineering and maintenance for North America. McAtee has served on the college’s Engineering Advisory Council since 2011 and serves on the Executive Advisory Council of the Engineering & Construction Contracting Association.

Smith joined CU-Boulder as assistant dean for programs and engagement in the College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2013 following executive roles in the engineering and construction industries. He previously served as executive vice president and president of engineering and architecture services at Tetra Tech. Smith earned his master’s degree in civil engineering from CU-Boulder and has served as adjunct professor, volunteer, fundraiser and member of the Engineering Advisory Council.

Aponte, the chairwoman of the Technology Insertion Board for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, earned her PhD from CU-Boulder in 2006. Aponte previously worked as senior systems engineer for Lockheed Martin focused on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and is a two-time astronaut candidate finalist. A native of Puerto Rico, Aponte serves on the Engineering Advisory Council and is active in professional societies and volunteer positions.