Current DEAA Awardees

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The following individuals have been selected to receive the 2014 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. The awardees have distinguished themselves through their outstanding personal qualities, knowledge, and significant contributions to their fields.


Cheryl Reynolds English (ArchEngr ’81) — Industry & Commerce

Cheryl Reynolds English is the Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for Acuity Brands. She is responsible for energy and sustainability programs, regulatory activities, government relations and industry activities.

English is a Fellow in the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and has been active in the Society for over 34 years. She is a Director on the IES board of directors and has been awarded the IES Distinguished Service Award. She serves on the Board of Managers for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and received the NEMA Kite and Key Award recognizing her contributions to advancing interests of the electrical industry. She has also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Institute of Building Sciences. English was selected to serve on the executive advisory committee for FLEXLAB at UC Berkeley, focusing on low energy experiments in buildings. She commonly works with the U.S. Department of Energy, California Energy Commission and other policy makers to promote energy efficient technologies in high performance buildings.

As Chairman of the Besal Lighting Education Fund, English is committed to supporting education with student scholarships in lighting engineering. She also serves as Executive VP of the McClung Lighting Research Foundation, focusing on funding to advance lighting research.

Cheryl completed her Masters of Business Administration degree in the Georgia State University Executive MBA program. She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Architectural Engineering with an option in Illumination and Electrical Systems at the University of Colorado Boulder.



John Charles Mollenkopf (MechEngr ’83) — Industry & Commerce

As executive vice president and chief operating officer of MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P., John C. Mollenkopf has made his mark on the oil and gas industry.

Mollenkopf is a long time resident of Littleton, Co where he graduated from Columbine High School in 1979. He attended the University of Colorado Boulder where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1983. John was a member of both Pi Tau Sigma and Tau Beta Pi.

From 1983-1996, Mollenkopf was employed by ARCO Oil and Gas Company where he progressed through various engineering and operations positions designing, constructing and operating oil and gas facilities in California. While at ARCO he held positions in facilities engineering, process engineering, project engineering, plant engineering and operations/maintenance supervision.

In 1996, he returned to Colorado and became Manager, New Projects for MarkWest Hydrocarbon, Inc. which is a midstream energy company. As his career progressed he became General Manager and then Vice President for the Michigan Business Unit, Vice President Business Development, Senior Vice President Southwest Business Unit, Chief Operations Officer and finally Chief Operating Officer in 2011. In 2002, MarkWest formed their master limited partnership MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE:MWE). From 2002-2014 the company has grown from market capitalization of $50 million to nearly $13 billion.

John has a wife Susan and a 17-year-old daughter Katy. His hobbies include long distance cycling, automobiles and model airplanes. He is also huge fan of the Denver Broncos and Colorado Buffaloes football teams.



Kathryn Tobey (ChemEngr ’84, ME EngMgmt ’94 ) — Industry & Commerce

Kathryn Tobey is the Vice President and General Manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Special Programs, a broad portfolio of advanced programs and development contracts focused on delivering high performance systems and innovative concepts for critical national security space applications. 

Previously, Tobey was Vice President, Military Support Programs for Space Systems Company. She was responsible for the total cost, schedule and technical performance of the $600 million a year satellite development and production program employing a 700 person workforce and management of 180 suppliers.  Tobey also served as Vice President Coherent Technologies for Space Systems Company.

Throughout her 30 year aerospace career, she has held leadership positions in functional organizations for Space Systems Company. In the role of Director Program, Subcontract and Product Management, she was responsible for integrating strategic teaming, product sourcing, and procurement compliance across the company.  She also managed the four Product Centers that make common strategic hardware/software used in Space Systems programs; solar arrays, flight computers, propulsion and optical payloads. Prior to this she was Director of Business Development responsible for the integration of business development activities across the space, launch vehicle and missile lines of business. She has held positions as Chief Systems Engineer on several large national security space programs and proposals.

Tobey graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, and a Master of Engineering degree in Engineering Management.

Tobey serves as the Lockheed Martin University Executive for the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) as well as serves on the Dean of Engineering’s Advisory Committee.  She is co-chair of the Advisory Board for BOLD Center (Broadening Opportunities for Leadership Diversity), the inclusive excellence program for the CU College of Engineering.  Tobey is the Co-Chair of the Space Systems Company Diversity Council and the Executive Sponsor for WIN (Women’s Intrinsic Network) a LM employee resource group.  .


Darrell F. Zimbelman, PhD (AeroEngr ’86, MS ’87, PhD ’90) — Government Service

Darrell F. Zimbelman, a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, is Director, Electro-Optical Imagery Satellite Systems, National Reconnaissance Office, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Space located in Chantilly, Virginia.  He provides executive direction in the planning, coordination and management of a broad and complex range of satellite systems and programs in accordance with higher level program directives, diverse operational and legislative requirements.

Zimbelman began his career in the private sector working first for the Fairchild Space & Defense Corporation and then for ITHACO Space Systems Incorporated. 

In 1994, he began his civil service career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) working on several scientific missions including TOPEX/Poseidon, the Fast Auroral SnapshoT Explorer (FAST), the Transition Region And Coronal Explorer (TRACE), and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Missions 3A and 3B.  In 2002, he was assigned as the Deputy Project Manager for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) N Series weather satellite program.  In 2004, he joined the National Reconnaissance Office and was selected to lead and deliver a critical acquisition in record time to maintain continuity in support of military operations and national security needs. 

Over the years he has acquired significant experience in program management, large-scale system acquisition, and spacecraft design and development, relevant to both civil and national security space programs. He has authored or co-authored 23 articles in professional journals and conference publications.

He holds a bachelors, masters and doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.




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