The Scrugham Medal
James Graves Scrugham was a distinguished Nevadan who was the first Dean of the College of Engineering. He was also State Engineer, Governor of Nevada, a United States Representative in Congress, and a United States Senator. He served as a Lt. Colonel in World War I and was editor of the Nevada State Journal.
The Scrugham Medal
The James G. Scrugham Medal is an award initiated by the college in 2006 to acknowledge successful alumni and James G. Scrugham. Alumni who have demonstrated success in their chosen profession are honored with this award - often receiving national recognition. Any alumna or alumnus of the College of Engineering is eligible.
Rick Warner '96 B.S. '99 M.S. (civil engineering)
Rick Warner received a B.S. (1996) and an M.S. (1999) in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. At the College of Engineering, Rick found a home rich in tradition, excellence and encouragement to envision. Civil Engineering, particularly environmental engineering, was the perfect fit to balance Rick’s love of the outdoors and desire to protect public health and the environment.
As a passionate and recognized international water leader, Rick has served in numerous professional and volunteer leadership positions, including president of the Water Environment Federation and as director of the prestigious Water Research Foundation. Rick travels globally to share his insights, knowledge and enthusiasm for water.
Rick’s longtime vision was to inspire greater collaboration between the local water agencies and University of Nevada, Reno researchers. With the arrival to campus of longtime colleague Krishna Pagilla as the environmental engineering program director, a dream was set in motion. In 2017, the Nevada Water Innovation Campus was founded by the University of Nevada, Reno, under the leadership of Manos Maragakis, dean of the College Engineering; Ahmad Itani, chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering; and local agencies. The Innovation Campus aims to advance water science and technology while enhancing the economic, social and environmental aspects of the local water environment.
Rick enjoys serving the University of Nevada, Reno and giving back to the community. He presently chairs the Board of Advisors for the Nevada Water Innovation Campus and serves on the civil engineering advisory board.
Rick and his wife Leigh make their home in Reno. Rick and Leigh enjoy traveling, and their most memorable recent trips were to Stockholm, Sweden and Victoria, BC – not surprisingly, cities known for beautiful waterways.
Rick attributes his early passion for engineering to an innovative mechanic father, who encouraged young Ricky to solve problems and dream big, and to a caring mother whose work ethic and support, even at age 80, astonishes many and inspires all.
Elizabeth Xu '95 M.S. (computer science)
Dr. Elizabeth Xu is a well-respected technologist, investor, author, high-tech executive, coach and speaker. She has 20 years of rich experience in AI, big data, architecture, cloud and SaaS mission-critical enterprise software development.
Most recently, Elizabeth drove technology direction and strategy as the CTO and SVP Technology at BMC Software, the leader in IT management software with more than 2 billion in revenue. She also held other senior executive positions as group VP at Acxiom, the largest big data company in the world, and SVP of product development at Rearden and Vitria Technology. She also held management positions at IBM developing the Content Management Suite and DB2.
Elizabeth teaches “Ten Steps to a Successful Career” at Stanford Continuing Studies and co-authored “Myths of the Promotion: 10 Steps to a Successful Career.” She holds one patent in web security.
Elizabeth serves on the board of directors for Be The Change Foundation, WITI and other private companies. She is also on the Computer Science and Engineering department advisory board at the University of Nevada, Reno.
She co-founded Be the Change Foundation and WeiMing Angel Investment Group. She dedicates her time to Children’s Sleep Apnea Awareness, creativity, and mentoring K-12 students and working professionals.
For her outstanding achievement in business and contribution to the community, she was named to the 2017 WITI Hall of Fame Fame, named to the Women of Influence in 2013, and awarded ten Stevie Awards. Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in space physics and an M.S. in atmospheric science from Peking University as well as an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has completed SEP at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Dick Reynolds ’71 M.S. (nuclear engineering)
Richard Reynolds retired after a 50-year career in engineering, construction management and health physics. After graduation from the University of Nevada, Reno, Dick co-authored regulations for the use of radioactive materials and radiation-generating equipment in the State of Nevada. He then pursued a career with international engineering and construction companies, specializing in design of low-level radioactive waste process treatment and facilities. Prior to retirement, Dick worked in construction management on modification and expansion projects at airports, municipal water/waste treatment plants and university buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. The College of Engineering is thrilled to select Dick Reynolds as the first graduate of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering to receive the Scrugham Medal.
Brian Lent, (Computer Science and Engineering, B.S. 1993)
Brian Lent is a cofounder, chairman and chief technology officer of Medio Systems. Among many previous positions, he was a principal and director of applications at Junglee, later an Amazon acquisition, where he pioneered new Internet database technologies. Brian holds patents in the topic of data mining, information retrieval and database systems. While earning his master's degree in computer science at Stanford, he was a cofounder of the MIDAS (Mining Data At Stanford) group, the lab that spawned the Google crawler and search engine.
Stephanie A. Luongo (Electrical Engineering, B.S. 2005, M.S. 2009)
Stephanie Luongo graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering. While at the University, she received the Department of Electrical Engineering Outstanding Service Award. She was also Nevada's first winner of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Business Plan Competition.
Stephanie is currently a senior systems engineer at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). She began her career as an intern with SNC in Sparks 11 years ago and now works on the Dream Chaser program in the Space System division. Stephanie received SNC's Extraordinary Commitment to Excellence in Leadership Award for her critical role in the avionics subsystem test and integration effort for the first full-scale flight test of the Dream Chaser vehicle.
Stephanie is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Nevada and is also an instrument and glider-rated private pilot.
Joyce Holtzclaw (Mechanical Engineering 1987)
Madelyn "Joyce" (Baldwin) Holtzclaw '87 (mechanical engineering), '90 (business administration) is the Vice President of Project Management and Evaluations at E&B Natural Resources Management Corp in Bakersfield, California. She has over 20 years in the San Joaquin Valley working for various companies such as Chevron, Berry and Vintage and in so doing has worked directly on three diatomite (diatomaceous earth) projects in Lost Hills, Midway Sunset and currently in the Salt Creek Area of Cymric Field. She is a Distinguished Member of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and a recipient of the SPE DeGolyer Distinguished Service Award which recognizes distinguished service to SPE, the profession of engineering and geology, and to the petroleum industry.
Joyce and her husband Mark live in Keene, California.
Bo Ewald (Civil Engineering 1969)
Robert "Bo" Ewald grew up near Wells, Nevada before majoring and graduating with a degree in civil engineering. Over his varied career Mr. Ewald has served many different companies. From 2007 to 2009 Mr. Ewald held the CEO position at Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI), and before that 1996 to 1998 as executive vice president and chief operating officer, where he oversaw several lines of business, including SGI's systems, storage, and software products.
Bo served as the president and CEO of Learn2 Corporation (formerly E-Stamp Corporation) from 1999 to 2002, leading that organization through a $125 million IPO and going on to serve as its executive chairman.
From 1984 to 1996, he worked at Cray Research Inc, a manufacturer of high performance computers, where he most recently served as president and COO, leading that company's sales, marketing, software development, hardware engineering, and manufacturing operations. During this time, Cray Research's revenue grew to nearly a billion dollars annually.
Mr. Ewald began his management career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the largest technical computing facilities in the world, as the head of the Computing and Communications Division, which developed one of the industry's first networked file systems. Mr. Ewald was appointed to the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, chartered by the White House, in 1997.
Bo currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana with his wife and daughter.
Tom Whitaker (Electrical Engineering 1960)
Tom D. Whitaker enjoyed a successful college career at UNR. He graduated with an electrical engineering degree and received a ROTC DMG citation in 1960. Tom completed his BSEE while playing four years of football and two years of baseball. During his junior year, Tom was the national pass receiving champion in college football in the country. After graduation, Tom signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
In 1962, Tom joined General Electric Company as an engineering management trainee. During his 20 year career, his twelve assignments and relocations throughout the U.S. included sales, sales management, marketing, strategic planning, engineering, manufacturing, customer service and finance. He completed the highest level in General Electric Executive Development programs. In 1971 he received a MBA from UC Berkeley.
For over 20 years, Mr. Whitaker has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Motion Analysis Corporation (MAC). MAC, a high tech company, is the world's leading provider of video based computer imaging motion capture equipment with offices throughout the U.S. as well as London, Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. MAC systems are used in advanced computer graphic production applications for animation and in full feature movies, video games and broadcast. In 2005, MAC was awarded four technical achievement Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Other areas that use MAC technology include medicine, sports, microbiology, and industrial virtual training.
Tom has served on numerous boards including Chairman of National Bank of the Redwoods, Dry Creek Vineyards Winery, Standard Structures, and Penngrove Community Church. He currently resides in Santa Rosa with his wife, Liz. He also enjoys spending time with his 3 daughters and their families including 5 grandchildren.
Ken Gardner (Mechanical Engineering '84)
Ken Gardner rose from a new mechanical engineering graduate in 1984 to his own company's president in 1999. After graduation Ken was hired by Carrier Air Conditioning where he received six months of technical training before heading into sales positions at their West Coast offices. After his time with Carrier, Ken served several companies including the family business, Gardner Engineering, in positions with ever increasing responsibilities. In 1996, Ken formed Engineered Equipment & Systems Co. (EES) in Las Vegas and served as its President for 12 years. EES provided complex HVAC systems for major Las Vegas hotel resorts, and in 2006 was awarded the HVAC systems contract for the $12 billion MGM/City Center project, EES's largest ever. In 2008, Ken sold EES to Johnson Controls, Inc., a Fortune 100 NYSE company. Today, Ken is the President of 8108, Inc., an engineering and systems consulting firm specializing in HVAC and low voltage systems technology, and renewable & sustainable energy systems. Ken is a Registered Professional Engineer in Nevada and California, and a LEED Accredited Professional.
In 2009 Ken was appointed by the Governor to the Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors. He is a past member of the UNR Foundation Board of Trustees, is a foundation board member and past president of the Las Vegas Founders Club, and an executive board member of the UNLV Rebel Golf Foundation, among others.
Ken and his wife Gina (Capurro) are both from longtime Nevada families, and are raising three 5th generation Nevadans, Lucas, Addie, and Mallory.
Fatih Ozmen (Electrical Engineering '81)
As Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) CEO, Fatih propels SNC in its exploration of cutting-edge technologies. Fatih joined SNC in 1981 and with a strong vision for SNC's future, Fatih and his wife Eren acquired the company in 1994. They set their plans to expand through a series of targeted acquisitions of 10 electronics firms, growing from 20 employees to approximately 2,000 - mostly scientists, engineers and technical personnel - in 35 locations across 20 states.
Through Fatih's enthusiasm, insight and expertise, SNC continues to lead and maintain itself at the forefront of the electronics, communications, space and aviation industries being distinguished as one of the top performing Federal Contractors in the United States and earning numerous awards, including the 2001 Nevada Distinguished Business of the Year.
Jeff Ceccarelli (Civil Engineering '76)
Jeff Ceccarelli started with Sierra Pacific Power as a student engineer while he was studying at UNR in 1972. In the next 36 years, he held positions as Supervisor in Transmission Design, Manager of Gas and Water Design and Planning, Director of Engineering Operations for the Water Division, Director of Customer Operations, and Vice President of Distribution Services.
In 2000 Jeff was named President of Sierra Pacific Power Company and in 2004, he was named Senior Vice President, Service Delivery & Operations for Sierra Pacific Resources. He currently holds the title of President of Sierra Pacific Power Company now doing business as NV Energy.
Jeff Ceccarelli is a 4th generation Nevadan who had an affinity for math and science. He was attracted to the hands-on approach to engineering education at UNR. Always an achiever and a student athlete, Jeff went to Nevada on a basketball scholarship. He credits his success to hard work, the camaraderie of his classmates and colleagues, and especially to his family. His wife, Rhonda - also UNR alum - is his high school sweetheart and the person who has daily supported his career and their daughters Jessica and Angela.
Bernard Kwok (Electrical Engineering '81)
Bernard Kwok is Symantec's Senior Vice President of the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ). Symantec's sales and business development spans more than 17 countries. Bernard is credited with masterfully managing the company's operations in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan where he served as president of the Greater China Region. Symantec merged with Bernard's previous employer, Veritas Software. At Veritas Software, he was president for the Greater China Region and was responsible for expanding market share of Veritas' utility computing solutions. Bernard also developed the company's core strength of storage management software in China's market. Before this, Bernard held positions as President and CEO of Fujitsu China, as President at EMC Corporation - Greater China; and as senior management at 3Com Asia Ltd, Northern Telecom (Nortel Networks) China Ltd and other multinationals.
This is an interesting professional journey for the young man who put himself through the engineering program - working a number of different jobs including work as a bus boy and then waiter at the Nugget. Bernard Kwok values all his family. He came to live in Reno because of his eldest brother. He met his wife of 26 years while attending high school in Hong Kong, and they have two daughters.
Gene Testolin (Civil Engineering '70)
Gene Testolin got his degree in civil engineering and proceeded to acquire career achievements with Morrison-Knudsen, the Nevada Highway Department, the Dravo Corporation and especially with Fluor - a major global company - where he is the Vice President of Construction.
Gene has worked at Fluor since 1977 doing projects that have used his engineering and management skills. His most current project is a $3.2 billion refinery expansion for Marathon GME in Garyville, LA. Other projects include the $2.36 billion project for Shell in Alberta, Canada, a $1.2 billion Nickel-Cobalt Project in SW Australia for Murrin Murrin, a $260 million iron ore palletizing plant in Brazil and a $500 million refinery project in the Philippines. The Brazil project achieved 1.7 million man hours without incident and the refinery in the Philippines earned recognition for safety.
Some could have predicted this since he was the President of the ASCE Student Chapter at UNR. Gene said, "I wanted to be a builder and I always wanted to travel". Clearly, his intelligence, skill, and hard work allowed him to do both - along with his UNR degree in civil engineering.
James N. Gardner (Mechanical Engineering '60)
Jim is a native Nevadan, and first generation college student. After completing his bachelor's degree, Jim went on to work for General Electric and their aerospace program, more specifically the propulsion systems of the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. Jim returned to UNR in 1967 where his energy saving changes to the mechanical systems of the university garnered national recognition from the US Department of Energy. In 1975, Jim founded Gardner Engineering and Gardner Mechanical Systems. His other accolades have come from the Governor's office in the state of Nevada, the Southwest Builders Association, the Pinnacle Award from the AGC, Engineer of the Year award from NSPE and Alumni Service award from his alma mater. He always acknowledged the support he received from his wife and family.
Richard S. Hughes (Electrical Engineering, '60)
Richard Hughes was born and educated in Reno, Nevada. His ground-breaking work at China Lake Naval Air Station on the guidance and receiver design for a number of anti radiation missiles (ARM) garnered him numerous awards including the Crozier Prize, given by the American Defense Preparedness Association, and the Presidential Citation from President George H. W. Bush. Richard also has more than 25 publishable patents, 36 open literature publications, numerous official Navy publications and four books. His background also includes work on many missile projects: the Shrike 73, High Speed Anti Radiation Missile (HARM), and the Selectable Seeker Simulator (SSS). Towards the end of his career at China Lake, he analyzed several foreign ARM's with an eye on countermeasures. Richard said that none of this would have been possible without the continued understanding and support of his wife, Janet.
William F. Pillsbury (Civil Engineering, '50)
Bill came to UNR after serving as 2nd Lieutenant and Navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II. At Nevada he appreciated his classmates who were bright, competitive and set high standards. He enjoyed all of his projects and challenges which include being an Eagle Scout and owner of two successful businesses: William F. Pillsbury, Inc., Consulting Civil Engineers and Sierra Environmental Monitoring, Inc. Pivotal roles in his career included project manager for development of Tahoe Keys at South Lake Tahoe, CA from 1965 to 1990 and a five and a half year role as project manager for the expansion and construction of, what is now the Reno Tahoe International Airport. Bill was a valued member of the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Trustees and the College of Engineering Advisory Board. Bill said that as he had journeyed through the challenges of his life, he owed "all and any success I have achieved to my wife of 62 years, Nadine."
J. Dietrich Stroeh (Civil Engineering, '60)
J. Dietrich Stroeh points to Professor Bonnel and his very practical approach to design as a key factor in his preparation for the outside world of engineering. After receiving his degree from UNR, Diet Stroeh went on to become the youngest Water District Manager in the State of California, General Manager for Marin Municipal Water District, and founder and principal of CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, Inc. During the 1976-1977 drought, Diet was instrumental in achieving a record in countywide water conservation but was also able to gain government approval to pull water through an emergency pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to be used in Marin County. His experiences during that time are the basis of the book, The Man Who Made it Rain, by Michael McCarthy. Dietrich appreciates the support of his wife, Margaret, and five children.
Jan B. Packwood (Electrical Engineering, '66)
After Jan Packwood completed UNR's electrical engineering degree he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. He completed four years active duty, including a one year combat tour in Vietnam. Jan continue his success as he gained an MBA from Boise State and a certificate from Harvard University's Advanced Management Program. In 2006, he retired as President & Chief Executive Officer of IDACORP and Idaho Power Company. A man of experience and vision, he guided the company's restructuring in anticipation of industry deregulation and helped it reorganize after the western energy crisis of 2001-2002. He continued with the company on the Board of Directors. Jan also served as past chairman of the Western Electric Coordinating Council, a member of the Western Regional Transmission Association; and as a member of the Edison Electric Institute, a national trade organization.
Henry Bunsow (Electrical Engineering, '71)
Henry Bunsow earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1971 and continued his education with his juris doctorate, cum laude, at Santa Clara Law School in 1974. Henry has been a pioneer and leader in the field of intellectual property law. He was recently named one of the top 25 patent attorneys in California. In 2002, he was recruited away from a major Washington, DC law firm by the firm Howrey Simon Arnold and White in San Francisco, where he is now managing partner. With over 30 years experience in intellectual property litigation, he has tried over 30 cases to verdict or judgment and has won over 90% of the cases.
Tim Casey (Electrical Engineering, '84)
Tim Casey is a 1984 graduate with a degree in electrical engineering. He also holds a juris doctorate from Santa Clara University. He has had key leadership positions with Apple Computer, MCI/Worldcom, and two prestigious law firms in the West and East. Tim has helped to shape global Internet law and helped to determine the future of intellectual property law in the United States as a primary author and negotiator of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). He returned to the University of Nevada, Reno as the Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation and Informatics and the Director of the Office of Economic Development. Tim is also a former member of the College of Engineering Advisory Board.
Charles Douglass (Electrical Engineering, '33)
Charles Douglass was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. His family moved to Nevada where Charles' father, an early electrical engineer, found work in the Tonopah silver mines. After receiving his EE degree in 1933, Charles then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a sound engineer and later as a broadcast engineer for CBS radio. In the early 50's Charles began developing a "laugh machine" and for the next 30 plus years operated a sound engineering business providing audience reaction for T.V. comedy shows. At the end of his career, Charles received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy for technical excellence, recognizing his invention of the audience reaction machine. He lived with a passion for his career, his family and his hobbies that lasted throughout his life.
Allen Gates (Mechanical Engineering, '61)
After growing up in northern California, Allen Gates began his studies at UNR at the age of 17. He made college history by becoming the first student to receive his master's degree in mechanical engineering. He went on to receive a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Case-Western University and was a Sloan Fellow at MIT. His accomplishments are many. He was a key member of the development team for the Sidewinder AIM-9L Air-Air Missile at China Lake. In the private sector with Kaiser Electronics, he completely revamped the manufacturing process from batch process to just-in-time process, thereby bringing their manufacturing capability to a world-class level. Allen also served the college as Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Ralph Hoeper (Electrical Engineering, '51)
Ralph E. Hoeper studied electrical engineering at the University of Nevada, and was a member of the Class of 1951. Ralph was one of the pioneers in California independent telephony. Others in the phone industry enjoyed his no nonsense demeanor and the way he would get in and dig the trenches when installing new DLC equipment. A submariner in World War II, he bravely served his country and made many positive contributions to his rural community. Many believe Ralph was the prototypical telephone man and he embodied the importance of community. He bought Foresthill Telephone when it had a handful of lines in the 1940s. He and his wife, Rose, led it and the Foresthill community into the digital age.
Paul Reimer (Civil Engineering, '50)
Paul was student body president and a 1950 civil engineering graduate at UNR. In 1976 he founded Reimer Associates, which was a nationally recognized consulting engineering firm because of their expertise in Military Base Re-use. In 1993 he was appointed to the Department of Defense Environmental Response Task Force (DERTF), which oversaw the environmental clean-up at all of the nations closing military facilities. In 2005 he received the first ever Private Sector Leadership Award from the Association of Defense Communities for his work with DERTF. A trustee for the Urban Land Institute, he was awarded the O'Donnell Award for his extraordinary contributions to the enhancement of the land and quality of life through the generous sharing of his knowledge.
Ali Saffari (Electrical Engineering, '86)
Ali Saffari was born in Lahijan, which is in Northern Iran next to the Caspian Sea. Ali attended the University of Rasht, in Iran where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting and management. In 1979, Ali moved to the Reno to be with his wife Golda. Not content with having only one degree, Ali received his second degree in information systems in 1982, and a third degree in electrical engineering in 1986. After holding positions with increasing responsibility, he is now the Senior Vice President of Engineering at IGT, where he has worked since 1986. He has served as a member of the engineering advisory board and as president of the computer science and engineering advisory board.
Ron Toomer (Mechanical Engineering, '61)
Ron Toomer, a 1961 graduate of the Mechanical Engineering Department, came to the University of Nevada, Reno in 1957 after serving time in Germany in the Army. He was responsible for the development of the first practical upside-down roller coaster: The Corkscrew. During his 30-plus years with Arrow Dynamics, he designed more than 80 roller coasters. In 2000, he was inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Hall of Fame. Ron has shared his expertise and experience in roller coaster design with engineering societies and school groups across the nation. He has appeared on television shows on the Discovery Channel, in the National Geographic Explorer Series, and in educational videos for school-age children.
Simon Wong (Civil Engineering, '79)
Simon received a bachelor's and a master's degree in civil engineering in 1979 and 1984 respectively. He opened Simon Wong Engineering, in San Diego with only one employee, himself. His firm now has 70 employees and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Structures, bridges and construction management are their areas of expertise. Their work garners interest from all over the country, including the $88 million Mill Basin Bridge project in Brooklyn, New York. His firm receives numerous awards including the Award of Merit from ASME and the Concrete Structure-Bridge Project of the Year from ACI both in 2000. In 1996 Simon was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asian Business Association. He has served on the College of Engineering Advisory Board.