Virginia Tech's College of Engineering inducted eight new members into its Academy of Engineering Excellence this spring. The academy is an elite group of engineering alumni who have achieved multiple honors throughout their careers.

As of spring 2014, the academy consists of only 127 people out of Virginia Tech's more than 60,000 living engineering alumni.

The Academy of Engineering Excellence was founded in 1999 by former College of Engineering Dean F. William Stephenson and the college's advisory board. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the first induction. 

In 2009, the college produced a book on the first 90 inductees, called "In the Land Grant Tradition: Reaching the Pinnacles."

This academy and the college's published book "represents another way the College of Engineering has selected to showcase our loyal ambassadors.  These alumni all represent people who have lived their lives representing the spirit of Ut Prosim, Virginia Tech's motto, meaning That I May Serve," said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering and the holder of the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering.

The 2014 academy inductees are: Paul J. Baduini, of Rancho Plos Verdes, Calif., with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, Class of 1972; Charles Blankenship Jr., of Louisville, Ky., with a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering, Class of 1988; R. Daniel Carson Jr., of Roanoke, Va., with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, Class of 1970; J. B. Jones, of Blacksburg, Va., with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Class of 1945; Greg Lavender of Mountain View, Calif., computer science, with a master's and a doctoral degree, Classes of 1988 and 1993; Joseph Meredith Jr., of Blacksburg, Va., with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, Class of 1969, and a Ph.D., in industrial and systems engineering, Class of 1997; D. Wayne Snodgrass of Greenwood Village, Colo., with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Class of 1962, and a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and operations research, Class of 1968; and Edward G. Tiedemann Jr., with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Class of 1975.

The 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni Achievement Awards were presented to David Childress, of Blacksburg, Va., with a bachelor's degree, Class of 2006, civil and environmental engineering; and Pardha Pyla, with master's degrees in computer science and in electrical and computer engineering, Classes of 2002 and of 2006, and a Ph.D., Class of 2007, computer science.

Baduini spent 32 years at Rohm and Haas, retiring as vice president and director of engineering. At that time he had oversight over a $460,000,000 capital budget. In the past he has served on the chemical engineering advisory board at Virginia Tech.

Blankenship is the president and chief executive officer of GE Home and Business Solutions, an $8 billion business operating unit of GE Appliances and GE Lighting. He started at GE in 1992 as a staff scientist, and progressed in various management positions to his current title. He has served on both the materials science and engineering and college of engineering advisory boards at Virginia Tech.

Carson is a retired vice president of Appalachian Power Company, spending his entire career with the utility. For Virginia Tech he was instrumental in securing American Electric Power's support for the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, as well as serving on the civil and environmental and college of engineering advisory boards. He was the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.

Jones, who earned his doctorate from Purdue University in 1951, served as head of Virginia Tech's Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1964 until 1984. His leadership allowed the expansion of the department into a top 20, nationally ranked undergraduate and graduate program. He has led multiple fund raising efforts for Virginia Tech and in 2008 he received the Virginia Tech Ruffner Medal, an honor given to individuals who have performed distinguished service to the university.

Lavendar is currently the chief technology officer for architecture and infrastructure engineering at Citi, a company that enables global financial services via technologies such as developer cloud, networking, and virtualized desktops. He has also held vice president of engineering positions at both Cisco Systems and Oracle Corp.  He was a senior director of engineering for Sun Microsystems, and he has served as the associate chair of the department of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.

Meredith serves as the president of Virginia Tech's Corporate Research Center.  In the two decades he has spent with the center, it has expanded to more than 150 research, technology and support companies. In 2010, the Association of University Research Parks honored the facility with its Outstanding International Research Park award. Meredith has served on both the industrial and systems engineering and the college of engineering advisory boards at Virginia Tech, and is currently helping the Virginai tech Foundation develop a $250 million research, retail and residential 100-acre campus in Newport News, Va.

Snodgrass is a retired vice president of engineering and manufacturing at Northrop Grumman. Prior to this position he was president of Norden Systems where he had responsibility for activities in the aerospace, electronic systems, and integrated systems areas. He is a past chair of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech and is a member of the college's Committee of 100.

Tiedemann is vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Inc., and a Fellow of the company. The holder of an MIT doctoral degree, he is a world leader in the terrestrial wireless communications industry and holds more than 200 patents. He leads Qualcomm's worldwide standardization activities and was instrumental in the design and development of the cdmaOne system. He is a past chair of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board, and served on the electrical and computer engineering advisory board. He helped in the creation of Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

As the outstanding young undergraduate engineering alumnus, Childress is Gilbane's project manager for the Signature Engineering Building, opening for classes in fall 2014. When it opens, the facility will be the most instrumented building for vibrations in the world. He has previously managed projects at the Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria campus, the Fort Belvoir, Va., Community Hospital Clinic, and the Civista Medical Center of La Plata, Md.

Pyla, the College of Engineering's Outstanding Graduate Student for 2014, is a senior interaction designer and the design director for Bloomberg's mobile platforms. He has led Bloomberg's efforts to create an industry-leading laboratory to evaluate designs aimed at improving the interface between technology and its users. He led the team that won the User Experience Grand Prize at the juried international User Experience Awards competition, beating out such high profile technology leaders as Google and Adobe.

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