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Alumni Notes

Share your news with fellow alumni. Email news about your accomplishments to Mizzou Engineer Senior Editor Jan Wiese-Fales at wiesefalesj@missouri.edu.

Civil engineering alumni gather for 50-year reunion

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Though the Mizzou Alumni Association decided to discontinue its annual Gold Medal 50-year alumni reunion, the civil engineering class of 1963 decided to host their own mini 50-year celebration. Six members of the class of ’63 gathered in Columbia on November 13 and 14 to enjoy tours of the College of Engineering and MU’s campus, presentations made by the civil engineering student organizations and competition teams, as well as a celebratory dinner where they each received a Gold Medal medallion. Those in attendance at the banquet, pictured right, left to right, were Gene Sweeney, Brimfield, Ill.; Bob Steiert, Kansas City, Mo.; John Reece, Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Bill Rinehart, Peoria, Ill.; and Don James, Jefferson City, Mo. In the left photo, second from left, is Jerry Henry, Columbia, Mo., who attended the reunion but was not able to join the group at the banquet.

Three alumni honored with college, campus, system awards

Three College of Engineering alumni were honored with awards from the college-, campus- or UM System-level for their contributions to their fields and the university.

Don Flora received the UM System’s 2013 Presidential Citation Award from the Alliance of Alumni Associations on behalf of the Mizzou Alumni Association.

Ward Chambers received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Faculty-Alumni Award.

Walt Vandelicht received the college’s James E. “Bud” Moulder Distinguished Alumni Award.


Don Flora, BS IE ’66, MS IE ’68, MPH ’71, of Kansas City, Mo., received the MU College of Arts and Science Distinguished Service Award last March. Flora is retired from Flora and Associates and was recently awarded the Presidential Citation Award from the Alliance of Alumni Associations, on behalf of the Mizzou Alumni Association. He is also a past Missouri Honor Award recipient and was among the inaugural inductees to the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department’s Hall of Fame. The College of Arts and Science presents the award annually at a banquet also honoring four other awards presented to alumni. This is the 32nd year for the college’s distinguished alumni awards.


John Conway, BS CIE ’71, MS PA ’86, of Columbia, received the Richard E. Malon Public Service Award from the Missouri Public Utility Alliance. Conway retired from Bartlett & West, a consulting firm for water systems, in 2010. He has served on the City of Columbia’s Water and Light Advisory Board for the last 24 years. The award is presented to a publicly elected or appointed public official whose activities have furthered the objectives of municipal utilities. Conway remains active with the MU Engineering Alumni Organization and is a past Missouri Honor Award and Citation of Merit recipient.


Brian Faust, BS CIE ’83, of Gardner, Kan., was hired as the director of public works for the City of Gardner. In addition to his Mizzou degree, Faust earned a master’s degree in structural engineering from Iowa State University. His previous job was as the assistant public works director for the City of Raymore, Mo., which he began in 2006.

Portrait of Virginia Brandt.

Virginia Brandt

Virginia Brandt, BS CHE ’84, of Avon Lake, Ohio, was elected to the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) Board of Directors. The IRI’s mission is to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation by networking practitioners and thought leaders from more than 200 companies and labs to seek, share, learn and create.  Brandt has worked for Energizer Holdings Inc. for 29 years and currently serves as general manager of Research, Development & Engineering for the Household Products Division.

Greg Horn, BS CIE ’84, of O’Fallon, Mo., was named district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s St. Louis District. Horn, a licensed Professional Engineer in Missouri, has worked for MoDOT’s St. Louis District since graduating from Mizzou, serving as a manager for all but three years when he worked in design and construction. He was appointed interim district engineer in June and previously was the project director for the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Dan Currence, BS CIE ’86, MS ’92, of Kansas City, joined the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI), in Irving, Texas, as the director of engineering for the company’s Corrugated Plastic Pipe Division. He previously worked at Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc., where he was the Central Zone manager for engineered products.

Portrait of Bart Eppenauer.

Bart Eppenauer

Bart Eppenauer, BS EE ’87, of Woodinville, Wash., was named a partner in the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon and will oversee the firm’s new Seattle office beginning Dec. 1. He formerly worked as Microsoft Corp.’s chief patent counsel, serving in that position since 2003. He spent the past 16 years with Microsoft. Before then, he spent three years with Shook, Hardy as an associate in its intellectual property practice.

Portrait of Jacqueline El-Sayed

Jacqueline El-Sayed

Jacqueline El-Sayed, MS ME ’89, PhD ME ’97, of Bloomfield, Mich., was elected to co-chair the American Society for Engineering Education’s Undergraduate Experience Committee. El-Sayed is the associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs as well as a professor of mechanical engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Mich. As the co-chair of the committee, she will focus on enhancing the experience undergraduates will receive studying engineering.


Tom Degenhardt, BS CIE ’91, of Kansas City, Mo., joined BHC Rhodes as the new public works services team leader. He was previously the assistant city engineer for the Kansas City, Mo., public works department. His new duties include overseeing engineering initiatives such as road and infrastructure projects. Degenhardt also holds a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Trent Stober, BS ME ’91, MS ’93, of Columbia, joined HDR, Inc., with the opening of the firm’s Columbia office as a senior client service manager for HDR’s Water and Natural Resources business group. Previously, he was a principal with Geosyntec Consultants and president of MEC Water Resources in Columbia. He is involved with the Water Environment Federation and the Missouri Water Environment Association. HDR has eight offices in Missouri, including locations in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield.

Jimmy Liu, MS CIE ’96, of Overland Park, Kan., was promoted to vice president of the Kansas City office of structural engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti. Liu has been with the company since 2005.


Nicholas McLean, BS IE ’03, of Kansas City, Mo., recently launched a new company, Genneo. Headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Genneo’s products include handheld devices that, when shaken or simply carried, generate power to charge mobile and other small, electronic devices. The first two models debuted Oct. 21.

N. Kyle Tabor, BS CEE ’05, MS CEE ’07, of St. Louis, received the American Society of Civil Engineers St. Louis section Young Engineers Award for Professional Achievement. Tabor works for Shannon & Wilson in St. Louis, where he specializes in geotechnical investigations, geotechnical design and hydraulic analysis. He is an active ASCE member and a registered Professional Engineer in Missouri and Illinois.

Portrait of Ashlynn Stillwell

Ashlynn Stillwell

Ashlynn Stillwell, BS CHE ’06, joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Stillwell holds her master’s degree in environmental and water resources engineering and her doctorate in civil engineering, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focus investigates the energy-water nexus.


Portrait of Alex Madinger

Alex Madinger

Alex Madinger, BS ME ’13, of Columbia, led a group that took second place at the annual Startup Weekend event in Columbia and first place in MU’s CLIMB Tech Expo Pitch Competition in September. The group, Gauntlet Initiative, proposed a business for 3D printing prosthetics. Startup Weekend, now in its third year, is a 54-hour-long competition that allows participants to plan and pitch a business. The team won $1,250 for its second place finish. Winners from Startup Weekend received an automatic entry into the CLIMB Tech Expo, which was in its second year. Gauntlet Initiative took home $1,000 for its finish at the CLIMB event.

Portrait of Ryan Sobotka

Ryan Sobotka

Ryan Sobotka, BS ME ’13, of O’Fallon, Mo., joined EPIC Systems Inc. as a project engineer. Sobotka’s previous experience in industry includes work for General Motors, Snorkel International and the MU Machine Shop. He is a past president of the Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Car team and was most recently a contractor for EPIC Systems.


Ruby Maxwell, of Columbia, died Sept. 30, 2013. She was born Dec. 17, 1915. For 16 years, Maxwell served as the reference librarian for the Engineering Library. Her husband, Hugh Maxwell, also worked for MU Engineering and precedes her in death. She retired from MU in 1983 and afterward dedicated her time to volunteer work with Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and Meals on Wheels.


James R. Tudor, BS EE ’48, MS ’50, of Columbia, Mo., died Aug. 29, 2013. He was born March 26, 1922. Tudor was a retired MU Engineering faculty member, teaching electrical engineering until 1984. He received his doctorate from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was a decorated war veteran, serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After retirement, he joined the Boone County Historical Society and the Hallsville Historical Society.

John Kinn, BS EE ’49, of Leesburg, Va., died July 8, 2013. He was born July 25, 1925.


Robert “Bob” N. Hunter, BS CIE ’50, of Jefferson City, died June 3, 2013. He was born Dec. 25, 1920. Hunter was a B-24 bomber pilot during World War II. After retiring as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force Reserves, he worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation for 35 years, ultimately serving as Chief Engineer from 1970 to 1985.

Don Jackson Casey, BS EE ’52, of Lee’s Summit, died July 7, 2013. He was born Feb. 5, 1923, and served in the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division during World War II, participating in the Normandy Invasions on D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. After graduation, Casey worked most of his career for Western Electric. He also volunteered with several Lee’s Summit-area community service organizations.

Edward G. Blohm, BS EE ’56, of Rotterdam, N.Y., died April 12, 2013. He was born May 30, 1926. He worked as a design engineer in the Large Motor Department at General Electric for more than 30 years.

Carrel Wesley Ewing, BS AGE ’59, of Reno, Nev., died June 29, 2013. He was born March 7, 1937. After graduation, Ewing joined the U.S. Army Reserves, followed by a career in technology and business, working for IBM and, later, Masstor Systems. He founded Server Technology Inc. in 1986 and served as its CEO and chairman of the board until his death.


William “Bill” David Powell, BS CHE ’67, JD ’70, of Columbia, died Oct. 11, 2013. He was born July 27, 1945 and later earned a football scholarship to Mizzou. While a student, he was included in the Mystical Seven and Tau Beta Pi. He graduated with honors and a minor in nuclear engineering. Powell was drafted by Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers, but forwent the NFL to attend law school at MU. He followed with a long career as an attorney, focusing on real estate law. He is survived by his wife, Cathe; two sons, two daughters and 11 grandchildren.


Thomas W. Hedrick, BS CIE ’72, MS CIE ’74, of Sikeston, Mo., died Aug. 25, 2013. He was born March 11, 1950. At the time of his death, Hedrick was serving his second term on the Sikeston City Council. He worked for Penta Engineering out of St. Louis and was awarded the Charles M. Reprecht Excellence in Business Acumen Award in 2012. In addition to the numerous articles he published about his field, he also held seven U.S. patents. He is survived by his wife Donna; one daughter and her husband; and two grandchildren.


Portrait of Kristie Pietarila.

Kristie Pietarila

Kristie Pietarila, BS MAE ’02, BS Math ’02, MS MAE ’04, PhD MAE ’09, of Lee’s Summit, died from injuries sustained in a car accident June 11, 2013. She was born Nov. 4, 1976. Her ambitions included playing soccer on the U.S. women’s team and becoming an astronaut. After injuries sidelined her soccer career, she focused on academics, eventually earning her doctorate in mechanical engineering and joining ATK of Kansas City, where she worked for the last five years.

Family and friends of Josh Seidel gather in the quad during the bell ringing in Switzler Hall.

Family and friends of Josh Seidel gather in the quad.

Joshua M. Seidel, BS ME ’02, of Chesterfield, Mo., died Sept. 14, 2013. He was born Dec. 15, 1978. He was the co-owner of Caliber Cast Stone and an avid Cardinals and Missouri fan. A group of more than 100 family and friends traveled to Columbia to ring the bell in Switzler Hall in his memory on Nov. 2.

Weddings & Engagements


Timothy Wolf, BS CIE ’06, of Glendale, Mo., married Stefanie Boehme, of Fairfield, Calif., on Aug. 19, 2013. Wolf is a brewing engineer with Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. Boehme received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California-Davis. She is an environmental engineer for United State Steel in Granite City, Mo. The couple will reside in St. Louis County.

Shane Rasch, BS CEE ’08, MS CEE ’11, of Chesterfield, Mo., married Amanda Stroud, of St. Charles, Mo., on Nov. 2, 2013. Stroud has a bachelor’s degree in English and speech communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She works for Baugher Financial & Associates as an employee benefits consultant. Rasch is a geotechnical engineer with Jacobs Engineering in St. Louis.

Daniel Phelan, BS MAE ’09, of Wildwood, Mo., will marry Denise Saylor, of Sabetha, Kan. Saylor received her bachelor’s degree in theater, with a minor in music, from Stephens College in Columbia. She currently works as a veterinary technician in Chesterfield, Mo. Daniel is a mechanical engineer for Ross & Barunzzini in Webster Groves, Mo.

Caitlin Saller, BS BE ’10, of St. Louis, will marry Zachary Gregory, BS BA ’09, of Richmond Heights, Mo., on Feb. 8, 2014. Saller is a sales representative for Forest Pharmaceuticals in St. Louis. Gregory is an accountant for Enterprise Leasing, also in St. Louis.

James Murdoch holds Kelsey Kotur close looking at the camera.

Kelsey Kotur, BS IE ’11, MBA ’12, and James Murdoch.

Kelsey Kotur, BS IE ’11, MBA ’12, of Cincinnati, Ohio, will marry James Murdoch, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 2007. Both work in Supply Networks Operations for Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati.

Jason Mosley, BS ME ’11, of St. Peters, Mo., married Lindsay DeGonia, BSW ’10, MSW ’12, on Oct. 12, 2013. DeGonia is a lead intake assessor for mental health with SSM Health Care. Mosley is engineer and plant manager for Electro Plastics.

Ryan Holmes sits next to Jenny Schrader.

Ryan Holmes, BS CEE ’12, and Jenny Schrader.

Ryan Holmes, BS CEE ’12, of Kansas City, Mo., will marry Jenny Schrader on June 14, 2014. Schrader received her bachelor’s degree in fashion and event planning from Stephens College. She currently works as a nanny placement coordinator for College Nannies and Tutors in Kansas City. Holmes works for Black and Veatch in Overland Park.

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