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Alumni Notes

Mahmoud Almasri and Marty Walker present an MU Engineering T-shirt to Mizzou Engineering alumnus Levent Eren.

On a trip to Izmir, Turkey, last summer, Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Mahmoud Almasri, at left, and Marty Walker, MU Engineering’s director of administrative services, at right, joined alumnus Levent Eren, BS EE ’95, MS ’98, Ph.D. ’02, for dinner and presented him with a Mizzou Engineering T-shirt. Eren is an associate professor of electrical and electronics engineering at Turkey’s Izmir University of Economics. He attributes his success to ECE Professor Emeritus Mike Devaney, who was his adviser and mentor. Photo courtesy of Marty Walker

Class notes


John Novak, BS CiE ’64 and MS CiE ’66, of Blacksburg, Va., was honored as the 2014 recipient of the Perry L. McCarthy Founders Award by the Association of Environmental Engineering Scientists and Professors. The award is given to an “environmental engineering or science professor who has a record of excellence in these areas.” Novak was the Nick Prillaman Professor of Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech until his retirement in 2012, and in his time at Virginia Tech, he taught approximately 10,000 undergraduates and advised 31 Ph.D. and 200 master’s degree candidates.


Portrait of John Conway

John Conway

John Conway, BS CiE ’71, MS PA ‘86, of Columbia, Mo., received a Tablet of Honor from the Kiwanis International Foundation for his “exemplary service to children.” Conway is a former Missouri Honor Award and Citation of Merit Award recipient and is a member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.


Martin L. Rapp, BS ChE ’81, of Chesterfield, Mo., was elected a member of the Board of Directors of Cascade Microtech, Inc., a manufacturer of semiconductor test equipment based in Hillsboro, Ore. Rapp retired as Chief Executive Officer of Laird Technologies, Inc., in 2011.

David Payne, BS EE ’83, of St. Louis was chosen as a recipient of an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Central Midwest Award. Payne is the president of PayneCrest Electric, Inc., one of the region’s largest electrical contractors.


Portrait of David Dilley

David Dilley

David Dilley, BS MAE ’95, of Royal Oak, Mich., recently saw his company, D3 Vibrations, celebrate its 10th anniversary. D3 Vibrations provides metal-cutting analysis and consulting and has served customers such as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Rolls Royce.


Portrait of Cameron Clawson

Cameron Clawson

Cameron Clawson, BS ChE ’07, of Chicago, was hired by Husch Blackwell, a business services law firm as a member of its intellectual property group based in Chicago. The firm has offices in 16 cities and specializes in a wide array of business-related areas of law.



Portrait of Sean Finley

Sean Finley

Sean Finley, BS IE ’10, MBA BUS ’14, LAW ’14, of Kansas City, Mo., was hired by Husch Blackwell, a business services law firm as a member of its corporate group based in Kansas City. The firm has offices in 16 cities and specializes in a wide array of business-related areas of law.

Portrait of Abdullah Habibzai

Abdullah Habibzai

Abdullah Habibzai, MS CEE ’13, of Kabul, Afghanistan, is CEO of Pasaar Consulting, which consulted for the Afghanistan Builders Association. The ABA recently was made the authority on certification of material testing laboratories passed to it from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It marks the first time since 2001 an Afghan organization will be in charge of ensuring that the material testing standards are met by the Afghan labs. The USACE will use these labs for future projects. Habibzai is an assistant professor in the engineering department at Kabul University.

Portrait of Adam Byington

Adam Byington

Adam Byington, BS CiE ’14, of O’Fallon, Mo., was hired as a project engineer by Tarlton Corp. Tarlton, based out of St. Louis, is a general contracting and construction management firm. Byington’s role will be to support the estimating team as well as laboratory and office renovation projects for companies such as Pfizer and Monsanto.



Herbert Shieber, BS CiE ’39, of Granada Hills, Calif., died May 20, 2014. Before his retirement, Shieber worked as a project manager with TRW, Inc., a company based mainly in the aerospace, automotive and credit reporting fields and a pioneer in such areas as electric components, integrated circuits and systems engineering.


Portrait of Ernest T. Smerdon

Ernest T. Smerdon

Ernest T. Smerdon, BS AgE ’51, MS ’56, Ph.D. ’59, of Tucson, Ariz., died Aug. 11, 2014. He was a professor of civil engineering and later Dean of Engineering for 10 years at the University of Arizona after stints working at Texas A&M, the University of Florida and University of Texas. He also served as president of the American Society of Engineering Education and headed the National Academy of Engineering committee on Lifelong Earning for Engineers. He also was a 1982 recipient of a Missouri Honor Award and a member of the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Smerdon also was a member of the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Committee and served on the Civil & Environmental Engineering Industrial Board.

Rodney Still, BS CiE ’53, of Gilroy, Calif., died Oct. 7, 2014. Still served in the U.S. Navy from 1948 to 1955 in active duty and was in the Naval Reserves with the rank of captain until 1977. He spent 32 years with the Bureau of Naval Weapons Representatives and six years with Westinghouse Corporation, retiring as a program manager.

H. Henry Liiv, BS ME ’54, of Middletown, R.I., died Dec. 27, 2013. Liiv spent nearly 20 years as an executive with General Electric and founded the thick-film technology company International Manufacturing Services, Inc., in 1974 alongside his wife, Tina.

Robert James McCloud, BS CiE ’54, of Overland Park, Kan., died Aug. 20, 2014. McCloud served in the U.S. Army before working for Black & Veatch at its government facility in Los Alamos, N.M., better known as the “Manhattan Project.” He retired as an executive partner at Black & Veatch in 1988.

Miller N. Cravens, Jr., BS EE ’57, of Albuquerque, N.M., died June 3, 2013. Cravens served four years in the Navy during the Korean War before enrolling at MU. After graduation, he worked for Sandia National Laboratories for 37 years, retiring in 1994.


James F. Thornton, BS ME ’60, of Holland, Ohio, died June 2, 2014. Thornton began his career with Chrysler, before spending time with Rupp Industries and as the director of product engineering for Jeep before retiring in 1986. He later co-founded and served as vice president and treasurer of Applied Technologies, Inc., in Toledo, Ohio.


Scott N. Wright, BS ME ’81, of Greenwood, Mo., died May 19, 2014. Wright worked as a project manager and a principal engineer for Honeywell International for 32 years and was a lifelong farmer, with his family earning Jackson County Farm Family of the Year honors in 2001.

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