Alumni, college supporters receive annual honors
Two presented with MU Engineering’s Missouri Honor Award
On March 13, the MU College of Engineering held its annual award banquet at which engineering alumnus Robert Holtsmith and Missouri Rep. Chris Kelly were presented with the Missouri Honor Award for distinguished service in engineering, the College of Engineering’s highest honor.
Robert Holtsmith graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1968, and earned a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982.
He spent his career at ConocoPhillips, starting with technical assignments before quickly moving into project management and eventually business management roles.
Holtsmith eventually was assigned to oversee various strategic growth projects and key acquisitions. This experience led to him being assigned a prominent role in the merger of Conoco and Phillips in 2002. He was involved in strategic and technical support and helped navigate complex legal issues with the Federal Trade Commission.
An active member of the Chemical Engineering Industrial Advisory Board and the Dean’s Engineering Advisory Council, Holtsmith currently serves as treasurer of the University of Missouri College of Engineering (UMCOE) Foundation.
He previously served as the UMCOE Foundation’s vice president and is a member of the Rocky Mountain College Board of Trustees. He also is active in leadership roles with the United Way of Central Oklahoma.
Christopher Kelly was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives from the 24th district in 2008, returning to the legislative body he first was elected to in 1982. He was re-elected in 2010 and again in 2012 from the now-45th district and served in the Missouri Legislature until 2015.
During his time in office, Kelly was a standard bearer for higher education in Missouri, focusing much of his time and energy on securing funding and infrastructure investments. He received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Geyer Award for his positive impact on higher education and the University of Missouri on two occasions — 1998 and 2011.
Perhaps his biggest contribution to the College of Engineering was his work toward approval of a $38.5 million bond issue to be used to renovate the 1935 and 1944 sections of Lafferre Hall, approved by the Board of Public Buildings on Oct. 16, 2014.
The project, currently underway, will include several new research labs, learning labs, space for new computer labs and a student machine shop — an additional 13,000 square feet of space.
Kelly earned his juris doctor from the University of Missouri in 1988 after serving for five years as county director and later, director of the Central Missouri Counties’ Human Development Corporation. He also served as Boone County Clerk. He also was chairman of the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission from 1994 to 2000 before his term as associate court judge in the 13th Judicial District from 2000 to 2006.
He recently formed Chris Kelly Consulting, LLC, enabling him to continue his work on behalf of higher education, infrastructure and economic development as a lobbyist.
Alumni Association awards Citation of Merit
story by Scott Sedan, MUEAO secretary
Don Flora was honored by the College of Engineering Alumni Association with the Citation of Merit award at the engineering awards banquet on March 13.
His business, Flora & Associates, Inc., was founded in 1982, and specialized in health care consulting and management. He served as president from its formation until retiring in 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Missouri in 1966 as well as master’s degrees from MU in industrial engineering in 1968 and public health in 1971.
Flora worked for MU’s medical school and hospital after graduating and then returned to Kansas City to work as an analyst for the Health Resources Institute. He was a project review coordinator for the Mid America Comprehensive Health Planning Agency, and also served as executive director of the Mid America Health Systems Agency from 1976 to 1982.
In 1989, after founding Flora & Associates, Inc., he worked with a multitude of physicians to launch the Mid-America Kidney Stone Association’s mobile lithotripsy service. The MAKSA program currently treats in excess of 3,000 patients.
Flora was awarded a U.S. Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, which honors employers’ support of deployed staff members, in 2009, earning him congratulations from President Barack Obama, as well.
An inaugural member of the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008, Flora also serves on the Dean’s Engineering Advisory Council, is a life member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and its Kansas City Chapter, is a Jefferson Club Board of Trustees Diplomat and has served in various capacities for the Kansas Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association, the College of Engineering’s Public Policy Advisory Council and the Tiger Club of Kansas City.
Flora received a Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering in 2010, a University of Missouri Faculty-Alumni Award in 2011, the James E. “Bud” Moulder Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012, the MU College of Arts and Science Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2011 and an MU Presidential Citation Award in 2013.