2016 Convocation Speaker Bios

National Academy of Engineering
American Association of Engineering Societies
2016 Convocation of Professional Engineering Societies

Participant Biographies

Charles H. Romine is Director of the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL). ITL is one of six research Laboratories within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with an annual budget of $120 million, more than 350 employees, and about 160 guest researchers from industry, universities and foreign labortories.

Romine oversees a research program designed to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by developing and disseminating standards, measurements, and testing for interoperability, security, usability, and reliability of information systems, including cybersecurity standards and guidelines for federal agencies and U.S. industry, supporting these and measurement science at NIST through fundamental and applied research in computer science, mathematics, and statistics. Through its efforts, ITL supports NIST’s mission to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. He has a B.A. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Virginia.


Alex R. Larzelere has over 30 years of leadership experience in developing and executing programs ranging from U.S. Coast Guard operations to the development of advanced modeling and simulation capabilities for nuclear energy. This experience has been marked by success in the ability to identify problems of national significance, create a vision to address the issue, build a team to execute the vision, and then marshal the resources (people, money, time) necessary for success of these ventures. His specialties include: High Performance Computing, Advanced Modeling and Simulation, Energy Security, Program Development and Management.

Mr. Larzelere is currently the Founder and President of Larzelere & Associates LLC. This is a consulting enterprise that provides expert advice and project support in the areas of: public-private partnerships; advanced computing and modeling and simulation; technologies for innovation and nuclear energy. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Council on Competitiveness, which is a non-partisan leadership organization of corporate CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and national laboratory directors committed to advancing U.S. competitiveness in the global economy and a rising standard of living for all Americans.

Alex Larzelere previously worked for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where he served in a variety of positions. These ranged from the Co-Chair to the Advanced Computing Tech Team to the Federal Director of the Nuclear Energy Modeling and Simulation Energy Innovation Hub. He also was involved with the start-up of the DOE Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) that was part of the U.S. response to the nuclear weapons Comprehensive Test Ban by creating unprecedented levels of modeling and simulation capabilities. Mr. Larzelere also has experiences in the private sector where he worked for SAIC as the Executive Director for Advanced Computing. He also founded and operated a small system engineering company known as Exagrid Engineering. He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served 10 years as a commissioned officer on three cutters and in three operations centers.


David J. Odeh is the President of the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE for 2015-2016, and has served on its Board of Governors since 2012. He is a Fellow of SEI and of ASCE. David is a principal at Odeh Engineers, Inc., a leading structural engineering consulting firm based in Providence, Rhode Island with projects throughout the United States and international recognition for its innovative use of technology. He has over 20 years of experience in the design and analysis of building structures, with particular emphasis in the development and application of digital design tools to structural engineering practice.

David has also served on the adjunct faculty of the Brown University School of Engineering in Providence for over 14 years, and he teaches courses in structural analysis and design of buildings. He has been an invited lecturer at numerous other colleges and universities, including the Rhode Island School of Design (School of Architecture), the University of Cincinnati, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Notre Dame.

Peter Voorhees is the Frank C. Engelhart Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, and Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics. He is co-director of the Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering and is co-director of the Center for Hierarchical Materials Design. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was a member of the Metallurgy Division at the National Institute for Standards and Technology until joining the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University in 1988. He has received numerous awards including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, ASM International Materials Science Division Research Award (Silver Medal), the TMS Bruce Chalmers Award, the ASM J. Willard Gibbs Phase Equilibria Award, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science Award for Teaching Excellence, and is listed as a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information. Professor Voorhees is a fellow of ASM International, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, and the American Physical Society. He has published over 220 papers in the area of the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations.


Chenn Zhou is the founding Director of the Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium (SMSVC) and the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University Calumet, and Professor by Courtesy at Purdue University West Lafayette. She also served as the Engineering Graduate Director, Department Head, and Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate School after she joined Purdue University Calumet in 1994.

Dr. Zhou received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in power engineering from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She has three years of industrial experience and more than 32 years of research experience in various areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation, energy, and visualization. Dr. Zhou is now on the cutting edge in the integration of computer simulation and virtual reality visualization for solving real word problems.

Dr. Zhou has conducted a large number of funded research projects totaling over $18 million and collaborated with many experts from over 90 organizations. Through collaborative efforts, her team has made significant economic and educational impacts and saved more than $30 million for companies. Dr. Zhou has published more than 260 technical papers, five copyrighted CFD codes, and two patents. She has received numerous awards including the R&D 100 Award in 2004, the Medal Award by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) in 2005, the J. Keith Brimacombe Memorial Lecture Award by the Association of Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) in 2010, the 2012 Chanute Prize for Team Innovation. She was named “One of 12 Most Influential Over 50″ by Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Magazine in December 2014. Dr. Zhou has been a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers since 2003, and a Fellow of the Innovation Society since 2005.

Dr. Zhou has been very active in professional societies. She has served as the chair of the Fire and Combustion Committee in the Heat Transfer Division of ASME and the Associate Editor of the Journal of Thermal Engineering and Science. She has chaired international conferences and organized a number of technical sessions for various conferences. She is currently a member of various boards and committees such as the AIST Foundation Board of Trustees.


Raymond Paul Giroux is a Senior Engineer at Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. and the 2016 AAES Norm Augustine Award Winner. Raymond Paul Giroux received his B.S. degree in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University in 1979. Since then, he has been employed by Kiewit Corporation for the past 36 years and played a key role in the construction of several heavy civil engineering megaprojects throughout the United States including the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, projects on the Big Dig in Boston including the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, and most recently, the new San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge East Span.

Mr. Giroux is a member of the Iowa State University Civil Engineering Advisory Board, Transportation Research Board, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) annual convention technical program subcommittee, and a corresponding member of the ASCE History and Heritage Committee.

In 2008, Mr. Giroux was the ASCE Chairman and featured speaker for the Brooklyn Bridge 125th Celebration in New York. In 2010, he presented the closing speech at the Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary Symposium in Las Vegas. In 2012, Mr. Giroux served as the ASCE Chairman and principal lecturer for the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary. In October 2014, he was a featured speaker at the ASCE Global Engineering Conference in Panama and presented his paper on the construction of the original Panama Canal.

Mr. Giroux is the author of several bridge design and civil engineering history papers. His lectures are widely acclaimed, having presented over 200 lectures and seminars at nearly 60 engineering schools, and nearly another one hundred lectures and seminars at other professional and public venues throughout the United States.

Mr. Giroux received the 2013 ASCE Civil Engineering History and Heritage Award and the 2015 ASCE G. Brooks Earnest Technical Lecture Award for outstanding individual service to the profession. He was elected an ASCE Distinguished Member in 2016.

Katharine Frase is Vice President of Education Business Development at IBM Corporation. As Vice President, Education Business Development, Katharine Frase sets strategy for IBM’s education solutions, including partnerships and customer engagement. Prior to this role, as Chief Technology Officer, IBM Public Sector, she provided thought leadership for IBM and its customers on innovation and strategic transformation specific to government, education, life sciences, healthcare and cities, driving the creation of new solutions. Earlier roles included industry solutions research, technical and business strategy for IBM's software business, corporate assignments on technology assessment and strategy, and roles in IBM Microelectronics in the management of process development, design/modeling methodology and production of chip carriers, assemblies and test. In 2006, she was elected as a member of the (U.S.) National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Frase received an A.B. in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and sits on numerous external committees and boards.

Donna K. Ginther is a Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy at the University of Kansas and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her major fields of study are scientific labor markets, gender differences in employment outcomes, wage inequality, scientific entrepreneurship, and children’s educational attainments. Dr. Ginther has published in several journals, including Science, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Demography, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and the Papers and Proceedings of the American Economic Association. She has also received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Her research has been featured in several media outlets including the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, and the Boston Globe. Dr. Ginther testified before the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education of the U.S. House of Representatives on the Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2008. Dr. Ginther has advised the National Academies of Science, the National Institutes of Health, and the Sloan Foundation on the diversity and future of the scientific workforce.


Daniel Kuehn is a Research Associate I in the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center and a doctoral candidate in American University’s Department of Economics. He has nine years of experience conducting and managing research on employment, education and training, the science and engineering workforce, racial and gender disparities, and the transition from school to work. Daniel primarily conducts quantitative empirical work, with an emphasis on non-experimental evaluation methods. He also has experience doing qualitative research and much of his quantitative research experience has been on mixed-methods projects. From 2006 to 2012, he worked at the Urban Institute in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, first as a Research Assistant and then as a Research Associate. In 2011 he began his doctoral studies at American University, with field work in labor economics and gender economics. Daniel’s research at American University has focused on the science and engineering workforce, apprenticeship, and impact analyses of labor market programs. He has published numerous peer reviewed articles, book chapters, reports, and policy briefs, and presented his research to academic and stakeholder audiences. Daniel has worked on research projects for the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Academy of Engineering, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and several private foundations.


Gayle J. Gibson leads DuPont Engineering within the Science & Engineering function. DuPont Engineering houses the company’s centralized internal engineering experts across technology and capital as well as the Field Engineering Program for early-career engineers. DuPont Engineering is responsible for working seamlessly with scientists to help take discoveries to saleable, cost-effective, marketable products for our businesses, while also supporting our manufacturing operations and maximizing the effectiveness of our capital assets.

Gayle joined DuPont in 1983 and held a variety of roles through which she implemented best practices and enabled global business revitalization on behalf of multiple, high-performing business units. Her contributions included engineering design, process engineering, research and development, product and process development, manufacturing supervision, market development, business strategy, growth and supply chain improvement.

From 2008-2013, Gayle was Director – Corporate Operations for the Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of DuPont. In that role she facilitated processes and engagement among key DuPont operating and leadership teams. This included working across businesses, functions and regions to drive alignment and clarity on priorities, advancing core values and resolving issues in line with the company’s mission and strategic objectives. She also supported the Chief Executive Officer as co-lead of the National Academy of Engineering project “Changing the Conversation – from Research to Action” to improve the public understanding of engineering.


Gary S. May is the Dean and Southern Company Chair of the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In that capacity, he serves as the chief academic officer of the college and provides leadership to over 430 faculty members and to more than 13,000 students. The College of Engineering at Georgia Tech is the largest producer of engineering graduates in the United States. In the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Georgia Tech’s engineering program ranked fifth in the nation and ninth in the world.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. May was the Steve W. Chaddick School Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. At the conclusion of his leadership in 2011, graduate programs in electrical engineering and computer engineering each ranked sixth, the computer engineering undergraduate program also ranked sixth, and the electrical engineering undergraduate program ranked fifth. All of these rankings represented the highest in the history of the School up to that point.

Dr. May’s field of research is computer-aided manufacturing of integrated circuits. He has authored over 200 technical publications, contributed to 15 books, and holds a patent on that topic. He has also participated in the acquisition of over $49 million in research funding, and he has graduated 20 Ph.D. students. In 1993, Dr. May was named Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Young Alumnus, and in 1999, he received Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Service Award. Dr. May has won two international Best Paper awards from IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing (1998 and 2000). In 2004, Dr. May received Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, as well as the Outstanding Minority Engineer Award from the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2006, he received the Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2010, he was named the Outstanding Electrical Engineering Alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. May is a Fellow of the AAAS and the IEEE.

Dr. May created the Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Science (SURE) program, for which he has been granted $3M from the National Science Foundation (NSF). SURE annually hosts minority students to perform research at Georgia Tech in the hopes that they will pursue a graduate degree. More than 73% of SURE participants enroll in graduate school. Dr. May was also the co-creator/co-director of the Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Science (FACES) and University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) programs, for which he has been granted over $17M from NSF and the Sloan Foundation to increase the number of underrepresented Ph.D. recipients produced by Georgia Tech. Over the duration of FACES, 433 minority students have received Ph.D. degrees in science or engineering at Georgia Tech—the most in such fields in the nation. As a result of these efforts, Dr. May received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama in 2015.

Dr. May is a member of the Board of Directors of Leidos, Inc., as well as Executive Vice President of the National GEM Consortium and a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Dr. May received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1985 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988 and 1991, respectively.


Jeffrey Ray is Dean of the Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering, and Technology at Western Carolina University (WCU) and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Prior to joining WCU, Ray was Dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Management and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) in Marietta, Georgia for seven years. Before his tenure at SPSU, he was the Director of the School of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) for ten years, in addition to leading the multidisciplinary industry-sponsored capstone design courses.

Before joining GVSU he was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Youngstown State University. His degrees include both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he worked in the Department of Orthopaedics performing skeletal biodynamics research. Before beginning engineering school he completed an apprenticeship and was awarded the title of Journeyman Industrial Electrician. These professional experiences have provided Ray the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of engineering careers.


Nick Wilson is President and Founder of Morrison Container Handling Solutions, a leader in the packaging machinery manufacturing industry, providing custom designed container handling systems, timing screws and change parts for national and international companies since 1971. Throughout his career, Wilson has been a tireless advocate for advancement in the packaging machinery manufacturing industry, particularly as it relates to dynamic education for future industry leaders. As a result of this commitment, Wilson was inducted into the prestigious Packaging Hall of Fame in 2012, and in 2011 he was honored with the Professional Achievement Citation in Engineering (PACE) from Iowa State University. When Wilson began to observe the packaging machinery industry undergoing a transition from primarily mechanical operations to complex combinations of mechanical and servo/PLC controls, he was at the forefront of efforts to build engineering education programs that integrated electrical and mechanical knowledge. To that end, in 2008, Wilson spearheaded the development and growth of the mechatronics education program at Purdue University Calumet (Hammond, Indiana), culminating in the creation of the first four-year mechatronics degree program in the United States. In 2010-2012, Wilson chaired PMMI, the leading global resource for the packaging and processing industries. Wilson remains active with both PMMI on the President’s Advisory Committee and at Purdue University Northwest, where he serves on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board, Dean’s Advisory Committee, and the Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center Advisory Board. With renewed industry-wide attention to focused education and industry alliances, Wilson believes in a bright and successful future for students and packaging machinery manufacturers alike. He has a BS in chemical engineering from Iowa State University a master’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola University, Chicago.