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Mechanical Engineering honors distinguished alumni, students

April 15, 2011 - By Kim Delker

The University of New Mexico’s Department of Mechanical Engineering honored distinguished alumni and outstanding students at a ceremony April 10.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering, part of the School of Engineering, honored Robert L. Cardenas, Michael E. Dexter, Allen E. Fuhs, and William S. Saric as distinguished alumni. Scott Lovald was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Cardenas, of San Diego, Calif., earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNM in 1955. He is a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force.

He served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In 1947, he was a key member of the X-1 supersonic project, and the officer in charge of operations and command pilot that launched Charles Yeager into supersonic flight. Among his many honors are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Presidential Citation. After retiring from the Air Force in 1973, he worked as an executive in private industry.

In 1983, he was appointed to the White House as the California coordinator for President Reagan’s Southwest Border Economic Action Group. In 1985, he was appointed by California Gov. Deukmejian as chairman of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Group as well as a member of the California Council of Criminal Justice. Cardenas was honored by the School of Engineering in 1993 for his outstanding professional contributions and leadership. In 1995, he received the Sigma Chi Significant Sig honor at their national convention in Albuquerque.

Dexter, of Albuquerque, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from UNM in 1975 and 1977, respectively, and his MBA from UNM in 2011. He is a professional engineer and is president of Bridgers & Paxton in Albuquerque.

He was instrumental in the firm’s growth, and has held a variety of positions there since 1996: mechanical engineer, project manager, chief technical officer, business unit manager and principal. He began in career at L.W. Bickle Associates of Albuquerque from 1977-79, then moved to New York City to work at Syska Hennessy from 1979 to 1996.

He has been a supporter of a variety of School of Engineering initiatives, including serving as a member of the Regional Leadership Committee to raise money for the UNM Centennial Engineering Building, fundraising for the FSAE program, and serving as a member of the UNM Electrical Engineering Advisory Council. He is also a member of the board for Sandia Preparatory School and chaired its Board of Trustees in 2009-10. Dexter is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, serving as president of the New York City chapter from 1990‐91. He is also a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, and the Board of Appeals for the Bernalillo County Building Department.

Fuhs, of Carmel, Calif., earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNM in 1951. He is owner and manager of Monterey Consulting Services.

He was a distinguished professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., from 1966 to 1968 and from 1970 to 1987. Fuhs was recognized with the U.S. Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the U.S. Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the Society of Automotive Engineers Teetor Award for Excellence in Teaching Engineering, and he was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame. During the Vietnam War, he initiated the first research efforts at the Naval Postgraduate School on hydraulic ram in aircraft fuel tanks, and designed and built a firing range for hydraulic ram experiments.

Fuhs was a member of the vice president’s space policy advisory board for the National Space Council from 1989 to 1992. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the British Interplanetary Society, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Saric, of Bryan, Texas, earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNM in 1965. He is a distinguished professor and George Eppright ’26 Chair in Engineering, and Flight Research Laboratory director at Texas A&M University.

Saric has been a professor of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M since 2005. He received his Ph.D. in mechanics from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1968 and has held appointments at Sandia National Laboratories, an adjunct professorship at UNM, as well as academic appointments at Virginia Polytechnic Institute State University, Tohoku University in Japan, and Arizona State University. While at ASU, he established three major wind tunnel research facilities and is currently re-establishing the wind tunnels and a flight research center at Texas A&M. He conducted theoretical, computational, experimental, and flight research on stability, transition, and control of two-dimensional and three-dimensional boundary layers for micro air vehicles, subsonic aircraft, supersonic aircraft and re-entry vehicle applications.

He is the recipient of the AIAA Fluid Dynamics Award, the G.I. Taylor Medal from SES, the Scientific Achievement Award from AGARD (NATO) and the Alumni Research Award from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a life fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Receiving the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the department is Scott Lovald of San Francisco, Calif. Lovald received four degrees from UNM: a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2003, an MBA in 2006, a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering in 2006, and a Ph.D. in engineering in 2008. He is a senior associate at Exponent’s biomedical engineering practice, specializing in outcomes, performance optimization, and failure analysis of orthopedic, trauma, and cardiovascular devices.

Lovald’s research interests include linking clinical and experimental analysis to advanced numerical modeling as a platform for biomechanical design optimization procedures and subsequent improvement of patient outcomes associated with medical devices. He has published work on the design and optimization of bone fracture internal fixation devices, blood flow through the atherosclerotic carotid artery, and wall shear on abdominal aortic aneurisms.

Before working at Exponent, he worked with otolaryngology surgeons to create and validate a full spectrum of parametric finite element models to analyze and optimize different classes of local skin-flap advancement designs. He also worked in the area of clinical research by designing and managing post-market studies to investigate the clinical outcomes of total knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty, atrial fibrillation, knee resurfacing, and degenerative disc disease patients.

Lovald became a visiting research assistant professor at the Drexel University School of Biomedical Engineering in 2011 and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He holds one patent and is the co-author of a book and a book chapter and several publications.

The following mechanical engineering students received awards at the event:

• The Bridgers & Paxton Scholarship: Jack Hermann, Ryan Hermann, Andrew Porteous

• The Harold S. Bluestein Memorial Scholarship: Lance Spencer, Sarah Terrill

• The James Coupland Memorial Scholarship: James Vaughn, Donya Ziraksari

• The Marilee & Maurice Wildin Scholarship: Christopher DeGraw, Nicholas Wagner

• The Steven Rose Memorial Scholarship: Richard Abraham, Gian Maestas

• The B.G. Taylor Scholarship: Sebastian Gomez, Bryan Kaiser, Matthew Robinson

• The Y. C. Hsu Memorial Award: Nima Fathi

• The Schreyer Graduate Scholarship in Computational Continuum Mechanics: Vahid Hatamipourdehnow

• The Miller Metal Endowed Fellowship: Jesus Lerma, Ben Rael.

In addition, three students will be receiving awards May 9 at the School of Engineering Annual Awards:

• Outstanding Junior: Samantha Lemon

• Outstanding Senior: Jon Vigil

• Outstanding Graduate Student: Ben Rael