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School of Engineering to honor distinguished alumni on November 7

August 21, 2019 - By Kim Delker

The University of New Mexico School of Engineering will celebrate its 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winners at a November 7 dinner at Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.

Honorees are from each of the School’s six departments and one young alumnus, which can be from any department. The honorees are:

Chemical and Biological Engineering: Karen M. Douglas. Douglas was a nuclear engineer at the National Nuclear Security Administration in Albuquerque until May 2019, where she worked since 1990, and is now nuclear quality assurance mentor at Longenecker & Associates since June of this year. She received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from UNM in 1979 and completed her master of science in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University in 1983.

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering: William M. Brown III. Brown has been a principal at Sage West Consultants in Taos since 2008 and is also a past principal and a member of the board of directors at Renewable Taos Inc. He received his bachelor of science in civil engineering from UNM in 1967 and his master’s in civil engineering from Stanford University in 1968.

Computer Science: Brad Key. Key is director of software and systems for Perspecta and has been a software development group manager for more than 30 years. He received his bachelor of science degree in computer science from UNM in 1986.

Electrical and Computer Engineering: Gilbert (Gil) Herrera. Herrera has been with Sandia National Laboratories from 1981-1997 and from 1999 to the present and is a Laboratory Fellow. He received his bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from UNM in 1981 and his master of science in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982.

Mechanical Engineering: Michael Emerson. Emerson is vice president of Valencia Solutions and has 30 years of experience in engineering and management consulting in the governmental and commercial sectors. He received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from UNM in 1986 and his master of science in nuclear engineering from the University of Washington in 1988.

Nuclear Engineering: Bret E. Simpkins. Simpkins is associate laboratory director of facilities and operations for Los Alamos National Laboratory. He received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in nuclear engineer from UNM in 1983 and 1988, respectively.

Young Alumni Award: Kelly D. Hahn, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Hahn works at the National Ignition Facility – Implosions and Stagnation (Nuclear) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. She received three degrees in electrical engineering from UNM: a bachelor’s (1999), master’s (2002) and Ph.D. (2006).

Event tickets are $75 and can be purchased here. Those interested in sponsorship or placing an ad in the event program should contact Courtney Holmes at