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Alumni News


Auburn alumnus appointed Walt Disney World Resort President

Jeff Vahle, '85 mechanical engineering, recently succeeded Josh D’Amaro as president of the Walt Disney World Resort. In his new role, Vahle leads a team of Cast Members —America’s largest single-site workforce—and will be responsible for all facets of business for the resort, including its four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios) two water parks, 28 resort hotels, four golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the Disney Springs entertainment-shopping-dining complex.

5/18/20 9:01 AM

Tackling real-world problems, alumna partners with Auburn Engineering’s 100+ Women Strong and Corporate Relations

At a time when the future seems uncertain, Rekha Menon-Varma, a chemical engineering graduate, offers solutions. Vertaeon – the business she co-founded – provides assessment tools and mitigation solutions for risk management. More specifically, Varma’s business focuses on enterprise and supply chain risks and sustainable operations.

5/3/20 9:58 AM

Auburn alumni couple give back to their alma mater

Michael and Kelly Keyser met on their very first day at Auburn University. Both Michael and Kelly are from Alabama – Kelly from Birmingham and Michael, Fairhope – and both did not originally plan on going to Auburn. Kelly had anticipated going to a smaller, out-of-state school, and Michael originally thought he wanted to go to school in the Northeast. But like so many others, the couple knew Auburn was the school for them after visiting campus in high school.

4/29/20 2:02 PM

Auburn Engineering alumnus announced as new ECS President

Engineering Consulting Services (ECS) announce the promotion of Tony Fiorillo, '92 civil engineering, to President of the ECS Group of Companies effective as of April 15, 2020.

4/28/20 1:03 PM

Young alumna advocates for Auburn Engineering

Jasmyne Brown, ’17 industrial and systems engineering, is an advocate for all things Auburn Engineering. As a student, she was a Cupola Engineering Ambassador, a member of the Academic Excellence Program and a mentee for 100+ Women Strong.

4/20/20 12:03 PM

Auburn Engineering online provides new opportunities for connection

Working in software development for the federal government in Huntsville, Tara Battle, ’18 mechanical engineering, is the chief engineer of her department. Her career in defense spans many years and areas of expertise. Battle has worked for the government since 2010, and after moving to Huntsville, she decided to go back to school. But she did not want to slow down with work to get her degree.

4/7/20 11:02 AM

Young alumna finds joy, connection in mentorship

As a student, Manda Tucker, ’16 industrial and systems engineering, loved Auburn Engineering. Looking back, she says she “doesn’t remember sleeping much,” with late nights spent studying and preparing for projects. But even with the hours of work she put into her engineering degree, she loved every minute of it.

3/26/20 11:01 AM

CROY expands water resources capabilities with Auburn civil engineering alumna

Full-service consulting firm Croy Engineering announced the addition of Melanie Head, '13 civil engineering, PE as its new municipal utilities director. Head is charged with continuing Croy’s commitment to provide consulting engineering services in the water resources arena, including water and wastewater system design, while also expanding the firm’s footprint in this practice across the Southeast.

3/24/20 11:01 AM

Alumnus, Hall of Fame inductee honored through local news

Kenneth Kelly, Linda DuChrame and David Mobley were each inducted into the 2020 Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in early February. Kelly was further recognized by local news in his Georgia hometown.

3/17/20 11:57 AM

Engineering alumna talks Frito-Lay productivity

Making the drive from the largest Frito-Lay facility in North America, Katelyn Rheinlander came to Auburn to spend the day with current and perspective students during E-day. She then took the opportunity to sit down with the communications and marketing podcast team to talk about her position at Frito-Lay, her experience as an Auburn Engineering alumna and member of 100+ Women Strong.

3/6/20 1:07 PM

Auburn Engineering alumna featured in Canadian Biomass news

Ritu Linhart is the general manager for Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s Aliceville wood pellet plant in Alabama. A process engineer by trade, Linhart had a diverse career in chemical engineering, business, R&D, and academia before turning to the wood pellet industry. After six years in the industry, she was hired on to lead Pinnacle’s U.S. wood pellet plant and is now likely the first woman heading up a pellet operation in North America.

3/5/20 11:07 AM

Auburn Engineering alumna, 100+ Women Strong member encourages students to soar

Next to the tall windows in Paula Marino’s office sits a bronze eagle. The statue – which rests proudly upon a nearly 3-foot high platform – is a lifelike replica. It’s not an Auburn eagle, “but it’s also not not an Auburn eagle,” said Paula Marino, ’92 and ’95 electrical engineering.

2/13/20 8:03 AM

Hoover’s longtime city engineer and Auburn Engineering alumnus ends 43-year career

The man who has been Hoover’s city engineer for the past 20 years has retired, ending a 43-year career in engineering. Rodney Long was hired as Hoover’s city engineer in 1999 after serving 16 years in the private sector and seven years with Jefferson County. He retired from Hoover at the end of 2019.

1/24/20 1:06 PM

5 minutes with Jan Davis

Jan Davis is a 1977 mechanical engineering graduate who enjoyed a distinguished career at NASA as an engineer, astronaut and executive and now serves as a leader in private industry.

1/2/20 12:05 PM

It's my job: John Carter

A good day is a day in the gym. I visit a lot of NBA teams, a lot of NCAA teams. I visit a lot of our customers on a regular basis, so a day in the life might be delivering on the challenge to make their teams better.

12/30/19 2:05 PM

2019 in review: Top Auburn Engineering stories of the year

There’s no denying it was a big year for the Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. From opening the brand new Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center to enjoying a banner year in research, the college had no shortage of notable achievements.

12/31/19 9:13 AM

To the moon and back, in 50 years

Millions watched from their television screens, and others in person, as the Saturn V rocket took flight to carry Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon. Jim Thomas and his wife-to-be Pat observed from a unique perspective as the spacecraft slowly lifted from Launch Pad 39A. He worked for seven years with Wernher von Braun’s rocket team to help give it the ability to do just that.

12/22/19 10:10 AM

Sailing through life, civil engineering alumnus charts future for Auburn Engineers

John Steele Henley II, ’63 civil engineering, is not your average retiree. At 80 years old, he races his sailboat competitively. In mid-April, Henley takes his 21-foot racer Brat out of storage, dusts off the residual winter ice and gets out on the cold Virginia waters.

12/15/19 8:08 AM

For Pete's Sake

It’s a long, crazy story that he pretty much just chalks up to divine intervention, because he says there is really no other way to explain it. But before you read any more about how, once upon a time, he quit his engineering job to paint pictures of an ugly little cat that somehow became a beloved children’s book character so popular Leonardo DiCaprio’s manager helped turn it into an animated Amazon Original series, James Dean ’82 needs you to know something.

12/9/19 7:05 AM

From basketball to engineering to patent law – a philanthropic journey back to Auburn University

A student phone call sparked a philanthropic relationship for aerospace engineering alumnus.

11/21/19 1:18 PM

‘Climate Change Is the Next ISIS’: Meet the World Economic Forum’s First Iraqi Female Board Member

Alumna Basima Abdulrahman ,'14 civil engineering, is an Iraqi entrepreneur and green architect. Her business is changing the game for climate activism.

11/8/19 11:07 AM

Civil Engineering Advisory Board names two emeritus members

A pair of civil engineering alumni — Jeff Stone and Dale York — were recently honored with emeritus member status on the Civil Engineering Advisory Board.

11/5/19 10:57 AM

Electrical engineering alumnus offers expertise at House Subcommittee hearing

Kenneth Kelly, '90 electrical engineering, chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank, has been called to provide expertise during a House Subcommittee hearing regarding Minority Depository Institutions.

10/23/19 10:07 AM

Aerospace engineering alumnus receives dual honors from AIAA

Chris Crumbly, ’88 and ‘95 aerospace engineering and member of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation Board, has received not one, but two awards from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

10/22/19 2:07 PM

Element Hires VP of Customer Success and Transformation

Element announces hire of Steve Beamer, '84. mechanical engineering as the vice president of customer success and transformation.

10/11/19 1:05 PM

Imperial Oil Ltd. appoints new president; CEO R.M. Kruger announces retirement

Auburn Engineering alumnus, B.W. (Brad) Corson, '83 chemical engineering, appointed president of Imperial Oil Limited effective Sept. 17, 2019.

9/18/19 12:00 AM

Two Auburn engineering graduates named 2020 lifetime and young alumni award recipients

Two Auburn engineers, Joe Forehand Jr., ’71 industrial engineering, and Dion Aviki, ’04 chemical engineering, are among the five Auburn University graduates recently selected to receive the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards and Young Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honors given by the Auburn Alumni Association...

9/17/19 11:56 AM

Engineering alumnus joins Marquis Advisory Group as executive

Auburn University alumnus, Robert Holmquist, '72 electrical engineering and '76 MBA, joins Marquis Advisory Group as executive, senior associate.

9/16/19 10:58 AM