2007 Outstanding Aerospace Engineer awards

The designation Outstanding Aerospace Engineer recognizes the professional contributions of graduates from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and thanks them for the recognition their success brings to Purdue and the School.

The School is pleased to honor seven graduates in 2007 with the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer award.

Nancy L. B. Anderson


Director of Technical Operations ~ Hughes Space & Communications (now Boeing)

"My Purdue education was the foundation for a very satisfying career in a field I learned about by reading science fiction—satellites. Particularly important were the skills to think at a detailed level, 'big picture,' and end-to-end, critical for the success of large systems. My advice to Purdue Engineering students is to enjoy all the university has to offer—technical and liberal-arts courses, activities, and social life—because these provide both a basis for the future and enduring friendships."

When choosing a college, Nancy Anderson (BSESc '61, MS '62) found herself encouraged to attend Purdue, both by her father's engineering friends and her brother (also a Purdue alum). She served the Hughes Space and Communications Company from 1978 to 1999, beginning in the program office of a major classified satellite system. From 1989 to 1999 Anderson was involved in technical operations, for which she eventually became director. In that role she was responsible for the research and development program (including resource allocation), patents, technical libraries, and frequency spectrum management. She was also responsible for university relations, fellowships, and served as Hughes' representative on the Purdue Aero/Astro IAC.

In addition to her lengthy tenure with Hughes, Anderson worked for both The Aerospace Corporation (as a member of the technical staff in satellite mission analyses departments) and Rockwell International (as a member of the technical staff V in classified new business activities). She has received the Women's Badge from Tau Beta Pi and the Joe. E. Sanders Leadership Award team honor from Hughes.

Thomas J. Beutner


Program Manager ~ DARPA

"Purdue provided an excellent foundation to pursue my career in aeronautical engineering. The combination of practical experience in the cooperative education program and a solid technical foundation in the classroom was outstanding. The technologies we work with change—my first programming class at Purdue used punch cards. The technologies we work on change, including new platforms and techniques. But the fundamentals we build upon are the same, and Purdue laid a strong foundation for those fundamentals."

Thomas Beutner (BSAAE '87) is a program manager in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Tactical Technology Office in Arlington, Virginia. In this role he leads the program management of advanced demonstrator aircraft concepts. His previous positions include program manager for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Turbulence and Rotating Flows Program, and technical area leader for advanced diagnostics in the Air Force Research Laboratory Air Vehicle Directorate.

After graduating from Purdue, Beutner worked briefly for General Dynamics Fort Worth Division and received his MS and PhD degrees in aeronautics from Stanford University. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and past chair of its Fluid Dynamcs Technical Committee. In addition, Beutner is deputy director of the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Group and a member of the ASME National Capital Section Board of Directors. He serves on the editorial advisory board of Progress in Aerospace Sciences and E-Fluids and was also an associate editor of AIAA Journal.

Steven C. Drury


Director General of Airlift and Training Systems ~ Defence Materiel Organisation (Australia)

"My Air Force career has given me a diverse range of special experiences, heavily influenced by the leadership positions I was given in the early years and the opportunity to gain a master's degree at Purdue University. Engineering fundamentals are important throughout your whole career as a foundation for good decision making and—combined with your learning experiences and the way you lead your team, integrate with your stakeholders, and communicate your goals—provide the empowerment for team success. I am grateful for the great experiences I received at Purdue."

Steven Drury (MSAAE '89) entered the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Academy in 1979 and has enjoyed the past 28 years serving in the RAAF in a variety of posts, including a term at Purdue to earn his master's degree. Air Commodore Drury has served in frontline squadrons and aircraft depots, providing aircraft maintenance support, as well as systems engineering positions within Command headquarters. Since 2002 he has been in the Defence Materiel Organisation, initially in charge of the Hornet structural refurbishment program, and tehn responsible for all sustainment and upgrade support for the Hornet and Hawk aircraft as officer commanding, Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office.

Drury is currently director general of Airlift and Training systems, providing sustainment and upgrade support for the RAAF's airlift and training aircraft, as well as the introduction of the C-17 heavy airlifter and the KC-30B multi-role tanker transport aircraft being converted from the A330.

Rune C. Eliasen


Vice President, Product Planning (Retired) ~ Ariba Inc.

"I came to the U.S.A. as a 17-year-old search for education, opportunity, and liberty. The Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics opened a big door, allowing me to learn engineering with the best. The quality education I received awarded me with many choices to consider in terms of undertaking opportunities for contributions and advancement. The luxury of working under our nation's great freedom in the marketplace enabled some personal success. I know that I am fortunate to live the American dream, and 'the dream started with Purdue.'""

Rune Eliasen (BSAAE '77) is a retired Silicon Valley executive. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, he came to Purdue in 1973 to study engineering and, after graduation, chose to build his professional life in America. He started his career in Detroit's automotive industry, using aerospace practices to design vehicles for a period of 10 years working at Chrysler, Ford, and lastly, General Motors.

Seeking business ownership and involvement in entrepreneurial working environments, Eliasen moved his family to California in 1988 to pursue opportunities with new business ventures in Silicon Valley. There he was fortunate to be part of the founding and development growth of three successful software product businesses until personal health issues led him to retire in 2002. During his 14 years of entrepreneurial work in Silicon Valley, Eliasen held executive positions in product planning, development, testing, service, marketing, and sales. His last product business was Ariba, Inc.

Michael W. Hyer


N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics ~ Virginia Tech

"I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by and connected with good people. This includes the time when I was a student at Purdue, and currently with professional activities where I frequently interact with Purdue faculty members and other Purdue graduates. The education and experiences that Purdue offers provide a special bond that makes connecting with a fellow Boilermaker a real treat. So no matter how education and business practices change, the connection with good people is the key. Graduates of Purdue are, simply put, people you want to be around."

Michael Hyer (MSESc '66) is the N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He teaches basic undergraduate mechanics courses, graduate courses in a number of areas, and has also taught undergraduate mathematics courses. His primary research interests are in the area of the mechanics of materials and structures, with particular emphasis on composite and other contemporary materials. He has directed the research of more than 50 graduate students in these areas; authored 300-plus journal articles, conference papers, and government and university reports; and made more than 200 national and international presentations.

Hyer is a former president and a fellow of the American Society for Composites (ASC), plus a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), and the American Academy of Mechanics (AAM), He is also former vice president of Region 3—the Americas—on the International Committee on Composite Materials, as well as past editor for the Society of Engineering Science (SES), for which he serves on the board of directors. His honors have included the ASC Distinguished Research Award, the Alumni Award for Research Excellence at Virginia Tech, and the Frank J. Maher Award for Excellence in Engineering Education, also at Virginia Tech. Hyer is currently the elected chair of the AIAA Structures Technical Committee.

Andrew H. Kasowski


Vice President, Product Development ~ Cessna Aircraft Company

"Engineering is the key to the advancement and well-being of mankind and the world we live in, and Purdue is a cornerstone of engineering education of the world's future leaders. My education at Purdue provided me with a solid background in the fundamentals of aerospace engineering and problem solving that enabled me to pursue a very rewarding career in general aviation. I am thankful for the technical knowledge and work ethic imparted to me by the professors and staff at Purdue."

Andrew Kasaowski (BSAAE '72) is vice president of product development for Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas. He is responsible for program management and product engineering for new product development and sustaining projects encompassing the design, certification, and product introduction of new business jets. He also oversees continued improvements and support for legacy business jet products throughout their lifecycle.

Kasowski began his career at Cessna in 1973 as an airframe structures engineer. Prior to being named vice president of product development in 2005, he held various positions in the engineering organization at Cessna, including director of structural integrity responsible for airframe development, certification, and support. Kasowski has participated in the structural design, testing, certification, and ongoing airframe production and field support of Cessna business jet products, including the world's fastest business jet, the Citation X. He has served as a designated engineering representative (DER) for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and as a chairperson of the General Structures Harmonization Working Group for the Aviation Rulemkaing Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the Urban League of Kansas Board of Trustees.

Miroslav A. Simo


President & Founder ~ New Archery Products

"Whether it's the booster stage of the Saturn Moon Rocket, the wing of the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, or an arrow shot out of a bow at 200 miles per hour, the challenges of aerodynamics and structural integrity are largely the same. The engineer has to find the design that will be light enough, strong enough, and do the job most efficiently at the lowest cost. At a fundamental level, there is very difference between designing a rocket to go to the moon and an arrow that will fly a little farther and a little straighter than any other."

Andy Simo (BSAE '61) is president and founder of New Archery Products, which reigns as the industry's premier accessory company. He launched the company—which holds 44 patents— within the confines of his home basement. New Archery ensures the quality of its products through rigorous testing, which helps to guarantee they won't break prematurely. This method of destructive testing applies to the principle of continuous improvement: If it's not broke, break it so you can make it better.

Simo was born in Czechoslovakia and came to the U.S. in 1948. After graduating from Purdue, he served Boeing Aircraft in several locations: the Seattle Transport Division in Washington state; the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama; and the Mischound Assembly Plant in New Orleans, Louisiana. During his tenure with Lockheed Aircraft in Marietta, Georgia, he worked on the structural of the C-5A Wing, plus the structural analysis of the L-10H transport leading edge slats. He was inducted into both the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame and the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame, has received the Safari Club International Hall of Honor Award, and is past chairman of the Archery Manufacturers Organization.