Outstanding Aerospace Engineers Award 2009

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

Criteria for the Award state that recipients must have demonstrated excellence in industry, academia, governmental service, or other endeavors that reflect the value of an aerospace engineering degree. The 101 OAEs represent just over 1% of the more than 7000 alumni of the School.

William Ailor III


Principal Director, Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies ~ The Aerospace Corp.

"Engineering education teaches a thought process that is invaluable in analyzing and solving problems at work and in daily life. As a profession, engineering constantly opens the mind to new problems. One of the most satisfying aspects for me, in addition to the technical challenges, has been the opportunity to work with motivated and talented individuals who share an excitement for working toward the best solutions."

William Ailor III received his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and a PhD in aerospace engineering from Purdue, before joining The Aerospace Corp. in 1974.

He was appointed director of the El Segundo, California-based company's Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies when the unit was formed in June 1997. During his career, he has published several articles and professional papers on space traffic control, reentry breakup, and space debris and has testified before Congress on the Leonid meteor storm's possible effects on satellites. He has been featured on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC News, CNN , The Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel on these topics. Ailor, a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, received a NASA Group Achievement Award in 1992 for his work in helping to understand the reentry breakup characteristics of the Space Shuttle External Tank.

Ailor is founder and president emeritus of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, which preserved more than 1,000 acres of open space during his 18-year leadership. For that achievement, he was named "Citizen of the Year" by the community of Palos Verdes in 2001. He also is a clarinetist for the Peninsula Symphonic Winds.

Michael Campbell

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer ~ Fair Isaac Corporation

Charlene Edinboro


Senior Scientist ~ Exponent Inc.

"The Aeronautics and Astronautics curriculum at Purdue was the perfect foundation for all my careers. This program, which builds on physics, chemistry, and math through to their application to aerodynamics, structures, propulsion and, of course, dynamics and control, provided insight into how all of these components must communicate and work well together. That's the essence of systems engineering, which uses problemsolving skills and the application of wide-ranging knowledge to address questions across disciplines."

Charlene Edinboro received a bachelor's and master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue in 1975 and 1976, respectively, before obtaining her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of California, Davis, in 1990. She received a PhD in comparative epidemiology from Purdue in 2002.

Currently, Edinboro works as a multidisciplinary consultant at Exponent Inc. in California, applying her years of experience as an aerospace engineer, veterinarian and epidemiologist. She is also an affiliate of the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. Her aerospace engineering career started with summer positions with the U.S. Navy and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and continued with computing and systems engineering roles at JPL, TRW Defense Systems in California, and smaller companies including systems engineering firm Scitor Corp.

During her diverse career, she has received the Oxford Laboratories Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Knowledge Concerning Small Animal Endocrinology from the Society for Comparative Endocrinology in 2005 and is a member of the Phi Zeta Veterinary Medicine Honor Society and Gamma Tau Aerospace Engineering honor societies. She also received the NASA Group Achievement awards for the Voyager Spacecraft Design and Development, and Voyager Flight Operations.

Roy Eggink


Chief Engineer, Product Development and Performance Leader, 747 Program ~ Boeing Commercial Airplanes

"Aeronautical Engineering has been a lifetime dream. I have always wanted to design airplanes as a kid and still do. The most rewarding part of my job is working with all the great people in our industry, both past and present. It takes a long time to understand and appreciate the airplane design process, and paying attention to the people who have done it before is priceless."

Roy Eggink received his bachelor's degree in aerodynamics and astrodynamics from Purdue in 1981, before joining The Boeing Co. as an aerodynamics performance engineer on the company's 747 aircraft program.

Currently, he serves as chief engineer for product development and performance leader for the 747 Program. As chief engineer for product development, he is responsible for design of the 747-8 airplane including future derivatives, features and product improvements. As chief performance engineer, he manages the 747-8 technical performance measures and the performance flight tests for both the 747-8 Freighter and Intercontinental aircraft.

Eggink also has served as manager of aerodynamics engineering for Boeing's Commercial Product Development, leading all aspects of aerodynamics engineering for both new and derivative aircraft. He has been involved in the 747-400, 767-X, 777, New Large Airplane Project, 747-500X/-600X, 747-X, 767-400ER, 777-200LR/-300ER, 787, and the 747 Large Cargo Freighter "Dream Lifter."

Andrew King


Director of Mission Assurance, Space & Intelligence Systems ~ The Boeing Co.

"While at Purdue, I became interested in spacecraft dynamics and control, leading to my decision to pursue a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics. There is an elegance to the physics involved in attitude dynamics and orbit mechanics complemented by the engineering challenges of space systems that did everything from international communications to global positioning and navigation. This initial interest has led to more than 20 years of challenging work and personal achievement in the aerospace industry."

Andrew King received his master's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1984 and his PhD four years later from Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Today, King serves as director of mission assurance for Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems in El Segundo, California. He is responsible for mission assurance and independent technical reviews on major commercial, civil, and military satellite programs. During the past five years, he has contributed to reduce technical risks leading to launch and mission success on a new generation of satellite systems for commercial satellite communications providers, NASA/NO AA, and the U.S. Air Force.

He has served as chief engineer at Boeing Electron Dynamic Devices and was program manager for the Anik F1 and Anik F2 satellite programs for Telesat Canada that delivered Boeing 702-Series communications satellites

King is co-chairman for the 2010 U.S. Space Program's Mission Assurance Improvement Workshop and a 2008 recipient of the Boeing Integrated Defense System's Mission Excellence Award. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Purdue Aero/Astro Industrial Advisory Committee and a participant in Aerospace's Space Quality Improvement Council.

Thomas Maxwell


General Manager, Military Systems Engineering ~ GE Aviation Co.

"Engineering in conjunction with the sciences is key to this nation's economic future. Our world leadership position will only be maintained through the development and manufacture of advanced technology products. Therefore, it is incumbent on current practicing engineers to sustain the profession by influencing increasing numbers of high school graduates to enter our vocation."

Tom Maxwell graduated from Purdue in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering before receiving a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Xavier University.

Upon graduation, he joined GE Aircraft Engines in Evendale, Ohio, holding a variety of positions in engineering, sales, and program management. After assignments in engine testing and commercial engine turbine design, he was appointed B-2 and U2-R engine program manager in 1982. In 1987, he was tasked with establishing a Military Product Support Engineering organization for the newly fielded F-110 (F-16 and F-14), F-101 (B-1), and F-118 (the B-2 and U2-R) engines. He was promoted to program director for these same engines in 1991.

In 2001, Maxwell was appointed to lead development of the F-136 engine for the F-35 fighter jet. In his current role as general manager of Military Engine Systems, he oversees engineering for all GE military engines, including those in development and operation.

Maxwell is a recipient of the Beacon of Light Award from Lighthouse Youth Services in Cincinnati, and he represents GE on the Technical Operations Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association.

Suvendoo Ray


Director of International Sales ~ The Boeing Co.

"Purdue University prepared me well for the aerospace industry. I enjoyed my memorable years at the campus, the people that I met, and I am thankful to the professors who guided me."

Suvendoo Ray graduated with a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue in 1987, and he received an MBA from Seattle University in 1994 in the areas of finance and international business.

Currently, Ray leads multifunctional teams at The Boeing Co. in developing sales strategies for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Before becoming international sales director in 2003, he was based in New Delhi, leading Boeing's sales activities for India. In that role, he also led Boeing activities in Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives.

Ray also has held positions at Boeing as program manager for international sales, supporting activities in Africa, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining the sales team, Ray worked in various product development programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He joined Boeing in 1987 as an engineering research analyst focusing on airline safety and regulatory issues.

Dennis Warner


Chief Executive Officer ~ Rolls-Royce Goodrich Engine Control Systems LLC

"My career in aerospace engineering has been and continues to be most rewarding. I have had the opportunity to work on some very challenging projects, and I feel that I have grown through the successes and setbacks associated with these projects. However, the part I have found the most inspiring has been the opportunity to work with the people who made these projects possible."

Dennis "Denny" Warner received his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering and a master's degree in engineering from Purdue before embarking on a career at Rolls-Royce Corp.

He now serves as chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce Goodrich Engine Control Systems LLC. In that role, Warner leads a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Goodrich, focusing on high-technology control system components for gas-turbine engines.

Warner also has held leadership roles for the company's in-production engines for defense contractors Lockheed Martin (C-130J), Bell/Boeing (V-22), Northrop Grumman (Global Hawk, Advanced Hawkeye), and Alenia (C-27J). He oversaw development, production, and aftermarket support for these aircraft applications worldwide. Previously, he was program manager for the Joint Strike Fighter's LiftFan program from Lockheed Martin's short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft during its "concept demonstrator" phase.

He is a member of the Rolls-Royce Project Management Council and chaired the Indianapolis Project Management Council before taking the CEO post at Rolls-Royce Goodrich Engine Control Systems. Recently, he began serving as University Business Executive on behalf of Rolls-Royce for Purdue.

John Wheadon, Jr.


Analyst ~ Creative Strategies Inc.

"I have found the disciplined approach to problem-solving to be the most valuable aspect of my engineering training. I have used these skills in all aspects of my life with particularly valuable application in management decision-making. The dynamics of a growing company are, in fact, a large complex system. Analysis of the facts, data, and interdependence of all the variables helps with timely and more accurate decision-making. I have always felt that my engineering education at Purdue has given me a competitive advantage."

John Wheadon earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue before gaining his MBA from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Today, Wheadon is an analyst with Creative Strategies Inc., a California firm that focuses on industry, market, and consumer trends in the global technology industry. He also has been involved in the formation and executive management of companies in data communications and mobile advertising.

During his career, Wheadon also has worked as a corporate vice president at Xerox, including roles as general manager of Xerox Ventures and chief executive of Inxight Software, a developer of knowledge management applications with high-fidelity search and visualization capabilities. He also held executive positions at IBM Corp., FWB Software Inc., and Market Resources Co. He started his aeronautical engineer career, working as a control systems designer for the space shuttle's maneuvering system at Rockwell International Corp.

His past and present board seats include iRise, a builder of Java-based application development tools; Gyricon Media Inc., a Xerox Ventures spinoff in new-media displays; Kirtas Technologies, a company marketing automated book-scanning solutions; and Outride, a Xerox Ventures spinoff in the personalized search market.

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