Alumni and Friends
ABE Alumni Awards & Recognitions
The Purdue Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award is presented to mid-career Purdue Agriculture graduates who have made significant contributions to their profession, or society in general.
2011 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - W. Douglas Griffin
Doug Griffin (BS ABE '90) is Vice President, Global Brand Management and Corporate Marketing for AGCO. He works with global sites and Product Management; coordinates with Global Brand Vice Presidents to further brand development; and manages the Corporate Marketing area to also include Customer Satisfaction and Competitive Intelligence.
Doug joined AGCO in 2002 as General Marketing Manager, Track Tractors and held several roles within the organization over the years. His most recent position was Vice President, Marketing, North America.
Prior to joining AGCO Doug worked for Caterpillar as North American Sales Manager. He began his career at Caterpillar during his undergraduate studies at Purdue. He was offered a job in sales after graduation. He worked in marketing at the Dekalb, Illinois location, then began his career in management in the Peoria headquarters.
After their purchase of Caterpillar's agricultural division in 2002, Mr. Griffin moved to AGCO. He served as North American director of sales and marketing until his promotion to vice president of marketing in 2006.
- 2010 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Edward Vondell
- 2008 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Dr. Jeffrey Arnold
- 2006 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Matt Reynolds
- 2005 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Gerald Powell
- 2004 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Kevin Eikenberry
- 2003 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - William Carteaux
- 1998 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - John Oelslager
- 1997 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Jan Doorenbos
- 1996 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - David Doster
- 1995 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - Bart Nelson
- 1994 Distinguished Agricultural Alumni - David Dull
The Purdue Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award is presented to engineering alumni who have distinguished themselves in any field of endeavor that reflects favorably on Purdue University, the engineering profession, or society in general.
2010 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Thomas A. Burke
Mr. Burke received a bachelor’s degree in Machine Systems Engineering from Purdue University in 1979. He has been a long time member of several professional organizations, including ASABE and SME.
In the beginning of his career, Mr. Burke spent 13 years with Ford Motor Company in the Climate Control Division in a variety of engineering and operations positions in the United States and Mexico. Then, Mr. Burke worked for nine years with Visteon Corporation, where he was Vice President of the North American Manufacturing Operations with responsibility for more than $10 billion in sales. While there, he led an effort to develop and implement business strategies to enhance the company’s global manufacturing product portfolio. Before that, and based in Cologne, Germany, Mr. Burke served as Vice President of European and South American Manufacturing and Vice President of North American and Asian Operations.
Mr. Burke joined Modine Manufacturing Company in 2005 as Executive Vice President. In July 2006, he was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, taking on the responsibilities of streamlining the company’s global organizational structure. As COO, he was in charge of all global operations for the Powertrain Cooling, Engine, Passenger Thermal Management, Commercial and Fuel Cell Products Groups, as well as the Environmental, Safety and Security Department.
Mr. Burke was born in South Dakota and is a native of Bloomington, Illinois. He is on the Board of Trustees of MAPI/Manufacturers Alliance and been nominated to become a director of the National Association of Manufacturing for a term beginning in January 2010. In addition, Mr. Burke serves on the Board of Directors of the Racine County United Way. He resides in Racine, Wisconsin with his wife Ginee, and they have two grown children.
- 2001 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Harmon Towne
- 1997 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Wayne Skaggs
- 1993 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Kevin Forster
- 1990 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Don Price
- 1988 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Robert Marin
- 1979 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Ben Pollard
- 1977 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Howard Johnson
- 1973 Distinguished Engineering Alumni - Paul Sink
Each year the ABE department recognizes and honors alumni and friends of the department who have achieved significant professional, community, educational,and social accomplishments in areas involving agriculture, engineering and technology. This year’s awardees are Johann (Joe) Garwood, Dennis Kim, Kevin Richman, Reid Waitt, and Amos Wu. Brian Pree of ADM was the recipient of the Outstanding Service Award.
2013 Outstanding Alumni - John R. Brubaker, BS AGE '81, MS AGE '91
John grew up in Warren, Indiana. His first job out of college was as a Service Tool Engineer for Cummins Engine Company, Columbus, in July 1981. Joining the Columbus Jaycees that summer, he eventually served as a board member and held various offices in the local chapter, including president 1987-1988. He was a Senior Engineer when he took an educational leave of absence August 1989 to pursue his master’s degree with Dr. Gary Krutz, sponsored by Harvey White of White Hydraulics.
Residing in northern Tippecanoe County near Battle Ground, he has been employed by Caterpillar, Inc., since May of 1992 at the Lafayette Large Engine Center in the Gas Engine Product Group. His initial work responsibility was Core Component Engineer (cylinder head, cylinder liner, cylinder block, piston, etc.) for the G3600 family of natural gas engines. Next, he held a position of G3600 Performance Engineer, where he developed custom engine ratings. As a Project Engineer he worked to develop a Gas Engine Emission Technology Strategy. He became a 6 Sigma Black Belt in 2004 leading product development teams for such things as a landfill/bio gas engine, increased stroke of certain engine models, and a hydraulic lash adjuster. Currently, he develops new engine technologies to the point of market introduction on new and current platforms.
His community activities include: Toastmaster’s International (1997 – 2004); ABE senior design project Review Panel member at the planning, mid-year, and final stages; John Purdue Club member supporting Purdue Athletics (1987 to present) and a season-ticket holder for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and volleyball; and a President’s Council member since 1995. Occasionally, John runs in 5K races for various charities.
2013 Outstanding Alumni - Douglas E. Dawes, BS AGE '81
Doug Dawes was raised on a farm in Wabash County in Northern Indiana, and graduated from Purdue with B.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1981. Doug joined Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Indiana after graduation and has enjoyed a 30+ year career with Cummins.
He currently lives and works in Beijing where he is the Director of Quality and Service for Cummins Components Business Unit in China. This group of Cummins subsidiaries and joint ventures designs and manufactures engine components and emission control systems for the domestic market in 6 locations around China.
During his career Doug has worked in Product Development (diesel fuel injection systems), Service Engineering, Quality Management, and International Service Management roles.
He and his family have lived abroad during 3 expatriate assignments, previously living in Singapore and China for 7 years before returning to China in April 2012 for his current role. Doug has been a Boy Scout leader, County Purdue Club leader, and served in various roles for local churches. He is married (wife Lore) with 2 daughters, Emily and Kristen – all Purdue graduates. He enjoys sports, fishing and gardening.
2013 Outstanding Alumni - Bradley S. Fife, BS ASM '95
Brad is a native of Galveston, Indiana, and a 1995 graduate from Purdue University with a BS in Ag Systems Management. After graduating from Purdue, Brad accepted a position with L.B. White as a Regional Sales Manager where he worked for a year prior to joining John Deere.
In 1996 Brad began his career with John Deere and has served in positions of increasing importance. His first assignment with John Deere was Territory Aftermarket Manager in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1999, he moved to Dallas, Texas, to serve as Territory Manager and then in 2002 he accepted the position of Dealer Development Manager, remaining in Dallas. Brad moved to Springfield, Missouri, in 2005 to serve as Sales and Marketing Manager for John Deere Reman. In 2007, he accepted the position of Branch Customer Support Manager in Atlanta, Georgia, and then in 2009 he relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana, to assume his current position of Division Sales Manager.
As Division Sales Manager for the Agriculture and Turf Division of John Deere, Brad has responsibility for five Territory Managers in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, as well as two product specialists. Brad and his team work with John Deere dealers to grow sales and market share of John Deere agriculture and turf products. They also work with these dealers to improve their profitability, succession planning, and transitioning in and out of the John Deere business.
In addition to his regular work at John Deere, Brad is involved with recruiting for John Deere at Purdue and often gets the opportunity to speak to classes in the Agricultural & Biological Engineering Department about John Deere products and his career experiences. Brad is actively involved with the FFA and serves annually as a judge at both the state and national levels. Brad is an avid Purdue sports fan and enjoys watching football games at Ross-Ade with his wife and daughter.
2013 Outstanding Alumni - Cynthia A. McCracken, BS FPE '00
Cindy started her career at Tate + Lyle, a corn processor, in Lafayette, Indiana, as a refinery process engineer. At Tate + Lyle, Cindy was responsible for refinery process optimization and capital projects including a $2 million waste treatment expansion and automation.
Upon her husband’s graduation from Purdue, Cindy relocated to Houston and took a technical service engineer position with Genencor International, a biotech company, in their grain processing division. She was responsible for servicing corn processors including Corn Products Intl., Archer Daniels Midland, Roquette, and her previous employer, Tate + Lyle. As a technical service engineer, Cindy traveled to plants in North and South America and Europe assisting customers with enzyme usage. She was promoted to global sales account manager with responsibility for the sales, technical service, lab studies, and contract management of a key global customer.
In 2010, Cindy was promoted to key account director at Danisco (formerly Genecor). In this role, she manages a cross-functional account team and is responsible for global customer activities including identifying and facilitating research projects. Danisco was acquired by DuPont where Cindy continues in her role as key account director in DuPont’s Industrial Bioscience division. Cindy was awarded a DuPont Sales Excellence Award for her leadership in customer management.
Cindy is married to Michael McCracken, also a Purdue alum. They have two little girls, ages 6 and 4. She enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. Cindy and her husband are active at their church and lead a teen Bible quizzing ministry and a small group study.
2013 Outstanding Alumni - Kevin Richman, BS AGE '82
Kevin started his career with International Harvester Company in January, 1980, as part of the Purdue Cooperative program and spent 3 semesters at the Hinsdale, IL, engineering center, assigned to planter design and evaluation. In 1985 he moved into the Cotton Harvesting development group and by 1991, he was promoted to Chief Engineer of that same product team. The entire engineering team was relocated to the E. Moline manufacturing plant in 1992 and remained there until the facility was closed in 2004. In 1999, Kevin was asked to be the Technical leader for a CaseIH Joint Venture in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where several products were being localized, primarily a small cotton picker, since cotton was the main agricultural export at that time, along with mid-sized tractors and planters. In this position he was responsible for evaluating local/regional suppliers and their ability to provide components that meet the very strict requirements of the CaseIH products and wholegoods. After this 2-year International assignment, Kevin returned to the U.S. and accepted a position as global marketing for CNH Cotton Harvesting Eq., located at E. Moline and then later transferring to New Holland, PA. From 2004 through 2008, Kevin was responsible for all New Product development for the cotton team, located at New Holland and Benson, MN.
Since 2008, Kevin has been a Product Category Manager for CNH Global, responsible for the strategic range plan for crop production equipment and hay and forage. One of the main functions of this position involves coordination of product development programs with the Case IH and New Holland commercial organizations. He has spent his career with Case IH both in domestic and international situations, within product development, manufacturing, product support, and global marketing of cotton-harvesting equipment.
Growing up on a grain and livestock farm near Fargo, North Dakota, gave Kevin a working knowledge of machinery related to small-grain and livestock feed farming. He has worked in Australia, China, Uzbekistan, Mexico, and areas in Latin America, making his wide knowledge of farming practices a valuable asset.
Kevin currently holds 19 US patents related to cotton equipment with 10 additional submissions pending.
2013 Outstanding Alumni - Ronald H. Thieme, BS ASM '83, MS ASM '84, PhD ABE '87
Ron graduated from Purdue with undergraduate (BS ’83, ASM and Ag Econ) and graduate (MS ’85, ASM; PhD ‘87 ABE) degrees. Since then he has put his Purdue education to work for over 25 years in creating teams, leading organizations, and providing business results. He has served as company Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Information Officer, and Co-Founder with extensive experience in creating and implementing strategy, building organizations, implementing and overseeing technology programs, and administering budgets. Ron is a successful entrepreneur who created a value proposition; built a company; and rallied support from employees, funding agencies, and clients. He has considerable experience working within and consulting to businesses of all sizes, and is actively involved in healthcare and life sciences leadership and governance.
Dr. Thieme most recently served as President and CEO of AIT Laboratories, a national provider of clinical tests that has achieved numerous accolades for its business success and company culture. In his role as CEO and earlier as Vice President, CIO, and member of the executive team, Ron helped grow revenue 425% over 4 years, transition company ownership to the employees, launch new product offerings, and establish reseller and business development partners. He developed and led public policy efforts to influence education, payment, and healthcare policy issues at the national level, and formed an industry coalition to educate policy makers and legislators on the value of laboratory drug testing. He championed executive team development using systems thinking and organizational learning concepts.
Prior to AIT Dr. Thieme served as a business and technology consultant, advising firms in the life sciences, financial, and logistics sectors. His focus has been to ensure that company strategy, organizational structures, and technology drivers are aligned to create tangible business benefits. Ron’s clients included outstanding organizations such as Purdue University, John Deere Financial, Zimmer, and Delta Air Lines. He worked with numerous executive teams to develop strategy, transform organizations, and create effective working relationships. He also co-founded, managed, and ultimately sold Cambient, a successful business and IT consulting company.
Dr. Thieme is a graduate of the Society for Information Management’s Leadership Development Forum. He is a member of SIM, and has served as president of the SIM Indy Chapter. He currently serves on the board of directors of Community Health Network (one of the largest healthcare delivery organizations in Indiana) and the Foundation for Lutheran Child & Family Services. He credits his Purdue education with giving him the broad education needed to work in many industries and many roles.
2012 Outstanding Alumni - Johann (Joe) R. Garwood, BS AGE '78
While Joe was in his sophomore year at Purdue, a family member was involved in a tragic plane accident that resulted in his accepting the challenges of a full-time farming operation. Upon graduation, he joined DuPont’s Agricultural Products Division and remained with them for 21 years. At the height of his career, the CEO awarded him with DuPont’s highest recognition for Corporate Marketing Excellence. Recognizing a need, he created and led the development and implementation of a unique, single-source supplier strategy. This multi-year effort (subsequently trade named FarmCare) became the flagship for DuPont’s Ag Business end user marketing efforts, requiring cross-functional coordination between Legal, Marketing, Sales, Advertising and Finance. His continuous efforts to grow DuPont’s Ag Business qualified him for global variable compensation (offered to a select few individuals within each strategic business unit who have significantly contributed new revenue, cost savings, and paved the way for long-term growth). His entrepreneurial desires were satisfied in 1999 when he made the leap into private business.
Today, he and his partners are successful independent oil producers in Oklahoma with their base of operations near Dallas, Texas. Joe’s corporate responsibilities include all back office functions, finance, and strategic planning. He and his wife Lisa live in Morrow, Ohio, near Cincinnati.
2012 Outstanding Alumni - Dennis A. Kim, MS BFPE '00
Dennis currently holds the title of Senior Associate Principal Engineer in the Ingredient and Process Research Department at Kraft Foods, Inc. During his undergraduate years at Purdue, he served as an Engineering Co-op student with the USDA and, upon graduation, held an R&D internship with Kraft Foods. Following his passion for research, Dennis returned to Purdue as a graduate student with Dr. Narsimhan to work on understanding the physical chemistry of globular proteins on their interfacial properties.
While Dennis was completing his Master’s degree , he was recognized for his creative thinking and following the completion of that degree, he returned to Kraft Foods and continues to develop his talents as he leads internal teams and collaborates with research institutions and suppliers. Dennis has maintained a strong link with academia by chairing various sessions at conferences, publishing numerous journal articles and a book chapter—“Ethylcellulose-oleogels,” in Edible Oleogels.
Dennis has focused most of his research on lipids and emulsifiers and his work at Kraft has resulted in the granting of six patents and one pending patent application. He has led efforts to develop ingredient technologies based on sound food physical chemistry, resulting in the creation of new products, as well as improvements in the nutrition, quality, and productivity of ingredients and processes within North America and around the world.
He helps mentor junior scientists and engineers and serves on the Agricultural & Biological Engineering Advisory Board and is the incoming chair of the Edible Applications Technology Division of American Oil Chemists’ Society.
Dennis is a proud father of two (Abigail and Alexander) and a grateful husband (Jeanne).
2012 Outstanding Alumni - Reid Waitt, BS ASM '81
Since 2008, Reid has been General Manager of the Compact Construction Equipment (CCE) Business for Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products Division in Cary, North Carolina. As General Manager, he leads a global team including strategic product planning, design engineering, manufacturing operations, and product support responsibilities.
Reid began his career at Caterpillar in 1988 as a machine designer and was a technical contributor for the company during the first 15 years of his career. He is an experienced product developer and serves in roles including product design, performance analysis, and hydraulic system design. Reid is listed as an inventor on a number of patents for Caterpillar’s Skid Steer Loader and has been the New Product Introduction (NPI) leader on many CCE products.
Before being named CCE General Manager, Reid was the Managing Director for Turner Powertrain Systems, a Caterpillar company located in Wolverhampton, England. Turner designs and manufactures mechanical transmission for Caterpillar and other OEM customers for applications in Backhoe Loaders and Telehandler machines, among other products. Reid also served as Caterpillar’s Hydraulic Valve and System Product Manager (Joliet, Illinois) from 2002 to 2004.
Understanding the value of lifelong learning, Reid has studied at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, in addition to Purdue’s mechanical engineering program. He also completed the Sanford University Executive Education Program in Palo Alto, California, in 2005.
2012 Outstanding Alumni - Amos Wu, PhD BE '82
Dr. Rei-young Amos Wu (Amos) is a proud alumnus of ABE. He received his Ph. D. degree specializing in Food/Biochemical Engineering under the direction of Professor Martin Okos. Amos began work at The Quaker Oats Company in late 1981. He advanced up the technical ladder, becoming a Capability Leader B2/Technical Director in 1999. He is the second person ever to assume this top technical position in Quaker/PepsiCo. Early last year, Amos took on further management responsibility and assumed his current position as Senior Director, Engineering Technology of PepsiCo North America Beverages.
Amos is well respected by his colleagues and has won many awards at the departmental, divisional, and companywide levels; most notably - the PepsiCo Chairman’s Award in 2008, the Supply Chain Leadership Awards in 2005. Amos is highly innovative and productive. In his R&D days, he was responsible for development of new processes and products for a plurality of snacks, cereals, rice/pasta side-dishes, breakfast syrups, baked goods, canned foods, frozen foods items as well as hot-filled and chilled beverages. Currently, he is mainly accountable for implementing new beverage processing/equipment and resources sustainability technologies through interfacing with technical resources internal and external to PepsiCo.
Amos has been a driving force for the evolution and development of manufacturing process for beneficial consumer foods and beverage products. As of today, he is the author of 8 and the co-author of another 7 U.S. Patents in the processing and formulation of foods and beverages. In addition, he has several international and pending U.S. patents. Amos also has published two professional papers. He is a professional member of several trade societies including Institute of Food Technology (IFT), Chinese American Food Society (CAFS), and American Institute of Chemical Engineer (AICHE). Amos serves as an Industry Advisor for Center for Advanced Process and Packaging Society (CAPPS) since 2009. He served on the Purdue Engineering Alumni Association Board from 2004 to 2006 and on the Industrial Sponsors Board for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC) where Purdue is one of the four University-Sites from 2006 to 2009. He has been an Executive Member for the CAFS for many years and served as the president of CAFS in 1999-2000. Amos serves on the PepsiCo Senior Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) since 2007. He also served on the Chicago QTG Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee from 2000 to 2009 and is a sponsor for employee resource group PAN (PepsiCo Asian Network). Additionally, Amos is a career mentor and on the Ph.D. dissertation advisory committee for another co-worker.
In his free time, Amos enjoys traveling, learning different cultures, bicycling, fishing, and tending his pet cockatiels and doing yard work. He is happily married; he and his wife Shau-ling have three grown daughters. Interestingly, his oldest daughter was born while he was a graduate student at Purdue and now she is practicing medicine as “Dr. Wu”.
2012 Outstanding Service - Brian Pree, ADM
A graduate of Iroquois West High School (Gilman, Illinois) and Joliet Junior College (AS in Agricultural Science ‘94), Brian has served as the Purdue University Campus Champion for ADM since 2003.
Brian joined ADM as a Grain Terminal Operations Trainee in 1994 and has held many other positions as well: River Terminal Superintendent, Rail Terminal Superintendent, Regional Safety Superintendent, Regional Operations Superintendent, and Divisional Mentoring Program Coordinator. In these rolls, he has accepted responsibility for many varied tasks, including facility operations, safety, maintenance, personnel., injury investigations, capital projects, facility efficiencies, and day-to-day operations As Rail Terminal Superintendent, he was responsible for overseeing the $5 million renovation of a facility that had sustained damage from a fire.
Brian has been instrumental in the launch of the Mentoring Program that ensures new ADM hires have the tools necessary to be successful. He will be evaluating the training process, the locations for training, and analyzing feedback from the trainees.
Since 2005, ADM has hired 40 Purdue graduates in the Operations Trainee Program, 13 as Commodity Merchandising Trainees, and 9 as Engineering Trainees. As a company, ADM hosts 180 interns per year.
Brian is married to Sarah, and they have two children: Allie (11), and Jackson (9). They enjoy outdoor activities as a family
2011 Outstanding Alumni - Edwin Bahler (BS AGE '79)
Ed's connection with Purdue’s Ag Engineering school originated with his father, Ed Sr. As a young teenager in the early 70’s he would come to campus with his father as he consulted with professors Al Dale and Bill Friday. He never considered attending college anywhere else.
His father was a passionate learner and in many ways a transformational figure. He loved his days at Purdue, did quite well, and, as a result, graduated with many options. However, instead of grad school, he went back home to join four other family members to continue his father's legacy. With the help of Purdue, and his engineering degree, FBi became one of the top five companies in their industry, employing over 350 team members. Because of Ed Sr.'s heart for church work they have built many church facilities. That niche market eventually grew into a separate business unit branded as Aspen Group in 2003. Aspen is one of the premier church architecture and construction management firms in the Midwest today.
2011 Outstanding Alumni - Jonathan Landes (BS AGE '95)
Jon joined IMI Severe Service in Dec 2009 from Dresser where he was the Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Product Line Management, and Aftermarket. Former positions also include various management roles with GE and Caterpillar. At IMI Severe Service, Jon has responsibility in leading new product development, marketing, sales operations, and M&A. Jon holds BS and MS degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Notre Dame.
IMI plc is a FTSE 100 company traded on the London stock exchange. IMI has a market capitalization of over $5 billion.
2011 Outstanding Alumni - Rebecca Thompson (BS AGE '93)
Becky began her career in 1993 at Campbell Soup Company in thermal process development for the US and international markets. In 1997, Becky moved to Battle Creek, Michigan with the Kellogg Company. At Kellogg, Becky has filled various roles in engineering, R&D management, and international R&D; however, the bulk of her Kellogg career has been in project management. Becky and her team of project managers launched new product introductions in the US and Canada for Kellogg and Kashi brands in cereal, Pop Tarts, drinks and fruit snacks between 2003 – 2009. Today Becky is a global program director for the Kellogg Company, coordinating the effective global deployment of innovation and renovation projects and chairing a council of peers who set the global strategy for the project management function and processes at Kellogg.
Becky received the President’s Award from Campbell Soup Company as part of the team who extended V8 juice to plastic bottles. At Kellogg, she received the Functional Excellence award and the W.K. Kellogg Values award for her management of programs in global project management software servers and North American product renovations, respectively. As part of the United Way leadership team, Becky co-led the research and engineering divisions at Kellogg to their largest pledges ever. In recognition of the entire company’s performance, the United Way named the Kellogg Company its 2010 Spirit of America award winner, the highest national honor given by United Way. Becky is active in her church and in growing her faith, volunteers with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and returns to Purdue periodically as a part of ABE advisory council meetings and to root for the Boilermakers in sports events.
Becky credits Agricultural and Biological Engineering for her technical expertise and a passion for discovery which has opened so many doors. She credits her leadership experiences through Purdue and the College of Agriculture for her belief in the power of great teamwork. Becky is a third generation graduate of Purdue’s College of Agriculture, and lives in Battle Creek, Michigan with her family.
2011 Outstanding Alumni - Brian Vorst (BS AGE '93)
Born in Lafayette Indiana, Brian and his wife, Beth, have been married for 17 years and have 3 children: Kierstin, 11, Nicole 7, and Rachel 4. The couple owns several businesses and Brian serves in several capacities:
President of Azland, Inc, a manufacturer of equipment for the Agricultural, Construction, Marine and Recreation Industries. Azland primarily focuses on the Agricultural industry by providing Anhydrous Running Gears, Fuel Trailers, Seed Tenders, Tool Bars and Water Trailers. While Azland has products in many states, most products are shipped and utilized within Indiana and the adjoining states.
President of Echo-Pac, Inc., a design and testing company. Echo-Pac’s primary function is to provide label validations for Post-Consumer Recycled content (PCR), and safety for validation of toxins and migrants coming out of packaging materials into food and medical products. Echo-Pac also provides design and packaging services and works with companies to reduce packaging costs and their associated carbon footprint. Furthermore, Echo-Pac provides expert witnesses for court cases and has been utilized by the U. S. Department of Justice.
Vice President of Nicon, a Sand-blasting and Powder Coating company. Nicon specializes in providing powder coated parts to the agriculture, construction, marine, racing, recreational and transportation industries.
Engineering Sales Manager for ProAxis, Inc. ProAxis is a metal fabrication company that provides manufactured parts for the agricultural, construction, medical, pharmaceutical, recreation, telecommunications and transportation industries. ProAxis strives to be a one-stop fabricator for its customers. ProAxis has a wide range of fabricating capabilities from machining centers to flat & tube lasers to robotic welders. ProAxis has the ability to design in 3D and analyze designs utilizing Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software.
President of Vorst Technologies, LLC., a real estate, farm and leasing company. Vorst Technologies manages and operates the family farm and leases equipment and real estate.
Brian enjoys riding ATVs, boating, camping, model trains, snowmobiling, playing the piano, traveling and providing technical consulting for IT, whole-house audio and video, and security and surveillance systems.
2010 Outstanding Alumni -Michael Cox (BS AGE '93)
Since 2003, Mike has served as the State Conservation Engineer in Indiana for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). In this position he is responsible for design and construction oversight by NRCS personnel for all engineering practices in Indiana. He is also currently serving as the state program manager for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program and for the Watershed Operations program. After the June 2008 flooding in central Indiana, Mike provided engineering leadership to assist local communities with over $5 M in federal funding for flood recovery and protection efforts through the EWP program. Mike has been a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Indiana since 1999. Mike credits his success with USDA-NRCS to the diverse coursework in the ABE program and the emphasis placed on working with others to solve problems and projects while at Purdue. Mike is married to Dyveke, who is also a Purdue graduate and they have three children: Evan 11, Lauren 8, and Benjamin 6. Mike’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, camping, and spending time with family.
2010 Outstanding Alumni - Brad Meyerholtz (BS AGE ‘89)
Brad is Engineering Manager for Tuthill Drive Systems, a division of Tuthill Corporation. Tuthill Drive Systems is a leader in the steerable, hydraulic powered axle industry. Brad joined Fluidrive in 1989 as a project engineer in charge of new valve designs, hydraulic testing and qualification standards for integrating MudHog products with existing OEM hydrostatic systems, as well 2010 Outstanding Alumni - Michael Cox (BS AGE '93)s the lead engineer for a new line of turf care equipment for the golf course industry. Brad coordinates implementation of Lean Product Development processes and with company-wide utilization of Toyota Production System processes. Brad stated that the most beneficial aspect of a Purdue ABE degree is the diversity. The ABE curriculum included classes across multiple engineering disciplines, which meant both small and large classes, as well as working on teams and as an individual. Brad stated that with the ABE curriculum you get all of these aspects, and in life you frequently need all these aspects and that this diversity has greatly enhanced his career. Brad is married to Kimberly, who is also a Purdue graduate, and they have two sons, Brian who is currently attending Purdue, and Matthew 14. Brad enjoys sporting events, yard work and hiking.
2010 Outstanding Alumni - Mark Zeltwanger (BS AGE ‘80)
Mark enrolled in the ABE program on the recommendation of his father who graduated from the Purdue ABE program in 1949. Mark’s first work experience was with Caterpillar Tractor; from there he joined his family owned farm equipment dealership. In 2007, Mark started consulting with equipment organizations and manufacturers, trying to help resolve issues that arise during the sale of farm dealerships. Currently, Mark is owner and manager of a recycling and rock crushing firm. Mark’s firm developed a portable crusher and screener that takes tons of once thrown away material, such as concrete and asphalt and turns it into usable aggregate for parking lots highways and construction bases. Mark stated that courses from several engineering disciplines and the classes from Dr. Krutz helped him see the big picture of why and how inventions and increased technology become global saleable products. Mark stated that the reputation of Purdue engineers is world class and speaks highly of the University, and the ABE department. Mark is married to Michelle and has 3 children; Lauren, employed with Johnson & Johnson, Amy, a junior in Purdue Chemical Engineering and David, a high school senior accepted into Purdue’s Krannert School of Management.
2009 Outstanding Alumni - Jeffrey F. Birkel, Ryan D. Howard, Gary A. Michel
2008 Outstanding Alumni - Dr. Charles Spillman, Dr. Michael Veenhuizen
2007 Outstanding Alumni - Del Botcher, Jason Shonk, Ernest Streicher, Edward Vondell
2006 Outstanding Alumni - Tetuo Hara, Terry Brown; 2006 Outstanding Service - R. John Rodgers
2005 Outstanding Alumni - Scott Benko, W. Douglas Griffin, Stanley Morton, Dr. Leroy Pickett; 2005 Outstanding Service - Robert Marlow, Dr. David Waits
2004 Outstanding Alumni - Thomas Burke, Michael R. Duncan, C. Gene Haugh, Otto Loewer, Melcy Curth Pond, John Rettinger; 2004 Outstanding Service - William Friday
2003 Outstanding Alumni - Joseph K. Boddiford, Jr., Yael Edan, Mauri Fortes, Levon L. Mathews, David W. Smith, William C. Werner; 2003 Outstanding Service - David L. Daughtery
2002 Outstanding Alumni - Kevin L. Eikenberry, Jane L. Lavey, Evandro C. Mantovani, Michael E. Massone, Lyle F. Stephens; 2002 Outstanding Service - Duane M. Crockrom, Lawrence F. Schrader
2001 Outstanding Alumni - David B. Beasley, Donald M. Edwards, Ted S. Macy, Kurt Waananen, Philip J. Wegh; 2001 Outstanding Service - Larry R. Cline, Alvin C. Dale
2000 Outstanding Alumni - John C. Nye, Gerald A. Powell, Dale D. Reed, Katherine P. Wettschurack, Larry R. Wettschurack; 2000 Outstanding Service - Hubert B. VanHolten
1999 Outstanding Alumni - Marvin Joray, Bruce McKenzie, Matthew Reynolds, Harold Schramm, Larry Segerlind, Harmon Towne; 1999 Outstanding Service - Tom Bechman
1998 Outstanding Alumni - William Carteaux, John Greiner, W. David Shoup; 1998 Outstanding Service - Gerald W. Isaacs, Harvey C. White, Clarence B. Richey