2020 Outstanding ABE Alumni

With the social-distancing requirements currently in place, we had to make the hard decision to cancel this year's Alumni Awards, originally slated for April 23, 2020. We look forward to next year, when we can celebrate not only our Outstanding ABE Alumni and our seniors, but the 100th anniversary of the conferring of the first Agricultural & Biological Engineering degree (then called Agricultural Engineering). Please make your plans to join us then! 

2019 Outstanding ABE Alumni

Kathryn "Kitt" Farrell-Poe, MS '84, PhD '90 CE

Kathryn L. “Kitt” Farrell-Poe is a Department Head, Extension Specialist, and Professor in the Biosystems Engineering Department and an Extension Water Quality Specialist in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona. A native Ohioan, she was the first woman to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1979, where she emphasized water quality and quantity. She immediately put her engineering skills to the test working for a USDA rural electrification program in Nebraska looking at how and when farmers used electricity.

Over several ASAE meetings, Purdue Professor John C. Nye recruited her to pursue a master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering at Purdue with a focus on containment of pesticide contaminated rinse water. She also worked as a teaching assistant for Professor Bruce McKenzie’s Farmstead Planning class. When he requested that she get the previous class notes from another graduate instructor, Stephen Poe, little did she know that she would marry him four years later. After graduating with her master’s and swearing off any more schooling, she worked for the Farm Clinic in West Lafayette doing soil analysis for a year. Graduate school called to her again, but she felt that Agricultural Engineering departments were too small to hire two Agricultural Engineering professionals at the same time, so she started a Ph.D. program in Civil (Environmental) Engineering also at Purdue University, and concentrated on industrial wastewater treatment.

During her doctorate graduate program, Kitt Farrell-Poe got married, had her first child, and moved to Utah State University, taking on a 50% Water Quality Extension position all while she was finishing her PhD. Once she graduated, she joined the Agricultural Systems Technology & Education department as first woman faculty member. It was there that she started to focus more of her time with the Cooperative Extension service becoming a statewide water quality specialist known as Water Woman often dressed in tights and wearing a cape to conduct school presentations. 

Dr. Farrell-Poe joined the Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Department as their first female faculty member and has been with the University of Arizona for 20 years. She became the department’s first female department head in 2014. Her Extension program focus has been onsite wastewater treatment education for practitioners. While teaching and conducting Extension programs as the State Extension Water Quality Coordinator, she was also the coordinator of the USDA Region 9 Water Quality Program. She is a member of the Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment, and a writer and reviewer of CIDWT curriculum materials, as well as a member of ASABE.

Dr. Farrell-Poe has personally participated in almost $7 million in grants, and now directs 18 faculty members, 5 staff, 3 different research facilities, and has an annual departmental budget in excess of $2.5 million.

Paul S. Miller PhD '03

Paul S. Miller, PhD, is now the Head of Science and Analytics at Nutrien Ag Solution’s Champaign, IL Campus of Nutrien Digital, which was Agrible, Inc’s headquarters prior to Agrible’s acquisition by Nutrien Ag Solutions.  Paul was a co-founder and served as the Chief Science Officer and Head of Product Development since the inception of Agrible, Inc from 2012 – 2018, a software development company focused on predictive analytics and sustainability analytics in agriculture.

Paul went to college and found his way into Agricultural Engineering due to his love of the environment and interests in sustainability, ecosystem health, and food security.  He completed his BS and MS at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign under the critical mentorship of J. Kent Mitchell, PhD. He worked on large instrumentation projects and quickly led a team of undergraduate research engineers to help with the LVR watershed data collection effort.  That field-level research was critical to understanding data, its difficulty of collection, data science and analytics, and its quality control requirementsm something that is foundational to work at both Agrible and Nutrien.

After completing that early academic work, Paul decided to pursue a PhD in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, co-mentored by Rabi Mohtar, PhD, and Bernard Engel, PhD.  Purdue’s focus at that time on the computational aspects of Agricultural Engineering including spatial processing and numerical and computational engineering were foundational to the development and conceptualization of key systems thinking for spatial data and geospatially-linked computational agronomics both at the micro- and macro-scales.  He worked on data science-focused work related to combinatorial-based analytics of water quality sampling programs for mass-flux calculations from field and watershed studies. This focus led to pushing systems and hardware to being able to build massively parallel data science workflows – the ideation basis for simulation workflows at Agrible, Inc.

After Purdue, Paul worked as a post-doctoral researcher at University of Wisconsin at Madison mentored by KG Karthikeyan and consultant on massive computational agronomics-based simulation systems with linked data science and machine learning-based analytics workflows.  The focus of this work was to always answer why certain things were happening and how humans affect the environment. A significant achievement was modeling millions of agricultural fields across the US to understand environmental fate and transport of agricultural chemicals and developing algorithms that reflect real-world agricultural practices and complex geospatial analyses. These algorithms led to ideation for grower-centric predictive analytics. “Why couldn’t growers use this science to know more and be more efficient with their operations?”, was the question that led to an amazing business.

Champaign has a very vibrant startup and entrepreneurial community and Paul was introduced to the world of startups there. After a few business-startup informational events, he thought, “I could do that!” After working through venture capital, business plans, series funding, and the pragmatic world of technology startups, he pursued the creation of Agrible, Inc. - a predictive analytics-based business in agriculture creating science-based products for growers to use every day in their business.

The science and technology stack created at Agrible was the first of its kind and attracted over 20,000 grower-users, served millions of data requests through web, mobile, and email application, delivered critical agronomic information checked daily across the industry, and launched predictive analytics in agriculture to growers across the world.  Built entirely internally in Champaign, IL with an incredible science and technology team, the analytics products delivered concentrated on Agronomics, Logistics, Weather, and intelligent systems-based Record Keeping.  Agrible became the global leader in documented, sustainably-sourced acres and provided sustainability metrics to growers and food and beverage companies by creating digital sustainability campaigns supported by the Agrible ecosystem in the US and in around 20 countries worldwide.

A number of the large companies in agriculture were watching what Agrible was doing and seeing the widespread adoption of its technology across different players in the industry.  Wanting to deliver science-based predictive analytics to its customers with it’s new Digital organization, Nutrien Ag Solutions, the world’s largest agricultural retailer took note and decided to acquire Agrible, Inc. in one of the top 10 ag tech business deals as of 2018. As a member of both the Board of Directors and the Agrible M&A committee, Paul presented the company’s vision and technical acumen to Nutrien Ag Solutions and worked on the deal for almost half a year – an incredible business experience.  Paul became the Head of Science and Analytics at Nutrien Ag Solutions and is currently engaged in transitioning the Agrible team through the acquisition and integration of the Agrible systems alongside building new products for Nutrien Ag Solution’s digital platform. He will be incredibly proud when over 1 in 5 of every grower in the US and Canada begin using the predictive analytics products that Agrible’s team built to grow food sustainably and profitably at the same time. 

Paul S. Miller is married to Sang S Lee and they live in Champaign, Illinois, with their two crazy cats, musical instruments, and mid-century modern furniture. Who knows what the future holds, too?

Amy Penner BS '07, MS '08

Amy grew up in Wabash, Indiana on a family farm and wanted to study at Purdue from a young age.  She graduated with degrees in Biological and Food Process Engineering BS (2007) and MS (2008) under Dr. Martin Okos.  In her Master's work,  she furthered the NASA's Mars Mission Food program and additional work on developing a project-based spiral learning curriculum. As an undergraduate, she was active in the Society of Women Engineers, Mortar Board, Purdue Christian Campus House and Iron Key.  

Since her time at Purdue, the last 11 years have been filled with learning and growth as she has delivered successful projects and programs across 4 countries through 3 functions and 7 roles.  Within her teams, she has been named on 6 patents, launched  multiple new products and portfolios, delivered multi-million dollar capex and productivity programs alongside completing her MBA and Six Sigma black belt.   

Amy started her journey at  Kraft Foods in R&D in Chicago and later moved to Oxford, UK, to launched new technology for an instant coffee product.  After a company re-structure, she stayed with the newly formed Mondelez International to drive global process development of chewing gum in New Jersey.  Then, an opportunity came up to move back to the UK to lead the Continuous Improvement team for an Instant Coffee Manufacturing plant.  Following another company re-structure, the coffee business was spun out of Mondelez to create the world's largest pure coffee company, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) in 2015.  With this change, she moved back to R&D to lead Technology Applications team for Instant Coffee across 6 plants for JDE.  During this time, she completed her MBA at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford with a specialization in Improving success in M&A activity for R&D functions.  Following an acquisition in 2017, she spent the next 2 years in Singapore, Singapore as Head of R&D Asia, leading the team of 37 across the region and delivering the R&D integration and growth agendas.

In December 2018, Amy moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands, where she is currently leading Global Procurement team for Raw Materials at JDE, where she manages a multi-million dollar annual portfolio spend.  Amy strongly believes that her education and experiences at Purdue gave her a strong foundation to succeed within the dynamic global food industry. 

In her free time, Amy loves to cook and she tries to integrate the flavors and textures of the amazing food from all the places she's lived. She enjoys traveling and embracing new cultures.   Yet, she always enjoys coming back to Indiana to spend time with family, friends, and cheer on the Boilermakers. 

Stephen "Steve" E. Poe PhD '87

Dr. Stephen E. Poe is a Professor and Extension Specialist in Biosystems Engineering and Agricultural Education at the University of Arizona. While in high school, Steve started sniffing out of a future career in mechanized agriculture while operating a manure scoop shovel at the family hog farm in Roan, Indiana. After starting college at Ball State University, he moved back to California with his family and continued his education receiving an AA in agriculture and diesel mechanics. Deciding to move back to Indiana, Steve attempted to major in Agricultural Mechanization with a focus on Agricultural Education, but his advisor (Professor Ray Lien) wouldn’t go along with the idea, so Steve ended up getting his BS and MS degrees in Agricultural Education with a focus on Agricultural Mechanization. While working as a lab assistant for AgEn 201, Steve had an opportunity to become a graduate instructor for the Agricultural Engineering Department in 1981 and was hired by Gerry Isaccs, AgEn department head. It was at that time that Dr. Mack Strickland took on one of the most difficult challenges in his life – to get Steve graduated.

During the next seven years, Steve had the opportunity to learn from and teach with a world-class faculty that included Mack Strickland, Arlen Brown, Don Jones, John Nye, Bruce McKenzie, Bill Friday, Richard Stroshine, Ed Monk, Harry Gibson, Bill Field, Dave Beasley, Martin Okos, John Barrett, Gary Krutz, Clarence Ritchie, Larry Huggins, and many others. Finally, in 1987, he finished up one of the first graduate programs to focus on computer simulation and modeling. During his graduate teaching assistantship, Steve taught/co-taught 36 total courses for the AgEn department, a record that probably still stands today. That experience, more than anything else in graduate school, prepared him for a career dedicated to working with students.

The first faculty position for Dr. Poe was with the Agricultural Systems Technology & Education department at Utah State University. So, along with soon-to-graduate spouse (Kitt Farrell-Poe), the family moved to Logan, Utah. Dr. Poe continued software development and teaching but started serving as a Cooperative Extension Specialist focusing on energy, livestock housing, and waste management. While continuing to teach, Dr. Poe’s increased consulting activities justified flying to remote locations throughout the southwest states logging almost 800 hours of flight time in his Cessna 182.

In 1998, Steve and Kitt accepted positions with the University of Arizona and moved to a branch campus in Yuma, Arizona, where Steve became the Academic Coordinator for the newly minted Agricultural Systems Management program in the department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. 1n 2009, the family was called to the main campus in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Poe has become an accomplished instructor in high demand with class sizes approaching 300 students per semester. Now, after 39 years of teaching college, Professor Poe has taught almost 8,000 students in 173 classes. He has authored almost a hundred publications, created dozens of computer programs, and has educational videos with over 3 million views. He credits Purdue University and the Agricultural Engineering Department (ABE) for being the best possible preparation for academic and vocational success, Mack Strickland for his continued mentoring, and his family (Kitt, Joshua, Kaitlin, Stephanie, and Alyson) for providing the love and motivation to keep him going.

Scott Strickland ASM BS '04

Scott Strickland works with CGB (Consolidated Grain and Barge Company), an innovative and entrepreneurial company whose core business revolves around the grain and transportation industries along the U.S. inland river systems.  Scott works within CGB’s Grain Division as a General Manager of its Midwest Region, the largest of its four geographical grain regions.  Scott is originally from West Lafayette, Indiana, and attended Purdue University earning a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Systems Management, along with an Associate Degree in Agronomy.  During college Scott completed six cooperative internships with John Deere & Co. where he focused on Product Marketing and Test Engineering in Augusta, Georgia, and as a Product Specialist Intern in their Western U.S. Sales Territory.  Upon graduation in 2004, Scott accepted an opportunity to join CGB due to the comparative culture, the ability to work directly with farmers, and the opportunity to develop within a company to build a career. 

Scott began his career as a Grain Operations Trainee in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, where he gained the fundamental understanding of the planning, execution, and physical aspects of the grain business. Then in the spring of 2005, he joined the Merchandising team at Mt. Vernon as a Merchant Trainee, gaining a greater understanding of commodity markets and the needs of producer customers.

In the fall of 2005, Scott was asked to become the Manager of a leased facility in Uniontown, Kentucky.  Although being asked to manage folks that had been doing their jobs longer then he had been alive could be considered a fool’s errand, it proved to be one of the best experiences of his career, as it taught Scott about servant leadership and gave him the opportunity to own “his own” profit and loss statement.  Then in the spring of 2007, Scott returned to Mt. Vernon to take on a new role as Group Manager of the Western Ohio Valley Region overseeing the Management, Merchandising and Operations of this asset grouping.

The summer of 2011, Scott joined the Ohio Valley Regional Trading Team at Jeffersonville, Indiana, where he focused on trading soybeans and barge freight for the Ohio River Segment for CGB, which built upon his commercial understanding.  In the fall of 2013, Scott left the Ohio Valley Region to take on the role of Group Manager of three facilities at Hennepin, Utica and Peru, Illinois, within CGB’s Northern Illinois Region.  This allowed him to return to his passions towards growing and developing people and assets, while expanding his experience to the customers and business structure of another Region.

In the spring of 2015, Scott was asked to take on his current role as General Manager, which has continued to expand into 35 grain facilities, 11 of which are river terminals.  These facilities stretch across the Northern third of Illinois, into Northeast Iowa, and into Southern Minnesota.

Scott resides in Princeton, Illinois, with his wife Abby and enjoys sports, scouting, and outdoor activities with their 6-year-old son Cooper, playing princes tea party with their four-year-old daughter Madison, and eating breakfast and watching "The Rifleman" at 4 am with their 1-year-old son Cole.


2018 Outstanding ABE Alumni

Left to right: Brad Marks, Jack Lashenik, Yulin Lu, Darla Aker, Jeff Cannaday, S.T. Yang

Darla K. Aker, BS '98, MS '02

Darla grew up in Indiana and was encouraged by her father at a young age to be an engineer.  She chose to leave high school early and start freshman engineering at Purdue in January of 1995.  Darla graduated from Purdue with a BSABE in May of 1998 and begin working for Cummins Inc. as a product engineer.  She obtained her MSE from Purdue in 2002 and her MBA from IU Kelley School of Business in 2014 while working at Cummins.

 Darla has worked for Cummins for nearly 20 years and has had the opportunity to work in multiple segments, locations, and functions.  She is currently the Executive Director of Quality and Service for the Components Segment of Cummins whose sales were a record $5.8 billion in 2017.  The Components Segment is composed of four businesses whose products include aftertreatment, fuel systems, electronics, turbochargers, and filtration components.  As the quality and service leader, she supports customers that include the other Cummins segments, truck manufacturers and other OEMs, many of which are also customers of the Engine segment.   Darla enjoys the diversity of her work, leading teams globally and focusing on continuous product and process improvement.

 Prior to her current role, Darla gained experience in quality, service engineering, materials and product engineering.  Darla has been blessed with caring, thoughtful informal mentors and leaders throughout her career that have encouraged her to continue her education and supported her as she worked to integrate family and work life.  One of the things she enjoys the most in her work is trying to do the same for others through coaching, encouraging and supporting them.

 Darla and her husband Kevin, a fellow Cummins leader and Purdue alum, reside in Columbus, Indiana.  Her stepson, Colin, graduated from Purdue in 2014 in Chemical Engineering and currently works for AdvanSix, a division of Honeywell.  She has two daughters, Michaela (age 9) and Madelyn (age 5). Darla’s faith and family are important to her; she is active in her church and enjoys helping others achieve their full potential. 

Jeff Cannaday, BS '00

After serving in the Marines from 1990-1996 (including Operation Desert Storm and two additional deployments as part of a Marine Amphibious Readiness Group), Jeff graduated from ABE in 2000. He immediately went to work for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Castle, Indiana. He also served as the Conservation Delivery Team engineer in Greencastle, Indiana (2003-2008). He returned to Lafayette in 2008 as the Northwest Area Engineer where he still covers the 22 counties in northwest Indiana.

As an Area Engineer, he provides technical assistance to the Field Office and Conservation Delivery Team (CDT) staff.  This assistance involves analyzing and making recommendations for the more challenging projects.  He also designs projects throughout the year including animal waste storage facilities, wetlands, grassed waterways, and several other practices NRCS uses to help the public address natural resource concerns.  He is responsible for the technical training in the area and also assisting the NRCS State Engineer by coordinating and performing engineering training for the Conservation Partnership employees from all over Indiana.

He has been part of the flood recovery efforts under the Emergency Watershed Protection Program and project work under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act across the U.S., including New York, Kentucky, Tennessee, Montana, Colorado, and, most recently, Utah. His assistance includes providing some channel and bank stabilization designs in situations where the needs are evident and urgent. He enjoys assisting those affected with protecting their properties and supporting their emergency response personnel by protecting necessary travel routes.  This exposure has provided the opportunity to diversify his experiences and explore alternative ways of accomplishing those goals.

Moving back has given him the opportunity to provide valuable support to the ABE department. He has been a very familiar face: at ABE Capstone project presentations, career fairs, engineering field tours, Graduate Student Symposiums, and Capstone project sponsorship as well.  He has also served as a resource on the ABET accreditation advisory group.

Jeff and his wife have four daughters aged 3 to 11.  The family is involved with their church and the girls are active in cello, gymnastics, ballet, soccer, basketball, and Tae Kwon Do.  They grow some of their own food and preserve as much as possible.  Jeff is an avid hunter and enjoys taking the girls along with him to the woods to learn to appreciate God’s creation and to take advantage of the occasional opportunity to fill the freezer with wild and free-range meat.    

John A. "Jack" Lashenik, BS '98

John “Jack” Lashenik is an executive vice president and partner of American Structurepoint, a multidiscipline engineering firm named by ENR Midwest as the No. 1 Indiana design firm and the No. 13 Top Design Firm in the Midwest. Jack is responsible for overall company growth and the implementation of systems and processes that lead to operational effectiveness and employee growth within all American Structurepoint’s 11 business units. Jack specifically leads the Architecture, Civil, Planning, Surveying, and Structural Groups. 

A humble, blue-collar upbringing in Gary, Indiana, paired with a background in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University, gave Jack the foundation he needed to set out on his career path and achieve success at a young age. 

In 1998, he received a Bachelor of Science in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University. In 1999, just one year after college, Jack joined American Structurepoint as an entry-level site design engineer. His experience includes site layout, grading, hydrology, road design, earthwork, utilities, water quality design, construction cost estimates, and permitting, as well as field investigations and preliminary site analyses. Since earning his professional engineering license in Indiana in 2004, Jack has developed impeccable relationships with real estate developers in the Midwest, propelling the accelerated growth of the company’s private-sector civil engineering practice. In January of 2006, Jack was promoted to vice president, focusing on client and project sales strategies and taking charge of the Civil Group. He later accepted principal responsibility for American Structurepoint’s Survey and Planning Groups. In May of 2011, Jack was invited to share ownership of the company. In 2012, ENR Midwest magazine selected Jack among its annual Top 20 Under 40 list, which honors young design and construction professionals on the basis of their contributions to their profession and their community. In 2013, he began leading the charge of American Structurepoint's Architecture and Structural Groups. His most recent promotion occurred in September 2017, when Jack was named executive vice president.

Jack is the kind of individual that always puts the needs of others before his and displays leadership qualities that build a solid organization. When called upon to expand certifications and qualifications geographically for the company, Jack volunteered and successfully passed a day-long exam to become a licensed professional engineer in the state of California—one of the strictest and most difficult states in which to earn a professional license. He also is a licensed engineer in Indiana, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Washington.

Jack’s enthusiasm in integrating the fields of architecture and engineering has led to the development of hundreds of unique and economically viable projects. His accomplishments are extraordinary, and he is regarded as a trusted leader and a valuable partner for American Structurepoint and their clients. 

Jack currently resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Courtney, and their three sons, Will (14), Joe (11), and Ben (9). He gives back to the university by serving on the Purdue Engineering Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2015. Jack is a family man who enjoys coaching a variety of his sons’ sporting activities. He has just the right number for his golf foursome and is looking forward to helping with his sons’ more challenging math homework in the years ahead. 

Yulin Lu, MS '08, PhD '08

Yulin Lu grew up in Zhenjiang, China,  in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, neighboring Nanjing and a few hours west of Shanghai. He went to college in Wuxi in 1999, at Southern Yangtze University, where he was enrolled in bioengineering within the national key discipline in fermentation engineering. While an undergraduate, he became fascinated by how enzymes catalyze reactions in such an elegant and efficient way, and was determined to advance his graduate studies in biochemical engineering; Purdue was naturally the first choice. He started graduate school at Purdue in 2003, under the direction of Prof. Nathan Mosier, and completed his M.S. in 2006 and Ph.D. in 2008. His doctoral dissertation work, “biomimetic catalysis for lignocellulosic plant biomass hydrolysis”, was completed upon the rich science foundation of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE), led by Prof. Michael Ladisch.

After graduation in 2008, he moved to Boston to join Mascoma Corporation, a venture-backed startup company in biofuels, where he was a research process engineer. For a freshly minted Ph.D., it was a rare opportunity to work on commercializing university research (Purdue, Dartmouth College) to build a cellulosic ethanol company. At Mascoma, he served as the process research lead for the Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP) fermentation scale-up program which was funded by a US Dept of Energy ‘Integrated Biorefinery’(IBR) Grant, and developed pilot and demonstration processes up to 5000-gallon fermentors, and climbed up and down a 30-ft ethanol distillation column at the demo plant regularly for exercise.

Yulin moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 2011, joining Solazyme Inc. as a Senior Process engineer and Feedstock and Oil Processing Team Leader in the Process R&D team. There he worked on utilizing microalgae fermentation for renewable oil (medium-chain triglycerides and high oleic triglycerides) production from a wide variety of plant-based sugars (include cane sugar and cane refining intermediates). He was directly involved in
renewable oil processing development and technology transfer to a DOE Integrated Biorefinery demo plant in Peoria, IL and the first commercial plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil (a joint venture with Bunge).

From 2015 on, Yulin started working in the emerging food tech sector in the Bay area; he was last at Hampton Creek Inc, where he built and managed process development, pilot plant, and technology transfer teams, on developing technology using legumes to develop protein isolate as the main functional ingredient for plant-based scrambled eggs. Currently, he is managing the  Engineering and Process Development at Impossible Foods Inc., a venture-backed food tech company started by Stanford Professor Pat Brown, aiming at using a biotechnology platform to replace animal farming. The company’s flagship product, Impossible Burger, utilizes Heme protein produced by yeast as a key protein ingredient. The move from biofuels to food tech is fascinating, and he thinks the proximity of the ABE and Food Science buildings back at Purdue may have something to do with it.

Yulin and his wife, Bei (Purdue Ph.D. MCMP, 2011), have two boys: Maxi (7), and Marco (4). Both boys are loyal fans to Purdue Basketball. The boys came back to Purdue for the first time last September, and are determined to become future boilermakers after the visit.

Bradley Marks, MS '92, PhD '93

Dr. Bradley P. Marks, P.E., professor and associate chairperson of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Michigan State University, earned his M.S.Ag.E. and Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from Purdue University in 1992 and 1993, working in the area of shelled corn storability, with Dr. Richard Stroshine as his major advisor.

After leaving Purdue, Dr. Marks spent six years as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Arkansas, prior to joining the faculty at Michigan State University (his undergraduate alma mater) in 1999.

Dr. Marks is a passionate teacher and educational leader, having developed seven new courses in his career. He has served as undergraduate program and ABET coordinator for over 15 years, during which undergraduate enrollment in the MSU biosystems engineering program has nearly tripled, and Dr. Marks received multiple teaching awards at the department, college, university, and national (ASABE) level. Most recently, he was awarded the MSU Beal Outstanding Faculty Award.

Dr. Marks leads an interdisciplinary research team in the area of microbial food safety, funded continuously by competitive federal grants, as principal investigator, for over 23 years, in addition to numerous industry-funded projects. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in food safety, including leading the MSU Food Safety Group, serving as a Food Fellow at MSU, chairing the program committee for the International Association for Food Protection, and serving in advisory capacities for the International Life Science Institute, the Almond Board of California, and the Food Protection and Defense Institute.

His current research focuses primarily on improving methods for validating pathogen reduction processes for low-moisture foods, which has yielded data and validation approaches currently in use in the industry. This work has very much brought Dr. Marks back to his research “roots,” using skills and knowledge he gained while working in grain storage during his graduate studies at Purdue.

Dr. Marks and his wife have twin daughters who currently are seniors in high school.

Shang-Tian Yang, MS '80, PhD '84

S T Yang grew up in Taiwan and attained his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Chemistry from National Taiwan University. Following a two-year commission as a second lieutenant in the Republic of China Army, ST and his wife, I-Ching, came to Purdue to pursue their graduate studies in 1978.  At Purdue, ST worked with Prof. Martin Okos on his MSE thesis studying immobilized enzyme for the hydrolysis of lactose in cheese whey, and PhD dissertation on methanogenesis from whey lactose using a defined mixed culture.  His coursework was primarily completed  in Chemical Engineering and several AgEng classes taught by Prof. Okos, Ladisch and Krutz. ST was a GTA with Prof. Okos to develop and teach the undergraduate Food Engineering Laboratory for two semesters. He wrote a winning USDA research proposal under the guidance of Prof. Okos. These experiences and training led him to a faculty position with The Ohio State University following a one-year postdoc with Prof. George Tsao and Dr. Nancy Ho at LORRE.

ST joined The Ohio State University Chemical Engineering Department as an Assistant Professor in 1985, where he developed the biochemical engineering program and was promoted to full professor in 1997. Currently, he is a professor in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Food Science & Technology, Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Programs at OSU. He also holds adjunct or visiting professor positions in more than a dozen universities in China and other countries. For the past 33 years at OSU, he has advised and trained over 30 MS students, 75 PhD students and 25 postdoctoral researchers, who work in various industries and universities in more than a dozen countries. In addition, his lab has hosted more than 50 visiting scientists and professors from different countries. Many of them hold senior leadership positions in their organizations. ST has established an eminent research program in bioprocess engineering, and has directed over 80 research projects on novel bioprocesses for value-added products from biomasses such as agricultural residues and food processing wastes, metabolic engineering for chemicals and biofuels production, cell and tissue engineering, and biochips for high-throughput drug screening and biodiagnostics. These research projects have been supported by over $10 million in funding from federal and state agencies (NSF, DOE, USDA, DOT, NIH, ODOD, etc.), private industries, and foundations. His research has generated 12 US patents, and many of his technologies have been transferred to companies for commercial development.

Dr. Yang is a co-founder of 3 biotech startup companies and has served as a scientific advisor and consultant to many companies. He has more than 320 publications, including 268 journal papers, 25 proceedings papers, 34 book chapters, 2 edited books in the field of bioprocess engineering, with over 11600 citations and an h-index of 62. He is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Chemical Society. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Process Biochemistry and editorial board member for over a dozen of research journals. He has also served as a reviewer on many proposal review panels for various funding agencies worldwide.

ST and I-Ching have three sons, all graduated from The Ohio State University College of Engineering. ST plans to continue his teaching and research at OSU for at least several more years.

2017 Outstanding ABE Alumni

Left to right: Ted Macy, John Shutske, Richard Dean, Anna Hayes, Dale Gick, Dave Koellisch

Col. Richard W. Dean, II, BS '81

Colonel (Ret.) Richard Dean has 35 years of engineering expertise in the armed forces, federal, and private sectors.  Currently serving as the Director of Engineering at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, he oversees a robust diversity of renovation projects in the Historic District of the base including its keynote historic landmark facility, Roosevelt Hall, and recent renovation of Grant Hall in which the 3rd-floor courtroom of the Lincoln conspirators was restored to its 1865 configuration.

Prior to his current position, Rick was the Project Engineer with the Baltimore District US Army Corps of Engineers and was tasked continually with high visibility / sensitive projects including the construction of the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall; renovation of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff quarters at Fort Myer; complete renovation of the Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC; and significant renovation projects at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, just to name a few.  Two of these projects were dedicated by sitting US Presidents.  Rick also deployed (first rotation) to Kosovo at the end of the air war and was a key team member in the base camp design and construction of Camp Gjilane and assisted in the establishment of Camp Bondsteel.   Prior to his Federal Service, Rick was a Superintendent of road construction, utilities, and sports facilities companies in Northern Virginia. 

Colonel Dean spent over 30 years of service in the US Army (Active and Reserve Duty) culminating as Commander, 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M) with deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan and NATO Regional Support Command Engineer during the 2010 surge campaign.  Prior to this assignment, Colonel Dean was the 88th Regional Support Command Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer, where he oversaw the facilities maintenance, renovation, and construction of over 350 facilities located in 19 states with a military/civilian/contractor staff of 200 personnel and was heavily involved with the BRAC 2005 program.  Colonel Dean was selected as the US Army Reserve Command’s BASOPS Engineer Executive of the Year.  Colonel Dean held numerous positions of increased responsibility with the 416th Engineer Command, culminating as the Fort Meade/Belvoir Facility Engineer Team Leader.  He also deployed in support of the US Army Corps of Engineers Emergency Response Team for Texas flood disaster/levee rebuilding (1992); Mississippi River floods (1993 and 1994); and Hurricanes Luis/Marilyn in the Virgin Islands (1995).  He is a recipient of the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and other decorations, as well as the Bronze and Silver De Fleury Medals from the US Army Engineer Regiment.

Rick also takes pride in his volunteer efforts with the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation as Vice Chairman and co-leader to construct a glass “Wall of Remembrance” at the memorial to list the 36,574 veterans killed in the war and key planner of numerous national events to honor Korean War Veterans.  He is an Executive Board Member of the Senior Army Reserve Commanders Association and has led a volunteer crew of adult scouters for over 25 years in semi-annual construction projects at the Boy Scouts of America National Capital Area Council’s camp at Goshen, Virginia.

Rick received his Master of Science degrees from the University of Idaho and the University of Southern California and is an Honor Graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College.

Dale A. Gick, BS '93

Dale grew up on a farm in Fowler, Indiana. He started in Construction Engineering and Management before transferring to Agricultural Engineering after his sophomore year. While at Purdue, Dale was an active member at Circle Pines Cooperative House. He graduated from Purdue with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering in 1993.

Post-graduation, Dale briefly worked for the Illinois State Water Survey before moving to Pennsylvania to work for Environmental Data Services. He moved back to Indiana in 2005 to start his career with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Dale has spent more than 20 years with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as an engineer and manager. Beginning as a Project Development Staff Engineer and then Project Development Section Head in the Division of Water, he was responsible for reviewing engineering plans, project coordination, field reconnaissance, and construction inspection. After his promotion, he supervised the Project Development Section, managing contracts, developing and reviewing plans and specifications, coordinating field surveys and reconnaissance studies, assisting in the establishment and control of lake water levels, and duties associated with the Conservancy District Act. In June of 2005, he was named the Assistant Director of the Division of Engineering. There, he was responsible for supervising the Contract Management, Mechanical/Electrical, Architectural, Civil Engineering, Sanitary Engineering, and Landscape Architecture sections.

In July of 2012, he was promoted to Director of the Division of Engineering. All construction project bids for the DNR must be processed through his division: dam rehabilitation, road and bridge improvements, boundary surveys, new visitor centers, new and rehabilitated water and wastewater plants and facilities, asbestos inspection and abatement, Asian carp barriers, historic structure rehabilitations, generators, campground improvements, house construction, service centers, aquatic centers, seawall stabilization, comfort stations, inn renovations, amphitheater renovation, toboggan slide repairs, exhibits, mitigations, and many others. Several of these projects won State and National Awards. He oversees a multi-disciplined team of professionals. In addition to engineers, he works alongside architects, landscape architects, and surveyors.

Dale earned his Professional Engineer designation in 2001. In 2011 he participated in a project that received the Governor’s Public Service Achievement Team Award. He married his wife, Erin, in 1994. They live in Whiteland with their two sons, Reese and Justin. Dale actively assists with his sons' Boy Scout Troop and is the Co-Chair of the Activities Committee. He also is an active member at Saints Francis and Clare Catholic Church. As a member he started the Social Club, was appointed to the Pastoral Council, and served on the Building Committee for two additions to the Church. He currently serves as an usher, member of the Knights of Columbus, assists with the coordination of the fryers for Annual Festival for the food tent and Friday Night Fish Meal, and assists with the planning, including frying fish, for the Annual Lenten Fish Fry meals for almost 20 years.

Anna Hayes, BS '07, MS '08

Anna Hayes is a second generation Boilermaker and hails from Southern Indiana. She studied Food Process Engineering and graduated with a BS in 2007 and MS in 2008. Anna is currently a Senior Process Engineer in Research and Development at Mead Johnson Nutrition in Evansville, Indiana.

During her time at Purdue, Anna served internships with both Kellogg’s and General Mills’ research and development. During her time at General Mills, Anna’s early efforts resulted in $3 million dollars of productivity and trans-fat removal from Totino’s™ products. She was then promoted and moved cross-functionally into a Manufacturing Reliability engineering position. In this role, she led teams to develop strategies for and implement continuous improvement and planned maintenance tools to dairy processing and packaging systems, resulting in reduced component failures and equipment down-time.

Anna’s true passion is for experimentation and pushing boundaries, so she moved back to research and development where she was the lead developer for the national launches of Nature Valley Nut Clusters and Chex Chips. In 2014, she was promoted to senior engineer.

Since late 2015, she has been with Mead Johnson Nutrition in Evansville, Indiana, leading product qualifications and experimentation and design for process equipment capital projects. Anna earned a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt in 2016.

Anna and her husband, Garth, are settling into Evansville and having fun learning from their two children, Philip (3) and Zachary (1). She enjoys crocheting, crafting, reading, and walking.

David J. "Dave" Koellisch, BS '94

Dave grew up in New Jersey and moved to Indiana in 1989 to attend Purdue. He graduated from Purdue with a BS in Agricultural Engineering in 1994.

Dave has been with Parker Hannifin since 2006. During his tenure there, initially as an Automation Territory Manager, and now as a Cylinder Application Engineer for the Ohio Valley Region. In his current role, he trains Parker distributors in the proper implementation of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, recommends new hydraulic cylinders and systems as well as troubleshoots current systems, and assists with problem resolution relating to warranty and policy adjustments.

As an Automation Territory Manager, his responsibilities included development of Pneumatic and Electromechanical training materials and shared instructional responsibilities for basic and advanced Great Lakes University training courses. He was recognized by Parker Hannifin as a member of the President’s Advisory Council and also was awarded the Automation Group’s Diamond Team Award for leadership and sales growth in March, 2011.

Prior to his career at Parker Hannifin, he held various positions at TRW including product engineer, senior manufacturing engineer, and manufacturing engineering supervisor in the pump division. As the supervisor, he was responsible for career development, departmental budgets, and employee performance management. He was also responsible for TS 16949 compliance (Automotive Sector-Specific QMS Certification – ISO). During his time at TRW, Dave was awarded 5 US patents for various truck steering components. He has held positions at Puritan Bennett, Caterpillar, and Cummins Michigan. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Dave currently resides in Lafayette, Indiana with his wife, Meredeth and children John and Megan. Dave earned his Eagle Scout award as a boy and has continued to be an active scout. He is the Scoutmaster of his son's troop. He is an active member at Crestview Community Church, working with the technology team and the children’s ministry. In his free time, Dave likes to camp with his family, fish, geocache, and hike.

Ted S. Macy, BS '65, MS '80

Ted received strong exposure to computers and programming during his time at Purdue, and it was during his matriculation that his vision of ag data management was born.  When he returned to the farm he continued to write crop recordkeeping and mapping software for their eastern Indiana corn and soybean farm.  He and his wife, Nancy, also provided appraisal and E-911 rural route readdressing services to several Midwestern counties.  Ted introduced GPS into the farming operation in 1988, at a time when it was only available 12 hours per day. By 1991, he had written software to develop and apply variable rate fertilizer, lime, and seeding prescriptions on their 2000-acre farming operation.

With Deere’s encouragement, Ted and Nancy left the farm in 1992 and started a company, Applications Mapping, with a major soil testing firm in Frankfort, Illinois, creating the popular AgLink software.  In 1993, John Deere purchased Applications Mapping and in 1995 moved the company to Roswell, Georgia, to be merged with the AGRIS Corporation.  Ted continued the development of AgLink and also worked on several advanced data management projects for Deere & Co.  He was recognized in 1997 with the Farm Chemicals SiteLiner precision ag industry award.

Realizing he missed the flexibility of a small company, Ted left AGRIS Corporation in 1999 to form MapShots where he developed the EasiSuite software, followed by the current MapShots AgStudio product and the Pioneer HiBred Field360 Studio product.   Meister Publications awarded Ted the Precision Ag Award of Excellence in 2008. Ted and Nancy sold MapShots to DuPont Pioneer in 2009, where Ted remains a key architect and developer in their new crop management products.

Ted has always been an advocate of open sharing of ag data, participating in several data standardization efforts over the past 25 years.  He also provided the popular royalty-free FODM data standardization product to the industry as part of encouraging open access to all brands of proprietary precision ag data formats.

John M. Shutske, BS '83, MS '84, PhD '88

Dr. Shutske presents Professor Gary Krutz with a Wisconsin polo shirtFollowing completion of his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Purdue, John was recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Instructor in 1985, beginning a teaching career that includes coursework as well as extension outreach. After completing his PhD, he served as the Agricultural Safety Program and Community Education Coordinator for Country Companies Insurance and Investment Group.

In 1990, he moved to the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Extension as an agricultural public health and safety engineering specialist and professor in the department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, also serving as adjunct faculty in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. These positions of leadership nurtured his passion for agricultural workplace and food system safety. He taught courses in public health, environmental health, engineering, agriculture, and nursing, as well as serving as project director for AgrAbility, serving farmers and family members with disabilities.

In 2008, he moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, continuing his legacy of education both inside and outside of the classroom. He served as the Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach and Program Director and also served as the Interim Provost during a national search for the University of Wisconsin – Extension and Colleges Chancellor. As Interim Provost, he was the chief academic officer for four divisions of UW-Extension: Continuing Education, Outreach, and E-Learning (CEOEL); Cooperative Extension; Division of Business and Entrepreneurship; and Broadcast and Media Innovation (BAMI).

On July 1, 2016, Dr. Shutske returned to the Biological Systems Engineering Department after eight years in CALS and UW-Extensions administration.

2016 Outstanding ABE Alumni

Left to right: Kevin King, Mark Bowers, Joe Miller, Nathan Fleck, David Guntrip, Jill Gough

Mark Bowers, BS '03

Mark is a native of Brookville, Ohio, and is a 2nd-generation Boilermaker following in his father’s footsteps (AAE ’72) to Purdue University. He chose to connect to his family’s agriculture background and graduated in 2003 with a BS in Agricultural and Biological Engineering with a focus on Power Machinery.

Taking advantage of the CO-OP program at Purdue, Mark began working at John Deere Harvester Works in the summer of 2000 and began his full-time career at John Deere upon graduation as a test engineer at the Global Crop Harvesting Product Development Center on the Combine Future Product Engine Application Team.

Mark was responsible for evaluating the then-experimental Tier III emissions combine cooling system in the engine wind tunnel test facility. Mark followed the Tier III engine into production and transitioned into a role as a design engineer on the Current Product Engineering team.

In 2009, Mark transitioned to back to future product design and implemented the DF3 cleaning shoe on the MY12 S-Series combine. These parts helped increase productivity of the John Deere combine by 15-20% depending on the crop.

In 2011, Mark was asked to develop and lead the newly formed Current Product Value Improvement Implementation Team. He managed a diverse team of nine engineers at the John Deere Harvester Works and at the John Deere Technical Center India.

In 2013, Mark transitioned to his current role as the supervisor of the Current Product Harvest Module team. He currently manages a team of engineers at John Deere Harvester Works that is responsible for Current Product Performance, Continuous Improvement, and Warranty Reduction issues on several functional areas of the John Deere S-Series Combine. Through all of these experiences, he has travelled to 4 continents and countless countries to see combines harvesting the grains that feed the world.

In addition to his regular work, Mark is a family man. He is a proud husband of 7 years to his wife Abby and a father of 2 girls Amelia 4, and Miriam 2. Beyond the family time, Mark is actively involved at his church by serving as an Elder, leading small groups, and playing softball.

Nathan Fleck, BS '03, MS '05

Nathan Fleck is a native of southwest Indiana and graduated from Purdue with his B.S. in Ag Systems Management in 2003 and M.S. in 2005. During his time at Purdue, Nathan participated in a co-op position with Walt Disney World as well as two different internships with Monsanto, which ultimately led him to the career he’s had for the past 10 years.

Immediately upon graduation from Purdue, Nathan had a short stint in the fertilizer industry before joining Monsanto as a capital project engineer that supported Monsanto’s North America Seeds and Traits Business. As it turns out, that was a perfect role for a recent ASM graduate! Nathan spent the next four years in a mix of project and process engineering roles within Monsanto’s global engineering team supporting large capital investments; including leading the process design for two new greenfield facilities in Hawaii and Nebraska.

In 2010 Nathan accepted a role as the Supply Chain Continuous Improvement Group Lead for Monsanto’s Vegetable Seed business and moved to Oxnard, California. In this role Nathan and his team supported various improvement efforts across the globe for the vegetable seed business; from business process development to shop floor capital investments. In 2013, Nathan took another opportunity within the vegetable seed business as a Global Operations Manager that moved him back to Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO. This role was responsible for managing and coordinating the finished goods process (treating, packaging, and labeling) across all the vegetable seed operations sites globally.

Since 2015, Nathan has been back in Monsanto’s Global Engineering team as the Seed Process Engineering Group Lead where the team is responsible for managing the process design for all capital projects that support Monsanto’s Row Crop and Vegetable Seed Operations.

Over his career with Monsanto Nathan has had the opportunity to work all across the U.S. as well as South America, Europe, and Asia.  Nathan and his wife Karen currently reside in Chesterfield, MO.  In his free time, you can find Nathan enjoying the outdoors via camping, hiking, and kayaking or back in Indiana playing around on the farm.

Jill E.K. Gough, BS '98

Jill EK Gough is currently a New Production Introduction Team Leader at Caterpillar, Inc., with responsibility for bringing new Caterpillar Mining Machine, locomotive and industrial 3500 engines into production. She has 12 active programs that encompass technical challenges including meeting EPA T4F emissions regulations, Power Increases, Improved Fuel Efficiency, and Dual Fuel (natural gas and diesel).

Jill joined Caterpillar in a manufacturing rotational program in Aurora, IL. Initially starting as an operations line supervisor, Jill went on to manufacturing engineering where she implemented new manufacturing processes for hydraulic cylinders and valves. Her final rotation was in Logistics where she designed the material flow plan for the new powertrain machining and assembly areas including expanding the docks and updating the automated storage systems, including assuming responsibility for all logistics planning at the Aurora facility with a staff of 10 engineers. Jill spent two and a half years as a black belt in supply chain improving the lean supply chain for Aurora. Jill was then given the opportunity to move back to Lafayette and take a position as an Engineering Team Leader focused on the C175 Engine Platform production introduction.

In addition to working in manufacturing and engineering, Jill has a passion for encouraging individuals to pursue careers in engineering. She regularly returns to Purdue for recruiting efforts including speaking to students in ABE 490 and participating in the Women In Engineering Programs.

Jill graduated from Purdue University in ABE in Food Process Engineering (’98) and then started her career at Hixson, an architecture engineering firm that focuses on Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP). While at Hixson, she designed food processing facilities including a bottling line for HP Hood in Virginia and packaging equipment for Ballpark franks in Missouri. Jill decided to pursue graduate studies and received her Masters from the University of Cincinnati in Mechanical Engineering in 2001. While at UC, she completed research on hydraulic actuation systems and made time to run an introduction to engineering summer program for prospective high school girls.

A native of West Lafayette, Jill currently lives outside of Lafayette, IN with her husband, Michael. They love to travel, camp, and hike. Jill also finds time to sew and volunteer. She is currently the Secretary of the newly formed Greater Lafayette Indiana Professional SWE section, and serves on the Board of Leadership Lafayette. She is a graduate of Community Leadership Program Class 44.

David Guntrip, BS '91

Dave is a Senior Principal Process Engineer for Abbott Laboratories’ nutrition business in Columbus, Ohio that manufactures the global brands Similac, Ensure and Glucerna. He is a member of Abbott Nutrition’s Sterilization Technology team that is the Process Authority for Abbott’s domestic businesses and is responsible for the validation of aseptic filling lines as well as filing the scheduled processes with the FDA. In 1998, Dave was a member of Abbott’s research team that launched Similac Ready-To-Feed Infant Formula in a 32 ounce plastic bottle and received the Outstanding Research team award from Abbott in 2000.  Abbott’s 32 oz aseptic bottle was believed to be the first commercially available low-acid aseptically-filled shelf stable plastic bottle available in the United States.  He has been with Abbott Laboratories for 13 years, from 1996-2006 and since 2012.

Prior to rejoining Abbott, Dave worked for ConAgra Foods from 2006-2012 as a Principal Engineer supporting ConAgra’s refrigerated brands.  While at ConAgra, he led a research team in developing a co-extrusion process for Slim Jim’s snack meats.  The research team helped improve operating margins by $5MM annually and won ConAgra’s CEO award in 2007.  The research also produced 3 patent applications. 

Dave and his wife Amanda were married in 2008 and they have one child, J. R. (James) and they reside in Worthington, OH.  Dave grew up in nearby Brookston and attended Frontier High School.  In addition to earning his Agricultural Engineering and Biochemistry degrees from Purdue in 1991, he also earned an MBA degree from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University in 2005.

Dave’s interests outside of work include golf, fishing, cycling, and home brewing.  He has also been Purdue football season ticket holder since 1997.

Kevin King, BS '91, MS '92

Dr. Kevin King is a Research Agricultural Engineer and Research Leader with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Soil Drainage Research Unit located in Columbus, OH.

Kevin grew up on a tobacco, swine, and cattle farm in Franklin, KY. He began his formal education at Purdue in 1987 with a focus on soil and water engineering with the ABE Department. Within ABE, he served as President of the student chapter of ASABE (then ASAE). Kevin began his career with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service while a student at Purdue. In his junior and senior years, he was a student employee at the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory located on the West Lafayette campus. Upon graduation, he stayed on with ARS and completed an MS degree. During this time, he met and married fellow Purdue student, Melinda, and they relocated to central Texas.

In Texas, Kevin filled the role of technician and, eventually, support scientist for ARS. He was promoted to scientist and completed his PhD from Texas A&M in 2000. During this time, his focus ranged from data collection technologies to water quality from golf course management. In 2002, Kevin relocated to Columbus, Ohio, as research agricultural engineer.

In Columbus, Kevin has developed a program that has earned a reputation as an internationally recognized authority on edge-of-field and watershed-scale water quality data collection techniques and determining hydrologic and water quality responses of conservation implementation in tile drained landscapes. He is leading and collaborating on multiple projects aimed at quantifying the edge-of-field water quality effects of agricultural production practices in the Eastern Corn Belt. Kevin’s research continues to be used by federal, state, and local agencies, and provincial/binational governments to develop tools and guide management and policy decisions related to conservation program and practice implementation in tile drained landscapes. Specific accomplishments include: 1) Advanced the understanding of hydrologic relationships for the agriculturally important, semi-arid Blackland Prairie region; 2) Quantified nutrient loss from organic and synthetic fertilizer blends following surface amendment application; 3) Made significant enhancements to hydrology/water quality simulation technologies; 4) Developed procedures and protocols for guiding edge-of-field monitoring installation and water quality sampling; 5) Proved that end-of-tile filters are an effective best management practice to address nutrient and pesticide transport from tile drainage; 6) Provided the only available long-term watershed-scale data and interpretations between agronomic practices and water quality on managed turf; 7) Assessed and quantified hydrologic, water quality, and ecologic impacts of implementing conservation programs and practices in headwater watersheds in support of CEAP and MRBI; and 8) Revealed the significance of tile drainage to headwater hydrology and phosphorus transport. His research accomplishments have been documented in 70+ peer review manuscripts. He is an active member of ASABE, having served on the editorial committee and holding several leadership roles.

Kevin and Melinda (B.S. 91 and M.S. 93 Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) currently reside in Ostrander, Ohio, with their six children (Luke, Caleb, Gabriel, Teresa, Isaac, and Thaddeus). They are active members in their faith community (St. Mary Catholic Church) and enjoy family games, sports, and outdoor activities.

Joseph Miller, BS '03, MS '14, MBA '14

Joe Miller, a Rochester Indiana native, is the Regional Sales Director for Case IH NAFTA, responsible for Case IH equipment sales in the Eastern US region. He and his family live near the family farm in Rochester, Indiana. Joe graduated from Purdue University in 2003 in Ag Systems Management, and again in 2014 with a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Economics and an MBA from Indiana University, through the Purdue University Center for Food and Agribusiness MS-MBA Program.

Joe began working for CNH Industrial in 2003 and has held several positions with CNH Industrial in service, parts, and sales. Directly out of Purdue in 2003, Joe started with CNH in Racine, Wisconsin, as a Technical Support Specialist, with primary support for Case IH Steiger and New Holland TJ tractors. In the fall of 2005, Joe was promoted to the role of Sales Support Manager, where he handled back-office, dealer sales support functions from Racine. After a short 8-month stint in Sales Support, Joe was relocated back to Indiana as a Parts & Service Sales Manager for New Holland covering Indiana and Michigan. In this role, Joe’s primary responsibilities focused around dealer profitability and growth in aftersales business and Parts & Service absorption growth.

In 2008, Joe was able to move back to the Case IH business, as the Territory Sales Manager for Northern Indiana and SW Michigan. The TSM position is charged with sales and market share growth in all product segments, focusing on the 100+ HP tractors and combines. In 2011, Joe was promoted back to the Parts & Service organization…but still with Case IH…as the Regional Sales Manager for the Northeast US and Western Canada. As the Case IH Parts RSM, Joe managed 7-8 Parts & Service Sales Managers. It was during this time that Joe decided to pursue his graduate work through Purdue and Indiana University. Joe was able to take advantage of time in hotels and airports, eventually covering the plains from Texas through Western Canada, to complete his Master’s work.

Joe remained in the CNH Parts RSM role, with some territory shifts, for four years when he was promoted in 2015 to the Regional Sales Manager, Case IH Crop Production Equipment, covering the US West of the Mississippi River; a position that he would hold for only 45 days. In May of 2015, Joe was promoted to his current position as Regional Sales Director, Case IH Agriculture Equipment. In his current role, Joe manages the complete Case IH business consisting of tractors from 35-620hp, combines, sprayers, floaters, tillage, seeding, planters, and commercial Hay & Forage products. The Eastern Region Case IH team consists of nine Territory Sales Managers, six Product Specialists, and one Business Support Specialist.

Joe and his wife, Brianne, have four children: Vivian (7), Grayson (5), and twins Vanessa (2) and Graham (2). In his spare time, Joe enjoys spending quality time with his wife and children and working on the family farm.

2015 Outstanding ABE Alumni

Danielle Bellmer, PhD '96

Dr. Danielle (Dani) Bellmer is a native of northern Michigan. As an undergraduate at Michigan State University she discovered Food Engineering, an interesting combination of chemical and agricultural engineering, and completed a B.S. degree in Food Engineering in 1992. She then received a USDA Fellowship for graduate study at Purdue and completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University in 1996.

After leaving Purdue, she spent one year teaching Food Engineering at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, before being recruited to join a new food processing research center at Oklahoma State University. In 1997 she joined the faculty at OSU as an Assistant Professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department and the Food and Agricultural Products Research Center. She has been at OSU for 18 years and is currently a Professor involved in both teaching and research.

Her research efforts have covered a diverse range of topics, including both food and biofuels. In the area of value-added food processing, she has worked on development of new processes and products such as ‘Peanut Butter Slices’. Her biofuels research has involved conversion of lignocellulosic materials to fuels, with a specific focus on the use of sweet sorghum as a feedstock. She was a founding member of the Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Association, and represented the U.S. in a global summit sponsored by the United Nations involving use of sweet sorghum.  In 2003, she received the Halliburton Outstanding Young Faculty Award in the College of Engineering at OSU.

Dr. Bellmer is also highly engaged in the undergraduate teaching program at OSU.  She has taught numerous courses involving food and bioprocessing, microbial applications in engineering, food rheology, and introductory biosystems engineering courses. She also serves as the advising coordinator, chairs the scholarship and curriculum committees, and is currently the ASABE student club advisor. She truly enjoys her interaction with students.

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Bellmer also enjoys many activities with her husband, Jeff, and two kids, Collin and Ali, who are 14 and 11.  They love most sports, including soccer, basketball, dance, and swimming, and they really enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and fishing. 

Suzanne R. "Suzie" Delay BS '93

Suzie grew up on a family farm in Rush County, Indiana.  At the suggestion of her high school physics teacher she decided to look into engineering.  She received her BS Agricultural Engineering at Purdue University in 1993.  

After graduation she worked at the US Army Corps of Engineers Construction and Engineering Research Lab, Champaign, IL.  Her work there focused erosion control on Army training lands.  Traveling to military installations around the country for work was interesting, but she confirmed that documenting the research was not her passion.

In 1995 Suzie began working at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water.  Her work included floodplain determinations, hydraulic modeling, review of permits, dam safety evaluations and collection of flood elevation data during significant events.

In 2002 Suzie was promoted to manager for the Engineering Services South Basin Team; supervising 3 staff engineers and coordinating reviews of hydrologic and hydraulic modeling for permits, floodplain determinations, and Flood Insurance Studies.  She also helped manage the Division’s work as a Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) with FEMA to update and improve the Flood Insurance Rate Maps.  It was interesting to take a proactive role in preventing flood damages.  She and her staff have been project sponsors and provided comments for the ABE senior design and capstone projects.  She was a member of the ABET Alumni review committee. 

In 2013 she moved over to the Compliance and Enforcement Section.  As hydraulic engineer in the Compliance and Enforcement Section, she enjoys getting out in the field to conduct inspections in addition to the development of hydrologic and hydraulic models for violation reviews.  Not being a supervisor also means that she enjoys a lower stress level!

Suzie is a licensed Professional Engineer in Indiana and a Certified Floodplain Manager.  She just joined the board of the Purdue Club of Hendricks County.  Suzie is active in the Indiana Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers (INAFSM). 

Suzie lives in rural Hendricks County.  She is a member of Mary Queen of Peach Catholic Church in Danville and a cantor at Mass.  She enjoys spending time with her family, especially 8 nieces and nephews, and supporting them in band, sports, 4-H, and Girl Scouts.  Suzie is an active volunteer for Girl Scouts.  She assisted in planning a wider opportunity for girls from all over the country to come to Indianapolis and learn about Aerodynamics.  She is currently a council trainer/facilitator and sharing her knowledge with other adult volunteers on Girl Scout basics, program and badge details, and outdoor skills.

Lawrence D. "Larry" Gaultney MS '80, PhD '83

Larry D. Gaultney is a Senior Engineering Associate with E.I DuPont de Nemours & Co. in Newark, Delaware. He has been married to Heidi for 32 years and they have three children; Peter, 28; Wendy, 25; and Cecilia, 20.

Larry was born and raised in East Tennessee and lived in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) when he was 3 to 7 years old. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Hiwassee College in 1976, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1979, a M.S in Agricultural Engineering from Purdue University in 1981, and a PhD from Purdue in 1983.

Larry was on the faculty in the agricultural engineering department at Purdue for eight years and served as the Program Coordinator of the Agricultural Mechanization/ Systems Management program. His main research interests were in the areas of precision agriculture, sensor design and crop protection. He was honored with the outstanding teacher award twice and outstanding counselor award four times.

He spent a sabbatical year as visiting professor of Agricultural Engineering at Egerton University in Kenya from 1990 to 1991. There he developed and taught several senior level power and machinery courses for the first graduating class of agricultural engineers.

While at DuPont, Larry has worked on a wide variety of projects from equipment design and development, precision agriculture, product quality control, electronic dispensing systems, and market launches for new products.  He has been honored with the Global Technology Division Accomplishment Award, the Sustainable Growth Excellence Award, the Shield of Irenee’ Award; Corporate Award for Excellence in Engineering Design , a DuPont Volunteer Recognition Award, the DuPont Engineering Excellence Award, and an AE 50 Gold Award for the DuPont PrecisionPac™ system. He and his family lived in Brazil where he served as the application technology leader from 1999 to 2001.  

Larry has served as chair of four ASABE committees, has 22 journal articles, 8 US and foreign patents, and has served as an ABET program evaluator for 13 years. He is active in various programs in the Elkton United Methodist Church and has served on university and departmental advisory boards.

Larry enjoys gardening and maintaining an orchard with various fruit trees, vines and fruiting bushes. Ole Blue, a 1967 Rambler American station wagon that he drove to Purdue in 1979 as a grad student, has traveled 538,000 miles across 49 states and several Canadian provinces.

Steven E. Havlik MS '89

Steve is currently Senior Director of Technology Applications for PepsiCo’s $13 Billion global Nutrition business including iconic brands like Quaker, Tropicana, Naked Juice and Gatorade. He is responsible for the development of technologies to create differentiated, nutritious products for a rapidly growing nutrition marketplace around the world.  Steve is based at PepsiCo’s R&D center in Barrington, Illinois, where he has worked for the last 9 years, beginning as a Senior Manager for Gatorade Process Engineering, then as Director of Product Development for Gatorade and Tropicana, where he was responsible for the launch of Gatorade’s G2 low-calorie line as well as Gatorade Recovery Shakes and overseeing delivery of over $6 Million in annual productivity savings for Tropicana and Gatorade.  He obtained two patents on novel Gatorade processing technologies during this time.

Steve became Senior Director of Quaker Oats Technology team in 2011, and was a key leader in guiding the agronomic scale-up and commercial production of a proprietary oat variety with enhanced nutritional characteristics for use in oatmeal.   He guided commercial use of a patented soluble oat technology in a variety of global Quaker beverage products and also led a productivity effort for Quaker R&D that delivers about $10 MM in annual productivity.  Under Steve’s leadership, the Quaker technology team won PepsiCo’s highest technology award three times since 2012 for novel technologies implemented by the company.  He currently has two additional patents pending from his work to date with PepsiCo’s Quaker business.

Prior to working at PepsiCo, Steve worked for Kraft Foods in Illinois for 15 years after graduating from Purdue in various roles across R&D there including Product & Process Development and Ingredient research that led to two patents related to Cheese and Dairy technology.  Steve led Kraft Foods recruiting team at Purdue for Food Science and Engineering students for 10 years while there.  He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State in 1985 and after working for Frito Lay in Frankfort, Indiana, he pursued his MSE degree in the ABE department starting in 1987.

Steve met and married his wife Kris from nearby West Point, Indiana in 1988 during his Purdue MS studies in the ABE department and they have three adult children (Steven, Nate and Katie).    They currently reside in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Beyond food technology innovation, some of Steve’s interests include sailing, fishing, history, gardening, cooking, Boilermaker basketball and playing guitar.  

Sergio Hernandez BS '00

Sergio has spent most of his professional career with The Andersons, steadily climbing the corporate ladder.  He is the central regional operations manager and oversees the food grade operations, where he supervises 7 managers and over 100 hourly employees. He oversees all capital investment in the region. He has been involved in grain operations throughout the United States, Central, and South America, and has been responsible for establishing, maintaining, promoting, and encouraging participation in The Andersons safety culture.

Sergio and his wife, Jenna, have recently returned to the area from Iowa. They have three sons - Jesse (7), Aiden (5), and Joseph (2).



J. Bradley "Brad" Lukac BS '96

Brad grew up on a farm in Northwest Indiana where he gained a working knowledge of machinery related large grain row crops, plus specialty crops such as peppermint and spearmint.  The Lukac family operated a mint distillery on the farm which offered him a unique opportunity for understanding specialty equipment and processing.  He graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering - Power and Machinery in 1996 and started his career at DowElanco as an engineering intern in 1995 in the Packaging and Delivery Systems Engineering Group in Indianapolis, IN.  After graduation, he joined Case Corporation in East Moline, IL as a field test engineer on combines and headers.  One year later, he moved into design engineering on advance combine development.  In 1999, he worked in the cotton harvesting development group and helped launch the CaseIH 6-row cotton picker during the merger period between Case Corporation and New Holland.  As a project engineer in the cotton development team, he became the lead engineer for the cotton picker row units and liaised with an outside manufacturer (BHC) in Israel, thus gaining more international experience.

While living in Bettendorf, IA, Brad attended the University of Iowa - Tippie School of Management and graduated with an MBA in 2003.  He continued his role with the cotton development team at the CNH engineering center in Burr Ridge, IL and later joined the vehicle systems engineering group on tractors in 2005 as the lead engineer on advanced compact tractor projects. 

In 2007, Brad moved to central Indiana and took on a new role for the CaseIH brand as a combine sales specialist for the Great Lakes region where he gained marketing and sales experience in the field by supporting customers and dealers on CaseIH combines & headers and driving retail sales through customer and dealer events throughout the region.

In 2010, Brad moved back to the Burr Ridge, IL NAFTA headquarters for CNH Global as the Product Manager on the Cash Crop High HP (CCH) tractor platform.  The CCH platform supported both the CaseIH Magnum series and New Holland T8 series high horsepower row crop tractors.  As product manager, he was involved in managing several projects including the launch of the CVT transmission and row crop track versions.

Brad joined the Product Portfolio Planning group in 2014 for CNH Industrial as Director, Global Harvesting Product Category Management and currently holds portfolio responsibility of the strategic range plan for combines & headers for both CaseIH and New Holland brands, CaseIH sugar cane harvesters, CaseIH coffee harvesters, and New Holland grape & olive specialty harvesters.  One of the main functions of this position involves coordination of long range product development programs with the Case IH and New Holland commercial organizations from a global perspective.  This includes travel to R&D and manufacturing sites in Zedelgem in Belgium, Coex in France, Curitiba, Piracicaba, and Sorocaba in Brazil, Harbin in China, Pune in India, and various locations around the United States.

Brad has been a member of ASABE for 20 years and holds 11 patents for CNH Industrial related to combines, cotton pickers and tractors with additional submissions pending.  He is married to Jeanne Tuchscherer-Lukac, who is also a Purdue alum.  Brad and Jeanne live in St John, Indiana, which splits the difference between the CNH Industrial Burr Ridge office and the family farm in Starke County Indiana.  They have three boys ages 6, 5, and 2 and they all enjoy watching Purdue basketball and football games.

Betsy F. Willis, BS FPE '96, PhD '01

Betsy earned her B.S. degree with a major in Food Process Engineering in 1996 and a Ph.D. in 2001. While at Purdue, she was involved in the Women in Engineering Programs and Delta Delta Delta. In 2009, Betsy earned a Certificate in Leadership from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Betsy joined SMU in 2002 as the Director of the Lyle School of Engineering’s Gender Parity Initiative - an effort to increase the female undergraduate engineering student population. During her time as Director, the first-year female undergraduate engineering population at SMU grew to as high as 37%, and the SMU undergraduate engineering degrees awarded to women rose to 33%.

Between 2003 and 2006, Betsy served as the Director of Visioneering, an engineering event, webcast and TV show aimed at exciting middle school students about opportunities in engineering. Betsy coordinated 200+ volunteers and raised $100,000 annually from corporate sponsors. Student participation grew to nearly 1000 participants annually. Under Betsy’s leadership, Visioneering received the ASEE Dean’s Council Award for Promoting Engineering Education and Careers in June of 2005, Worldfest Silver Award in 2005, a Telly Award in 2004, and media attention that included the Dallas Morning News, WBAP radio, and local NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and WB affiliates.

In 2006, Betsy accepted the role of Director of Undergraduate Advising & Student Records. She is responsible for overseeing first-year engineering advising, maintaining undergraduate academic records and certifying B.S. and B.A. degrees awarded by the SMU Lyle School of Engineering. Betsy teaches ENGR 1101: Engineering and Beyond, a course aimed at helping students select and engineering major, which she co-developed.

Throughout her career, Betsy has raised over $1.3 million to support women in engineering programs, outreach programs and student scholarship programs. Betsy has numerous publications and television appearances to her credit.

Betsy resides in Dallas, TX with her husband David (Purdue MS ME 1997, Ph.D. 2001) and son Alan (age 4 ½). She enjoys running, gardening, wine tasting and travel.

2014 Outstanding ABE Alumni

Susan L. Brocksmith, BS ASM '83

Susan Brocksmith received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University in Agricultural Systems Management (called Ag Mechanization) in 1983 and a Masters of Business Administration from Ball State University in 1987. While at Purdue she was a member of the ABE club and was one of the founders of Sigma Alpha Sorority.

She started her career with Monsanto Chemical Company before becoming a professor at Vincennes University. Ms. Brocksmith is the program chair for the Agribusiness program since 1994. She sponsors the Ag Club which is both a Collegiate FFA and Collegiate Farm Bureau affiliate. She worked to develop a new Agribusiness Concentration to the Bachelors of Technology to meet the needs of the community. Ms. Brocksmith received an Award for Exemplary Service for Vincennes University in 1995 and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award from the University of Texas at Austin. She received the 2011 Women in Agriculture award for her agricultural leadership activities. Ms. Brocksmith presented “A College Student Perspective” at the Indiana Soil Health Symposium in 2012. Through her guidance, the Agribusiness program has received the Awards of Excellence for Career and Vocational Education from the State of Indiana in 2014.

In addition to her work at Vincennes University, Susan has been very active in her community. She has served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for over 10 years. She has been the facilitator for the adult Leadership Knox County for 11 years and for the Youth Leadership Knox County for 3 years and continues to host Ag Day for the two groups. She is a member of the Ag Day committee which hosts the largest Ag Day celebration in the State of Indiana. She has been a member of the Purdue Dean's Advisory Committee and continues her support through local involvement with Purdue Ag Alumni. Susan is an Elder of the Indiana Presbyterian Church.

Susan is part owner/operator of their family farm along with her husband, Mike, and two daughters. They have been practicing continuous no-till for over 23 years. They have hosted numerous soil judging contests and conservation field days as well as many other rural and urban events. The farm has achieved tier 3 CSP status on all their cropping acres. Their farm has been selected to participate in the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative program. Their goal is to be environmentally friendly and they believe in leaving the land in better shape than they received it. Their farm is their sanctuary. They hope to pass on their passion of agriculture and their love of the land to their daughters and future generations.

John "Chris" Layer, BS AE '81

Chris grew up on a farm outside Ithaca, New York and followed his father’s footsteps into Agricultural Engineering. His first job out of college was with Warner Electric (Rockford, Illinois) working on actuation and clutch systems for the Ag Equipment industry. He later moved onto Sundstrand where he designed high performance turbo-machinery, jet engine gearboxes, and hydro-mechanical flight controls for the Aerospace industry.

Since 1988 he has worked at MOOG Inc. outside of Buffalo, New York where he is now both a Principal Engineer and Group Engineering Manager specializing in servo control systems for the Aerospace and Industrial segments. As a Principal Engineer he plays an integral part in developing the company’s innovation strategy and its pursuit of emerging technologies. In his role as Engineering Manager he oversees an engineering organization supporting five business units across more than a dozen sites, both domestic and international. He serves on Moog’s Executive Engineering Team Board of Governors.

Chris has developed unique specialties in hydraulic controls, electro-mechanical actuation, compound planetary gearing and “additive” manufacturing. Over the course of his 25 years at Moog, he has been at the cutting edge of electro-mechanical controls, working on train-tilt systems, active vibration cancellation, gun-turret equilibration, primary flight controls and thrust vector systems. His designs currently are on the Oshkosh Hemtt, Delta IV Rocket, Boeing 787, Airbus A320, Joint Strike Fighter, Virginia Class Submarines and Sikorsky’s S92 Helicopter. Chris currently holds nine patents and is routinely consulted on technical problems worldwide. He has continued his education at the University of Illinois, Cornell University and University of Buffalo.

Chris also runs a consulting business specializing in advanced power transmission technologies and has taught professional and academic courses in gear technology. He has been involved in the designs of transmissions most notably for Segway, Johnson & Johnson, Timken, EZGO, GE, Caterpillar, and Union Switch & Signal.

Chris resides in East Aurora, New York, with his wife Holly (Purdue BS RN ’80); they have 3 grown children. Their son continued the family tradition and graduated with a Purdue degree (MS ME ’06). He will be returning to campus in November for the 2014 College of Agriculture Entrepreneurial event.

Daniel Orr, BS FPE '99

Dan started his career at Frito-Lay in Plano, Texas, as a process engineer in Research and Development. His first role was on the Tostito team that accomplished the creation, scale-up, and roll-out of the Tostitos® Scoops™ process. The Scoops process has now been replicated at 8 plants across the US with annual product sales revenue over $0.5B. He transitioned to the Cheetos® Innovation team in the lead role for the development and roll-out of another technically challenging process, Cheetos® Twisted. Dan also led a cross-functional team to deliver the product proposition resulting in the highest-margin Cheetos™ product and “100% incremental” $62MM first-year sales. His R&D career continued to innovation and global leadership roles for Lay’s®, Baked Lay’s®, and the PepsiCo Food Service Vend business.

In 2010 Dan accepted a new role on the new “Total Company Productivity” team as a Senior Manager in Supply Chain Strategy. In this role he has led cross-functional teams focused in marketing, procurement, supply chain, and manufacturing to deliver $13MM productivity savings. He has provided solutions in process automation, inventory reduction, sanitation water, packaging lead time, and obsolescence. Dan provides oversight for productivity ideation and project staffing across manufacturing, go-to-market, marketing, and regional sales.

Dan holds 6 US Patents and was the recipient of the R&D Creativity award in 2001 and two PepsiCo Chairman’s Awards in 2002 and 2003.

Dan currently resides in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Celina, and their daughter, Phoebe. He holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Accenture’s George Group. In his personal time he has been a substitute teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship and enjoys ranching, archery, and marathon running. 

Lonnie Oxley, BS AE '84

Lonnie grew up on a farm in Pike County in Southwestern Indiana and graduated from Purdue with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1984. He started his career as an engineering intern at Allis Chalmers and, after graduating, joined John Deere- Horicon Works as a design engineer in the mower group in Wisconsin. In 1987 he relocated to Lexington, Kentucky, to be a design engineer for the forklift manufacturer Clark Material Handling Company specializing in LP, gasoline and diesel engine applications. He has resided in the Lexington area ever since.

In 1996 he joined Echlin Engine Systems as a sales application engineer to help develop their start-up industrial engine management system business. In 1998, Lonnie founded his own start-up company, Lonmore, which developed a series of compact mowing/utility equipment. Subsequently, he went back to the forklift industry as a service and design engineer in 2003 at NACCO Material Handling (Hyster & Yale forklifts).

In 2006 Lonnie joined Bucyrus International which was a prominent name where he was raised. Bucyrus-Erie draglines were common features in the skyline around the coalfields in Southwestern Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois years ago. He served as a field engineer for a new blast drill design and eventually became a UT machine inspector for draglines, shovels and drills inspecting some of the same machines he was infatuated with while growing up. Although now, most of these same machines have been relocated to the phosphate mines in Florida, coal mines in Colombia, etc.

Since 2011 Lonnie has rejoined Clark as an Engineering Manager where he is responsible for electric and IC (Internal combustion) forklift and burden carrier products distributed throughout North America.

Lonnie has had the opportunity to work in India, Japan, South Korea, China, Europe, and Latin America. He has 22 patents/pending patents in a wide variety of equipment and recreational categories. He resides in Versailles, Kentucky, with his wife Michelle, 12-year-old son Landon and he has a daughter, Madison, who is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky pursuing a pharmacy degree. He still helps his dad farm a few acres on the homestead in Indiana, and is also staying busy by building a home in Versailles, Kentucky.

Karl Weiss, BS AE '92

K.E. (Karl) Weiss is a vice president of Caterpillar, Inc., with responsibility for the Earthmoving Division. Caterpillar’s Earthmoving Division encompasses three product lines and two brands. The products include Mid-sized Track-Type Tractors,
Mid-sized Wheel Loaders, and Motorgraders. The team is responsible for the end-to-end business for these product lines including product development, manufacturing, and support. The Earthmoving business also encompasses the SEM brand of utility products. Earthmoving products are manufactured in the U.S., Europe, Brazil, China, Japan, and Thailand and sold worldwide.

Karl joined Caterpillar as an Engineering Co-op student in 1988. Following graduation from Purdue in 1992, he has had various assignments within product development at Caterpillar’s Decatur, Joliet, and Aurora facilities in Illinois, primarily focused on large machine design. Karl subsequently transferred to Geneva, Switzerland, with Caterpillar Global Mining as an Equipment Management Consultant serving mining customers and dealers in Europe and Africa. He then became the Large Wheel Loader New Product Introduction Manager in Aurora, Illinois. He and his family then moved to Beijing, China, for 4 years where Karl served as the Wheel Loader Product Manager for the Asia Pacific Region. In that role he managed the integration of Shandong Engineering Machinery (SEM) as Caterpillar’s entry into the China WL market. Most recently, Karl was the worldwide product manager for Medium Wheel Loaders in Aurora. In 2013, the Caterpillar Board of Directors named Weiss a vice president in the Earthmoving Division.

Weiss was raised the youngest of 11 children on the family dairy farm near Hagerstown, Indiana. He graduated from Purdue University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering. He received an MBA from Northern Illinois University in 1999. While at Purdue, Karl served as president of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and was active in the Interfraternity Council. Prior to entering Purdue, Karl served as vice president of the Indiana FFA organization.

Karl is married to Jill (Hofbauer) Weiss and they have two children, Daniel, 16, and Katy, 14. He serves on the Boards of the YMCA of Metro Chicago and the Center for Faith and Human Rights. He also volunteers at Crossroads Christian Church and The Hesed House.

Ryan Williams, BS AE '02

Ryan Williams grew up on a central Indiana farm, where he still has a seasonal hand in the operation. That background, combined with his technical aptitude, led him to Purdue’s Agricultural and Biological Engineering program. Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in 2002, specializing in Machine Systems Engineering. He credits the start of his career to his Purdue ABE degree, combined with experience gained through internships at Caterpillar’s Large Engine Center, Oerlikon Fairfield, and DuPont Pioneer.

Ryan began his career with NSK-Corporation, a global manufacturer of bearings and precision machine components. Ryan was responsible for grind process engineering of automotive hub and transmission bearings and tasked with many responsibilities, such as reducing a perishable tooling procurement budget.

In 2004, Rexnord Corporation recruited Ryan for his lean manufacturing experience and bearing manufacturing knowledge. For the first few years of his career with Rexnord, Ryan implemented lean flow concepts, consolidated manufacturing facilities, purchased over $1 million in capital machinery, and managed union and salaried personnel.

Ryan joined Rexnord’s Application Engineering team in 2008 where he held a customer-facing role. He was responsible for conducting training, helping customers select bearings for their applications, troubleshooting problems, and conducting bearing failure analysis. In this role he was able to begin interacting with several agricultural companies on an intimate basis, such as Vermeer, CNH, AGCO, Cargill, ADM, and others.

For the last 3 years Ryan has held the Marketing Manager position for Rexnord’s roller bearing products. He also served as Product Manager for sleeve bearings. This role required Ryan to manage multiple product lines in both the Link-Belt® & Rex® Brands and over $100 million in annual revenue.

Recently, Ryan was offered a position with Allegion™, a $2 Billion spinoff company formerly known as Ingersoll-Rand Security Technologies. He is looking forward to furthering his career with this organization.

Ryan and his wife Lori, also a Purdue graduate, have been married for 10 years. They have two future Boilermakers, Elizabeth (7) and Emily (5). Ryan has been involved with the building of 4 Habitat for Humanity houses and various fundraisers for children such as the Finish Line Youth Foundation’s Bowl for Kids and Walk for Kids.  Ryan enjoys fishing, farming, hunting, many other outdoor activities, and especially spending time with family.  Ryan and his family are actively involved members of Indian Creek Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2013 Outstanding ABE Alumni

2013 Outstanding Alumni - John R. Brubaker, Douglas E. Dawes,  Cynthia A. McCracken, Kevin Richman, Ronald H. Thieme

2012 Outstanding Alumni - Johann (Joe) R. Garwood, Dennis A. Kim, Reid Waitt, Amos Wu

2011 Outstanding Alumni - Edwin Bahler, Jonathan Landes, Rebecca Thompson, Brian Vorst 

2010 Outstanding Alumni - Michael Cox, Brad Meyerholtz, Mark Zeltwanger

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

2005 Outstanding Alumni - Scott Benko, W. Douglas Griffin, Stanley Morton, Dr. Leroy Pickett

2004 Outstanding Alumni - Thomas Burke, Michael R. Duncan, C. Gene Haugh, Otto Loewer, Melcy Curth Pond, John Rettinger

2003 Outstanding Alumni - Joseph K. Boddiford, Jr., Yael Edan, Mauri Fortes, Levon L. Mathews, David W. Smith, William C. Werner

2002 Outstanding Alumni - Kevin L. Eikenberry, Jane L. Lavey, Evandro C. Mantovani, Michael E. Massone, Lyle F. Stephens

2001 Outstanding Alumni - David B. Beasley, Donald M. Edwards, Ted S. Macy, Kurt Waananen, Philip J. Wegh

2000 Outstanding Alumni - John C. Nye, Gerald A. Powell, Dale D. Reed, Katherine P. Wettschurack, Larry R. Wettschurack

1999 Outstanding Alumni - Marvin Joray, Bruce McKenzie, Matthew Reynolds, Harold Schramm, Larry Segerlind, Harmon Towne

1998 Outstanding Alumni - William Carteaux, John Greiner, W. David Shoup