Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council
Mission Statement: The mission of the Purdue University Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council (MEAC) is to bring outside experiences to inspire, advise, and improve the image and reputation of the School of Mechanical Engineering through professional and financial assistance, resulting in advancing the learning experiences of mechanical engineering students and supporting the organizational leadership to enhance the quality of teaching and research by mechanical engineering faculty, staff and students.
Allen Alley has been a successful entrepreneur, engineer and a general partner of one of the premier US venture capital firms. He is one of the few people who has invested in and co-founded companies that grew from startups to have public market capitalizations of more than $1 billion. His expertise spans software as a service, computer graphics and semiconductors.
Allen is hard to categorize. He is a republican who worked for a democratic governor. He drives a Smart Car and a Corvette. He loves cars but also walked 400 miles across Oregon in his campaign for Governor. He has extensive experience building global companies and is as comfortable eating tonkatsu in Tokyo, hotpot in Chengdu, ribs in Cincinnati or Taco Bell in Portland.
Allen currently hosts a political talk radio show on FM 101.1 KXL Portland, OR. He also is an active investor in startup companies ranging from high performance reaction and vision training to semiconductors and carbon fiber bikes.
The foundation of Allen’s career is a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue and product engineering at Ford and Boeing.
Angela was appointed to Vice President of Advanced Development, Global Kitchen & Bath Group in August 2020. Prior to her current role, Angela served as the Vice President of Engineering and New Product Development for Global Faucets at Kohler Company since June 2018. In this new role, Angela is responsible for leading the technical innovation and associated intellectual properties for electronics and smart home technology, water analysis and platform delivery, health care and wellbeing technology, and sustainability engineering for global advanced development for the Kitchen and Bath business unit, worldwide.
Angela joined Kohler Co. from General Motors Company, where she spent 23 years with the corporation, progressively earning leadership positions in design, engineering, test & development, and manufacturing. She previously served as Director – Global Design Operations, overseeing five business units, worldwide. She also held previous executive roles as the Head of Global Accessory Engineering, and Chief of Staff for Global Vehicle Electrification & Infotainment.
Angela serves on several professional boards and has received numerous awards, honoring her contribution to Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Angela received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University and her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. She also completed the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross Business School Executive Education Program as well as the Kohler Executive Leadership Program.
Chris Barman is currently the Vice President for Global Automotive Solutions at HCL Technologies. Her focus is on identifying and developing emerging solutions in the driver assistance, autonomy, connected and electrified transportation space as the industry transforms from vehicles to mobility devices. Previously, Chris was the Principal of New Shore, LLC, an advanced technology and strategic consulting firm which has provided services to technology firms, manufacturing enterprises and financial institutions.
In a prior role, Chris was the CTO of the Industrial Sector at Eaton, a diversified power management company. In this position she identified and evaluated new product development investments which enabled digitalization, adoption of intelligent products and software as a service technology. She also advanced innovation and leveraging of synergies in electrification across the sector on aircraft, passenger, commercial, and off-highway vehicles. Chris had a 23-year career at Chrysler, where she held roles such as the Vice President of Electrical and Electronics Engineering for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America and Vehicle Line Executive for programs such as the Jeep Cherokee and the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger platform.
She serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Science Center and is a member of the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council at Purdue University. She was previously a Board Member of Inforum. She earned a MBA from the University of Michigan, a MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oakland University and a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. Chris and her husband, Brian, live happily in west Michigan, have two college aged children and a lovable Airedale terrier.
Michael Baxter is the Senior Vice President, Product Development and General Manager, Bureau Solutions for Entrust, a global provider of identity and cyber security technologies. Previously he held the position of Vice President, Engineering and Operations for FSI International, a provider of semiconductor processing equipment. He also held leadership positions in new product development for the Solvay Group, both in Europe and the USA. His primary focus areas with Solvay were polymers and polymer processing for the automotive industry. Just prior to Solvay, he obtained his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. His doctoral research focused on flame stability in jet engine afterburners, work he performed with Professor A.H. Lefebvre. Before attending Purdue University, he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and spent time in the USAF as a chemical laser systems engineer developing high-power, space-based laser technology. He presently resides and works near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Mr. Carlson was born in Hibbing Minnesota. He grew up in Oregon and Ohio and graduated in 1963 from Rocky River High School in Rocky River Ohio. He graduated from Purdue in 1967 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of Pi Tau Sigma, the Mechanical Engineering honorary, and Phi Delta Theta social fraternity. Upon graduation from Purdue he attended The Ohio State University Law School. He completed his legal education at the University of Minnesota and William Mitchell Law School, graduating in 1971 with honors.
He then joined the firm now known as Merchant and Gould in Minneapolis. When he joined the firm had of six lawyers, all of whom specialized in the general practice of intellectual property law. He became a partner in 1975 and served on every management team until he became the Chairman and CEO in 1995. At that time the firm consisted of 80 lawyers.
After a 30 year career with Merchant and Gould, he formed the Carlson Caspers law firm in 2003. The firm has 30 lawyers and specializes exclusively in Intellectual property litigation, Mr. Carlson’s specialty. Mr. Carlson is the Chairman and CEO of his firm.
Mr. Carlson tries intellectual property cases to juries. He has tried copyright, contract interference with contract, libel patent, trademark, trade dress and trade secret cases, and won multimillion dollar jury verdicts in diverse technologies. He has represented Honeywell, 3M, General Mills, Pillsbury, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and every other large Minnesota company.
In 1991 he was named one of “Minnesota’s Winningest Trial lawyers,” and he has been listed in Best Lawyers in American every year from 1991 to the present. In 2003 he became the first patent attorney in Minnesota to be inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2009, he was named the Minnesota Lawyer Magazine “Attorney of the Year,” and in 2010 Best Lawyers publication named him “Lawyer of the year 2010, Intellectual Property Law-Minneapolis.”
Mr. Carlson and his wife, Susan, have two sons. They live in Wayzata, Minnesota, outside of Minneapolis, and spend their winters on a horse farm in the Palm Beach Florida area. Mr. Carlson still maintains a legal practice at his firm where he continues as Chairman and CEO.
Juan de Bedout
Juan is Vice President of Enterprise Engineering at Collins Aerospace, leading a team of over 2800 engineers across the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland and India. Enterprise Engineering is part of Collins Aerospace headquarters, and works closely with the engineering teams in the Company’s six business units. In this role, Juan is responsible for leading advanced technology planning and investment, driving the vitality of the Global Engineering Center teams, streamlining engineering supplier planning, and promoting continuous improvement throughout Collins’ businesses. Prior to joining United Technologies, Juan was with the General Electric Company where he most recently served as the Chief Technology Officer for GE’s Grid Solutions business. Juan lives with his wife Erika, his son Carlos and his daughter Josephine in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wayne A. Eckerle, Ph.D., is Vice President of Corporate Research and Technology at Cummins Inc., Columbus, IN, which he joined in 1989. He has progressed through the company, which has $13 billion in revenues, beginning as a technical advisor and continuing through various leadership roles, including Senior Technical Advisor – Fuel Systems Manufacturing, Chief Engineer of Fuel Systems Technology, Executive Director of Thermal and Fluid Sciences, Executive Engineer of Advanced Engineering and Executive Engineer of Research and Technology. Dr. Eckerle is recognized for his introduction of design and analysis tools for the new generation of diesel engines built by Cummins Inc., leading to reduced costs while allowing Cummins to surpass EPA performance standards on NOx emissions. Earlier in his career, he served as a faculty member (Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, ’86-’89) and consultant (United Technologies Research Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory), research engineer and adjunct faculty member at the University of Connecticut. He has received nine patents and published numerous articles on his work. He received the J. Irwin Miller Award of Excellence for combustion development breakthroughs to meet Tier 3 and 2004 emissions. Dr. Eckerle is a member of the External Advisory Board of the UConn Mechanical Engineering Department. He earned his M.S. degree from Purdue University.
Anthony Harris is president and CEO of Campbell/Harris Security Equipment Company (CSECO), a manufacturer of contraband, explosives, and “dirty bomb” detection equipment. Primary customers include the US State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and US Customs and Border Protection. CSECO products are also used by domestic and international law enforcement agencies.
Prior to acquiring CSECO Mr. Harris was vice president of marketing for Calpine Corporation headquartered in San Jose, California. There he was responsible for brand management, marketing strategy development and execution, new product development, advertising and sales training. Before Calpine, Mr. Harris was vice president of National Account Services and Western Region sales at PG&E Energy Services in San Francisco. He has also been vice president of marketing and sales for Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and president of Standard Pacific Gas Line, Inc.
CSECO is not Mr. Harris’ first encounter with entrepreneurship. He has been president and CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up venture, StyleChoice.com and has also been president and CEO of Sonoma Ford/Lincoln Mercury.
Mr. Harris is a founder of the National Society of Black Engineers and currently serves on its National Advisory Board. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and serves on the board of directors of the SF Jazz Center Foundation. Additionally he serves on the Advisory Committee for the school of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Mr. Harris also serves on the board of directors of Westport Fuel Systems (NASDAQ: WPRT) where he chairs the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
He earned his BS in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1975 and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1979. He was named a Purdue Outstanding Mechanical Engineer in 1999, and a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus in 2008. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Purdue in 2013.
Zara Larsen is a global industry operational executive and serial intrapreneur with diverse engineering, technology, and business systems integration know how, know what, and often most important, know who. She has extensive senior general management (CTO, GM, EVP, VP) and merger, acquisition, integration and turnaround experience with Fortune 100 automotive, industrial equipment, transportation and aerospace/defense companies. Zara has worked collaboratively in Europe, the UK, Pan-Asia, Mexico and across the US, most recently as EVP Global Head of Engineering based from Switzerland for a PE-backed manufacturer of consumer products. She is a mentor with a very big heart, and her favorite saying is “Keep your hand on the product, your eye on the process, and your heart with the people.” Active philanthropically in higher education, Zara was a live talk radio show host for many years. She and her husband, Ted, live in Washington DC and their young adult son and daughter are in the digital arts and product design space in LA and New York City, respectively. Zara has served on the MEAC since 1991 and is a former member of Purdue’s Board of Trustees. BSME Purdue 1979; MSME University of Michigan, MSMgmt Sloan Fellow, Stanford, and Doctor of Management, Case Western Reserve.
Ken Morris was named General Motors Vice President of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs in November 2019. In this role, Morris leads the global team of Executive Chief Engineers and Program Managers who oversee GM Autonomous and Electric Vehicle, Electric Drive, Battery, and Fuel Cell programs from inception to launch and beyond. Ken is also responsible for the initiatives associated with the commercialization of EVs and AVs as well as infrastructure improvements.
Previously, Morris was Vice President of Global Product Programs, leading the global team of Executive Chief Engineers and Program Managers who oversee conventional GM Vehicle, Engine, and Transmission programs as well as Performance Accessories. Prior to this role, Ken was the Vice President of Global Product Integrity, leading the organization that implements system integration and oversight across vehicle and propulsion systems to deliver vehicles with consistent safety and compliance performance.
Morris also served as Executive Director for Global Vehicle Performance of the Proving Grounds and Test Labs from 2006-2013. In this position, he led the teams that execute the crash performance, ride, handling, aerodynamics, fuel economy, noise, and vibration for GM. He also managed the GM Proving Grounds and testing facilities in the U.S., Korea, Germany, Brazil, Australia, China, and India. Additionally, Morris led the Knothole Ride process that increased performance consistency across GM’s vehicles.
Morris began his General Motors career in 1989 as a brake systems engineer and has held multiple engineering positions over the years. He was the Lead Development Engineer for the original CTS which marked Cadillac’s return to rear-wheel-drive vehicles. During this time, he pioneered GM North America’s usage of the famed Nürburgring in Germany for vehicle development. Morris has held GM’s highest driving certification since 1998 and has accumulated more than 1800 laps on the Nürburgring Nordschleife while leading the dynamic development of GM’s vehicles.
In January 2002, he was appointed Program Engineering Manager for the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V, where he led the engineering team that analyzed, designed, and developed the vehicle. Morris has stayed engaged with these performance vehicles to this day. His first executive assignment was as Director of Specialty Vehicles in 2005. Morris’ role expanded from developing specialty vehicles to leading the team that executes all performance parts and variants, such as the Camaro Z28 and ZL1 as well as the Cadillac V-series.
Before joining GM, Morris worked as a test engineer for Borg Warner Automotive Transmission Systems in Muncie, Ind. While there, he helped develop the Borg Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission that went on to be used in many GM vehicles such as the Corvette, Camaro, and CTS-V.
A native of Indiana, Morris graduated from Purdue University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He and his wife have two children.
A resident of Hollis, NH, Bill is a venture capitalist currently focused on many land development projects. After graduating from the Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering in 1980, his professional career, that started as a Navy nuclear engineer officer, has included several heavy industrial manufacturing leadership positions associated with ceramics, plastics, automotive power trains, unconventional machining processes, and solar energy. He is the author of the book Succeeding by Leading that focuses on effective leadership and industrial relations within the manufacturing environment. Bill is currently the Secretary on the board of directors associated with the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY, Chair of the Hollis Planning Board, alternate member of the Hollis Zoning Board of Adjustment, and a director for the Nashua River Watershed Association.
Dr. Ochoa is a Principal Engineer for the Biomedical Engineering practice at Exponent, Inc., a leading engineering and scientific consulting firm providing solutions to complex technical problems. Before becoming a consultant, Dr. Ochoa was Chief Technology Officer of Archus Orthopedics, Inc., a privately held development stage medical device company developing novel surgical devices for patients suffering from degenerative spine disease. Before that, Dr. Ochoa was Vice President, R&D, at DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson Company where he was responsible for for the joint reconstruction business.
Dr. Ochoa was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, and holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Cum Laude) from the University of Missouri-Rolla, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He has co-authored over 100 book chapters, peer-refereed journal articles and conference abstracts and has 13 U.S. patents to his name. He is a member of various professional societies and serves on advisory boards for various engineering schools. He is proud of the fact that all of his engineering contributions are directly related to the betterment of the human condition, the implicit goal for all engineers.
Throughout his career, Dr. Ochoa has endeavored to work on research projects related to biomedical technology. He hopes to be able to inspire engineers around him to always be concerned not just about engineering, but also about people, and to do whatever they can to support their profession. The fact that Biomedical Engineering requires a unique combination of technical excellence and respect for the human element of engineering was crucial to his decision to dedicate his career to helping people afflicted with debilitating conditions.
Jim is an accomplished business, operations, and execution leader with 40 years experience in the downstream energy sector. Jim retired from Shell Oil Company in 2019. He started with Shell as a plant support engineer straight out of Purdue before moving into operations management roles. He progressed to Refining Operations Superintendent then transitioning into refinery business management. Jim ended his career with Shell as Vice President of Business Management for the Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership (DPRLP), a joint venture between Shell Oil Company and P.M.I. North America S.A. de C.V. (a subsidiary of PEMEX).
Jim has extensive experience in strategy development, strategy implementation, and benefits realization holding positions such as strategy advisor, business opportunity manager, and business lead for a global ERP system implementation. Jim enhanced his manufacturing background with leadership roles in hydrocarbon supply and trading (Supply Operations Manager), commercial marketing (eCommerce Director), and technical IT systems (VP Programmes). Since retiring from Shell, Jim has stayed active engaging in both professional and volunteer consulting.
Jim received his BS Mechanical Engineering from Purdue (1980) and his MBA from University of Houston-Clear Lake (1983). He is currently on the board of Bay Area Turning Point, Inc., a non-profit advocating to end sexual and domestic violence. Jim additionally volunteers with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and ESCH (Executive Service Corps Houston) advising small businesses and non-profits in their improvement journeys. Jim and wife, Diane, split their time between Houston and Galveston and have two adult children, Catherine (Chicago, IL) and Michael (New Orleans, LA).
Melanie Petsch is the Lead Data Scientist, Regulation at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Prior to taking her current role in 2018, Melanie founded and ran Petsch Analytics, LLC, a research consultancy, for nine years. Other prestigious firms Melanie has worked for include Goldman, Sachs & Co., AllianceBernstein, and TIAA-CREF. Since 2010, Melanie has been an Adjunct Associate Professor at either Columbia’s School of International and Political Affairs or Columbia Business School. Her areas of expertise include analysis of truly big quote and trade data; quantitative financial research and data visualization; and regulation, market microstructure, trading, active equity portfolio management
Melanie studied in the finance Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. Melanie is on the Advisory Council of Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering and the board of the Society of Quantitative Analysts and has previously been a member of the Research Committee of the Q Group, a member of the Chicago Quantitative Alliance, and a Trustee for Woodbury College.
Melanie is widely published on financial topics, including "Beating Benchmarks," which won an award for "Outstanding Article" in the Journal of Portfolio Management and "Creating Shareholder Value," which was published as the lead article in the inaugural issue of The Journal of Risk Finance. Melanie has also written a book, Commodities as an Asset Class, and chapters of other books on commodities.
HONORS & AWARDS
2018 recipient of an Outstanding Mechanical Engineer award from Purdue University
2019 “Women Innovators in Finance” panelist for the International Association of Quantitative Finance
John Scholtes retired (2019) as Chief Engineer for Ford Motor Company’s Commercial Vehicles in North America where he was responsible for total product program management, including product leadership, quality, fuel economy, customer driven features, product innovation and financial management. John’s product portfolio included Transit, E-350/450, F-650/750 and F53/9 Commercial Stripped Chassis that are built into motorhomes and delivery step vans by third parties. He also led Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering activity that designs unique fleet customer options that are a condition of sale, resulting in Ford’s leadership in commercial vehicle sales.
Throughout his career, John operated with the mindset to “do what’s right for the customer.” A good example of this was John’s Special Vehicle Engineering team delivered a project to add wheelchair lifts to the internal employee shuttle fleet on the Dearborn campus, even though no budget was allocated. Wheelchair bound employees can now receive a ride between buildings in 15 minutes versus previously having to book 48 hours in advance with a third-party taxi service.
John grew up on a farm in Granger, Indiana and came to Purdue in 1978. He earned his bachelors of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1982 and a master of business administration in finance from the University of Detroit in 1985. His career with Ford Motor Company began in 1982 as an engineer in the Heavy Truck Engineering Office. He served in a variety of engineering, strategy, marketing/sales and general management positions with increasing responsibilities in Michigan, Indiana, California, Taiwan, England, Brasil, South Africa and China. Over the course of his career, John was instrumental in delivering a number of new product programs to market including, Transit (China), Transit Connect (Europe), EcoSport (Brasil), Ranger (global), Everest (China) and F-650/750 (global).
John has been happily married to Rebecca Jane Held (PU B.S. Management 1982) for 37+ years, they have four grown children and four grandchildren, are members of the John Purdue Club Presidents Council and Grosse Pointe Memorial Presbyterian Church, where John serves as a trustee. John also serves on the Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering Advisory Committee. In his spare time, John enjoys various outdoor activities – golfing, bicycling, camping, hunting and fishing – international travel, attending sporting events and cooking.
Ron Smith is the Product Manager for the C175 engine platform at Caterpillar, Inc in Lafayette, Indiana, with responsibility for the profitability of this product line. This engine is widely utilized in electric power generation for hospitals, data centers & communities, rail applications in passenger and freight locomotives as well as mining truck applications worldwide with power output ranging from 2 MW to over 4 MW. Ron spent the majority of his career in the Lafayette facility in roles of application engineer, engineering manager and Chief Engineer for the 3500 and C175 diesel engine platforms. He also worked in Aurora, IL and Decatur, IL during his 30 years with Caterpillar. Ron has represented Caterpillar as a subject matter expert and expert witness in several legal cases.
Ron grew up primarily in the northeast side of Indianapolis, but spent 2 years in El Paso, TX as a child. During his time at Purdue from 1983 - 1989, Ron was a co-op and GM scholar at Allison Gas Turbine in Indianapolis, IN. He was involved in the jazz band, handbell choir and The Navigators, a non-denominational Christian organization. Ron married his high school sweetheart, Jill, (PU BS Industrial Engineering) in 1989 while he was finishing graduate school. They have 4 wonderful children and 2 grandchildren that they love dearly. Ron loves to spend time on a lake, build & fly radio control sailplanes and spend time with his family. He has served on the elder board of his church, done pre-marital counseling, played keyboard leading worship and led various committees. He has also taken several trips to Vietnam to lecture on leadership topics.
One of Ron’s key strengths is his ability to make things better. He has applied this strength to developing new engines to bring to the market at Caterpillar. He also has applied this to organizations in which he has been a member or leader.
David Tiley joined Align Capital Partners in 2020. He is the Senior Operating Partner responsible for building the operating team to work with the portfolio companies. He works across the investment team and portfolio company management on growth initiatives and operational priorities.
Prior to joining ACP, David was a Senior Operating Partner and Operating Partner at The Riverside Company. During his 11 years at Riverside, David and his team helped implement an improved operating rhythm and updated the operating partner profile. As a Senior Operating Partner and Operating Partner, David served as Chairman of the Board for multiple companies and was responsible for building out the operating team to capitalize on opportunities.
Prior to Riverside, David served as Senior Vice President of Global Services at Celestica, Inc., a Canadian electronics manufacturing services company, where he built and scaled multiple new service offerings to change the value proposition of the business. Prior to Celestica, David founded three start-up companies — Alventive Inc., Visionary Design Systems (VDS), and IronCAD. Under David’s leadership, VDS made #58 on Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Private Companies and IronCAD received numerous product innovation awards for its computer-aided design platform. David started his career with Hewlett-Packard, Inc. in sales and sales management.
Outside of work, David enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids. In his free time, David serves on the Board of Trustees for Restore Addiction Recovery, a faith-based addiction treatment and recovery program founded in 2017 to respond to the growing crisis of substance abuse in Ohio. David has been active locally and nationally in Young Life and has been a high school football coach on and off for 10 years.
Brad Tolley is the senior vice president, Europe & Asia and Strategy for Shiloh Industries. He is responsible for the company’s activities in Europe and Asia, along with corporate strategy. Brad began his automotive career in 1994 in various engineering and operations roles with Ford Motor Company. He holds an MBA from Oakland University with a focus on marketing and economics, and a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. He and his wife, Julie, reside in Northville, Michigan.
Bill graduated from Purdue Mechanical Engineering in 1974 and has chaired the MEAC for now 5 ME heads. He had a 35 year career with Dupont in many roles before retiring as president of Dupont Canada. He currently does business and leadership consulting and serves on several public, private equity, and not for profit boards of directors. He is married to Colleen and lives in Palm Coast Florida.