University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


Industrial Engineering Department Holds Annual Awards Banquet


Erin D. McKenzie
Dean Joseph Tedesco, Darshan Singh (1971 MSIE) and Hamid Parsaei, professor and chair of industrial engineering, at the Department of Industrial Engineering Awards Banquet. Photo by Gregory Bohuslav.
Dean Joseph Tedesco, Darshan Singh (1971 MSIE) and Hamid Parsaei, professor and chair of industrial engineering, at the Department of Industrial Engineering Awards Banquet. Photo by Gregory Bohuslav.

Four industrial engineering alumni were recognized April 24 with one of the department’s highest honors during their annual awards banquet.

Salah Turkmani, Patrick O’ Connor, Rex Walheim and Darshan Singh were each presented with the 2008 Academy of Distinguished Alumni Awards.

“The selection criteria was based on the individual’s personal and professional dedication and achievements in the industrial engineering field and discipline throughout their career,” said Hamid R. Parsaei, industrial engineering professor and department chairman, of the alumni chosen for the award.

Turkmani (1977 BSChBE, 1978 MSIE, MSChBE) started The Mega Company, an export company specializing in both construction and construction material, shortly after graduating from UH. He has spent the last 18 years in Romania, where the company was selected by the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest as one of the most successful companies doing business in Romania.

Singh (1971 MSIE) came off a 20-year stint with Vetco Gray – where he managed a $15 million plant expansion, doubled production in three years as the company’s plant manager and led a technology upgrade that provided a single engineering system worldwide – before accepting his current position as Chief Information Officer for the Wood Group.

O’Connor (1981 BSIE) is the president of the 300-person Houston tax reduction firm, O’Connor & Associates. Last year, the firm filed more than 120,000 protests of assessed value on clients’ behalf. He is also a published author and hosts a weekly radio show on 740 AM KTRH, which provides solutions for reducing property taxes.

Walheim (1989 MSIE) is a NASA astronaut who has traveled to the International Space Station as a member of the Atlantis (STS-122) flight. The STS-122 mission was his second flight into space. He was also a member of the STS-110 mission to the space station in 2002.

Though O’Connor and Walheim were unable to attend the event, they will be formally presented with their awards in June.

The alumni as well as students and friends of the department were honored at the event, held at the University of Houston Hilton. Close to 150 people attended the banquet organized by the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science and Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society.

In addition to the distinguished alumni awards several other awards and scholarships were given at the event.


2008 Honorees
IE Legacy Award
Brij and Sunita Agrawal
Hari and Anjali Agrawal
Sam Scharff Scholarship
Mariluna Hernandez
Ha Duy Vo
Best Student Paper
Hande Sahin
Chair’s Leadership Award
Faizan Khan
Outstanding Service Award
Betty Garrett
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award Faizan Khan
Outstanding Teacher Award
Tiravat Assavapokee, Ph.D.
IE Appreciation Award
Larry C. Witte, Ph.D.
Hari and Anjali Faculty Fellow Award
Gino Lim, Ph.D.
Piping Technology Scholarship
Maria Martinez
Zaid Amin Amin
Durga & Sushila Agrawal Scholarship
Alidad Kharrazizadeh
Denise C. Lanza
Virdiana Tabatha Chavez
Jessica Anne Abbas
Teresa M. Igo
Kashif Jamal Solaija



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