University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


24th Annual Crawfish Boil Raises Scholarship Funds for Engineering Students


Lindsay Lewis
24th Annual Crawfish Boil Raises Scholarship Funds for Engineering Students
UH engineering alumnus Tom Tilton (center) receives the Outstanding Achievement in the Oil Industry Award at the 24th Annual ASME/UH Crawfish Boil. L-R: Benton Baugh, founder of the event and President of Radoil; Cullen College Dean Joseph Tedesco; Subsea Engineering Program Director Matthew Franchek; Tilton, Vice President of Research and Chief Technology Officer, Weatherford International; Diane Ashen, event chair and President of Ashen and Associates;Joe Jordan, Vice President of Global Completions, Weatherford International; and David Brunnert, Vice President of Drilling Tools & Intervention Services, Weatherford International.

The 24th Annual ASME/UH Crawfish Boil raised significant funds to support University of Houston mechanical engineering students. Held each year as the kickoff event leading into the Offshore Technology Conference, the crawfish boil continues to draw thousands of attendees. According to Diane Ashen, president of Ashen and Associates and chair of the crawfish boil, this year's event was record-breaking.

"The crawfish boil was our biggest one yet in 24 years," she said. More than 8,000 tickets were pre-sold for the April 29 event, which attracted industry professionals from around the greater Houston area.

The event was founded in 1988 by UH engineering alumnus Benton Baugh (BSME '67), who has worked with Ashen over the years to expand it into one of the largest crawfish boils in the state. This year, the crowd devoured more than 20,000 pounds of crawfish and consumed some 60 kegs of beer while enjoying Steven Chadwick Brown Band. Preparing for such an event takes months of coordination for the surprisingly small committee.

"Our committee is only 10 people and I am very proud of each one of them for their dedication to this charity event to perpetuate our industry with new engineers from the Cullen College, " Ashen said. "Last year a young engineering student came up to me and told me that the scholarship she received from our Crawfish Boil was the only way she could continue on to graduation. I told her she is the reason we do this."

In total, the event is expected to net more than $60,000 for UH engineering scholarships, contributing to a 24-year total of more than $1.5 million. This year, the committee awarded scholarships to seven UH mechanical engineering students. Remarkably, two of these students received internships immediately following their introductions to the crowd.

The crawfish committee also awarded the annual Outstanding Achievement in the Oil Industry Award, commonly known as the Titanium Award. This year, UH engineering alumnus Tom Tilton (BSME '76) received the prestigious honor. Tilton is the vice president for research and chief technology officer for Weatherford International, a Swiss-based international oil and gas service company. He holds 29 patents for new technology in drilling, well construction and production. Tilton is a member of ITF (a global technology facilitator company based in the U.K.), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and is a member of the Engineering Leadership Board for the UH Cullen College of Engineering.