UH EAA Honors Distinguished Alumni, Faculty


Esmeralda Fisher

The 2013 UH Cullen College of Engineering Alumni Awards Gala will be held at the Petroleum Club of Houston on Thursday, June 13, 2013. The annual event, hosted by the Engineering Alumni Association, recognizes the professional achievements and contributions of college alumni and faculty. This year's honorees are:

Lifetime Achievement Award
R. Larry Snider (BSIE ’55) began his career at Sheffield Steel Corp., leaving for active duty with the U.S. Army Armored Engineers and serving in the Army Reserve until his honorable discharge as Captain. He joined Kaiser Steel in California as Senior Operations Engineer. He then joined Arthur Young in Los Angeles as its first non-CPA business consultant. After two years, Larry was recruited by Booz Allen & Hamilton, and became the firm's youngest vice president/partner. He then joined Peat Marwick & Mitchell as a direct entry partner. Larry has also served at Sterling Electronics as president, chief operating officer, and director; RAPOCA Energy in Cincinnati as president and CEO; Coopers and Lybrand in Houston as managing consulting partner; and Korn Ferry International as the southwest managing director and senior partner. Upon his retirement in 1995 Larry established RLS Professional Services LLC. Larry received the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 1991 and Distinguished Alumni Award from the UH department of Industrial Engineering in 2006. He and his wife Gerri are members of Cullen College Bridge Builder Society and provide three annual scholarships to Cullen College students.

Distinguished Engineering Alumnus
Mark L. Loethen, P.E. (BSCE ‘81, MBA ‘04) is Deputy Director for the Public Works and Engineering Department at the City of Houston, responsible for the Planning & Development Services Division which includes over 500 city employees responsible for building code enforcement, real estate acquisitions, public infrastructure planning and city engineer functions. He joined the City of Houston in 2004 as City Engineer. Mark began his engineering career with Jones & Carter, Inc. as a project engineer. He worked in Phoenix, Arizona with Michael Baker, Inc. providing engineering support on Arizona highway projects and floodplain mapping. Mark served as a project engineer for the California firm of J.F. Davidson & Associates, designing highway projects for Caltrans. In 1990, Mark returned to Houston as a senior project manager with Pate Engineers, Inc. Mark has served as president of the Engineering Alumni Association, as a board member for the Houston Alumni Association and was a long-term member of the College of Engineering Golf Tournament committee. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas and Arizona. He represents the City of Houston by serving on the Technical Advisory Committee for Transportation Policy and the Natural Resources Advisory Committee with the Houston-Galveston Area Council. Mark is a prior recipient of the Leadership Service Award and the Young Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from the Engineering Alumni Association. He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston in 1981; a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1983; and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston in 2004.

Distinguished Engineering Alumnus
Christopher Rhine, P.E. (BSEE '69) joined Brown & Root, Inc. (now KBR) in 1969, immediately upon receipt of his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. During his almost 44-year career with KBR, he held a variety of engineering and management positions while residing both within the United States and internationally. Chris’ career focused on customers within the oil and gas, gas processing, petroleum and chemical, syngas, forest products, minerals and mining, infrastructure, pipeline, and manufacturing industries. He managed, supervised and participated in the preparation of proposals, contract negotiations, engineering design, planning and scheduling, construction, testing and commissioning, and start-up for capital projects and project/program development. Chris led strategic and tactical planning, merger, acquisition and divesting initiatives for existing and new businesses. At the time of his retirement at the end of 2012, Chris was Senior Vice President for Operations, during which time he was responsible for up to 9000 technical and professional home office employees in 20 offices dispersed over six continents. Chris actively served on the Dean’s Engineering Advisory Board at the Cullen College of Engineering. He and his wife Sandy are both Life Members in the UH Alumni Association and are regular contributors to the University’s Annual Fund and the Alumni Association. They have also endowed the Chris & Sandy Rhine scholarship. Chris and Sandy have two married sons and four grandchildren.

Distinguished Young Engineering Alumnus
Randall L. Collum, Jr., P.E. (BSChE ’01, MPE ’04) is the Managing Director of Supply Side Analytics for Genscape, Inc., a global provider of fundamental energy data and analytics. Randall was formerly the founder and CEO of Spring Rock Production, LLC, a North American oil and gas production forecasting company, which was acquired by Genscape in April 2012. Prior to Spring Rock, Randall was Vice President, Strategic Analysis at Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc., leading fundamental analysis of North American natural gas supply for Merrill Lynch’s commodity trading platform. Before MLCI, Randall held several roles within BP North America, including time as a Production and Reservoir Engineer, Strategy Coordinator, and Operations Team Leader. Randall’s extensive leadership experience began at the University of Houston, where he was President of the UH chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), President of the UH chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon (Chem. Eng. Honor Society), and, in 2002, an inaugural member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Emerging Leaders Program. Randall received a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Houston, where he was distinguished as the 2001 UH Senior Chemical Engineer of the Year and was also a member of the Cougar baseball team. He and his wife, Elizabeth, haver three children, Lexie, Randall III (“Tripp”), and Brooks. 

Abraham E. Dukler Distinguished Engineering Faculty
Cumaraswamy (Vipu) Vipulanandan, Ph.D., P.E. is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Houston. He is the director of the Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) and the Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology (THC-IT) at UH. He was the department chairman from 2001 to 2009. Vipu received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University. His research interests are in onshore and offshore pipelines, foundations, grouting technology, smart cementing and drilling fluid materials, nanotechnology, biosurfactants and contaminated soil treatment. He has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for 75 funded projects since 1984, amounting to over $11.5 million. His work has resulted in more than 200 refereed papers and over 130 presentations at national and international conferences. He has graduated over 20 Ph.D. and 60 M.S. students during the past 29 years. He was selected as the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in 2011 by the underground infrastructure industry. His work has greatly impacted the underground industry, and he has received an award by the Underground Construction Technology Association (UCTA) and Underground Construction Magazine. He was the editor of eight ASCE and ACI special publications. In 2005, he received the Fluor Daniel Faculty Excellence Award. He was elected to the Executive Committee of the U.S. Civil Engineering Department Head Council for four years.

Entrepreneur/Innovation Award
Venkat (Selva) Selvamanickam, Ph.D. (MSME '88, Ph.D. '92) is the M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston and the director of the Applied Research Hub of the Texas Center for Superconductivity. Prior to joining UH, he was the vice president and chief technology officer of SuperPower. He received an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering, both from UH. Selva created and led SuperPower’s thin film-based second-generation High Temperature Superconductor (HTS) program, leading the company to multiple world records, including the manufacturing and delivery of 2G superconductor wire which culminated in the first superconducting power transmission cable installed in the electric power grid in National Grid’s utility line. Since returning to UH, he created a joint HTS wire development program with SuperPower which has been ranked #1 in 2009 and 2010 DOE Annual Peer reviews. Selva has authored 52 issued patents, 13 pending U.S. patents and over 80 pending international patents. He has published 190 papers including the most-cited paper in superconductivity. He was named as the 2005 Superconductor Industry Person of the Year and a Forty under Forty Business Leader in the Capital District of New York. He and his team, along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, won R&D 100 awards in 2006, 2010 and 2012. In 2007, he and his team won two national Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards, one with Los Alamos National Laboratory and one with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He received the 2009 Wire and Cable Technology International Award. 

Roger Eichhorn Service Award
Cynthia Oliver Coleman, P.E. (BSChE ’71) is a retired ExxonMobil Chemical Engineer who believes in giving back via volunteerism. In 1967 when Cynthia entered the University of Houston (UH) as a chemical engineering freshman, she was the only woman in her class. Even though she had doubts, she persevered and graduated magna cum laude with a 1971 Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. In doing so, she became first in her family to graduate college and the first African-American woman to receive a UH chemical engineering degree. Her desire to help others pursue engineering became a lifelong passion. During her 33-year ExxonMobil career she held positions in gas engineering, reservoir engineering, engineering applications, engineering recruiting, and engineering information systems before her 2004 retirement. Cynthia has devoted much of her time and resources in leadership service to UH Cullen College of Engineering and UH Engineering Alumni Association (UH EAA). As Exxon Minority Engineering Scholarship Program Coordinator, she has helped Cullen College students receive scholarships and internships for which she served as primary mentor. Every year during her seven years on UH EAA Board, she has served as officer (Treasurer, President-Elect, President, Immediate Past President) and committee chair (Engineers Week, Scholarship). She is Founder and Chair of the UH EAA Engineers Week event that has generated a 9-year total of $268,000 in cash awards to 408 Cullen College students and organizations. UH Alumni Association recognized her with its 2007 Outstanding Volunteer Award.  Per the college’s Women in Engineering activities, she participates as speaker, mentor, counselor, and sponsor who has provided $37,000. Also, she is active on the college’s Petroleum Engineering Advisory Board. Cynthia is married to UH alumnus Leonard J. Coleman, and they are proud parents of UH alumna daughter Kelly.


Department/Academic Programs: 

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