The 2016 UH Cullen College of Engineering Alumni Awards Gala will be held at the Hilton Americas Houston on Thursday, June 9, 2016. The annual event, hosted by the Engineering Alumni Association, celebrates the professional achievements and contributions of college alumni and faculty. Learn more about this year’s honorees below!
Lifetime Achievement – Odis Cobb
John Odis Cobb, P.E., (BSCE ’71, MSCE ‘79) graduated from the University of Houston in 1971 and in 1979 with a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering. While earning his undergraduate degree, he participated in the Co-Operative Education Program at the Texas Department of Transportation.
Several years after graduating, Cobb became registered in the State of Texas as a Licensed Professional Engineer and licensed as a Registered Professional Land Surveyor. In 1980, he and fellow UH alumnus, Bill Fendley, established the Houston-based civil engineering and land surveying firm Cobb, Fendley & Associates, Inc. Cobb retired from the company in 2013.
Cobb has been active in a number of professional engineering organizations. He served as president of the Houston Engineering & Scientific Society and a director on the board for the Houston Council of Engineering Companies. In 2010, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Coastal Water Authority by Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker.
Cobb has been involved with the University of Houston as a committee member for the Cullen College’s annual golf tournament, a member of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering advisory board, chairman for the Telecommunications Engineering Advisory Board and a member of the Dean’s Engineering Leadership Board. In 1999, he was honored with the UH Engineering Alumni Association’s Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award and in 2012 he was elected to the Academy of Distinguished Civil and Environmental Engineers.
Over a 10-year period, Cobb and Fendley established various endowments at the University of Houston, including the Cobb Fendley Scholarship Endowment in Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Cobb Fendley Scholarship Endowment in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Cobb Fendley Excellence Endowment Fund and the Cobb Fendley Engineering Building Endowment Fund. Cobb and Fendley were also instrumental in the establishment of the Charles J. Tamborello Memorial Scholarship Endowment in honor of their close friend, Mr. C.J. Tamborello, P.E.
Cobb and his wife, Barbara, who met during their freshman English class at UH, were married in 1969. They have two sons, Jonathan and Nicholas, and four grandchildren.
Distinguished Alumni – Dale Rudick
Dale A. Rudick, P.E., (BSCE ’91) was appointed as the director of the Department of Public Works and Engineering for the City of Houston on Aug. 20, 2014. As the director, he is responsible for overseeing services to Houston citizens through the planning, operation, maintenance, construction management and technical engineering of the city's public infrastructure. The department’s responsibilities include operation and maintenance of the city’s streets and drainage, production and distribution of water, collection and treatment of wastewater, and permitting and regulation of public and private construction. The department is staffed with a trained workforce of over 3,700 employees and operates with an annual budget of nearly $2 billion.
Rudick has an extensive background in municipal government. He worked for the City of Sugar Land for more than 18 years while the population nearly tripled. He served as City Engineer until 2006. Then, from 2006 to 2011, he formed and built an Intergovernmental Relations Department where he worked directly with local, state and federal elected officials on regional issues. His efforts in Austin and Washington, D.C. included matters such as securing additional capital funding, gaining representation on a local Water Authority and – for the first time in Texas history – closing a state prison. He was hired by Mayor Annise Parker in September of 2011 as the ReBuild Houston Executive and served as Deputy Director of Public Works and Engineering. Prior to his public sector service, he worked for a road and bridge contractor in Houston.
Rudick came to Houston in 1987 and is a proud University of Houston graduate with a degree in civil engineering from the Cullen College. He also has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He resides in Houston and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.
Distinguished Alumni - Terrance “Terri” Ivers
Terrance (Terri) Ivers, P.E., (BSME ’80) has worked for a number of world-renowned engineering and construction companies and has over 35 years of extensive international project and business management experience in the global energy sector.
Ivers began his career at Brown & Root, where he developed a comprehensive and extensive knowledge of the oil and gas industry during his 27 years with the company. He retired in 2004 as KBR Officer and Vice President of Global Offshore Engineering. From 2004 to 2007, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Alliance Wood Group Engineering; from 2007 to 2011, he served as President of AMEC Paragon, Inc. and was responsible for Natural Resources Americas’ oil and gas operations; and, from 2011 to 2013, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Oil and Gas, Compression and Solutions Business Unit for Siemens. In this role, Terri was responsible for global compression manufacturing and oil and gas business solutions from hubs in Germany, Norway, Singapore, Brazil, China, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Most recently, Ivers was a member of the executive leadership team of SNC-Lavalin’s Resources, Environment & Water group. As the Executive Vice President of the group, he was responsible for leading oil and gas regional centers around the world and providing perspective on the company’s strategic vision, development and execution. His drive and business acumen strengthened business growth, particularly in the Middle East and new markets, and his unwavering commitment to safety, teamwork, technical and commercial excellence, ethical practices and integrity were critical to his success. Ivers departed SNC-Lavalin in August of 2015 after the successful integration of Kentz Oil & Gas, which the company acquired in 2014.
In addition to his strong client focus, Ivers has a deep commitment to his community and to engineering education. He was formerly the chairman of the Cullen College’s Engineering Leadership Board (ELB) and continues to serve as an active member of the board. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Cullen College of Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.
This year, Ivers and his wife Mary, both lifetime Houstonians, celebrate 35 years of marriage. Mary, who received her degree in political science, is also a University of Houston alumna. Both Ivers and his wife are proud UH Alumni Life Members. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. The couple’s shared passions are travel and family, and they can often be found on the golf course together.
Distinguished Young Alumni – Morena G. Arredondo
Morena G. Arredondo, P.E. (BSCE ’07) is a native Houstonian and a proud first generation college graduate.
She enrolled at the University of Houston after graduating from the Houston Community College System with an Associate Degree in Science. Upon earning her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Cullen College, she began her career with RPS Klotz Associates, a leading provider of civil engineering consultant services in Texas.
During her time at RPS Klotz Associates, Arredondo took on various roles, earned several promotions and received three Star Awards for outstanding performance in the workplace. Most recently, she was promoted to the role of project manager. She was also recently named as an associate, a title awarded to employees who add value to the company through exceptional performance and are instrumental to the long-term success of the firm.
Arredondo is personally committed to giving back to the local community and volunteers with organizations that provide educational outreach to future and current engineers. As a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Houston Professional Chapter, she has served on the chapter’s executive board as treasurer, community outreach coordinator and communications director for the SHPE Region 5 Leadership Team. She has also coordinated various events at local elementary, middle and high schools to promote STEM education.
At the Cullen College, Arredondo recently shared her experience as a female engineer with female high school students at the G.R.A.D.E. Camp Luncheon. She has also recruited UH graduates for RPS Klotz Associates at on-campus career fairs and helped sponsor scholarships during the annual UH EAA Engineers Week (E-Week) program for students from various engineering disciplines.
In 2015, Arredondo received the Emerging Leaders in Energy Award from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HHCC) and LATINA Style magazine. In 2014, she was recognized by SHPE as the Young Engineer of the Year and was selected by the Greater HHCC Foundation for the Emerging Leaders Institute in 2013, where she was honored as one of Houston’s Young Professional Future Leaders. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas and a graduate of the National Hispanic Professional Organization (NHPO) Leadership Institute, an organization that identifies, develops and empowers emerging leaders.
Entrepreneur/Innovation Award - Jainesh “Jay” Mehta
Jay Mehta (BSME ’83) is a graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also has a Master of Business Administration from Rice University.
After graduating from the Cullen College, Mehta began his career in the oil and gas service industry and founded Case Services. Under his leadership, Case Services became an industry leader in the petroleum production and automation sector. Today, the company’s products monitor the operation of the majority of producing onshore oil wells in the United States. Case Services was acquired by Weatherford International and Mehta subsequently served as product line vice president for four years.
As a director of the Mehta Family Foundation, Mehta oversees the Foundation’s giving in the areas of education and healthcare in Houston and India. In Houston, the foundation supports Depelchin, Ronald McDonald House, Bo's Place, Methodist Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Kinkaid School, among others. The Foundation also supports several educational organizations in India, such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) system and Manav Sadhna, a Mahatama Gandhi Ashram institution in Ahmadabad, India. The Manav Sadhna institute addresses the educational, spiritual, lodging and boarding needs of orphaned and underprivileged children in the surrounding communities.
Mehta also serves on the Engineering Leadership Board at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering and on the Board of the Kinkaid School. In addition to his work with the foundation, you may find him teaching Sunday school at the Jain Center of Houston. There, he is the founder of and teacher for an adult Jain educational program.
Mehta lives in Houston with his wife, Mamta, and two daughters, Jinal and Jeel.
Dukler Distinguished Faculty – Venkat Selvamanickam
Venkat Selvamanickam, Ph.D. (MSME ’88, Ph.D. ME ’92) is an M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, the director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity Applied Research Hub and the founder of the industry-led consortium Advanced Superconductor Manufacturing Institute.
A renowned technologist in the field of superconducting materials, Selvamanickam has been instrumental in the manufacturing and commercialization of thin film superconductor wires. He has pioneered work in the development and manufacturing of thin film superconductor wires that provide several hundred times the current-carrying capacity of comparable copper wires and has led the world’ first demonstration of a thin film superconductor device in the power grid.
Before joining the faculty at the Cullen College of Engineering, he was the chief technology officer of SuperPower Inc., a former subsidiary of Philips Electronics. Under his leadership, the company established several world records, including highest wire performance over several length scales and longest thin film superconductor wire ever made.
During his seven-year tenure as a professor at the Cullen College, Selvamanickam has mentored 32 graduate students and nine undergraduate students. He also successfully led the University of Houston’s ARPA-E-funded program to achieve a four-fold improvement in in-field performance of superconductor wires for wind generator applications.
Selvamanickam has published over 200 papers, holds 80 issued patents and has several additional pending patents. He is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the White House, which is the highest award given to scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. He has also received the Superconductor Industry Person of the Year Award, Wire and Cable Technology International Award, the IEEE Dr. James Wong Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity Materials Technology and three R&D 100 awards. In 2014, he was inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Inventors.