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Distinguished Alumni

We are proud of our alumni award winners.

The Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award was established by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University in 1966 to honor engineering graduates who have been recognized for outstanding achievement. Nominations for this prestigious award come from members of the engineering faculty, and a vote by faculty representatives determines the award’s recipients.

Below is the original citation for each of the awardees:

Deborah Bell Young, BSCE 1977

Awarded in 2023

Young was one of the first Black women to receive a B.S. in civil engineering from N.C. State (1977) and to earn an M.S. in civil engineering-environmental engineering from the University of Pittsburgh (1980). She received an MBA from Fuqua, Duke University in 1997. Young retired as the Global Health, Safety, and Environmental Capital director for Honeywell International Inc., (AlliedSignal) in 2015. Debbie worked at Honeywell for nearly 35 years in various leadership roles. She was a charter member and president of NC State’s Society of Women Engineers and a charter member of NC State’s Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Mu Omicron chapter. Young has been involved in several organizations including the Richmond Minorities in Engineering Partnership, The Links, Incorporated, and the N.C. State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors. She has held numerous roles in the Episcopal church, including vestry wardens and Diocese leadership. Debbie is a loyal contributor to CCEE, including the endowment of the Deborah Bell and Gary Young Scholarship, the CCEE Enhancement Fund, and the Fitts- Woolard Hall Building.

Dan Pleasant, BSCE 1972, MCE 1973

Awarded in 2022

Dan Pleasant, PE, earned his BSCE in 1972 and MCE in 1973. He has worked at Dewberry for more than 40 years, beginning as manager of a startup office in Danville, Virginia, and ultimately serving as Dewberry’s chief operating officer for 12 years. Though he now is working a limited schedule, he continues to guide critical initiatives for Dewberry, including championing its corporate acquisition program. Pleasant has also managed the acquisition of seven companies for Dewberry, including the 2021 acquisitions of two engineering firms in the Southeast and the 2019 acquisition of an engineering firm based in California. Pleasant also continues to be very active with Dewberry’s clients, serving as an executive client manager for several strategic clients. He has also held the roles of president of Dewberry Engineers Inc., a division of more than 1,800 employees, and president of Dewberry’s Southeast division. Under his leadership, he has successfully directed numerous complex planning and design assignments requiring the coordinated effort of professionals with a range of disciplinary expertise. Such assignments include serving in executive management roles for public and private sector clients for multimillion-dollar capital programs.

Pleasant has been active in numerous local, regional, and state organizations, including serving as a board member and chair of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, as a member of the CCEE advisory board, as a director for the publicly traded American National Bank and Trust Company, and on the board of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Pamela B. Townsend, CE 1987

Awarded in 2016

This distinguished graduate earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1984 and her master’s degree in civil engineering in 1987 from North Carolina State University. She is the senior vice president for WSP/ Parsons Brinckerhoff, a world-leading engineering and professional services firm, and worked previously for Dewberry and AECOM. Her efforts to help the state of North Carolina can be seen in her service on the leadership team for the development of the STEM WAKE/NC State High School focusing on NAE Grand Challenges and her help in bringing the NC Future City outreach competition to North Carolina. Townsend is a strong advocate for NC State who has served on the Civil Engineering Advisory Board and the NC State Engineering Foundation Board and previously chaired the Paul Zia Lecture committee.

Michael W. Creed, CE 1973

Awarded in 2015

Dr. Michael W. Creed earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1973 and his master’s degree in engineering in 1984 from NC State. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in urban planning from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2010. Creed is a co-founder of McKim & Creed, an engineering, planning, and surveying firm. He has retired from his position as CEO of the company but continues to serve as chairman of the board. Creed and his company have provided vital financial support for NC State and the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE), including funds to provide internship opportunities for NC State students at McKim & Creed.

He was one of the original members of the CCEE advisory board and served three years as chair of the department’s Zia Distinguished Lecture Series. He has served as a guest lecturer in CCEE and has given time volunteering with student organizations.

Stephen F. Angel, CE 1977

Awarded in 2012

This distinguished graduate earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University in 1977. Since 2007, he has been chairman, president, and chief executive officer at Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 250 producer and distributor of atmospheric, process, and specialty gases and high-performance surface coatings. The company is the largest to be led by a College alumnus. Angel joined Praxair in 2001 as executive vice president responsible for the company’s businesses in North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as its healthcare business. His work in the business community includes serving on the Boards of Directors of the US-China Business Council and PPG Industries.

Students have benefited from Angel’s commitment to NC State through his numerous on-campus speaking engagements, including the College of Engineering Welcome address and the Progress Energy Distinguished Lecture. He has generously supported the College, endowing with his wife, Lori, the Robert F. and Romaine S. Angel Scholarship, which generates income for students equivalent to full tuition and fees. He also provides annual support through the Dean’s Circle and has led strategic engagement efforts between Praxair and the College.

Jimmy D. Clark, CE 1974

Awarded in 2012

This distinguished graduate earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University in 1974. Clark is a registered professional engineer and owner and president of Guy M. Turner, Inc., a rigging, millwright, heavy transportation, and crane services company headquartered in Greensboro, NC. Once a small rigging operation, Clark transformed the business into a diversified company with 12 offices in the United States and Canada.

A generous supporter of NC State, Clark established the Jimmy D. Clark Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering in 2007. He and his wife, Vickie, also support the College’s Leadership Fund and Dean’s Circle, the Alumni Association’s Caldwell Scholarship program, the Chancellor’s Residence, and the Wolfpack Club. Clark serves on the university’s Board of Trustees, the Engineering Foundation Board of Directors, and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He previously served as chair of the university’s Board of Visitors, chair of the NC State Magazine Advisory Board, and as a member of the Park Scholars Selection Committee. He is also an honorary lifetime member of the NC State Alumni Association and the Walter Hines Page Society.

B.D. Rodgers, CE 1949

Awarded in 2009

This distinguished graduate earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1949 from North Carolina State University. Beginning in 1963 with one truck, a superintendent, and $5,000 borrowed from his life insurance policy, he built a highly successful construction company, Rodgers Builders, Inc., that was named the 2007 Carolinas AGC “Best of the Best in the Carolinas Construction Industry.

Rodgers is a leader in his business, his community, and his state and has been a longstanding board member for numerous academic institutions and non-profit organizations. He is a recipient of the Golden Hammer Award from the Professional Construction Estimators Association, the 1999 Lucille P. Giles Award from Florence Crittenton Services, and the 2000 Executive of the Year Award from the Construction Financial Managers Association.

He is a generous supporter of NC State and the College of Engineering, endowing the B.D. and Patricia Rodgers Scholarship and the Rodgers Builders Student Travel Fund for the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. He is a member of the NC State Leonidas Lafayette Polk Society.

Raymond A. Bryan Jr., CE 1953

Awarded in 2007

Ray Bryan received his bachelor’s degree in construction from North Carolina State University in 1953. A Korean War veteran, he served in the U.S. Army from 1954-55. He is chairman of T. A. Loving Company, known for its beautiful construction projects on NC State University’s campus, including the Park Alumni Center and the Wendell H. Murphy Football Center.

In addition to running a successful business, Bryan has a long history of dedication to education, having served on the Board of Trustees for Campbell University and the Board of Trustees for the Independent College Fund of North Carolina. He is a past president of the Wolfpack Club, a past College of Engineering Dean’s Cabinet member, a former director of the NC State Engineering Foundation Board, a lifetime Alumni Association member, and a Peele Lifetime Giving Society member. He has served as president of the Wayne County Boys and Girls Club, and he was named a James E. West Fellow for his contributions to the Boy Scouts. He and the Bryan Family Foundation established an endowed scholarship in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

Barbara H. Mulkey, CE 1977

Awarded in 2006

A native of North Carolina, Barbara H. Mulkey has used her skills in structural engineering and marketing, and business development to build a successful engineering firm, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants, which she started in 1993. She serves as chief executive officer of the firm.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from NC State in 1977 and 1984, respectively, and holds Professional Engineer licenses in six states. She was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to the NC Code Officials Qualification Board and was vice chair of the Raleigh Convention Center Steering Committee.

She is an active alumnus, serving on the NC State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors; the NC State University Board of Visitors; the Board of Trustees of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science; and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) Board of Advisors. She is also a past president and national director of the board of directors for the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina. She and her husband Jim are benefactors of the Mulkey/General Hugh Shelton Leadership Award. They live in Cary and have three adult children who also live in the area.

Robert G. Wright, CE 1968

Awarded in 2005

This distinguished alumnus earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering construction from North Carolina State University in 1968 and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1974. He is chairman of Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. From 1969 to 1972, he served as a captain in the US Army Corps of Engineers, and in 1974 he joined Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, and Company as an accountant. In 1979 he joined Kimley-Horn and Associates and was named president in 1992.

A dedicated alumnus, he is a member of the NC State Engineering Foundation Board of Directors, serving as president of the board from 2002-04. He was a generous donor to the college during the Achieve! campaign for NC State. He is also a founding member of the Lampe Society level of the Dean’s Circle and is an active member of the Economic Development Coalition 2000. He is an active supporter of the college and the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

Glenn E. Futrell, CE 1963

Awarded in 1999

This dedicated alumnus received his BS degree in 1963 and his MS degree in 1965 in civil engineering from NC State. After graduation, he began his career as a staff engineer for Law Engineering and Testing Company of Charlotte and was soon promoted to branch manager of the Raleigh office. In 1973, he formed Soil & Material Engineers (S&ME), a company that grew to more than 1,000 employees in 35 branches. In 1986, S&ME was featured on the cover of Engineering News-Record as one of the most successful engineering firms in the United States. At that time, S&ME had become the fifth-largest geotechnical engineering company in the US.

He is active in a number of business interests and most recently has focused most of his energy on Pirate’s Cove, a resort development on the Outer Banks of more than 600 acres located in Manteo, NC. He assumed majority control of the development in 1990. An active alumnus, he has been a member of the North Carolina Engineering Foundation’s Board of Directors since 1990 and served as president of the board in 1996-97. He has been a strong advocate for the College and University and an important solicitor for, and generous contributor to, the Campaign for NC State Students.

C. Michael Walton, CE 1969

Awarded in 1995

This distinguished alumnus received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in 1969 and 1971, respectively, in Civil Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute in 1963. A Professional Engineer, he is chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and holds the Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering as well as a joint academic appointment in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

The recipient of numerous honors including Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Transportation Engineers, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1993 and was named the Transportation Research Board’s Distinguished Lecturer in 1994 for his career research accomplishments. Actively involved in research related to transport policy and engineering analysis for approximately 29 years, he has contributed substantially to the transportation field through hundreds of publications and technical presentations.

Johnie H. Jones, CE 1953

Awarded in 1994

This distinguished engineer earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1953. He is Chairman of the Board for both J.A. Jones Construction Company and J.A. Jones, Inc. Headquartered in Charlotte, J.A. Jones, Inc., operates 11 regional offices throughout the United States and in 8 countries across the globe.

The firm was founded in 1890 and during the past 50 years has built facilities in 60 nations from the Arctic to the Tropics. The company continuously ranks among the top construction firms in the United States. With a permanent staff of more than 1,600 employees and labor support of up to 5,000 people, the company’s current annualized volume is more than $2 billion.

He started his career with J.A. Jones Construction Company in 1965 as Vice President and Corporate Sales Manager. He is past President of the North Carolina Engineering Foundation, Inc., at North Carolina State University and co-chairman of the Charlotte Area Dean’s Cabinet for the NCSU College of Engineering. He is a Past President and a member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

C. E. Vick Jr., CE 1956

Awarded in 1991

This distinguished engineer received his M.S. degree in 1960 and his B.S. in 1956 in Civil Engineering. As President of Kimley-Horn and Associates of Raleigh since 1972, he has overseen his company’s continual expansion of its consulting engineering services and has been called upon for his broad transportation experience in areas ranging from planning and transit to parking and private development.

In his 30-year career, he has developed transportation plans for central city areas and directed master and functional planning for parking facilities in major cities across North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida. He also has provided traffic engineering consultation, conducted safety and operations studies, and contributed to the design of signal systems for cities throughout the Sunbelt. More recently, he has served as Kimley-Horn’s principal-in-charge for master development planning at NCSU’s Centennial Campus. He is a registered professional engineer in 15 states and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. A superb volunteer, he has been president of the North Carolina Engineering Foundation, Inc., for the last two years, during which time the Foundation’s fundraising has reached record levels. He also has been instrumental in assisting the College of Engineering in obtaining funds for the proposed Alumni Association and was a key figure in the development of the Caldwell Scholarship Program.

G. Smedes York, CE 1963

Awarded in 1989

An outstanding graduate who earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1963 with high honors and his MBA degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1968 with the Dean’s Scholar Award, this distinguished alumnus has risen rapidly in engineering and business management to become one of the most dynamic leaders in the construction industry and the business sector of North Carolina.

In addition, he has made his mark in public service and is recognized for his contributions to the planning and development of Raleigh, Wake County, and the Research Triangle. From 1979-1983 he was Mayor of the City of Raleigh, having served also on the City Council. He is President of York Construction Co. of Raleigh, Inc., York Properties, Inc., and other corporations. His professional affiliations are many, including first vice president, Board of Trustees of the Urban Land Institute, and member of the Institute of Real Estate Management.

Active in many charitable and educational organizations, he is the immediate past president of the NCSU Alumni Association. He serves as a member of the Engineering Advisory Council, the Development Board and Executive Committee, and the Student Aid Association Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Watauga Club. Among his many awards is the 1977 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Eli Sternberg, CE 1941

Awarded in 1987

One of only a few who have been elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, this distinguished alumnus earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from this university in 1941. He earned his master’s degree in Civil Engineering and his doctorate in Mechanics at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

His entire career has been spent in academia, where he has had a major influence on the fields of elasticity, thermoelasticity, and viscoelasticity through his significant fundamental contributions to these areas. He is currently a Professor of Mechanics in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology.

When he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from this university in 1963, he was cited for the achievements that brought him to a position of eminence in the field of applied mathematics which few can match.

His honors are many, among which are the Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and the Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

T. William Lambe, CE 1942

Awarded in 1982

This outstanding alumnus, who earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1942, has made major contributions to the knowledge of earth structures, settlement control, foundation performances, and soil structure and behavior.

He is Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil Engineering, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a consultant in geotechnical engineering. He retired from MIT last year, after 36 years on the faculty.

During his tenure, he served as Director of the Soil Stabilization Laboratory, Head of the Geotechnical Division, and Professor of Geotechnical Engineering. He developed the Integrated Civil Engineering project concept, combining applied research with engineering practice to improve design and advance research. He has conducted pioneering research in soil mechanics and is the author of Soil Testing for Engineers.

NASA has twice recognized his contributions to the Apollo Program for which he shaped the exploration project of the surface of the moon. He has also received the Norman Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Society’s Terzaghi Award for his geotechnical engineering contributions. He has been honored with election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Paul N. Howard Jr., CE 1944

Awarded in 1979

This 1944 graduate in Civil Engineering is Chairman of the board of the Paul N. Howard Company, Greensboro, an engineering and contracting firm specializing in the construction of water and waste treatment facilities.

He has a long and distinguished record of service to the construction industry, to this university, and to his community. Among his company’s major projects is the installation of 70 miles of water mains in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian Gulf, a $52 million project. He is the national President of the Associated General Contractors of America in which he has been active for many years, serving on numerous committees and holding leading positions on local, regional, and national levels. He was AGC’s representative to President Ford’s Economic Summit.

He has actively and significantly supported this university. He has served as President of the Alumni Association, as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Engineering Foundation, and as President of the Guilford County NCSU Alumni Club. He has an abiding interest in the education of young people, and his company sponsors annual scholarships.

William D. Alexander III, CE 1953

Awarded in 1976

This outstanding alumnus, with a significant record of achievement in the design, construction, and management of some of the world’s most complex engineering systems, received his professional degree in Civil Engineering in 1953. Following a distinguished career in the United States Air Force, which culminated in his assignment as Chief of the Facilities Design Office responsible for the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile Launch Facility Program, he began a notable civilian career upon his retirement as Air Force Colonel in 1962. Among the large projects he has managed are the design and construction of the launch facilities for the Apollo Project and the design and construction of the 299 BEV Proton Accelerator, the world’s largest atom smasher.

He recently retired as president of the New York-based engineering firm of Seeyle, Stevenson, Value and Knecht, Inc. He is currently responsible for the property acquisition, design, and construction of the $1.6 billion Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority System. Dedicated to his profession and to furthering engineering education, he contributes significantly to the goals of N.C. State as a member of the Engineering School Advisory Council.

James F. Kelly, CE 1943

Awarded in 1968

A 1943 graduate in Civil Engineering, this outstanding alumnus became President of Aeroglide Corporation of Raleigh in 1956 when he was only 33 years old. The following year he was elected to the Young Presidents’ Organization, which recognizes an individual who, prior to his 40th birthday, becomes president of a company doing an annual volume in excess of one million dollars.

His company manufactures machinery and equipment for processing farm products. As an engineer with an interest in the development of engineering equipment for the agricultural processing industry, he has been a motivating force in his company’s establishing a plant in Emporia, Kansas; joining in a cooperative venture with Empresa Metalurgica Colombiana in Bucaramanga, Columbia; and acquiring American Machinery Corporation of Orlando, Florida, of which he is now Chairman.

Dedicated to his alma mater, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association and the North Carolina Engineering Foundation. He has served as Vice Chairman of the Alumni Association and as member and Chairman of the Advisory Council for the School of Engineering. He is currently President of the University’s Development Council.

Walter Tilford Smith, CE 1929

Awarded in 1966

This distinguished engineering alumnus joined the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company following his graduation from N.C. State in 1929 with a Civil Engineering degree. He has since risen through various positions to become Executive Vice President and Director of the company.

He has been a leader for 37 years in a company that employs more than 20,000 people and does over 250 million dollars worth of business each year. The company has built some of the world’s mightiest ships including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and numerous nuclear-powered Polaris-armed submarines. He has attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

He has served his alma mater as a director of the Alumni Association and as President of the Tidewater Alumni Club. In his community, he has served in leadership roles in United Fund and Red Cross affairs, as well as in a number of civic and social clubs. This outstanding engineer in every way has exemplified the best in engineering responsibility, using his many talents for the improvement of his country, his community, and his university.