Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
( February 16, 2000)
SDSM& T TO HONOR WINNERS OF 2000 OUTSTANDING RECENT GRADUATE AWARD
Five alumni of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ( SDSM& T) will be honored as recipients of the 2000 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award during an Engineers Week luncheon on Thursday, February 24, in the Surbeck Student Center Ballroom. The Outstanding Recent Graduate Program honors graduates who have achieved exemplary career progress and recognition within ten years of their graduation. The program was originated and is sponsored by the SDSM& T Alumni Association and the SDSM& T Foundation. The individuals selected for this award are considered excellent role models to show our current students the importance of continued personal growth in a rapidly changing world. The winners of the 2000 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award in the various engineering fields are as follows:
Civil and Environmental Engineering - Jeanne A. Berg, P. E., attended high school in Plankinton and went on to graduate from SDSM& T with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1990 and a Master’s Degree in 1992. Upon graduation, Ms. Berg accepted a position with Alamo/ Saxena Consultants, Inc., Lakeland, Florida, and has since advanced to the position of Senior Project Engineer and Geotechnical Department Manager of the Tampa, Florida, Office of Professional Service Industries, Inc. She specializes in geotechnical design for transportation, commercial and municipal projects. Ms. Berg has received several professional awards including the Young Engineer of the Year in 1995 from the Ridge Branch of the Florida Section of ASCE and an Excellence Award in 1998 from the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers. She is involved with various community activities including judging for science fairs, coaching Odyssey of the Mind teams, serving on her local chamber of commerce and serving on an advisory board for her local school district.
Chemical Engineering - Dean M. Harts was born and raised in Yankton, and attended Yankton Senior High School. He graduated with highest honors from SDSM& T with a Bachelor��s Degree in Chemical Engineering in 1989. He has worked for 3M since graduation and is now attending law school pursuing a new career in Intellectual Property Law. In his various positions with 3M, he has earned several prestigious awards including three Golden Step Awards and two consecutive Circle of Technical Excellence nominations. He was the inventor of three concepts, two of which were authorized for patent filing. He also received first place on a paper for the International Association of Defense Counsel 1999 Legal Writing Contest. The article appeared in the October 1999 Defense Counsel Journal.
Electrical and Computer Engineering - Michael J. Lichter was born in Mitchell and attended Mitchell Senior High School. He graduated from SDSM& T with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1989 and received his Master’s Degree from Cleveland State
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University in 1994. He has spent the last ten years working for NASA designing and developing systems for space flights. He has worked on high- speed video tracking, Combustion Module experiments, hardware and software control, manipulating objects with acoustic pressure and microgravity research. His work has resulted in a patent and publications. He is actively involved in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has been recognized for numerous company awards, both individually and as a member of a team. Volunteering as a Young Adult leader at his church and participating in local sports occupy much of his spare time. While at SDSM& T, he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and a member of the 1985 SDIC champion Hardrocker football team where he was a special- teams standout.
Metallurgical Engineering - Brian L. Pelton, born in Moses Lake, Washington, graduated from SDSM& T with a Bachelor’s Degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1989 and received his Master of Engineering Degree from Lehigh University in 1990. Currently, he is a materials research and development scientist in the stent business unit for Guidant Corporation and a recognized national expert in the use of shape memory alloys for biomedical applications. Guidant grosses approximately $ 1.3 billion annually, and the stent business unit accounts for approximately 70% of the company’s overall gross income. Mr. Pelton has led the effort to supply this division with “ just in time” research, helping to drive down on- hand inventory and backorders, as well as producing rapid solutions for product development problems. Mr. Pelton has also published 11 technical papers and has filed four inventions for patents. With respect to community service, Mr. Pelton has served in the United Way, Junior Achievement, and as a volunteer coach in youth soccer.
Geological Engineering - Juan C. Villa was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. He graduated from SDSM& T with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geological Engineering in 1989 and a Master’s Degree in 1991. Upon graduation, Mr. Villa accepted a position with Environmental Consulting and Technology in Tampa, Florida, where he was involved in environmental assessment and cleanup as well as power plant and pipeline permitting. He then accepted a position with TECO Power Services where he has held positions of increasing responsibility. He is currently the development manager for the Marketing and Development Department where he has been responsible for developing and acquiring energy projects in Central and South America. He is active in Hands on Tampa which helps build houses for impoverished families, and he has maintained involvement with youth groups in Bogota, Colombia. A native of Colombia, he is an example of skillful leadership and outstanding achievement in the energy and environmental fields.
The luncheon costs $ 7.50 and is open to the public. Reservations can be made by calling Vi Stoltz, Office of Academic Affairs, at 394- 2256 before noon on Tuesday, February 22.
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