Class of 2012
The University of Idaho recognizes these individuals for their personal contributions to engineering achievement, leadership, engineering education, and service to the profession and society.
We salute engineering leaders for their lifetime commitment to advancing the quality of life through achievement, high ethical standards, innovation and commitment.
Jeffrey S. Ashby
Retired astronaut Jeffrey Ashby graduated from Evergreen High School, Evergreen, Colo., in 1972; received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho in 1976, and a master's in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee in 1993. Ashby is a graduate of the Naval Test Pilot School and the Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun).
In his 25-year Navy career, Ashby accumulated over 7,000 flight hours and 1,000 aircraft carrier landings during six aircraft carrier deployments. As a test pilot, he directed testing of the FA-18 Hornet’s smart weapons, night vision, and electronic warfare systems. Ashby logged 65 combat missions in the FA-18 during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Continue Hope in Somalia before serving as the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln — under his leadership, VFA-94 earned the coveted Battle “E” Award designating it as the Navy’s top FA-18 squadron in 1994. He reported to the Johnson Space Center for astronaut duties in 1995, completing three space missions, with 436 orbits around the Earth and over 660 hours in zero G. After a four-year special assignment to the Headquarters, Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., Ashby joined Alliant Tech Systems (AT K) Space Systems Group in 2008 as the vice president of business development.
In 1999, Ashby was the pilot on Space Shuttle Columbia. The primary objective of this mission was to deploy the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Measuring 45 feet long, Chandra is the largest satellite the shuttle has ever launched. It is the most sophisticated x-ray observatory to date allowing scientists to study exotic phenomena such as exploding stars, quasars, and black holes.
In 2001, he served as pilot aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on the sixth assembly flight of the International Space Station. During this complex mission, Ashby operated the shuttle’s robotic arm to transfer Canadarm2 from the shuttle payload bay to the space station. Two space walks were performed to activate the station’s robotic arm enabling it to be used for future assembly tasks. After undocking Endeavour, he flew a unique profile around the station to capture some of the images seen in the IMAX-3D film “The International Space Station.
In 2002, Ashby was the mission commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the ninth assembly flight of the International Space Station. The crew installed the 15-ton Integrated Truss Segment S1 to the starboard side of the space station. Three space walks were performed to activate the truss, and prepare for solar arrays which will power future science modules. STS-112 was the first mission to fly the “shuttlecam” which captured dramatic views from Atlantis as the shuttle left the planet. Captain Ashby was a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; four Navy Air Medals; two Navy Commendation Medals; Navy Achievement Medal; Navy Attack Aviator of the Year 1991; NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; and three NASA Space Flight Medals.
Ashby was raised in the Rocky Mountains where he developed a love for skiing, soaring, backpacking and fly-fishing. Ashby and his wife, Paige, share their home with two spoiled dogs.
- B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1977
- M.S., Aviation Systems, 1993
- United States Naval Fighter Weapons School/Naval Test Pilot School, 1986
Forrest M. Bird
Deceased Aug. 2, 2015
Forrest Bird was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, on June 9, 1921. Bird became a pilot at an early age due to the encouragement of his father, a World War I pilot, and from meeting Orville Wright at an early age. He performed his first solo flight at age 14; by age 16, he was working to obtain multiple major pilot certifications. Bird enlisted with the United States Army Air Corps, and entered active duty in 1941 as a technical air training officer. This rank, combined with the onset of World War II, gave him the opportunity to pilot almost every aircraft in service including early jet aircraft and helicopters.
By 1955, after having attended numerous medical schools and completed diverse residencies, he developed the prototype Bird Universal Medical Respirator for acute or chronic cardiopulmonary care. He tested the device by traveling in his own airplanes to medical schools and asking doctors for their most ill patients. In each case, known therapies had failed and the patient was expected to succumb to cardiopulmonary failure. Bird then invented the Baby Bird® respirator for infants that helped reduce mortality rates from 70 to less than ten percent for infants with respiratory problems.
A true inventor and entrepreneur, Bird holds more than 200 patents and founded Bird Corporation in 1954 and now is the founder and owner of Percussionarie Corporation based in Sandpoint, Idaho. Based on his research, the company developed a number of advanced breathing-related devices, including the Mark 7® Respirator, which provides the patient with volume ventilation and is still in use around the world.
Bird won the Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award in 1985 and received another one in September 2005. He continues to contribute to the field of pulmonary science by participating in the development of the VDR, a ventilator that permits management of the most challenging patients including ARDS, Trauma and inhalation injury. In 1995, Bird was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame; he is still working with their research teams. He was named “Inventor of the Week” by MIT in February 2001.
Bird is president of Bird Space Technology in Sandpoint, Idaho. He and his wife, Pamela Bird, are founders of the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center, located on their northern Idaho ranch. This unique aero-medical museum features a rotating collection of more than 20 unique aircraft, rare vintage cars and a display of inventions from Bird and others.
Bird has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008, presented by President George W. Bush in a ceremony in the Oval Office. This special award honors those who have served the country in extraordinary ways and has only been presented to approximately 100 other citizens to date. Bird visited the Oval Office again in 2009, when he received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama, who said of Bird: “Inventors are national icons, embodying the very best of American ingenuity and inspire a new generation of thinkers and innovators. Their extraordinary achievements strengthen our nation every day — not just intellectually and technologically, but also economically, by helping create new industries and opportunities that others before them could never have imagined.
The degree of Doctor of Science was conferred upon Bird by the University of Idaho in 2011.
Aviator, innovator, entrepreneur, scientist, professor, physician, veteran overall Renaissance man, Forrest Morton Bird died Sunday, August 2, 2015 at the age of 94 at his home in Sagle, Idaho. Obituary written by his wife Pamela Bird (pdf).
Deceased Aug. 2, 2015h
- B.S., Agricultural Engineering
- M.D., 1940s
- Ph.D., 1976
- Four Honorary Doctorates
Douglas A. Blum
Douglas Blum is currently the executive sponsor for several projects and programs throughout North America for Oracle USA Inc. This portfolio includes engagements from Oracle’s Public Sector Division and programs inherited through Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. He had been advising the Oracle Corporate offices on the establishment of the Project Management Office and related activities for the Integration of Sun into Oracle. Earlier, he served as the program executive from Oracle for the Cash 4 Clunkers U.S. national program working with DOT, NHTSA and the FAA . Prior to that, he was designated as the program executive from Oracle Consulting assigned to support all consulting delivery to the United States Air Force, with the primary responsibility as the Oracle Program Director reporting to the AFPMO ECSS Program Director.
Blum joined Oracle in Norway in 1994 responsible for many pan-European implementations and was the director for the project management service line and community in the Oracle Scandinavian offices. Blum joined Oracle North America in 1996 and served as the vice president for the Global Project Management service line in Oracle Consulting. He helped establish Oracle Consulting’s connection with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and participated for one term on the newly formed Corporate Executive Counsel as Oracle’s representative. Blum has been with the Public Sector for ten years and in his current role as public sector consulting program executive and is assigned to the largest and/or the most strategic programs in the portfolio. Blum has received several performance awards and recognitions within Oracle Consulting, including the executive service line leader and Oracle consulting senior director of the year awards.
Prior to Oracle, Blum worked in Norway primarily as a director for an international operations division, responsible for projects in the former Soviet Union, India, Pakistan, and several pan-European programs within Information Technology.
Blum was an NCO in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam and with the U.S. Embassies of Budapest, Hungary; Moscow U.S.S.R. and Oslo, Norway. After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps, Blum received an associates of science degree in Forest Technology from North Idaho College and worked for several years in Forestry in northwestern Montana. Blum received his bachelor's in civil engineering from the University of Idaho in 1984. He studied project management curriculum at the University of Trondheim in Norway.
Blum resides with his wife Anne Catherine outside of Rochester, New York and has two grown daughters, Corrine and Jacqueline, who are now establishing their own careers in business and consulting.
- B.S., Civil Engineering, 1984
William C. Bowes
William Bowes is a retired Navy vice admiral, having served 33 years in the Navy in numerous operational and acquisition assignments. As a vice admiral he served as the commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA), and the acting assistant secretary of the Navy for RDA.
As a naval aviator, he commanded an A-7E squadron, flew 350 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict and has flown over 5,000 hours in more than 50 different United States and foreign military aircraft types. He is an accomplished test pilot and program manager. He served as the program manager for the F-14 and Phoenix missile programs, the Joint Cruise Missiles Project, which developed and deployed the Tomahawk cruise missile, and was the first director of DOD’s Joint Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Project.
After retiring from the Navy, Bowes joined Hughes Aircraft as a senior vice president and deputy general manager of the newly forming Sensors and Communications Sector. After Hughes was acquired by Raytheon, Bowes joined Litton Industries as the vice president of Corporate Strategic Planning, and subsequently led the creation of the Military Aircraft Electronics Systems business unit after Litton was acquired by Northrop Grumman.
Since retiring from Northrop Grumman he has served as a director on a number of public company, private company and non-profit boards. Bowes currently serves as a director on the boards of Cobham Defense Systems, R&F Products and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. Bowes is the vice chairman of the Naval Research Advisory Committee. He is a fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP), a member of the Golden Eagles, a member of the University of Idaho Alumni Hall of Fame, and he has received numerous awards during his career, including the AIAA National Quality Management Award, the SETP Doolittle Aerospace Management Excellence Award, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Navy Distinguished Service Medals, three Legions of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, thirty-six Air Medals and eight Navy Commendation Medals.
Bowes holds a bachelor's in chemical engineering from U of I, a master's in systems acquisition management from the Navy Postgraduate School, and he is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School. He is a certified director from the Director Training and Certification Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
- B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1963
- United States Naval Test Pilot School, 1968
- M.S., Systems Acquisition Management at Naval Postgraduate School, 1974
Jess S. Haldeman
Deceased Feb. 12, 2007 (posthumously awarded)
Jess Haldeman was born in McCall, Idaho, in 1960 where he grew-up with a great love and respect for nature and in particular the Rocky Mountains that surrounded him. During his high school years Haldeman showed an innate talent for math and science portending his future success.
Haldeman attended Boise State in 1979 as a freshman, transferred to Oklahoma to study chemical engineering and in 1981 transferred to the University of Idaho to be closer to his future wife Dana, who was attending Spokane College. They were married in August of 1983.
While at the U of I, Haldeman was involved in a National Science Foundation-funded project that involved constructing and monitoring roofs at a range of angles to see which would hold up better during heavy snowfall. Haldeman was excited to participate and always went that extra mile to find the answer to construction problems — even borrowing equipment from his father’s construction company, Haldeman and Williamson. The study went so well that the results are still referenced today in the International Building Code.
In 1985, Haldeman graduated from the U of I with a bachelor’s in Civil and Structural Engineering and earned a master’s one year later. During college, Haldeman also enjoyed playing golf and skiing.
After graduation, Haldeman accepted a job with John A. Martin Associates in Las Vegas and began to work on large projects immediately. One of his first challenges was to complete the structural design of a ten-story Bank of America office building in Las Vegas. It was a large project for someone fresh out of college, but Haldeman’s calm nature, determination and strong work ethic made him an instant success. As his reputation and experience grew so did his projects including the renovation of the Golden Nugget Casino and the design of the Mirage and Treasure Island Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
Haldeman continued to increase his engineering experience by working many extra hours on large resort projects, such as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Throughout this journey Haldeman endeared himself to and befriended many people including architects, contractors and owners, building an honest and professional reputation.
In 1995 Haldeman started Lochsa Engineering with close friend and fellow U of I Civil Engineering graduate Mark Hedge. They named the company after a river in north central Idaho to remind them of their Idaho roots and work ethic. Lochsa Engineering designed a high-rise tower at Circus Circus with partner Dave Peterson and continued to grow quickly. Partners Bill Karren and Ted Egerton, a U of I civil traffic engineering graduate joined in 1997 and Ken Mize and John Zielinski in 2006.
Throughout the Circus Circus project, Haldeman continued to build friendships with contractors and architects, which in-turn allowed Lochsa to secure impressive projects like the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Projects like the Palms Casino and the Grand Canyon Skywalk have also been added to Locha’s resume. As of today, Lochsa has over 170 employees.
In 2001, Lochsa added a Surveying Department with Glen Davis as a partner and in 2005 opened an office in Boise partnering with Lee Harrison and U of I graduate Riley Mahaffey.
During his life Haldeman was a mentor to many — he had a booming voice and a powerful presence. Haldeman passed away in 2007 and will be forever missed. His engineering contributions continue to exist on the Las Vegas skyline. Haldeman and partner Mark Hedge were inducted as Charter Members of the U of I’s Academy of Engineers in 2007.
- B.S., Civil Engineering, 1984
- M.S., Civil Engineering, 1987
Robert C. Harrell
Robert Harrell graduated from the University of Idaho in 1964 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. He began his career with the Shell Oil Company at the Anacortes Refinery in Washington State. In Anacortes, Harrell met his future wife Alison who was living and working there after moving from her home in South Africa.
Harrell was involved in numerous technical and operational assignments at the refinery before moving to Shell’s head office in New York City. He participated in many additional technical, operational and marketing assignments before becoming a member of Shell’s senior management team. In the late 1980’s, he served two years in London, England, as a liaison between the Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch/Shell.
In the early 1990’s, Harrell became vice president of refining and supply for the Shell Oil Products Company with responsibilities for all of Shell’s refineries in the United States and the Supply/Trading Organization. He later became vice president of commercial products with marketing and business responsibilities for all commercial products sold in the United States. He also served on the board of directors for two of Shell’s subsidiary companies. He retired in 1997 after nearly 33 years with Shell.
Royal Dutch Shell, commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and has its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world (and the second-largest energy company) according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six oil and gas “super majors”.
Shell has operations in over 90 countries, produces around 3.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has 44,000 service stations worldwide. Shell Oil Company, its subsidiary in the United States, is one of its largest businesses.
Harrell and his wife live in Kingwood, Texas. They continue their active life and enjoy traveling to together all over the world. Harrell enjoys golfing, walking and bicycling. They have two sons, Rod and Kyle.
- B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1964
Karen L. Higgins
Karen Higgins earned a bachelor’s in mathematics in 1972 and a master’s in electrical engineering in 1973 from the University of Idaho. She continued her education at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, where she received an M.B.A. and doctorate in Executive Management.
Higgins retired in 2005 after an exceptional 32-year career for the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake and Point Mugu, California. China Lake, in California’s Mojave Desert, offers a wide variety of geographical features in close proximity... mountains, deserts, canyons, caves and forests. Point Mugu, west of Los Angeles on the Pacific coast, manages a huge sea range as well as facilities on San Nicolas Island. The un-encroached and unique air and land ranges at China Lake and sea ranges at Point Mugu provide unmatched geographic conditions in which to develop and test weapon systems and explore tactics for desert, mountain and ocean environments. Through over 60 years of unparalleled products, NAWCWD remains a world leader in RDT&E of complex weapon systems and subsystems, software integration, electronic warfare, energetic materials and battlespace simulation; it is especially known for inventing the chemiluminescent light stick and for designing the Sidewinder missile.
For over ten years, Higgins served in first, second and third line management for various technical departments, divisions and branches of the NAWCWD. She spent seven years as project manager for programs that include Sidewinder missile and an organization-wide communication system. She spent over eight years as a software designer and system engineer for complex real-time integrated weapons systems.
From 1997 to 2005, Higgins served in the U.S. Navy Senior Executive Service, including over seven years as executive director and director for research and engineering at NAWCWD. She oversaw NAWCWD’s $1 billion budget, $2.8 billion in facilities (more than 2,000 buildings), 1.1 million acre land range and 36,000 square mile sea range. Higgins was responsible for 5,000 civilian personnel. She was involved in strategic planning, reorganizations and downsizing, and did extensive external interface and mentoring.
Before retiring, Higgins spent two years in Washington, D.C. working with Pentagon officials to consolidate several Navy, Marine, Army and Air Force military bases. With her weapons expertise and ability to facilitate groups with diverse agendas, she was assigned to lead the Base Realignment and Closure Weapons & Armaments Technical Subgroup for OSD.
Since 2006, Higgins has been president of her own management consulting company, Élan Leadership Concepts. Her company assesses organizational functionality and leadership, and provides training courses such as “The Art & Science of Leadership” and “Morality and Leadership.
Higgins is currently an adjunct professor at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University where she teaches Project Management, Systems Thinking and Ethical Leadership to multi-national MBA, Executive MBA and doctoral students.
Higgins has recently published two books. To explore a curiosity about the financial crisis of 2008-2009, she wrote Financial Whirlpools (2013). Her second book, Economic Growth and Sustainability (2015), uses a systems perspective to investigate global trends and recommend actions to bring about a better world. She is working on a third book titled The Seven Colors of Leadership. This next book describes seven qualities (for the colors of the spectrum) that millennial generation leaders must develop to turn current trends around and to nurture human flourishing.
She is a member of the following societies: Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi Research Society and the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society. She has received many awards, including the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the Presidential Rank Award, the OSD Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service and the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest civilian award. She was inducted into U of I’s Academy of Engineers in 2012.
She enjoys her grandchildren, practices yoga, writes, and loves ballroom dancing and the LA Clippers. Higgins remembers Gary Maki, her U of I professor who talked her into majoring in electrical engineering. She says that he completely changed her life.
- B.S. Mathematics, University of Idaho, 1972
- M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Idaho, 1973
- M.B.A., Claremont Graduate University, 1991
- Ph.D., Executive Management, Claremont Graduate University, 1997
Richard T. Jacobsen
Deceased Aug. 2019
Richard Jacobsen is executive director for Research and Technology Transfer and professor of Nuclear Engineering at Idaho State University (ISU).
He supports campus-wide research and related efforts as the interim vice president for Research and Economic Development.
Jacobsen serves as the associate director for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) and Technology Transfer Officer at Idaho State. Prior to his current appointments, Jacobsen served as the dean of Engineering at ISU from 2006 to 2010.
From 1999 to 2005, under the management of Bechtel BWXT Idaho LLC, Jacobsen was chief scientist and concurrently served as deputy and associate laboratory director at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), now Idaho National Lab (INL) in Idaho Falls.
At the University of Idaho in Moscow Jacobsen served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1990 to 1999. He was the director of the Center for Applied Thermodynamic Studies (CAT S) from 1986 to 1999 and associate director from 1985 to 1990. He served as the chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1980 to 1985. Jacobsen was a faculty member in the U of I Mechanical Engineering Department for 42 years and is currently a professor emeritus.
Jacobsen is active in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) holding several elected national offices, including chair of the board on Research and Technology Development, vice president for Finance, Knowledge and Community Sector, vice president for Research and vice president for Professional Practice, in addition to various committee assignments.
In 1963, Jacobsen earned a bachelor’s and in 1965 a master’s in mechanical engineering from the U of I and a doctorate in engineering science from Washington State University in 1972. Jacobsen’s research publications include 11 books and chapters in books; 60 refereed journal publications; 11 refereed conference proceedings; and 108 research reports, notes and technical reports.
- B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1963
- M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1965
- Ph.D., Engineering Science, 1972
Eugene H. Luntey
Deceased Sept. 8, 2022
Eugene Luntey was born and grew up in Buhl, Idaho, population of 2,500, and delivered newspapers and worked in the only drug store in town during high school. He graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1943 and received a scholarship to the Institute of Gas Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.
But it was World War II and the government had other plans for him. He joined the Navy, and for the next two and a half years, worked for the Office of Scientific Research and Development, on rockets to be fired from naval aircraft. He joined the Navy as an ensign and trained as an airborne electronics officer. After two and one half years of training Navy pilots in radar and electronic navigation, including dropping torpedoes, he returned to the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In 1948, Luntey accepted a position at the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in New York as a junior engineer. During his time there, he worked nearly every engineering job possible including supervising, installing and maintaining the mains and services for the entire borough. He participated in the “conversion” where sections of the pipeline systems were isolated so that natural gas could be turned in to that section to replace the old “manufactured gas” which had been used for one hundred years. During this time he became a licensed engineer with the State of New York. Luntey remained with Brooklyn Union for his entire 38 year career eventually becoming assistant vice president, vice president, executive vice president and finally, for the last eleven years, president and chairman.
Luntey was very active in the natural gas industry in the United States and around the world. He served as chairman of the New York Gas Group, as well as president of the Society of Gas Lighting. He was a member of the New York State Energy Development Authority, chairman of the Gas Research Institute and chairman of the American Gas Association. As a member of the International Gas Union, he made trips to China, Russia, Japan, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and other countries to discuss mutual problems. He signed the first Technology Exchange agreements with Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas companies which provided for the exchange of engineers for training in developing technologies.
Luntey also worked extensively in the public service arena. He served on the local Civic Association and the Port Washington Board of Education. He was deputy mayor and chief police commissioner of Sands Point for 25 years and, in New York City, he mentored the Rockefeller Fellows of the New York City Partnership, and served on the boards of the Regional Plan Association and NYC Planning committees. In Brooklyn, he served on the boards of the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Polytechnic University and headed fund-raising efforts for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Long Island College Hospital. In 1983, Luntey joined the Board of Trustees of Long Island University. He became the first chancellor of the Brooklyn Campus and went on to serve five years as chairman of the entire university.
Luntey has received honorary doctorate degrees from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, Polytechnic University and Long Island University. In 1993, U of I recognized him as an outstanding alumnus with the Silver and Gold Award. That year, he also gave the commencement address to the graduating engineers, fifty years to the day from his own graduation from the same stage in the same building.
Luntey and his wife Betty currently reside on Hilton Head Island in the winter months and on Shelter Island, New York, in the summer.
How many people do you know get a fishing trip on the Snake River in Idaho as a 90th birthday present? Probably only one and that would be Gene Luntey, who loved every minute of it. It was a gift from his son, Kirk.
- B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1943
- Two Honorary Doctorates
Joseph N. Rumble
Deceased Jan. 5, 2016
Joseph Rumble was born in Lincoln, Neb., in 1927. His father was a small-town Iowa boy who graduated from the University of Iowa with a business degree and traveled to many cities to find work especially during the Great Depression.
Rumble lived with his family in Galveston, Houston, Waco, Dallas, Fort Worth and they finally settled in Albuquerque, N.M., where Rumble attended junior high and high school.
Rumble was an average student spending many hours under the hoods of junker cars but, nonetheless, scored in the top five percent of students in the state after taking the New Mexico Senior Achievement Test. The summer before his junior year of high school, Rumble took a job with the U.S. Forest Service in northern Idaho.
He traveled to Coeur d’Alene as a fire crew member in 1944 and returned the following summer as a fire lookout. Rumble graduated from high school in 1945.
In 1945, following in his half-brother’s steps, Rumble decided to attend the University of Idaho. Within a few months of starting school he was drafted into the Navy, tested high in the Eddy Test for electronics, radio and radar and was sent to Navy Class A electronic service schools for 15 months — at Great Lakes, Illinois, Ward Island, Texas and Memphis, Tenn.
Rumble was discharged in time to restart at U of I in 1948 planning to take forestry.
When he talked to other forestry graduates when he learned that jobs in that field were not available, and learned from the College of Mines Dean Fahrenwald that opportunities in mining were plentiful and Dean Fahrenwald said, “If you can’t find a job, I will hire you myself!” Rumble became a mining engineering student right then and there.
Bill Staley, head of Mining, and Joe Newton, head of Metallurgical Engineering, became his mentors at the U of I. Both faculty members stressed creativity, innovation, hard work, and taught not to fear failure. Rumble says, “They both gave me a lifetime career standard in interpersonal training, especially in developing trust, which was one of my best tools in my working life.” When Rumble graduated in d 1952, he had 52 job interviews and 50 offers. At graduation he received two degrees — bachelor's in mining engineering and bachelor's in metallurgical engineering.
Rumble’s mining career began at U.S. Vanadium Corporation’s Pine Creek tungsten operations, the “mine in the sky,” at 13,000 feet in the Sierras out of Bishop, California. He was assigned to the chemical analysis lab that tracts the process of ore to tungsten concentrate. His next assignment was in the mine, working as a diamond drilling assistant in the long-hole stopping procedure.
Living conditions at Pine Creek left much to be desired, and in 1952 Rumble secured a job in Yerington, Nev., at Anaconda’s open pit copper mine. One of his first challenges was to improve sampling methods for the Joy Drilling Machines using Hughes Tricone Bits that drilled the 10 inch blast holes. He developed a continuous sampling system and sample splitting that provided a very representative sample.
He then had the job of analyzing and improving large Dart truck tire performance.
Their fleet of forty 30-ton off-road trucks generated an annual tire cost of over $3,000,000. After investigating how long the tires were lasting, tire inflation standards, and failure type and repair procedures, Rumble worked with the supplier and improved tire performance and reduced tire costs by 30 percent. Rumble then became a leach plant production engineer, with the opportunity to become a shift supervisor.
After two years, Rumble decided that shift work while raising a growing family compromised many of his family values. It was time to move on, and he took a position with Mountain States Telephone Company in Boise, Idaho, where he was a transposition and protection engineer for the open wire systems of the mid-1950s.
He became the operator of several radio telephone experiments that showed limited use for existing equipment, but big opportunities if it could be integrated into a wide coverage area. The cell phones of today were the logical outcome of those early experiments.
The attraction of working on a three-dam hydro project on the Snake River enticed Rumble to work for Morrison Knudsen Construction Company. He soon realized that shift work at Yerington was not the best choice for his family and he then accepted a position with Alcoa in Wenatchee, Wash., as a process engineer in the smelting operations. He began in the anode plant. The carbon baking furnaces had refractory flues that had been built in place, and this was the way it had always been done. Rumble saw a huge advantage that by building the flues at a remote place it would be a prefabricated flue that could be dropped in place, saving labor and furnace productivity. His invention worked fine, and Alcoa is still using that concept today, fabricating their flues at a refractory company.
Rumble’s next assignment was the at ingot plant, where molten aluminum was cast into ingot of various sizes. He developed the first 30/50-lb. interlocking, open-mold ingot that made a much more secure bundle (package) for shipping.
Rumble also came up with the concept of direct chill continuous cast ingot that was cleaner and high quality than competitors. The plant mechanical engineer and Rumble developed a submerged pour system for casting 30- and 50-lb. open mold ingots that are still in use today.
Rumble worked at Wenatchee for 16 years and then transferred to Point Comfort, Texas, as ingot plant superintendent. They were casting 36,000-lb. aluminum ingot for rolling into rigid container sheets for the aluminum beverage can industry. After three years and many productivity improvements Rumble was promoted to a job at Badin, North Carolina. The Badin ingot plant made a lot of products, but the biggest challenge was to get the new technology of Hunter-Douglas cast sheet productivity to be competitive with other methods of casting ingots. Rumble saw an opportunity to install SPC (statistical process control) in the casting process.
His concept was to have the casting operators make their own measurements and tweak the process to make the roll cast sheet have the highest quality standards in the industry. The SPC worked very well and the operators were doing all the process adjustments with no directions from technicians or a supervisor. They became the preferred supplier to the foil rolling plant in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Rumble’s last challenge at Badin was creating a shipping department with an autonomous work force, which made all the decisions on shipping orders, timing, crew size, etc., without any supervision.
Rumble is pleased and proud to see his six sons graduate from college, with three of them pursuing engineering and one a cement contractor. The other two are also excelling, as a CPA and a Ph.D. wildlife biologist, respectively.
His first wife passed away in 1987 and he remarried in 1989 to Susan and they have enjoyed a busy retirement with many community and church activities, biking, skiing, traveling, and hiking. They have walked the entire Appalachian Trail and live on a 17-acre apple and pear orchard seven miles west of Wenatchee.
- B.S., Mining Engineering, 1952
- B.S., Metallurgical Engineering, 1952
James E. Russell
Deceased Jun. 20, 2019
James (Jim) Russell was born in Sandpoint Idaho in 1933 and grew up in North Idaho as one of six children of Alex and Mae Russell. He played multiple sports at Sandpoint High School and graduated in third in his class in 1951.
In 1952, he enrolled in engineering at the University of Idaho assisted by an academic and citizenship scholarship. He served on the Social Activities Committee, was a member of the Intercollegiate Knights, was an All Star in two intramural sports, completed ROT C and was president of his Living Group, Independent Students and the Senior Class of 1956. Upon graduation in 1956, he received an Army commission and accepted an engineering job at RCA in Lancaster, Penn., where he worked for one year and obtained a patent for the company in power tube design and manufacturing.
From 1957-1960, Russell served as an Army officer at the Redstone Arsenal Guided Missile School in Huntsville, Ala., where he directed 75 instructors teaching missile guidance and propulsion courses for U.S. and foreign military personnel. He established the first military course in transistors and Werner Von Braun’s missile experts participated in the course, not long thereafter the United States launched the nation’s first satellite.
Russell worked for the Operations Research Office, John Hopkins University, a Federal Contract Research Center in 1960 and then from 1961-1972, for the Research Analysis Corporation (RAC) in McLean, Va., when Congress directed that the work be transitioned to the private non-profit. While at RAC he completed 46 hours of graduate study in mathematical statistics at American University and learned how to apply operations research methods from RAC’s OR pioneers. He became a leading expert in communications security associated with radio frequency and call sign assignments for tactical radio networks and lead a team applying operations research techniques to automate radio frequency assignments for Army units in Europe. This led to Russell becoming the featured speaker at the military executive course in Operations Research and Systems Analysis (ORSA) several dozen times.
In 1969, at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he spent six weeks with land, sea and air military units in eight countries in the Pacific including Vietnam and on the Laos border evaluating serious military communication security issues and recommending improvements.
In 1972 when Congress directed that RAC be sold, Russell led a team of 20 analysts to join Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) which then was a small employee-owned science and engineering company of 90 people. Initially he led divisions in quantitative analysis and computer systems integration for governmental and commercial organizations in areas such as advanced defense technology, health care, statistical surveys, information management systems and others.
For over 30 years as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development he provided leadership in growth of the company to $6 billion in annual revenue in markets such as defense, health care systems, transportation, law enforcement, energy and environment. In 2004, he transitioned to a consulting employee and has continued to help SAIC grow to $11 billion in annual revenue by 2012.
From 2004 to the present as an independent consultant, senior advisor and private investor, Russell has assisted over 100 innovative technology companies in their development and growth. This includes consulting work with the Foundation for Enterprise Development assisting companies funded under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Small Business Innovative Research program transition a wide variety of advanced technology into use.
During his career, Russell has served as a director on corporate boards, senior corporate advisor, information technology consultant for universities, private investor and a member of several professional and military technology committees. His private foundation provides charitable support to U of I and non-profit organizations fostering science and technology initiatives in the United States. He has enjoyed a lifetime in sports as a player, coach and commissioner and his ongoing favorites are tennis, golf and fishing (especially in Idaho).
He married Virginia (Ginny) Kelley in Sandpoint before moving east in 1956 and they raised two children, James and Debra. The Russell’s currently live in Rockville, Maryland and have a vacation home on the Pend Oreille River near Sandpoint where they enjoy family and friends.
- B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1956
Charles M. Sievert
Charles Sievert was born in 1947 in Chester, Idaho about 50 miles north of Idaho Falls. He attended U of I, where he was in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROT C) program, the college-based, commissioned officer training program of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1969.
After graduation, Sievert served as a United States naval officer during the Vietnam War-era for four years and then began his career working for Exxon Chemical in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There he served as a design engineer, financial analyst and product manager over his five year tenure at the company. Sievert was then transferred to a management position at Exxon’s headquarters in Houston. Sievert left Exxon in 1978, and joined the Pace Company in Houston as a market research consultant.
In 1980, Sievert left Pace to become one of the three founders of Chemical Data in Houston, Texas. For over 30 years, Sievert has been one of the consultants writing their flagship international publication — the “Monthly Petrochemical and Plastics Analysis.” Sievert is currently the President of Chemical Data that provides ongoing market research and analysis for the U.S. plastics, petrochemical and petroleum industries.
Their exclusive services for the industry include twice monthly multi-client studies that cover most everything from crude oil and natural gas to plastics. Their clients span the globe and include investment, energy, oil, chemical, and consumer product companies. Their clients also include a number of plastics converters and plastics consumers, both large and small. One of Sievert’s reports provides continuous U.S. market coverage of 34 major petrochemicals and plastics. Another report provides continuous coverage of the world petroleum situation as well as the U.S. petroleum and natural gas industries. The study focuses on current and future supply, demand, and pricing for the following: U.S. and world crude oil, U.S. average crude acquisition cost, refined products (gasoline, jet fuel, distillate), natural gas and natural gas liquids, petrochemical feedstocks, to name a few. Included in these reports are various reports on manufacturing economics, supply and demand balances, prices, and other topics.
- B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1969
Jack C. Swearengen
Jack Swearengen graduated from the University of Idaho in 1961 in Mechanical Engineering and earned a master’s in mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona in 1963. He worked four years in industry developing automation equipment and then returned to the University of Washington to study for a doctorate.
After earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1970, Swearengen joined Sandia National Laboratories to do research on strength and fracture toughness of materials. In 1981, he moved from materials research to renewable energy (solar thermal and fusion), then to advanced weapon systems development, and finally to arms control and weapons dismantlement. From 1988-1991 he served as science advisor for the Secretary of Defense and participated in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland. “Weapons development followed by arms control and then work on safe dismantlement of the Cold War arsenal,” Swearengen notes. “If that isn’t job security, I don’t know what is.” Swearengen’s work on nuclear weapons and arms control gave him a first-hand view of how profoundly nuclear weapons had changed the course of history — and it stimulated a new interest that eventually redirected his career to technology and society studies. In 1996, Swearengen accepted an offer from Washington State University to head the engineering programs at WSU’s brand-new campus in Vancouver, Wash. In addition to starting new degree programs in manufacturing engineering and computer science, Swearengen taught systems design, design for manufacture, materials science, operations management, and green design & manufacturing.
His accomplishments included assembling an Industrial Advisory Board, designing the laboratories in the new Engineering & Life Sciences Building, recruiting both faculty and students, getting the program accredited by ABET, and securing research grants and publishing sufficient papers to earn tenure (which was awarded in 2002). He retired from WSU in 2002 and currently is an emeritus professor and founding director of engineering programs there.
In 2002, Swearengen was recognized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for Outstanding Achievement in Education. Previously he received the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, the Joint Ordnance Commanders’ Group Award of Merit, and Sandia Laboratories Presidents Quality Award. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation.
Swearengen is chair of Friends of SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) and a member of Sonoma County Transportation and Land Use Coalition.
Presently Swearengen is chief scientist for WindtoGreen LLC — seeking to use wind or solar power to produce anhydrous ammonia from entirely renewable resources.
He spends whatever time is left promoting sustainable transportation and land use, and giving talks and writing articles based upon his book Beyond Paradise: Technology and the Kingdom of God. He argues that technology is not morally neutral, that sustainability is a biblical objective, and that technology must be used for the benefit of people and nature alike.
Swearengen has served as consultant to the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center, Sandia Laboratories, WSU Vancouver, and the State of Louisiana. He has published more than sixty journal papers including ten on technology and society, and fifty corporate reports and white papers.
- B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1961
- M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1963
- Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, 1970
Virginia B. Valentine
Virginia Bax Valentine graduated in 1980 from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering and earned a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Phi Alpha Alpha (The National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration) in 2000.
During the summer of her junior year at Idaho, Valentine did an internship for the City of Salem, in Salem, Ore. She worked as a construction inspector for offsite improvements and became certified to conduct nuclear density tests.
After graduation, Valentine started her first job at JUB Engineers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as a design engineer. She designed rural water and wastewater treatment systems including several pump stations.
She served as resident engineer for the construction of a river intake system, water treatment plan, reservoirs, and the water distribution system for the Three Mile Water District in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.
In August of 1981, Valentine moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where she went to work as a design engineer for VTN Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada. She worked on the design of land development projects including grading and drainage plans, prepared flood studies, and designed infrastructure for land development projects including waste water collection systems, roadways, waterlines, and drainage systems.
Two years later, Valentine joined URS Consulting Engineers in Las Vegas as a project engineer for wastewater treatment and pumping systems. She worked on resident engineering on the Henderson, Nevada Wastewater Treatment Plan.
In 1984, Valentine moved to Black and Veatch Consulting Engineers in Las Vegas as a project engineer for environmental projects including feasibility, planning, design, and construction management. She managed the first comprehensive study of the Tropicana and Flamingo Hotel washes in Clark County.
Valentine became the first chief engineer and general manager of the Clark County Regional Flood Control District in Las Vegas in 1986. As general manager of a newly created agency, she developed all the District’s programs including master planning, capital improvement, flood plain management regulations, flood warning system, and the District’s first National Pollutant Discharge Elimination storm water discharge permit. She was successful in gaining authorization and appropriations for a $250 million federal project with the USACE.
In 1993, Valentine became a senior vice president of Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan, (PBSJ) a national consulting engineering firm. At PBSJ, Valentine was responsible for overseeing the Public Works and Environmental Divisions in the Western Region. Her job included environmental services such as flood control and water resources projects from planning through construction. She was responsible for budgeting and management for environmental services in the region and managed multimillion dollar design and construction projects for flood control, transportation, and utilities. She was the principal in charge for the program management services provided to the City of North Las Vegas, instituted the GIS division within the environmental services in the western region and was the project manager for the first fully GIS Flood Control Master Plan for the Las Vegas Valley.
Valentine became the city manager for the City of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada in 1998. The City of Las Vegas has 16 departments, 2,800 employees, and in FY 2002 a combined budget of $740 million. At that time the City of Las Vegas was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and had over 600,000 residents. The city has a council/manager form of government and Valentine reported to the mayor and city council.
Four years later, Valentine became the senior vice president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas, Nevada. She was responsible for the Government Affairs Department including state and local government lobbying on business issues and represented the chamber at the 2003 special session of the legislature.
Valentine was appointed as assistant county manager for Clark County in November of 2002. In that capacity she oversaw numerous county departments including air quality and environmental management, assessor, comprehensive planning, development services, fire, public works, redevelopment, real property management, recorder and water reclamation. During her tenure at the county, she was previously assigned to oversee the Departments of Information Technology, Family Services, Public Guardian, Social Service, Parks & Community Services and Elections and University Medical Center. From 2002 to 2011, Valentine was the chief executive officer for Clark County, Nevada.
The county provides extensive regional and municipal-type services to over 2 million residents. In her position as the county’s chief executive officer, she was charged with carrying out the policies established by the seven member Board of County Commissioners. She provided administrative oversight for 38 diverse and geographically dispersed departments and agencies (including McCarran International Airport, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, and the Clark County Water Reclamation District), and more than 12,100 full-time and 4,000 part-time employees. Approximately 900,000 residents live in the unincorporated area which includes the urban area including the Las Vegas Strip and several rural towns.
Valentine is currently the president of the Nevada Resort Association (NRA). The NRA is an industry trade association representing Nevada’s resort/casino industry. The NRA is involved in state and local regulations, lawmaking, and policies effecting gaming.
Valentine has received the following honors and awards:
- Woman of Distinction Award (WODA) in Government, 2010
- Honored by HELP of Southern Nevada, Women in Non-Traditional Roles, 2009
- ASCE Civil Government Award 2008, national award for professional achievement, 2008
- One of the 50 Most Influential People in Southern Nevada, In Business Las Vegas magazine, 2008
- Listed as an extraordinary woman engineer in Changing Our World: True Stories of Women Engineers, 2006
- The book was launched at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21, 2006
- One of the 20 Most Influential Women in Nevada (In Business Las Vegas Magazine), 2000
- “Woman and Youth Award” (Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club), 1996
- “Woman of Achievement” in Science (Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce), 1993
- ASCE Engineer of the Year in Government (Southern Nevada Branch), 1990
- ASCE “Edmund Friedman Young Engineer” National Award for Professional Achievement, 1988
- Finalist for Woman of the Year in Government (Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce), 1987
- NSPE Young Engineer of the Year (Nevada), 1984
- NSPE Young Engineer of the Year (Southern Nevada), 1983
- B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Idaho, 1980
- M.S., Public Administration, University of Nevada, 2000