The College of Engineering Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves in the engineering profession through their outstanding leadership, successful entrepreneurship, innovation, and contributions to engineering education.
In an annual ceremony a new group of alumni is honored with plaques that are prominently displayed in the Hall of Fame, located in the Engineering Building lobby just outside the Office of the Dean.
John Z. DeLorean, BSIE’48
Alumni Achievement Award, 1962
The son of immigrant parents, whose father was a Ford factory worker, John Z. DeLorean grew up in Detroit during the Depression. Early in his career, he worked at Chrysler and the Packard Motor Car Company, rising to director of research and development, before moving to General Motors. He made his mark in the early 1960s by developing the Pontiac GTO, ushering in the “muscle car” era. He advanced to group executive vice president in charge of North American Operations at General Motors in 1972 after leading both GM’s Pontiac and Chevrolet Divisions to record financial results.
In 1973, he left GM to found the DeLorean Motor Car Company. In 1981 he debuted the DMC-12, a sleek, low-profile, stainless steel-bodied sports car with gull-wing doors. The design captured the public’s imagination and nearly 9,000 were built. His namesake car received added fame as a time machine in the iconic “Back to the Future” movie trilogy.
An admitted maverick and controversial during his lifetime, DeLorean was a visionary who expressed concerns about the environment, the need to advance quality, provide customer value, and create aesthetically beautiful automobiles – attributes that drive many of the achievements of today’s most successful automotive companies. He was a prolific businessman and engineer with some 200 patents, influencing the innovations in virtually every car on the road today.
DeLorean also earned a master’s degree in engineering from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
James P. Ryan, BSAr’66
Alumni Achievement Award, 1997
The founder, president, and chief executive officer of JPRA Architects, James P. Ryan established his firm as a leader in retail design and in the evolution of “social hubs” for shopping, dining, and entertainment. JPRA’s signature projects, such as the Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan; the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Florida; and The Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, have become tourist destinations that enhance their communities and generate growth. Offering a full range of services, including planning, architecture, interior design, and environmental graphics, JPRA Architects is registered in 21 states and also works in Canada, South America, England, and the United Arab Emirates.
Ryan’s and the firm’s projects have won many national and international awards, most notably from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), International Council of Shopping Centers, and Urban Land Institute. In 2012, Ryan received the AIA’s Hastings Award in recognition of his distinguished service to the architectural profession.
Ryan retired from JPRA Architects in 2008 after more than 30 years and remains active in the profession. During his career, he lectured at schools, universities, and conferences and wrote articles on the architect’s role in retail design. He is the architectural advisor to the board of directors of the Detroit Youth Boxing Gym. He also contributes to LTU, serving on the Alumni Association Board, Campaign Steering Committee, and the restoration committee of the University’s Frank Lloyd Wright house. He created a freshman scholarship and is the 2003 recipient of Lawrence Tech’s Ray Moy Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award.
Ian W. Schonsheck, ABCT’75, BSCE'79, PE
Ian W. Schonsheck formed the firm Schonsheck, Inc., in 1985. A design, construction, and land development company that specializes in industrial and commercial buildings, expansions, and renovations, Schonsheck, Inc., quickly grew under Schonsheck’s leadership. In the firm’s first year, Schonsheck, Inc., earned $1 million in sales, and in its second year, $2 million. Schonsheck eventually grew the company from just two employees – he and his wife, Lori – to 50 employees with more than $50 million in sales. At one point, he managed a real estate portfolio of 3,000,000 square feet. Schonsheck expanded the business by focusing on offering exceptional quality, value, and service.
In 1999 Schonsheck transferred ownership of the company to his employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and became chief executive officer. He helped to diversify the firm by developing partnerships in the areas of healthcare, retail, office building, education, municipalities, selfstorage, warehousing, and research and development, which continue to support the company.
Schonsheck was named one of the 40 Under 40 by Crain’s Detroit Business in 1992, and was honored as a Crain’s Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 1994 for his innovative approach to establishing his company and keeping repeat customers.
A member of the Lawrence Tech Civil Engineering Advisory Board, Schonsheck is a trustee of Cleary University and also served as a regent for Concordia University in Ann Arbor. He is a licensed pilot.
Ronald P. Knockeart, BSEE’63, PE
Alumni Achievement Award, 1999
In a career spanning over 50 years, Ronald P. Knockeart has engineered an astounding number of firsts. He invented the first laser-scanning bar-code reader in 1972 and revolutionized industry and commerce. Bar codes now track everything from product pricing and inventories to consumer habits. He directed the development of the first wireless radio-frequency-based vehicle door-locking system in 1983. First used on the 1985 Buick Regal, this invention is now found on the key chains of most drivers.
Knockeart also invented and developed the first automated airline baggage handling system employing laser scanners, first adopted by Eastern Airlines in 1973. He co-invented the first GPS-based wireless navigation and telematics system, in 1997–99, part of the national effort to develop smart cars and highways.
Another innovation was helping to develop the first cannon stabilization system that allows combat tanks to accurately hit targets while moving, now fully deployed in the U.S. Army. Knockeart also led the computermapping project that identified 3D lunar landing sites for the Apollo moon missions.
Knockeart worked as an engineer in increasingly responsible positions at Cadillac Gage, Bendix Research Laboratories, Ford Motor Company, Gulf + Western Corporation, and Siemens Automotive Corp., where he also served as a board member. He co-founded the firm 3PEC, LLC.
He holds 17 patents and is the 1999 recipient of the SAE Most Innovative Product of the Year Award. He received an MSEE from Wayne State University and was inducted into WSU’s Hall of Fame in 1994.
Aaron P. Rubel, BSET’03
Aaron P. Rubel is the engineering lead of Cabin & Cargo Standard Parts across all Airbus global passenger aircraft and of Flammability Certification within the Airbus Americas Engineering Cabin perimeter. He also serves as the intellectual property liaison between the Mobile, Alabama, location of Airbus Americas Engineering and the global corporate Intellectual Property Office. He is a certified and practicing Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Rubel completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology at Lawrence Tech while working full time in the automotive industry. He has earned two patents and is a two-time recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Truck Cost Savings Award. He was the lead engineer of the 2007 Chrysler Sebring Rear Seat program. Rubel feels that his LTU background laid a strong foundation for a successful transition into the aerospace industry, where he has received awards for driving process improvements, innovating methods, and mentoring other engineers.
He also has made significant contributions to the community. Rubel is a former state membership committee chair in the Michigan Trout Unlimited conservation organization and has authored articles on watershed conservation and fly fishing. He serves on the board of directors of the Bayshore Christian School in Fairhope, Alabama, is chair of the strategic planning committee, and a voting member of the school board. He also contributed to the development of a Mobile, Alabama, Area Education Foundation strategic plan for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that was published in 2015.
George J. Fadool, BSCE’81, PE
George J. Fadool has served as the chief ethics and compliance officer for Skanska USA Inc. since 2009. He previously spent 25 years in operations in increasingly responsible roles, attaining the position of co-chief operating officer for Skanska USA Building Inc. with responsibility for the Midwest and Texas regions. He joined Skanska in 1983, initially working for a construction company with offices in Michigan and Colorado that was acquired by Skanska in 1999.
Fadool started his career in construction working as a field engineer and quality control technician while attending LTU. He has held many positions, including project engineer, estimator, project manager, and vice president, in addition to being responsible for national preconstruction services and information technology. At age 29, he became project manager of the largest project the company had undertaken to date. Shortly thereafter, he was named vice president for construction.
Named one of the 40 Under 40 by Crain’s Detroit Business in 1998, Fadool served as the leader of a team within Skanska that developed an industry-leading Ethics Roadmap. The roadmap provides the means for a business to practically assess its ethical position through the lenses of culture and behavior.
Fadool has been very active in philanthropic activities, including organizing many fundraising events for several local nonprofit organizations. He served on the board and is past president of Vista Maria, a large residential treatment facility for adolescent girls in Wayne County. He earned a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1982.
David W. Wright, BSME’86
David W. Wright is founder and chief executive officer of Wi, Inc., a contract medical device engineering, design, and manufacturing company. An inventor and entrepreneur with nearly 40 years of experience, he holds more than 60 U.S. patents and has several patents pending. Wright worked with medical device companies Medtronic Cardiac Surgery, 3M Cardiovascular, and Gelman Sciences in product development and management before establishing Wi, Inc., in 2001. Located in Englewood, Colorado, the firm specializes in microfluidics, in vitro diagnostics, extracorporeal circuits, and organ transport technology.
In 2003 one of Wi’s signature products, the Organ Recovery LifePort Kidney Transporter, was named the “Best of What’s New” by Popular Science, and in 2004, it received a gold Medical Design Excellence Award. The firm also helped engineer the XVIVO Organ Perfusion System, which was a 2011 Medical Category Winner from NASA Tech Briefs.
Wright invented his first neurosurgical device in 1978 at the age of 20 while employed as a draftsman in the automotive industry. He spent 10 years in machine tool design and manufacturing automation for consumer durable products before joining the medical field. He had to overcome some learning challenges and attended several community colleges prior to being accepted at Lawrence Technological University. Wright credits LTU with providing him the opportunity to succeed.
Wright attributes Wi’s success to the shared philosophy that the invention and commercialization of products is based on building respectful teams that encourage creative participation from all members.
Todd Brooks, BSET’07
A member of the Navy Reserve and an engineering supervisor at Ford Motor Company’s
Body and Chassis Test Lab, Todd Brooks balances two demanding careers with excellence and sacrifice. Now an information dominance warfare officer, he served as an in-flight aviation electronics technician on board the P-3 Orion naval aircraft, participating in intelligence gathering, surveillance missions, and counter-narcotics. He also has served as a facilitator in the Navy’s leadership development program at the Center for Naval Leadership Midwest Region in Great Lakes, IL.
Brooks entered the Navy after graduating from high school and was on active duty from 1985 to 1991. He served with Patrol Squadron 56, then Commander, Patrol, and Reconnaissance Wing 11, which recognized him as its sailor of the quarter in 1989. Brooks left active service in 1991, and two years later went to work for Ford Motor Company. He entered the Navy Reserve in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and joined Patrol Squadron 92, a unit that recognized him as its sailor of the quarter, and then its sailor of the year, every year from 2003 to 2006.
In 2007 Brooks was named the Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year, the organization’s highest honor, out of 43,000 Navy reservists. Brooks commits to 12 weekends and several more weeks of active duty each year. He also was mobilized to Iraq for a year in 2008. Because of these demands on his time, it took him 13 years to complete his Lawrence Tech degree.
Edward Donley, BME’43, HD’76, HD’87
Alumni Achievement Award, 1959
Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees
Member of the LTU Corporation
Exemplifying the highest standards of leadership, Edward Donley has devoted himself to the betterment of the country, his profession, education, and Lawrence Tech. In recognition of his service, he has received numerous honorary degrees, including two from LTU: Doctor of Industrial Management, 1976, and Doctor of Engineering, 1987. He was awarded the Society of Chemical Industry’s Chemical Industry Medal in 1980.
Donley served as president and chairman of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., which he joined in 1943 and grew from a small Detroit-area firm to a Fortune 500 company. He also is former chairman of the board of directors of American Standard Inc. and a former member of the boards of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Mellon Bank Corporation, Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, and the National Endowment for Democracy.
He chaired the US Chamber of Commerce, 1986–87, and founded the Chamber’s Center for Workforce Preparation and Quality Education, which he chaired, 1989–93. Donley was chairman of the Business-Higher Education Forum of the American Council on Education, and a member of the board of trustees of American College Testing. He also was a member of the boards of the
Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
At LTU Donley was a member and chair, 1982–93, of the Board of Trustees. One of the largest individual donors to LTU, he and his wife, Inez, have given more than $7 million to expand student services and establish the Donley Scholars Program.
Jennifer A. Hitchcock, BSME’88, MGLM’09
Alumni Achievement Award, 2006
Jennifer A. Hitchcock is executive director for Research and Technology Integration at the US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, in Warren, MI. One of eight such major research, development, and engineering centers in the country, RDECOM is the Army’s largest technology developer. Hitchcock is responsible for leading the research and integration of Army ground vehicle mobility, power and energy, survivability, and robotic and vehicle electronic architecture technologies. The civilian equivalent of a brigadier (one-star) general, she oversees more than 600 people in five technical business areas and manages the planning, execution, funding, and selection of technology programs the Army will pursue to meet emerging Army battlefield challenges.
She also has been instrumental in advising Army leaders on power and energy technologies, issues, and initiatives, and helping to establish baseline Army technology roadmaps for several technology portfolios. Hitchcock has more than 23 years of technical leadership and managerial experience in mobility and power and energy technologies, system engineering, acquisition, and program management. In recognition of her tireless work in support of the US Army,
RDECOM in Aberdeen, MD, awarded Hitchcock the Superior Civilian Service Award in 2012 and the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service in 2006. She was the second woman in LTU history to win the Alumni Achievement Award.
William D. Innes, BSME’53, HD’68
Alumni Achievement Award, 1963
Member of the LTU Corporation
Throughout his 39 years with the Ford Motor Company, William D. Innes made numerous contributions to the auto industry in the areas of manufacturing and product engineering. In 1933 at the age of 12, he attended the Ford Trade School and after graduation, started full-time employment in 1940. Enlisting in the US Navy in 1942, Innes served four years in the South Pacific aboard the USS Chenango as a tail gunner and machinist mate. Following World War
II, he returned to Ford Motor Company’s drafting room and attended LTU’s evening school program.
After graduation, Innes quickly moved up the ranks in Ford Motor Company’s powertrain engineering organization. While leading Ford’s Engine and Foundry Division, Innes worked with motorsports icons Colin Chapman, Carroll Shelby, and John Holman to develop Ford’s dominate powertrains in the 1960s, contributing to the company’s unprecedented success at Indianapolis, Le Mans, and Daytona.
Innes was promoted to executive vice president in 1970, Ford’s number three position, and was responsible for managing North American Automotive Operations, which consisted of 15 divisions and over 250,000 employees. Through his innovative thinking, he is credited with manufacturing processes that shortened downtime between model changeovers and engineering advances that led to the development of safer, more pollution-free automobiles. Innes received the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Eli Whitney Award for distinguished achievement in mass production and manufacturing in 1973. LTU awarded him an honorary Doctor of Engineering in 1968.
Larry A. Lawson, BSEE’80
Alumni Achievement Award, 2012
Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees
Larry A. Lawson, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp. and president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, leads the corporation’s military aircraft business, which employs more than 26,000 people at nine locations in the United States. He oversees such key programs as the F-35 Lightning II Multi-role Fighter, F-22 Raptor Air Dominance Fighter, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon Combat Aircraft as well as the C-130J Super Hercules, C-5M Super Galaxy transport, and the U-2 Dragon Lady High-altitude Reconnaissance Aircraft. He is also responsible for the world-renowned Skunk Works®, a leader in aerospace innovation for nearly 70 years.
With more than 32 years of experience in the aerospace industry, Lawson also held leadership positions at McDonnell Douglas, Recon-Optical Inc., and Martin Marietta. He has patents in advanced signal processing discrimination technology. Named Inventor of the Year in 1991 and Manager of the Year in 1997 and 1999, he received the Silver Knight of Leadership award from the National Management Association in 2008. He is an active member of the Air Force Association and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the National Management Association. He has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellow.
Lawson established the Larry A. Lawson Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering and is a substantial supporter of Lawrence Technological University.
A. Leon Linton, BSME’62
Alumni Achievement Award, 1968
A. Leon Linton is the founder and CEO of Southern Systems Inc. (SSI) of Memphis, which designs, builds, and installs custom conveyor systems for manufacturing and distribution facilities.
Born in a rural Mississippi town on the Tennessee River about 90 miles from Memphis, Linton moved with his family to Michigan when he was 12. While still in high school, he began a millwright craftsman trade apprenticeship and worked the night shift at a Lincoln-Mercury assembly plant. After high school, he worked in the millwright trade on the construction and installation of conveyor systems, machinery, and automation equipment.
Upon completing his Lawrence Tech education, Linton became a project engineer for Jervis B. Webb, working on conveyor system installations in automotive plants. He persuaded his employer to let him return to Tennessee and open a one-man office in Memphis. Five years later he went out on his own, and SSI quickly developed a niche market for the heavy-duty conveyor systems utilized in the manufacture and production of heavy trucks, construction equipment, military tanks, oil field pipe, aircraft, furniture, appliances, and package handling.
In 2009 Linton donated $2.5 million to LTU to establish an endowment in support of the University’s mechanical engineering program. In recognition of his generosity and the example he sets as an engineer and distinguished alumnus, the mechanical engineering department was renamed the A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Gretchen Minnhaar, BSArE’59
Alumni Achievement Award, 1979
The only woman in her class, Gretchen Minnhaar was the first woman in Lawrence Technological University history to receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Both an architectural engineer and artist, she combines these two disciplines into a practice that focuses on revitalizing cities by creating vibrant spaces and environments.
As principal of Gretchen Minnhaar Designs in Grand Rapids, MI, Minnhaar creates vivid, large-scale artworks encompassing a broad spectrum of media and genres: oils, watercolor, etching, lithography, acrylics, portrait painting, life drawing, and graphic design. Her work is represented in public and private collections in the United States, Argentina, Spain, and the Netherlands, and she has exhibited all over the world.
Minnhaar earned the Master of Architecture from the Universidad del Litoral, Argentina, and the Master of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University, in addition to pursuing doctoral studies in city planning at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
She has served as director of design of DeWinter Associates, Inc., in Grand Rapids and as architectural designer at Smith, Hinchman & Grylls in Detroit. Among her many projects are the Gerald R. Ford Museum and the renovation of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, both in Grand Rapids.
She has served with the Michigan Corridor Board, ArtServe Michigan, Michigan Council for the Arts, and the Michigan Construction Code Commission and has returned many times to LTU to lecture and serve as a thesis advisor and student project jurist.
Kirk T. Steudle, BSCE’87
Alumni Achievement Award, 2008
Kirk T. Steudle has served as director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) since 2006, the highest-ranking state official among LTU’s alumni. He joined MDOT in 1987 as an engineer trainee and served the department in various positions across the state before becoming director.
Steudle oversees MDOT’s more than $3 billion budget and is responsible for the construction, maintenance, and operation of nearly 10,000 miles of state highways, more than 4,000 state highway bridges, and some 2,500 employees. He also administers a variety of multi-modal transportation programs and projects that range from aviation to the Zilwaukee Bridge.
Steudle is a national expert in connected vehicle technology, a high-tech highway operations technology that enables vehicles to communicate with roads and each other to improve safety and mobility. He has served as president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and in various leadership capacities with the Strategic Highway Research Program II, Intelligent Transportation Society of America, and the Engineering Society of Detroit, the largest engineering society in the United States.
In 2010 Steudle was recognized nationally for his outstanding contribution to highway engineering when he received the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ prestigious Thomas H. MacDonald award. In 2011 he was awarded the P.D. McLean Award from the Washington, DC-based Road Gang for excellence in highway transportation.
Lewis C. Veraldi, BSME’68
Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees
Member of the LTU Corporation
As Ford Motor Company vice president of product and manufacturing engineering, Lewis C. Veraldi pioneered the car team development approach that in 1986 produced the highly successful Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. The $3.25 billion Taurus project was then the most ambitious in the firm’s history and is credited with returning the Ford Motor Company to profitability.
Believing that quality would improve if all the people concerned with the outcome of a vehicle were involved from its earliest stages, Veraldi engaged consumers, parts suppliers, assembly-line workers, and marketing and service people along with the designers and engineers. This revolutionary approach resulted in design innovations, reduced development time, high quality, a successful launch, and the Taurus becoming America’s top-selling car.
The Taurus received Motor Trend’s 1986 Car of the Year award, and Veraldi was named the 1987 Man of the Year by Automotive Industries Magazine. In 1988 he received the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Eli Whitney Productivity Award.
Veraldi worked at Ford Motor Company for 40 years. A Ford Trade School graduate, he joined the company in 1949 as a draftsman and steadily advanced to positions of increasing responsibility and leadership. In Europe, he led the development and launch of the successful Ford Fiesta. He held a patent on a vehicle chassis front suspension mechanism.
Juggling his career and a growing family, Veraldi earned his Lawrence Tech degree after taking 18 years of evening classes.