Texas Tech Names Distinguished Engineers

The Texas Tech University Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering named Capt. John D. Alexander, Elizabeth F. Holland, James E. Lowder, Alan L. Smith, and Karan Watson as recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Engineer Award on April 13 at a luncheon at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock.

The Texas Tech University Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering namedCapt. John D. Alexander, Elizabeth F. Holland, James E. Lowder, Alan L. Smith, andKaran Watson as recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Engineer Award on April 13 at a luncheon at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock.

The Distinguished Engineer Award was established during the 1966-67 academic year to recognize the most outstanding alumni of the college. Since that time, 207 former students have received this honor.

Recipients of the award must be distinguished in their profession, an inspiration to their peers, and have demonstrated a continuing interest in areas outside the field of engineering.

“The Distinguished Engineer Award is an opportunity for the Whitacre College of Engineering to recognize our exceptional alumni,” said Al Sacco Jr., dean of the college. “Our entire scholarly community is proud of the accomplishments of our latest group of alumni to earn the title Distinguished Engineer. These individuals have set themselves apart in various and unique ways as outstanding engineers and business leaders and are a testimony to the exceptional education provided by our faculty and staff to all our students: past, present and future.”

Alexander graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in December 1982 and was designated a Naval Flight Officer in November 1983. He completed sea duty assignments as a bombardier/navigator, strike operations officer, aviation department head, and squadron commander. He has served as the executive officer of the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower and commanded the Amphibious Transport Dock ship U.S.S. Juneau. He has accumulated more than 3200 flight hours with 687 carrier-arrested landings. He was named Naval Flight Officer of the Year in 1994. Alexander is currently the commander of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy.

Holland graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering. After eight years in defense electronics at Texas Instruments, she has spent the last 20 years in health care, developing and marketing cutting-edge medical devices and equipment. Holland is currently a managing partner at Medical Product Consulting Inc. in Wadsworth, Ill.

Lowder attended Texas Tech in the mid-1950s in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He worked for more than 50 years in the construction and industrial earthmoving business. He holds 14 U.S. and foreign patents. Lowder is currently the president of Evstar Technologies and is the chair of the advisory committee for the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center at Lubbock Independent School District.

Lowder and Holland are the first father and daughter to be honored in the same year.

Smith graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering. He has been in the petroleum industry since 1985, working for major and independent companies, and consulting firms. He successfully created and sold two independent oil companies and was eventually recruited to join the private equity firm Quantum Energy Partners. Smith is currently the chief executive officer of QR Energy and Quantum Resources Management in Houston, Texas.

Watson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1977, a Master of Science in electrical engineering in 1981, and  a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1982. She joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 1983, eventually serving in associate dean positions in the Dwight Look College of Engineering from 1991 to 2002. She worked in the provost’s office in associate provost, vice provost, and interim positions from 2002 until 2011. Watson is currently provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University. She also is president-elect for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) and will serve as the president from October 2012-October 2013.

For more detailed information on each of the Distinguished Engineers, visit http://www.depts.ttu.edu/coe/alumni/de/index.php

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CONTACT: Jeff Sammons, director of marketing, Whitacre College of Engineering, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3451, or jeff.sammons@ttu.edu.