Texas Tech University

Seven accomplished engineering alumni will be honored Friday (April 15) at the Texas Tech University Whitacre College of Engineering 50th Annual Distinguished Engineer Awards Luncheon.

The luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. in the Red Raider Ballroom at the Student Union Building.

Those being honored are Chris Burchett, Class of 1990; Dale Cherry, Class of 1978; David King, Class of 1974; Fred David “Dave” Martin, Class of 1960; Keith McAuliffe, Class of 1981; Mark Ramsey, Class of 1979; and Gary C. Thomas, Class of 1980.

The Distinguished Engineer Awards were created by former dean John R. Bradford in 1966 to honor former engineering students who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments have brought great honor to the college, Texas Tech and the profession.

To be eligible for the award, individuals must have been a student in the Whitacre College of Engineering and have distinguished themselves in their work, life or other endeavors and been recognized by contemporaries. Individuals must also demonstrate integrity, stature and ability, have inspired others and demonstrated interest in areas outside the profession that brought honor to the profession.

Among this year's honorees:

  • Burchett, who earned a bachelor's degree in computer science in 1990, is the executive director for client security software engineering for Dell Computers. He is responsible for innovation, engineering and delivery of Dell's Enterprise Endpoint Security business, which he founded and later sold to Dell.
  • Cherry is the retired vice president and client director for Black & Veatch. A 1978 graduate with a degree in civil engineering, Cherry began working for Black & Veatch after graduation and worked his way up to being named partner of the company in 1996 and vice president in 1999 before retiring in 2013. He currently serves on the Whitacre College of Engineering Dean's Council.
  • King earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1974 and is the president and chief executive officer of Primoris Services Corporation, one of the largest construction infrastructure service enterprises in the U.S. He joined Primoris after almost 35 years with Howe-Baker Engineers, which was acquired by Chicago Bridge & Iron in 2000.
  • Martin graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1960 and serves as a cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. He has more than 50 years of experience both in the industry and academia in both field applications and research related to the oil and gas industry.
  • McAuliffe is the vice president and chief technologist for HPE Servers Global Business Unit of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. A 1981 graduate with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, he is in charge of guiding the long-term technology and intellectual property strategies of HP to ensure it delivers industry-and market-leading products aligned with customer needs.
  • Ramsey is the president of Texas Drilling Associates, a consulting engineering company he founded in 1992 that focuses on trouble prevention and institutes programs he pioneered to save operators hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced trouble costs. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1979.
  • Thomas is the president and executive director of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system. A double-bachelor's degree graduate in 1980 in civil engineering and architecture structure, Thomas oversees a 13-city transit system that covers 700 square miles with bus, light rail, commuter rail and paratransit services. DART's light rail system is the nation's longest at 90 miles.