Six University of Missouri-Rolla graduates and a former chancellor were inducted into the Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers during the group’s banquet and induction ceremony in Rolla on Sept. 29.
The academy honors mechanical and aerospace engineers for their professional accomplishments and outstanding leadership. The academy also serves as an advisory group to the UMR department of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Inducted into the UMR Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers were:
— Nand Kochhar of Dearborn, Mich., chief engineer of vehicle attributes and computer aided engineering for North America Engineering at Ford Motor Co. He earned a bachelor’s degree in production engineering in India in 1983 before obtaining a master’s degree in engineering mechanics from UMR in 1986. His current responsibilities include noise vibration harshness, vehicle dynamics, durability testing and simulation for all North American products. Kochhar has held several supervisory positions within the company.
— William R. Logel Jr. of Oswego, Ill., operational excellence manager in the Wheel Loaders and Excavators Division of Caterpillar Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from UMR in 1968 and 1970, respectively. Logel joined Caterpillar in 1970 from active duty in the U.S. Army. He maintained dual careers with Caterpillar and the U.S. Army Reserve before retiring from the reserve as a colonel in 1993.
— Barton “Bart” W. Moenster of St. Louis, director of advanced manufacturing research and development for Boeing Phantom Works. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UMR in 1971 and a master’s of business administration and engineering degree from Washington University in 1998. Moenster has been with the company for 32 years. He is currently responsible for leading a virtual team with sites in St. Louis, southern California, Seattle and Philadelphia.
— Steven L. Moss of Fenton, Mo., vice president of environmental products at Nooter/Eriksen Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UMR in 1976 and an executive master of international business degree from Saint Louis University in 2000. Moss began his career with Nooter Corp. as a production engineering following graduation from UMR. He has served in various positions with the company since then and is currently responsible for commercializing a patented multi-pollutant control technology aimed primarily at coal-fired power plants.
— Jorge A. Ochoa of Redmond, Wash., vice president and chief technology officer at Archus Orthopedics Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UMR in 1985 and master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1987 and 1991, respectively. Prior to accepting his current position in 2004, Ochoa was vice president of research and development at DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson Co. He has 11 U.S. patents to his name.
— M. Ellen Plese of Littleton, Colo., program director of Atlas program operations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from UMR in 1984 and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in 1990. Plese is currently responsible for defining and implement the programmatic strategies for processes for the Atlas program.
— Gary Thomas (honorary) of West Orange, N.J., retired UMR chancellor. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1960, a master’s degree in physics in 1962 and doctoral degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 1967. All three degrees were from the University of California-Berkeley. Thomas joined UMR in September 2000 and spent the next five years helping turn around the university’s declining enrollment, increase private donations, and attract funding for research programs. He stepped down from the position in September 2005.