Missouri University of Science and Technology presented five professional degree awards during spring commencement ceremonies held Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16. The awards recognize the outstanding Missouri S&T graduates for professional achievement.
The following S&T alumni received professional degrees:
Francisco M. “Frank” Benavides, founder and executive director of PENTA Engineering Corp., earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1970. He also holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Before working in minerals processing, he worked on planning and engineering of hydroelectric power plants in Peru, Australia and Brazil. A licensed professional engineer in seven states, he is registered with the U.S. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. His numerous memberships include the Society of Mining Engineers and the Manufacturing Technical Committee of the Portland Cement Association. He is the Consul of Peru for Missouri and president of the Saint Louis Consular Corps. Benavides lives in St. Louis.
Seth Burgett, vice president and general manager of the strategic business unit of Headphones and Wearables for HARMAN International, earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1994. He has completed executive certificates from MIT and Stanford in finance, strategy and innovation and holds an executive MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. Burgett is an avid inventor with over 40 patents pending or granted. His inventions include a broad range of devices from $20 headphones to $1 millioin robotics used in heart surgery. In 2008, he founded Yurbuds Sport Headphones and sold the company to HARMAN in 2014. Today he oversees HARMAN’s Sport Headphones, Lifestyle Headphones and Wearables businesses. Burgett lives in Glen Carbon, Illinois.
Linda Harrell, advanced materials technology research manager for Caterpillar Inc., earned a bachelor of science degree in ceramic engineering from Missouri S&T in 1988. She also holds a master of science degree in industrial engineering from Bradley University. Early in her career, she worked on ceramic materials for high temperature applications, then served as program manager in Ground Engaging Tools, eventually becoming new product introduction manager with global responsibilities. After four years in Japan, she became manager of engine mechanical analysis and materials simulation within virtual product development, then helped develop Caterpillar’s Enterprise Technology Strategy. Currently, she manages materials research and development in the areas of Catalyst and Sensor technology, Heat Treat technology, Surface Modifications and Tribology. She lives with her husband and three sons in Washington, Illinois.
Robert J. “Bob” Scanlon, assistant federal security director for mission support at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, earned a bachelor of science degree in metallurgical engineering in 1973. He spent 17 years with Caterpillar Inc. in a variety of quality-related positions and then led corporate Quality initiatives at Southern Pacific Railroad and the U.S. Postal Service. In 2002, Scanlon joined the Transportation Security Administration, where he pioneered the use of performance metrics and business intelligence. Scanlon served 14 years on the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality and holds ASQ certifications in Quality and Reliability Engineering, Six Sigma, and as Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence.
Susan M. Simmons, senior resident engineer for the Anheuser-Busch Inc. St. Louis Brewery, earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1984. She also holds an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. After graduation, Simmons joined Monsanto as a process engineer. She joined Anheuser-Busch Inc. in 1986 and worked in corporate engineering as a project engineer, manager of engineering and senior manager of engineering and engineering planning through 2002. She served as assistant brewmaster, assistant operations manager and operations manager before taking her current position in 2004. In 2013 Simmons was named one of the Metro St. Louis YWCA Leaders in the Workplace. She lives in St. Louis and is very active in volunteer leadership of nonprofit organizations working in her community.