Tag Archives: achievement

At Exelon, Hanson to oversee nation’s largest nuclear fleet

Bryan Hanson

Exelon Generation has named alumnus Bryan Hanson (BSNEEP ’88) chief operating officer and senior vice president of its nuclear fleet. Exelon is the largest operator of nuclear power facilities in the United States.

In his new role, Hanson will oversee the daily operation for all 10 of Exelon’s nuclear facilities. Exelon operates the largest nuclear fleet in the United States and the third largest in the world.

“Bryan has demonstrated outstanding leadership of Exelon’s Midwest nuclear plants, ensuring all plant personnel maintain a steadfast focus on the safe operation of those facilities,” says Exelon Nuclear President and Chief Nuclear Officer Mike Pacilio. “His technical knowledge of our nuclear plants, coupled with his ambition and relentless pursuit of excellence are what will help drive our organization to be the best operator of nuclear plants in the world.”

Hanson, who has been with the company his entire career, has held various managerial positions within both Exelon’s Midwest and Mid-Atlantic operations, which include Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Prior to his newly named position, he was the senior vice president of operations for Exelon Generation’s six Midwest nuclear facilities and 11 reactors. (Read more about this role in the Badger Engineers profile of Hanson in February 2013.)

During his tenure with Exelon, Hanson also has served as the site vice president for Exelon’s Braidwood Generating Station and the site vice president for Clinton Power Station. In both these roles, he was responsible for all plant operations. He also has been vice president of nuclear oversight, Limerick Generating Station plant manager, and director of operations and work control.

Hanson also holds an MBA from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, is a graduate of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations Senior Nuclear Plant Management Program and the Exelon Leadership Institute at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

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With Wisconsin engineer at the helm, San Diego company earns NASA award

Mary Baker

Mary Baker (BSEM '66)

ATA Engineering Inc., of San Diego, is one of two companies to receive the George M. Low Award, the premier NASA honor for quality and performance. ATA, whose president is Mary Baker (BSEM ’66),  supported development of the Mars Science Laboratory and its robotic rover, Curiosity, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

With 93 employees, this small business played a key role in the mission by conducting detailed mechanical simulation work to support spacecraft’s challenging entry, descent and landing at Mars in August 2012.

Evaluators cited ATA’s problem-solving ability, demonstrated with the design of Curiosity’s sampling scoop; its emphasis on contracting with small business and hiring young talent with high potential; and its strong culture of teamwork.

URS Federal Technical Services Inc. of Germantown, Maryland, earned the Low award in the large business award category.

The Low award demonstrates NASA’s commitment to promoting excellence and continual improvement by challenging its contractor community to be a global benchmark of quality management practices. The award was established in 1985 as NASA’s Excellence Award for Quality and Productivity and renamed in 1990 in memory of George M. Low, an outstanding leader with a strong commitment to quality products and workforce during his 27-year tenure at the agency. Low was NASA’s deputy administrator from 1969 to 1976 and a leader in the early development of space programs. Read the full NASA news release here.

Read a 2001 profile of Baker in the UW-Madison Department of Engineering Physics newsletter for alumni and friends.

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Phillips Plastics co-founder Cervenka honored in U.S. House speech

On May 14, 2013, Congressman Sean P. Duffy of Wisconsin delivered a short talk before the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize alum Robert Cervenka (BSME ’58). Cervenka co-founded Phillips Plastics in 1964 and was its chairman and CEO until he and his wife, Debbie (the company executive vice president and a member of the board of directors), sold it in 2010.

Bob Cervenka recently earned a lifetime achievement award from the Price County (Wisconsin) Economic Development Association.

Following is a transcript of Duffy’s U.S. House speech:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the business accomplishments of Robert F. Cervenka of Phillips, Wisconsin, who has been presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Price County Economic Development Association.

Bob Cervenka was born and raised in the small town of Phillips, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After his graduation in 1958, Bob returned to the community that he loved to pursue his new business venture–the Phillips Plastics Corporation.

Phillips Plastics began operations on October 20, 1964, occupying an old creamery building in Phillips. In 1967, the company broke ground on a new 12,000 square foot custom plastic facility where they employed 30 skilled workers dedicated to crafting innovative control knobs for automobiles, dishwashers, fans, dehumidifiers, and dryers. In 1973, Phillips Plastics opened Precision Decorating in Medford, Wisconsin.

Shortly thereafter, the facility became known as Phillips Automotive, a full service design, manufacture, decoration, and assembly plant for high volume injection molded components. As industries from the Midwest moved to the south and offshore, Bob recognized that Wisconsin’s rural, small community workforce offered a unique competitive advantage. He developed additional plants in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, New Richmond, Hudson, and Prescott among others.

Capitalizing on the company’s success, Mr. Cervenka and co-founder Louie Vokurka established the independent philanthropic Ann Marie Foundation in 1974. Named after their mothers, the foundation worked to improve the quality of life within local communities that are home to Phillips Plastics facilities. Since its inception, the foundation has given over $8 million to schools and non-profit organizations.

Thanks to the business contributions of outstanding citizens like Robert F. Cervenka, Wisconsin’s economic future looks bright. I ask that my colleagues join me today to express our appreciation for Bob’s entrepreneurial spirit and our congratulations to him on receiving this well-deserved award.”

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President Honors Two Badger Engineers

Mike Arnold

Mike Arnold

Congratulations are in order for Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Mike Arnold who has been awarded the country’s highest honor for scientists at the beginning of their research careers. Arnold is among 94 researchers named by President Obama to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Since 1996, the annual PECASE awards have honored the most promising researchers in the Unites States, nominated by nine federal departments and agencies. Though at the start of their careers, these scientists and engineers have already demonstrated exceptional research and promise.
Arnold’s work is motivated by society’s rapidly growing energy consumption due to the expansion of the worldwide industrial economy, as well as the continued demand for smaller, faster, more sensitive and economical electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices. He was nominated by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Sam Zelinka

Sam Zelinka

Also receiving the award is U.S. Forest Service Materials Researcher Samuel L. Zelinka who earned his BS, MS and PhD from the UW-Madison Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2005, 2006 and 2009. Zelinka explores corrosion of metal fasteners in wood, electrical properties of wood, and does fundamental research on wood-moisture relations. He was nominated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Virent Produces Biofuel from Source Outside Food Supply

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported on the success of Virent Energy Systems of Madison in creating biogasoline from a combination of corn stalks and leaves left on farms after the corn harvest, as well as pine tree branches, needles and stumps left on the forest floor after logging. Former Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Researcher Randy Cortright (PhD, 1994) and Steenbock Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering James Dumesic formed Virent in 2002 to commercialize a single-step, low-temperature, catalytic reforming process that can generate hydrogen and a wide range of fuels from sugars, ethylene glycol and methane. Read the article at http://www.jsonline.com/business/123068063.html

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Three Engineering Alums Named to WAA’s ‘Forward Under 40′

Three of the 13 UW-Madison alumni recognized in the 2011 “Forward Under 40″ awards, which recognize early-career achievement, are Badger engineers. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, “Forward Under 40” shines a light on alumni who are making a difference both professionally and in the lives of others. Included in this year’s winners are 1997 Chemical and Biological Engineering alumnus Dalia Mogahed, a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; 1996 Mechanical Engineering alumnus Anthony Eggert, the Deputy Secretary for Energy Policy at the California EPA; and 2009 Master of Engineering Professional Practice alumnus Rudy Quiles, a Civilian Affairs Officer with the United States Marine Corps.

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