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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Six inducted into S&T Academy of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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  • Six electrical and computer engineers with ties to Missouri University of Science and Technology were inducted into the Missouri S&T Academy of Electrical and Computer Engineers during the academy’s induction ceremony held on campus April 18.
     
    The academy is an advisory group to the Missouri S&T electrical and computer engineering department. Founded in 1980, the academy is a departmental advisory group composed of alumni and other electrical and computer engineers who have made outstanding contributions to their profession.
     
    New members are listed below:
     
    Michael J. Basler of Highland, Ill., electrical engineering manager for Basler Electric Co., earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1979 and 1989, respectively. Basler began his career as an electrical engineer for the Emerson Electric Co. electronics and space division in 1979. From 1981 to 1996, he held various design engineering and engineering management positions at Basler Electric Co. In 1996, he was named to his current position. He has served as vice chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Energy Development and Power Generation Committee and was past chair of the IEEE Excitation Systems Task Force. Basler is an adjunct lecturer at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where he received the School of Engineering’s Outstanding Adjunct Instructor Award in 2012.
     
    Mark C. Birk of St. Louis, senior vice president of Ameren Corporate Planning, earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1986 and 1991, respectively. He earned an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009. Birk began his career as an engineer in the Union Electric Nuclear Plant in 1986, then moved to the Union Electric Meramec Plant in 1990. In 1997, he joined Ameren as power supply supervisor for Ameren Energy Supply Operations. He has served as general manager and vice president of Ameren EDTS, vice president of Ameren Energy Marketing and Trading and vice president of Ameren Missouri Power Operations. Birk is president-elect of the St. Louis Community College Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the Jefferson Barracks Historical Foundation. He is a licensed professional engineer in Missouri.
     
    Dr. Robert D. Engelken of Jonesboro, Ark., professor of electrical engineering at Arkansas State University, earned master of science and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering in 1980 and 1983, respectively. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in physics from Arkansas State University. Ehgelken began his teaching career as an instructor of electrical engineering at Arkansas State University in 1982. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1983, associate professor in 1986 and professor in 1992. From 2003-11, he served as director of electrical engineering and since 1998, he has served as a faculty associate in the Arkansas State University Environmental Sciences Graduate Program. A licensed professional engineer in Arkansas, Engelken has received awards for teaching, scholarship, research and advising. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Electrochemical Society and the American Society for Engineering Education. He is the author of a book titled “How to (Not) Fall Flat on Your Face in College: Where the Nose Meets the Grinstrone or the Face Hits the Floor.”
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    Jeffrey Vernon Hackman of Wentzville, Mo., director of transmission operations for Ameren, earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1980. He also holds an MBA from Webster University. Hackman began his career as an engineer in system planning for Ameren. He held engineer positions in transmission substation design and distribution engineering before being named district engineer in 1993. In 2004 he was named principal engineer in operational planning. He has held his current position since 2007. A licensed professional engineer in Missouri, Hackman is a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a member of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers. In 1982, he was named Young Engineer of the Year and in 2012, he was named Outstanding Professional Engineer in Industry, both by the St. Louis chapter of MSPE. He is a NERC certified system operator and is chair of the Wentzville, Mo., planning and zoning commission.
     
    Dr. James L. Paunicka of St. Louis, technical fellow and senior researcher in Boeing Research and Technology, earned master of science and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1988 and 1992, respectively. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University. Paunicka began his career at Boeing in 1983. He is principal investigator on multiple research programs in the areas of unmanned aerial vehicle systems, embedded air vehicle software, embedded software verification and validation, and airborne networking. From 1993-95, he served as an adjunct assistant professor at Missouri S&T. Paunicka is an associate fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has been invited to review proposals for the National Science Foundation and to be a peer-review panelist assessing NASA technology branches. A licensed professional engineer in Missouri, Paunicka is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi and Delta Tau Delta fraternity, where he served as chapter advisor and faculty advisor.
     
    Dr. Steve E. Watkins of Salem, Mo., professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate chair of electrical engineering undergraduate studies at Missouri S&T, earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1983 and 1985, respectively. He also holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Watkins began teaching at Missouri S&T in 1989 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. He was named associate professor in 1996 and professor in 2004. In 2004, he served as the IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow for the legislative staff of the U.S. congressional office of Dana Rohrabacher in Washington, D.C. In 2005, he was a faculty-member-in-residence at the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) Program in Washington, D.C. Watkins is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Society for Optics and Photonics Technology and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. He holds one patent and has authored three book chapters, 45 archival papers and 78 other publications.

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