Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame to Hold 2010 Ceremony
Editor’s Note: Inductees included in this announcement are from your coverage areas.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame will induct eight individuals and honor one project during a Feb. 20 ceremony at the Grand Hotel Resort and Spa in Point Clear.
The following individuals will join the 130 who have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame:
Richard W. Amos has demonstrated a driving motivation to save lives through his contributions to national defense. He has gone to the front lines to ensure he would be able to guarantee the readiness and technological superiority of U.S. Army systems. He is valued not only for his superior engineering skills, but also for his people, management, logical and entrepreneurial talents.
Amos grew up in Huntsville and received advanced degrees in industrial and systems engineering from Auburn University. Almost immediately after graduation, Amos began his dedication to soldiers with the Army’s Systems Engineering and Production Directorate in Huntsville.
Amos was one of the youngest to ever be promoted into the Senior Executive Service, a rank equivalent to a general. In 2000, Amos was named director of the Aviation and Missiles Research and Development Center Systems Simulation Directorate, making him responsible for all modeling and simulation support for aviation as well as directing research and development activities in missile and fixed-wing UAV aerodynamics.
Although he no longer visits the front lines, Amos still touches lives through his community involvement, ranging from teaching Sunday school to winterizing homes for the elderly. He mentors the next generation of engineering academicians, serving as a lecturer and adviser for graduate students at The University of Alabama at Huntsville. His colleagues consider him instrumental in establishing North Alabama as a technological center of excellence and in opening doors for engineers and scientists.
Linda A. Figg has long had a fascination with bridges and has a talent for incorporating community sentiments into her bridges. As president, chief executive officer, and director of bridge art for Figg Engineering Group, she continues a tradition started by her father, Gene Figg, when he founded Figg Engineering Group in 1978. She has continued his devotion to building sustainable, world-class bridges that are cost effective and sensitive to the environment, yet continue to set new industry standards in design, technology, materials and efficiency.
Figg earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University in 1981. Upon graduation she joined her father’s firm and worked with him for 20 years before assuming the position of president and chief executive officer five years ago.
Figg has a talent for incorporating decorative art on bridge structures to make an impact on how people think about the bridges. Figg’s designs have been featured in USA Today, on The History Channel, and on 13 covers of the construction industry’s Engineering News-Record. Some of her most noted accomplishments include The Broadway Bridge in Daytona, Fla. that used a consensus program to decide on the community’s idea of “Timeless Ecology,” and her replacement bridge for the collapsed portion of I-35W across the Mississippi River, which won her the AGC/Aon Build America 2009 National Project of the Year Award.
Although heading a firm with bridges in 38 states is time consuming, Figg still finds time to make other contributions to her field and society. She has produced an award-winning educational DVD to promote engineering to young people, authored a book chapter, and spoken widely on bridge aesthetics. She recently published “Bridging the Mississippi: The New I-35W Bridge,” which raised funds for two Minneapolis non-profit educational organizations and honored the memory of a tragic event.
Ronald W. Gray has two lessons for the young engineers of today who hope to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow: technology and business innovation are the keys to the future, and giving back to the community is a legacy all should strive to achieve. This is the legacy that Gray is forging for himself as a member of The University of Alabama Board of Trustees and with his endowment of three University of Alabama scholarships.
Gray graduated from The University of Alabama in 1981, and shortly after he began his career at Birmingham’s Combustion Engineering Inc. as a research and development engineer. In 1985, he moved to Huntsville to continue research and development with President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. In 1992, Gray was named vice president and Huntsville operations manager for a major federal government contractor.
In 1998, Gray and his wife, Cindy, started Gray Research Inc. that has now been recognized twice with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s top honor. In 2008, Gray sold Gray Research but with the agreement that he would remain in charge, an acknowledgement of Gray’s leadership value.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Gray helped create the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation, a not-for-profit that aims to address technical challenges that stretch beyond one entity. They have also forged relationships with all seven of Alabama’s research universities to support education.
Philip E. LaMoreaux Sr.’s enthusiasm and interest in hydrogeology has made it one of the most dynamic and sought-after disciplines in the field today. His name has become virtually synonymous with the hydrogeology of karst, or areas of landscape with sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, and springs that are indicative of water.
LaMoreaux graduated from Denison University in 1943, and he was appointed to the U.S. Geological Survey in Tuscaloosa as a geologist. He served as chief of the Ground Water Branch in Washington, D.C., from 1959 to 1961, when he returned to Tuscaloosa as a state geologist for Alabama and director of the Oil and Gas Board. LaMoreaux received a master’s degree in geology from The University of Alabama in 1949, and he received his doctoral degree from Denison University in 1972.
LaMoreaux was one of the first Americans to join the International Association of Hydrogeologists, he convinced the Alabama Geological Survey to sponsor the first major national professional meeting on karst hydrogeology, and he served as the first American president of IAH. As director of the Environmental Institute for Waste Management Studies, he brought together leading scientists from 10 major American universities. He built his company, P.E. LaMoreaux and Associates Inc., into an international environmental and engineering consulting firm specializing in hydrogeology.
LaMoreaux was a prolific writer, authoring more than 150 publications. He was active in his company until 2008 when his son, Dr. Jim LaMoreaux, succeeded him as president. LaMoreaux passed away on June 23, 2008.
Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. has been a model leader at NASA for the past 20 years. Whether he was working at the NASA centers in the South or at the national headquarters in Washington D.C., his dedication to space has significantly contributed to NASA’s mission as he has helped pioneer the future in space exploration and scientific discovery.
After graduating from the Capstone with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Lightfoot began his NASA career at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville as a test engineer and program manager. In 1999, he joined the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi as chief of propulsion test operations, and he was named director of the Propulsion Test Directorate in 2002.
Lightfoot’s devotion to NASA brought him to the nation’s capital in 2003 following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident. Serving as an assistant associate administrator for the space shuttle program, he led the headquarters space shuttle return to flight efforts and worked on the “Vision for Space Exploration,” an initiative calling for the future exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond.
Currently, Lightfoot is the director of the Marshall Space Flight Center and is responsible for managing one of NASA’s largest field installations and leading more than 8,400 civil service and contractor employees.
George A. Little has always strived to be a good steward, and he does so in his professional life by securing and assisting in the growth of HDR’s employee-owners’ retirement. As president and chief operations officer of HDR Engineering Inc., Little is responsible for the growth and strategic direction of the company as well as daily activities.
Little graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1981. Since his graduation, he has been dedicated to his work at HDR, and he has become a true leader and mentor. Under Little’s direction, HDR has been a part of several national high-profile projects including: the Hoover Dam Bypass, Everglades Restoration, and New York City’s ongoing solid waste work.
While there are many executives who say their doors are always open, Little actually means it. He hopes that on the day he retires everyone will remember him for making a difference.
In addition to his devotion to his professional life, Little is also dedicated to improving education in Alabama. He serves as a member of UAB’s Engineering Foundation Council where he provides valuable advice and counsel.
William R. McNair was highly recommended throughout his career because of his ability to synthesize technical aspects with the business needs of the telecommunications industry.
McNair graduated from Auburn University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He furthered his career with a master’s degree in business administration from Auburn-Montgomery. As a Sloan Fellow, he earned a master’s in management from MIT.
Upon his graduation, McNair began his 38 year career with BellSouth in Birmingham. At BellSouth he rose through the ranks and across divisions, always being recruited when workable solutions were needed for complex problems. Upon his retirement, he had reached the title of vice president of network operations.
In addition to his dedication to BellSouth, McNair served 15 years on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Georgia. He was instrumental in recruiting hundreds of BellSouth mentors for the Job Shadow Program, setting all-time records for volunteer participation. He made grand efforts in establishing Auburn’s BellSouth Minority Engineering Program, designed to increase the recruitment and retention of minority engineering students.
Susan N. Story’s focus as the chief executive officer of Gulf Power is the community’s needs, extending to her customers and the environment and balancing the two. Story became the first woman and the youngest ever chief executive officer of a Southern Company operating subsidiary in 2003 at the age of 42.
Story received her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and went on to attain a master’s degree in business administration from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also participated in executive education programs at Duke University and Oxford University.
Story joined Southern Company in 1982, and she has worked for the company for the past 27 years. Shortly after her appointment as chief executive officer of Gulf Power in 2003, Hurricane Ivan left 90 percent of Gulf Power’s customers without electricity. Less than two weeks later, every home that could physically take power, had power restored.
Outside of her career, Story devotes a lot of time and effort to education, involving accountability and performance in preparing young people to achieve the American dream just as she had the opportunity to do. Her passion is getting more graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math.
Honored in the projects category:
TTL Inc. is a socially responsible company that is not only known for innovations in engineering but also for its widespread support of education.
TTL has been involved in many memorable projects that have defined the company as an innovative and pioneering firm. These projects fall across a wide spectrum and include geotechnical, analytical, materials and environmental engineering.
Among some of its notable achievements, TTL was the first engineering firm to have a project accepted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management under the Alabama Brownfield Voluntary Redevelopment Act. TTL also designed a more efficient and cost-saving system for landfills. TTL was the first commercial Alabama laboratory to use ICP-AES technology to provide services essential to the health and well being of Alabama residents.
TTL is a supporter of education from the elementary to the university level. TTL spearheaded a successful program to reward reading at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in the Tuscaloosa city school system. At the middle school level, TTL is a long-standing supporter of the adopt-a-school program. TTL’s passion for advanced education is seen not only in the hours dedicated to volunteering and guest lecturing, but also through endowed scholarships for prospective engineers at The University of Alabama.
TTL began 45 years ago as a modest business providing test results for concrete, and it has expanded into a strong, vibrant, established company with solid growth and an unparalleled reputation across the Southeast.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.