Unfilled pools and dead lawns may
be Florida's future if we don't become
responsible water consumers.
ON THE COVER:
TURN OFF THE
PARTY IS OVER
Are you a responsible consumer of
Florida's water? How much are you
using? Are we really at risk for running
out of water? And most importantly, if
we are running out, what are we doing
to protect this vital natural resource?
Every four years Americans are caught
in the political-campaign he-said she-
said crossfire. Ever wonder why more
engineers aren't more politically active?
Well, we did too, and you'll be surprised
what we found.
30 THE SEARCH
More than hundreds of miles apart, two
Gator Engineers were irrevocably de-
fined by heartbreak, frustration and loss
onJanuary 12, when a broken country
suffered and crumbled under its most
"I ok 3dy
I lto fin himin the'
05 FROM 300 WElL HALL
There's an awful lot happening in the College since Dean
Abernathy took the reigns. Don't miss this update.
Get enlightened about not only Gator Engineering but how
to channel your engineer cool outside the office.
36 ENGINEER UPDATE
We got speed and so does Kevin Byrd, B.S. MAE '98, who is
host of the Speed Network's "Two Guy's Garage."
39 SAVE THE DATE
We're still celebrating ioo years of Gator Engineering.
See how you can get involved. You really should.
44 CLOSING TIME
It's official. We're the best! The FE wins Best Magazine award.
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 1
Star Wars inspired engineering, five
places to get your engineer on, mind-bending bedside reading, must see student
success and a peek into the College's ground-breaking restructuring it's all here.
SARAH WILSON explores issues of
community and culture through environmental
portraiture. She currently lives in Austin, Texas,
where she enjoys working as an editorial and com-
mercial photographer. Her work has been acquired
by the University of Texas and the Museum of Fine
Arts Houston. SARAHWILSONPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
CRAIG PITTMAN won state& national
awards covering environmental issues for the St.
Pete Times. He is the co-author of "Paving Para-
dise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure
of No Net Loss" and author of "Manatee Insanity:
Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous En-
EN I NEVER
Cammy R. Abernathy
JOHN RITTER began his career in1993
and has developed a client roster that spans the
American cultural spectrum. He has been a regu-
lar contributor to the New Yorker for the past fif-
teen years and is producing magazine covers for
the American Prospect and Internazionale Maga-
zine in Rome, Italy. RITTERILLUSTRATION.NET
SHANNON KALAHAR is a third
year fine art student at UF and a business owner
specializing in natural light portraiture. When
she's not in the darkroom (yes, she still uses a
darkroom) she can be found cooking or running
rampant through Payne's Prairie.
Megan E. Gales
Nicole Cisneros McKeen
Mark Law, Angela Lindner and
Paul Pegher and Erik Sander
The Florida Engineer is published by the
University of Florida College of Engineering, keeping alumni,
students and friends of the College connected with
Gator Engineering by reporting on issues relevant and timely to
the field of engineering and the University
Nicole Cisneros McKeen
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
University of Florida
349 Weil Hall, P.O. Box 116550
Gainesville, Fl, 32611-6550
p. 352.392.0984 f 352.392.9673
STEVE MILLER is an auto reporter,
driven Lamborghinis and Bentleys, covered
BMW Championship golf tournaments and
hung out with some of the top auto execs.
He is editor of the book, "Touch and Go: The
Hardcore Punk Fanzine, 1979-1983" (Bazillion
Points), which comes out this summer.
WAYNE GARCIA spent the past six
months taking time out from his newswriting career
to teach investigative reporting, editing and politi-
cal reporting at UF. Hejust received the Irene Miller
Vigilance in Journalism Award from the Pinellas
County chapter of the American Civil Liberties
Union for covering Florida politics.
The Florida Engineer is a member of
The Florida Magazine Association and CASE, the Council for
the Advancement and Support of Education.
Printed by Boyd Bros, Inc.
Panama City, FL.
\ l I I ill
Bringing Back Memories
From 300 Weil Hall stirs up strong memories. I was a member of the techni-
cal staff at Murray Hill from 1952 to 1956 reporting toJ. R. Pierce. News about
declassification of the proximity fuse work is very exciting. I have suspected
for many years that my sister, Lynn Rogers (io-yrs my senior), was a technician
on that project. Any inquiry however always brought back a snapped "We don't
talk about that!!" from her. When I was a GI-Bill student, from 1946-50, some
of my professors told me she had left me some very large shoes to fill. I always
read and enjoy the magazine.
B. E.E o
publication is intended, but it is cer-
tainly not me. Thank you very much.
ROBERT M. SHEPARD, JR.
B.S. NRE '73
Vice President CommercialNuclear Projects
I became the 2nd editor of The Florida
Engineering 1951. Ifthatwas 69 years ago,
as the caption on p.44 states, I would
have been io years old. I will assert that
I am not that precocious. It's interest-
ing that I got involved in publishing and
took courses fromJohn PaulJones in the
Journalism Department while an engi-
neer at UF. Being able to write a coherent
1 sentence was a useful asset all through my
academic career. Writing research grants,
reports, and papers played a big part of
being an engineer right up until I retired
from Clemson University more than io
WRITE US (WE
WILL BEG IF
A Happy Customer
Congratulations on your successful
effort to update the readability and
content of The Florida Engineer. I get
quite a number of college magazines
and your new look places you right up
there with the best.
UFB.S. ISE 63 Harvard MBA '67
Tale MMSc '99
I enjoy reading each issue of The
Florida Engineer. It's come a long
way since my time at the U of F. I
was just back for the Grand Guard
Reunion. I remember I had an article
in the FE in the spring of 1959. It was
on using nuclear reactors as rocket
engines. Strangely enough, my first
job after graduating was with Pratt &
Whitney Aircraft at the Connecticut
Aircraft Nuclear Engine Laboratory
(CANEL) working on aspects of a
nuclear engine for an aircraft. The
program never produced an actual
engine, but a lot of really great tech-
nology in materials and high tem-
perature heat exchanger design came
out of the program.
Keep up the great work on The
DR. FRED L. ROBSON,
B.A. NE '9, PrincipalEngineer
KraftWork Systems, Inc.
Not a Fan
I have found the last two issues to be
nearly unreadable and the prolific use
of acronyms is a contributing factor.
I am active in the commercial and
government nuclear business, as I
have been since 1973, and I find this
publication nearly a waste of my
time. I am not sure to whom this
years ago. Now I enjoy being a book pub-
lisher while retired. I encourage you to
urge engineers to learn to write. Writing
ability may be as important as math.
FRED R. SIAS, JR.
B.S. EE'f4,M.SE '59
and ideas. We reserve
the right to publish any
submission to the FE.
While we willdo our
best to keepyour
submission intact, we
may editor length,
style and clarity.
A'HEM... IS THIS THING ON?
Seriously. Getting feedback from you helps THE FLORIDA ENGINEER
hone its message and deliver stories you want. We know you're busy. We
have mounting to-do lists, too, not to mention deadlines, bosses, families to
attend to and, of course, preseason Gator football to study. But drop us a
line. Let us know what you like, what you need and want from the FE. And
don't be afriad to tell us when we make a mistake (Thank you Fred Sias, Jr.
for keeping us honest). email@example.com -THE FLORIDA ENGINEER STAFF
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 3
BY THE NUMBERS Entrepreneurship
PAEN*APICAIOSSUMTTD st PTET
Enteprn eu!Hrslhiifiipis oethan a 21st-cn~i~tur pstecnmi-su
^buzzwod.Its somethSing t he ~iCo~lEBlege takes very seioul adi
commB!ittedi tolinurturiing.Pr ffseingGtr nierigetepeer
is giving thm the freedo^^^l^^^um adrsucst r active apprach tday'
challenges. his enterprisingmarria e of riveand reaivity continues t
producefruifulreults. In theColleg' a' st five years, there has been
LETTER FROM THE DEAN
anniversary of the passage
of one of the most influ-
ential pieces of legislation
ever to affect the modern
research university. It was called the
Bayh-Dole Act and it allowed universi-
ties to financially benefit from their
breakthroughs developed from federal
research funding. Prior to 1980, the
federal government retained the pat-
ent rights to technology developed
with its money and was required to
grant a license to anyone who wished
to apply. Because companies could
not guarantee an exclusive window
on the market, only five percent of
these government owned patents were
ever used in industry. Thanks to the
Bayh-Dole Act, universities were al-
lowed to grant exclusive licenses and
retain the revenue from those licenses.
This change meant that faculty,
through their universities, were now
free to profit from their ideas through
licensing to existing companies or by
participating in the creation of new
ones. Though the Act is not without
critics, who fear that the impartiality
of university research can be compro-
miqed bv the promise of future payoffs,
ir i uL I l.. r. 1 l. rh ir r h. ... r h led to
/ CHClj|p 788
,. ,r ,
A i ..
an explosion in the amount of technol-
ogy transferred from academia to the
market place. Since its passage, more
than 6,000 companies have sprung up
as a result of patents made under the
law. Today more than $30 billion of
economic activity per year and more
than 250,000 jobs can be attributed to
technologies born in academic institu-
tions. Our college has become one of
the examples of how a strong college of
engineering can help create economic
activity as the numbers on this page
attest. The data (on the adjacent page)
clearly shows how important Gator
Engineering is to the local and state
economy. We must expand upon
these types of activities as a society if
we are to rebuild our economy. More
than ever, America needs a vibrant,
and strongly linked entrepreneurial
academic community. We are working
diligently to nurture such a culture at
UF by beginning a new initiative in
Engineering Entrepreneurship. The
program is aimed at providing training
to students in the basics of technology
entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial
thinking, technology-based company
formation and growth, engineering
innovation, and innovative thinking in
larger entities, whether in the private,
public, or academic sectors. In parallel,
we are also developing new criteria for
evaluating and rewarding faculty who
successfully transition their ideas into
the economy. The University shares
our vision of the College as an innova-
tion engine. Construction of a new
45,ooo-square foot technology incuba-
tor has begun at the former location
ofAlachua General Hospital. This,
combined with existing incubators
around Alachua County, provides a
local outlet for tech development. Our
goal is to make Gator Engineering the
destination of choice for innovative
faculty, students and alumni who want
to change the world, and the economy,
through creative thinking.
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 5
I N THE NEWS 01.10
The most complex engineering often brings
about the most seemingly simple solution.
Gator Engineers are revolutionizing the
way some diseases like breast cancer and
diabetes are detected. BY AARON HOOVER
G ator Engineers have designed and tested
versions of a tiny sensor capable of monitor-
ing diabetics' glucose levels via their breath to
detecting possible indicators of breast cancer
in a patient's saliva. Early results are promis-
ing particularly considering that the sensor can be mass
"This uses known manufacturing technology that is
already out there," said Fan Ren, a professor of chemical
engineering and one of a team of engineers collaborating
on the project.
Team members report integrating the sensor in a wireless
system that can detect glucose in exhaled breath, then relay
the findings to health care workers. Sensor tests contradict
long-held assumptions that glucose levels in the breath are
too small for accurate assessment, Ren said. That's because
the sensor uses a semiconductor that amplifies the minute
signals to readable levels, he said.
The team published 15 peer-reviewed papers on different
versions of the sensor and have used other versions to experi-
ment picking up indicators of breast cancer in saliva, and
pathogens in water and other substances. For example, the
current technique for measuring pH in a patient's breath re-
quires the patient to blow into a tube for 20 minutes to col-
lect enough condensate for a measurement. At ioo microns,
or ioo millionths of a meter, the UF sensor is so small the
moisture from one breath is enough to get a pH or glucose
concentration reading in under five seconds, Ren said.
The sensors work by mating different reactive substances
with the semiconductor gallium nitride commonly used in
amplifiers in cell phones, power grid transmission equip-
ment and other applications.
If targeting cancer, the substance is an antibody that is
sensitive enough to certain proteins identified as indicative
of cancer. If the target is glucose, the reactive molecules are
composed of zinc oxide nanorods that will then bind with
Once the reaction happens, "the charge on the semicon-
ductor devices changes, and we can detect change," Ren said.
While the sensor is not as acutely sensitive as those that
rely on nanotechnology, the manufacturing techniques
are already widely available, Ren said. And that's avery
good incentive when it is time to produce the sensors. The
cost is as little as 20 cents per chip. But the cost does go up
considerably when combined with the applications needed
to transmit the information wirelessly to computers or cell
phones. The entire wireless-chip package might cost around
$40, he said, although that cost could be cut in half if they
were mass produced. o
Although engineers aren't typically considered big-time party
animals, we do like to cut loose on occasion. Want to get in on
the action? Check out this list of engineering-friendly holidays
you might be missing out on. BY CHRIS TOWERY
What better way to
celebrate geek pride
than to build a cast of
the geek chic?
SQUARE ROOT DAY
Occurring just nine times every century,
Square Root Day falls on dates when
both the month and day are the square
root of the last two digits of the year.
High-school teacher Ron Gordon of
California got the party started on
9/9/81 and has been the event's leading
promoter ever since. The day's traditional
merriment includes gnawing on root
vegetables, square dancing and guzzling
root beer. If you missed 3/3/09, mark your
calendar for the next one on 4/4/16.
PI DAY MARCH 14TH
Founded in 1987 by physicist Larry
Shaw, this holiday pays tribute to the
first three digits (3.14) of a circle's cir-
cumference divided by its diameter. For
the first Pi Day, Shaw and colleagues at
San Fransico's Exploratorium erected
a Pi Shrine (a brass plate engraved with
pi out to 1oo digits), walked 3.14 circles
around it, and ate apple pie. Math lovers
celebrate 3/14, also Einstein's birthday,
by eating fruit and pizza pies, beading
pi strings, and writing Pi-Ku (pi-based
haiku) poems at 3:14 a.m. and 3:14 p.m.
Although the small blind mammal is a
frequent mascot of this holiday, the day
actually commemorates Avogadro's Num-
ber (6.02 x io23), a basic measuring unit
in chemistry Originated in the i980s as a
way for science teachers to raise interest in
chemistry the holiday is now celebrated in
high schools and colleges across the globe.
The party kicks off at 6:02 a.m. and runs
until 6:02 p.m., during which time partici-
pants engage in wild acts of debauchery
like rocking out to the Mole Day Song,
sending Mole Day greeting cards, and play-
ing marathon games ofWhack-a-Mole.
(THIRD SATURDAY OF
Founded in 2004 by the non-profit
organization Software Freedom Inter-
national, this holiday was created to
celebrate and promote free and open-
source software. Celebrants worldwide
gather each year to rebel against the
commercial establishment by pro-
moting the benefits of free software
through speeches, program demos and
open-source music jam sessions.
GEEK PRIDE DAY
This international holiday was started in
2006 to honor those who aren't ashamed
to let their geek flags fly The inaugural
event was launched in Spain, where
hundreds offrikis (Spanish for geeks)
got their geek on by forming a massive
human Pac Man in Madrid. Thefrikis
fiesta stormed American shores in 2008,
and by 2009 even the Science Channel
joined the party with a day of geek-
friendly programs. The date was selected
for its historic value as the anniversary of
the 1977 premiere of Star Wars.
THIRD FULL WEEK OF FEBRUARY
U.S. engineers got their very own week
back 1951, when the National Society of
Professional Engineers founded this event
to promote young people's interest and
raise awareness of engineers' contribu-
tions to society Today, especially at UF,
the week-long revelry is a cross-country
variety of fun and educational activities. o
IN THE NEWS 11.09
Traditional endoscopes provide a peek inside patients' bodies.
Now, an engineering researcher is designing one that is
capable of a full inspection. BY AARON HOOVER
Right now, endoscopes just
take pictures of the surface
tissue. So, if you see some
injury, or abnormality, on
the surface, that's good," said
Huikai Xie, associate professor of elec-
trical and computer engineering. "But
most of the time, particularly with
cancer, the early stages of the disease
are not so obvious. The technology we
are developing is basically to see under
the surface, under the epithelial layer."
Experiments with Xie's scanning
"micro-endoscopes" on animal tissue
have been promising, although his devices
have yet to be tested in people. These
endoscopes use infrared scanners smaller
than pencil erasers and the heart of his
scanner is a microelectromechanical sys-
tem, or MEMS, device: A tiny motorized
MEMS mirror that pivots back and forth
to reflect a highly-focused infrared beam.
By itself, the beam only strikes a period-
sized dot of tissue. But the MEMS mirror
allows it to move methodically back and
forth, scanning a fingernail-sized piece of
tissue row by row, like a lawnmower mov-
ing across ayard. The resulting image is
high resolution: Xie said his scanners have
achieved resolution of io microns, or io
millionths of a meter, in laboratory tests.
That's more than io times higher resolu-
tion than the only other non-camera-
based endoscopes on the market, which
use ultrasound technology, he said. The
high-resolution image also includes depth
information, so the risky biopsy can be
more specific to avoid mistakes, or even
Computers process the return signal
from the endoscopes, transforming it into
a three-dimensional image of the surface
tissue and the tissue beneath. One scan-
ner even produces a 36o-degree-image of
all the tissue surrounding the endoscope.
Doctors or other trained observers can
then search the image for abnormalities
or suspicious growth patterns.
Xie said doctors could also use the
endoscopes for treatment and surgery
He said during operations doctors must
rely on static MRI or CT images of
tissue obtained before the operation
begins. But his scanners make images
available in real time.
"We are trying to couple this imaging
probe with cutting tools, so that when
surgeons begin cutting, they know ex-
actly what's in front of them," he said.
Xie's research is supported with more
than $i million in grants, primarily from
the National Science Foundation. He
also recently launched a small company,
the Gainesville-based WiOptix Inc., to
speed commercialization of his scan-
ning technology o
For the first time in nearly
15 years, U F's chapter of Tau
Beta Pi won the 2008-2009
R.C. Matthews Outstanding
Chapter Award, given annually
at the Tau Beta Pi convention.
UF's chapter of the national
engineering honor society
has won the award seven
times since the award was
established in 1956.
ABE Agricultural and biological engineering
Graduate student, Gaurav Ghai, won first
place in the Institute for Thermal Process
Specialists' 2009 Charles R. Stumbo Stu-
dent Paper Competition.
BME Biomedical engineering Ph.D student
SChelsea Magin received the $10,000 Clare
Boothe Luce Scholarship.
ECE In October 2009, the UF chapter of
the Association for Computing Machinery,
a scientific computing society, participated
in the IEEXtreme 24-hour online program-
ming competition. The electrical and
computer engineering students placed
seventh and 13th out of 697 teams from 40
EES Environmental Engineering Sciences
students won the Florida and national de-
sign competitions of the Water Environment
Federation for the fourth consecutive year
EES Master's student Jennifer Apell won
P the Best Student Paper Award at the 2009
American Water Works Association Water
Quality Technology Conference for her
piece on "Simultaneous Removal of Dis-
solved Organic Matter and Hardness by
Combined Ion Exchange.
MSE The Society for Biomaterials was
awarded third place in the National Student
NRE Nuclear and radiological undergrads
won the 2009 American Nuclear
Society Student Design Competition.
Design and analysis reports included reac-
tor physics, shielding, instrumentation
and control, thermal hydraulics, regulations
THE FLORIDA ENGINEER 9
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One of the College's overarching
strategic planning goals is to lay the
groundwork for bringing home the
biggest grants. With so much federal
support for energy research, the En-
ergy committee is in the spotlight.
James Klausner, professor of me-
chanical and aerospace engineering
and the committee co-chair, says
researchers need to routinely col-
laborate with those outside their
department or discipline. The
committee compared the National
Academy of Engineering's recently
released "grand challenges" in
energy research with strengths at
UF. It winnowed UF's focus areas
to solar and thermal fuel storage,
nuclear fuels, photovoltaics and
solid-state lighting, catalysis, elec-
tric storage and systems analysis
and process control.
"Securing access to abundant
clean energy will be the single most
important technological, environ-
mental, economic and national
security challenge of the next half
century," says committee co-chair
Simon Phillpot, professor of materi-
als science and engineering. "The
needs for greater understanding in
energy research span the range from
fundamental physical and chemi-
cal properties, to individual energy
technologies, to energy systems as
large as the electrical grid..."
It sounds like a big list, but the
most important element is the
'As a committee we want to see
these groups operate together,"
Klausner says. "If you want to be
successful in getting a research cen-
ter for your program, the first thing
you have to do is act like a center."
10 w:i' thefloridaengineer eng ufl edu
Apple's iPad may be
latest incarnation of the
personal computer, but
far more sweeping trans-
formations lie ahead.
That is the im-
pression left by the
ogy committee's plan
to enhance computer
and information sci-
ence research at UF.
pursue virtual reality,
simulation and cyber
security as the next
fronts in the informa-
tion technology, college
"That anyone could
search all public docu-
ments in the world by
typing a few words on
a mobile phone keypad
twenty years ago," says
Jose Fortes, professor
of electrical and com-
puter engineering and
to invent the algo-
and databases to make
virtual reality technol-
ogies as common and
effective as Internet
search twenty years
systems" are also ripe
for development, says
Ahmed Helmy, com-
mittee co-chair and
professor of computer
and information sci-
ence and engineering.
These include comput-
avoidance systems in
operations and other
marriages of the latest
advances in computing
with other major ele-
ments of modern life.
nology needs to evolve
as a core scientific
discipline," Helmy says.
R for Health
Th oa f h Heam~th Care &
T en the ID pathEE fo11nieest
Computing the Future
With apps multiplying by the minute,
the iPhone may seem the end-all. But
Sivaramakrishnan "Bala" Balachandar
and Susan Sinnott have another level in
mind for Gator Engineering.
It's known, officially, as extreme com-
puting or computing by non-tradition-
al methods, for example hardware that
rewires itself to attack the task at hand.
Balachandar, chairman of UF's Depart-
ment of Mechanical &Aerospace Engi-
neering and co-chair of the Computational
Science & Engineering committee, says
extreme computing comes into playwhen
traditional experiments are impossible and
when inquiries span minute to massive.
For example, at UF some mechani-
cal and civil engineers work on how to
protect buildings from bomb blasts and
hurricane winds. Others investigate ma-
terials under extreme stress, say from
shrapnel. Sinnott, committee co-chair
and a professor of materials science and
engineering, examines molecules under
unusual duress, while still others study
how blast waves damage human flesh.
Only one net can cinch it: virtual ex-
perimentation on the world's most pow-
erful computers. These computers are
so powerful, they can literally change
how scientific discoveries happen, says
Sanjay Ranka, committee member and
professor of computer and information
science and engineering.
The College already has computing
street cred with its Center for High-
Performance Reconfigurable Comput-
ing. Now, it's poised to take the next
step. The committee wants to have a UF
a center for petascale computing (a qua-
drillion operations per second), exascale
computing (a million trillion operations
per second), and extreme computing.
"These problems when you want
to solve them and bring all the realities
in you cannot do it on a small com-
puter. You need petascale computing,"
Balachandar says. "You also need to be
able to do across-the-scale simulation so
that your answer is predictive in nature."
UF engineers at work on quantum
computers, super-strong alloys,
speck-of-dust-sized sensors, and
numerous other projects rely on
the tiny tools of nanotechnology.
The faculty on the Nano/Micro-
Technology committee want to
make sure their toolkit has room
for the Next Big Thing.
"What is the next generation
of tools? It will involve ma-
nipulating individual atoms and
molecules," says Bill Appleton,
committee co-chair and director
of UF's Nanoscience Institute for
Medical and Engineering Technol-
ogy. "What we can do that is really
unique is provide a window to
this next generation of tools
The committee recommended
hiring faculty and buying equip-
ment tied to improving the pro-
duction of nano- or micro-sensors
and materials production that
one day soon could involve atoms
or molecules that "self assemble"
like proteins in the body The
committee also suggested that
NIMET and the College's nano-
technology center, the Nanoscale
Research Facility, jump start a
new focus in the College of
Engineering and University on
Appleton noted that Gator
Engineers have already made
tiny sensors that are incredibly
sensitive to glucose, pH, and
other biological chemicals. Such
sensors, he says, could be melded
with cell phones to allow doctors
- and patients to watch their
medical conditions and tailor
their care and prescriptions in the
most individual way.
"We are all different, so we
should all get different therapies,"
said committee member and an-
esthesiology professor Dr. Donn
Dennis at one meeting. "[Person-
alized medicine] dovetails with
the unique capabilities of UF, and
it dovetails with technology trans-
fer and commercialization."
Engineering Jobs that are Bringing Sexy Back BY CHRIS TOWERY
D despite the frequent
stereotyping of engineers
as Dilbert-esque cubicle
dwellers, the profession is
filled with plenty of real-life
heroes and rock stars. Want proof?
Check out this sample showcasing a
handful of today's edgiest engineers.
Remember in The Empire Strikes Back
when Luke Skywalker is fitted with a
lifelike robotic hand after DarthVader
hacked off his original with a light saber?
Or perhaps you're more partial to
DarthVader's telekinetic strangling of
Admiral Ozzel. Whatever your fancy, the
advanced technology was nothing but
a sci-fi fantasy when the film was first
released. Today, however, a new field of
engineering is creating bionic arms and
mind-control technologies rivaling those
of George Lucas' imagination.
To give returning veterans a hand,
DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics
program turned to two research groups:
the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics
Laboratory, which traces its research
roots to a WWII-era project that in-
cluded Gator Engineering DeanJoseph
Weil, and Deka Research and Develop-
ment Corp., of Segway fame. Both arms
allow amputees to perform complex
tasks. APEs is neurally controlled;
Deka's uses a joystick-like controller. In
a nod to one of their inspirations for the
device, Deka engineers dubbed their
first prototype the "Luke arm."
At UF, the Computational NeuroEn-
gineering Lab, led by distinguished
ProfessorJos6 Principe, researches
the principles to comprehend brain
function, treat brain disorders, and
ultimately to "talk" to the brain finding
away for machines to be controlled by
thought enabling normal function in
cases of brain injury or disease. Though,
this kind of engineering will be used for
good and not by evil Sith.
Whether it's suspension bridges,
computer software, or car air bags,
engineers are usually known for design-
ing things that make life easier, safer,
and more productive. But a small group
of engineers design products for the
sole purpose of scaring the heck out
of people. Unlike their colleagues,
roller-coaster engineers get paid to take
away our sense of safety and control by
amplifying adrenaline levels.
People from various engineering disci-
plines work on coasters. Mechanical en-
gineers are most responsible for creating
the kinesthetic thrills. MEs manipulate a
coaster's design, so the velocity, g-force,
and other stresses provide maximum
exhilaration with minimal risk. Love
the rides but hate the lines? We got you
covered. Bruce Laval (B. IE '69) put an
industrial engineer's spin on the problem
and came up with Disney's FASTPASS
system, which puts guests in a virtual
queue and all but eliminates the lines.
No line of work is sexier than national
intelligence. What's cooler than using
your wits to thwart dangerous enemies?
An engineering background has more
value than one might think in the world
No strangers to covert ops, a team of
Gator Engineers spend their time design-
ing and perfecting micro air vehicles.
These avian-like gadgets come in all
shapes and sizes though these "birds"
have cameras and GPS devices attached.
The mostly-undergraduate UF MAV
team has won the International Micro Air
Vehicle competition eight years in a row.
But right now the hottest intelligence
work that allows engineers to live out
theirJames Bond fantasies is digital
forensics. Like other forensic sciences,
digital forensics is about collecting
and analyzing evidence. But instead of
physical evidence, like DNA, digital
forensic engineers gather electronic
evidence stored on computers and
other digital devices. These cyber
sleuths are employed in many settings
- law enforcement, the corporate
world, attorneys' offices and work on
busting illegal MP3 downloads to foiling
Those looking to attain true 007
status should head to the CIA, where the
demand for digital forensic engineers is
booming. With the recent surge in terror-
ist activities, the CIAis seeking applicants
now. One warning: the agency's Web site
advises you use "discretion and good judg-
ment" when telling anyone even your
family you're applying. No kidding. o
THE FLORIDA ENGINEER 13
spe fta on ntebt
PREPARE TO GEEK OUT
Forget those crusty dinosaur skeletons and hokey cave-man dioramas. These five museums are
loaded with exhibits that will leave engineers walking with their heads held high. BY CHRIS TOWERY
Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
This is the granddaddy of all science museums. Boasting more
than 14 acres of hands-on exhibits covering the fields of science,
engineering, technology, and medicine, Life 11 11 I rated it one
of the top 15 museums in the world. Visitors can descend 600 feet
below ground into an interactive coal mine, explore the decks of
real U-505 German submarine, and experience the swirling vortex
of a 40-foot tornado. Topping it off, the five-story, wraparound
Omnimax Theater offers an array of stunning visual adventures
that even give Avatar a run for its money.
The Exploratorium in San Francisco is one of the most innovative
museums in the world. With more than 400 interactive, hands-on
exhibits showcasing the areas of science, art, technology, and human
perception, this place will make engineers feel like kids in a candy store.
In addition to engaging attractions, like the Tactile Dome, Microscope
Imaging Station, and the Mind exhibit, the museum features numerous
public events, webcasts, an artists-in residence programs. For some
slightly more risque fun, check out After Dark, an evening program
strictly for adults that mixes cocktails with stimulating presentations on
everything from music and sex to electricity and DNA.
-- J -. II
At the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA, visitors experience the vast
well of creativity, ideas, and innovation of one of the nation's leading
tech schools. Recently expanded by 5,000 square feet, the museum
offers a wide range of galleries showcasing the best of MIT's ground-
breaking research, including fascinating exhibitions on artificial intel-
ligence, holograms, robotics, and oceanic engineering. Also featured
are a variety of special events like the Cambridge Science Festival
and Soap Box, a public discussion forum with scientists and engineers
making today's headlines.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Located in Portland, the Oregon Museum of Science and Indus-
try (OMSI) brings science to life with five massive exhibit halls, an
Omnimax domed theater, and the Northwest's most technologically
advanced planetarium. Popular attractions include an earthquake sim-
ulator, an interactive exhibit on human fear, and a multimedia journey
through the history of space travel. OMSI also features eight hands-on
science labs, a stomach-wrenching motion simulator ride, and trippy
laser-light shows set to music acts ranging from Hendrix to Enya.
4 Computer History Museum
Founded in 1999, the Computer History Museum preserves and
presents artifacts and stories that have played a key role in the
Information Age. Located in Mountain View, CA, the museum
houses a vast collection of computing gear and relics, including
hardware, software, documents, photographs, videos, and other
ephermera. From working replicas of the Babbage Engine and
PDP-1 to more than 250 computer brochures from the past 60
years, this place will blow away even the most hardcore
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 15
in* the nam osce e. Hi Anarti
sensitive receivers. It's freezing and
eqimet nesle in th" e Poe' ic
teran ispitdoag nile
pro s. Oy te ss ad
now oprae on of the ."
Redt e ful stoyo
.... engineer .en .uf~
BUY THE BOOK, TAKE THE RIDE
When you're in college, the words "pleasure" and "reading" are rarely in the same sentence. Especially
slogging through 150 pages of textbooks each night. But then you graduate, you start your career and
you find yourself hungering for something to read, for some gifted writer to take you away Ah ... but
not too far away. You love what you do so even though you want to be entertained, you still want it to
be something from your genera neighborhood. BYWILLIAM McKEEN
The great journalist
tells the story of
the test pilots, the
engineers and the
took us into space
at the dawn of the
1960s. One of the
in modern non-
A portrait of Theo-
dore Roosevelt, the
ogy while trying to
preserve the beauty
and splendor of the
MAKE LOVE TO
(Gotham Books, $20)
Don't let the title
engineer writes about
the prism of the
scientific mind. (This
is an adult-only read.)
With The Tipping
Point and Blink,
Gladwell became a
franchise. Here, the
New Yorker's great
explainer gives us a
collection of shorter
pieces, covering the
sion and ketchup's
This classic from
the building ofthe
New York harbor.
Still an engineering
later, Talese takes us
into the day-to-
day of design and
P. J. O'ROURKE
by PJ. ORourke
boy & Rolling Stone's
smug political com-
mentator, writes of his
torrid romance with
the automobile -the
bigger and least
efficient the better
(One piece was
originally titled, "Die,
a RISING 0 DARK SID
TIDE -,,- ""..
aIi~Ir THINGS YOU -
DIDN'T KNOW '
you didn't know
JOHN D. BARROW
Bless those people
who wrote the
books that opened
our minds as chil-
dren. This collection
of Bradbury's stories
is a national treasure
and you'll soon
realize these aren't
really for children.
Jim Cogan and
This is really here to
hold the place until
someone writes the
biography of Tom
Dowd, who began
his career working
on the Manhattan
project and ended
as the most
engineer of the
John M. Barry
The 1927 Missis-
sippi Flood was the
Hurricane Katrina of
its era. It resonates
in the music and
literature of our cul-
ture. It also showed
what the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers
that disaster to
change the future
of the country.
by John D. Barrow
$25.95). Read a few
pages before every
cocktail party to
pick up a few new
facts to wow your
friends. The subtitle
says it all: "Math
explains the world."
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
(left) by GerardDeGroot (New Tork
University, $24.95) '"L ". by Wayne Biddle
(WW Norton, $25.95)
A great historian's somewhat comic look at
the space race between the United States
The identically titled Dark Side of the Moon
by Wayne Biddle (WW Norton, $25.95)
looks more at the engineering culture
around Wernher van Braun.
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 17
There's nothing as inviting as a lush tropical landscaped
yard rolled out under swaying palms and a balmy blue
sky. That is until you realize that 65 percent of Florida's
dwindling water supply is used to keep that lawn lush,
those flowers blooming and your neighbors envious.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out Florida's
aquifer is taking a beating. Is engineering innovation the
answer? Or is it much, much simpler? by CRAIG PITTMAN
. -'M" ,
. -. /- .
' .r -
HEN THE PIONEER NATURALIST JOHN
Audubon visited Florida
F in 1832, he was dumbstruck by the
enormous flocks of colorful flamingos
and roseate spoonbills he found. But
he complained that the landscape they occupied was just too
wet to bear. "The general wildness, the eternal labyrinth of
waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently never ending,
the whole surrounded by interminable swamps all these
things had a tendency to depress my spirits," Audubon wrote
to his editor. Now, nearly two centuries later, Audubon
might be more depressed to see a far drier Florida.
Many of the swamps, bogs and marshes where the flocks of
spoonbills once fed have been drained and dredged, filled in
and paved over. Rivers that once featured lazy oxbows have
been straightened into fast-flowing ditches that dump pol-
luted runoff into lakes, estuaries and bays. Meanwhile the
state's most influential group of business leaders have become
so concerned about running out of water that they wonder
whether the governor should appoint a water czar who could
route supplies to the thirstiest places.
How could this happen in a state that has io,ooo miles of
rivers and streams, 7,800 lakes and some 700 springs? How
could anyone run short of water in a place that, according to
the National Climatic Data Center, averages more inches of
rainfall a year than famously rainy Seattle?
It happened because, like Audubon, everyone in Florida
was fooled into thinking that the "labyrinth of waters and
marshes" had no end.
For decades, Florida relied on tapping its underground
water the aquifer to fuel its continued growth. There
seemed to be no limit to the supply hidden in the earth.
"Historically water supply planning in Floridawas a one-day
affair," explained Jake Varn, who in the i980s was the state's
top environmental regulator. "If you ran out of water, you fig-
ured you needed another well, so you hired a well driller and
the problem was solved."
Given such apparent abundance, Floridians have never been
shy about slurping up as much water as they could. Over the
past 20 years, America's per capital consumption of water has
dropped but not Florida's, said Cynthia Barnett, author of
Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern US.
"Florida consumption has been going up and up and up,"
Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey show per-person water
use in Florida has climbed from less than 140 gallons a day in
1955 to 174 gallons a day now, she said.
In some places it's even higher. Orange County's usage per
capital for instance, is 224 gallons a day the equivalent of
taking five baths a dayusing a 5o-gallon tub. In 2008, the Palm
Beach Post found some of the wealthy residents ofJupiter Island
using as much as 1.6 million gallons a month. Among the big-
gest consumers, the Post found, were estates owned by singer
Celine Dion and golfer Tiger Woods.
Actually, though, very little of the water that Dion, Woods,
and the rest of the state's less-famous 18.5 million residents
use each day winds up in tubs or drinking glasses. Sixty-five
percent of residentialwater use in Florida goes toward keeping
yards and landscaping looking green.
'As long as people want nice yards, they're going to irrigate
the bejesus out of them," said Ed de la Parte, one of Florida's
most prominent water-use attorneys.
Even the way the yards are constructed contributes to the
problem, explained Pierce Jones, a University of Florida pro-
fessor of agricultural and biological engineering.
Developers who build in wetland areas truck in "sterile soil"
to use as fill to put homes above the water level, disrupting the
natural soil profile, explained Jones (Ph.D. MAE '81). Then
they compact it with bulldozers and cover it with thirsty St.
Augustine sod, he said.
The result,Jones said, is a subdivision that's "heavily depen-
dent on irrigation and fertilizer." Replicate that over and over,
as happened throughout the state in the past decade, "and it
becomes a regional-scale problem in terms of water supply," he
said. "The status quo is failing. We cannot continue as we are."
The first signs of trouble cropped up more than 20 years ago
in the Tampa Bay region. Pinellas County officials, under polit-
ical pressure from developers eager to keep building, pumped
so much water from the aquifer that salt water intruded. They
then began pumping water from nearby Pasco and Hillsbor-
ough counties. But overpumping of the aquifer there drained
lakes, ruined private wells and dried up wetlands.
"We had swamps that had been there for centuries that were
dying," said Roy Harrell, who was chairman of the Southwest
Florida Water Management District, the state agency that fi-
nally ended the wars.
The cities and counties of the Tampa Bay region battled in
court over control of the dwindling supply. The lawsuits cost
taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. One Pinellas com-
missioner threatened to turn what had become known as the
Tampa Bay Water Wars into a statewide conflict.
"Keep the Suwannee River cold, because we're coming for
it," he vowed.
The Southwest FloridaWater Management District, better
known as Swiftmud, finally stepped in. In 1998 it helped to
organize a new wholesale utility, Tampa BayWater, to take con-
trol over all the region's wellfields. Then, to persuade Tampa
Bay Water to pursue alternatives to groundwater pumping,
Swiftmud offered to help pay for an engineering solution to
the environmental problem: building Florida's biggest reser-
voir and North America's largest desalination plant.
That same year, spurred on by what happened in the Tampa
Bay region, the Legislature passed a law that cities and coun-
ties must first exhaust all their local water resources before
trying to grab someone else's. The law established a principle
called "local sources first."
Yet just five years later, in 2003, the state's most influential busi-
ness group was ready to junk the new law. The Council of ioo,
which is made up of the state's most prominent developers, utility
executives, sugar moguls, citrus magnates and newspaper publish-
ers, drafted a plan that called for ditching local sources first.
Instead, the Council of ioo wanted then-Gov Jeb Bush to
appoint a seven-member commission with the power to trans-
fer water from rural areas north of Interstate 4 to fast-growing
areas south of that Central Florida dividing line. Council of
ioo Chairman Al Hoffman, then the CEO of South Florida
development giant WCI contended that Florida did not have
a water supply problem, but a water distribution problem.
The Council of ioo plan proposed that water-starved areas
south of I-4 pay a transfer fee that would benefit the water-
rich areas north of I-4. As a result, the plan said, "a statewide
water distribution system would establish an economic value
to water, and water would become a general revenue source for
the state of Florida and sending areas."
Spearheading the Council of ioo plan was a commercial real
estate broker from Clearwater named Lee Arnold. To him, the
choice of what to do seemed clear.
"Do we have enough water in the state and it happens to
be in the wrong spot?" Arnold asked. "Some counties are rich.
Eighty percent of the consumption is south of I-4. Eighty per-
cent of available supplies are north of I-4."
The plan that Arnold's group drew up failed to mention any-
thing about the engineering and related costs for moving large
quantities ofwater around the state. Therewas no mention of the
pipelines, pumps and storage tanks that would be needed, much
less the cost of right-of-way along any new pipeline routes.
Arnold had already picked out a source for boosting the
water supply of fast-growing South Florida. Just like the long-
ago Pinellas County commissioner, he had targeted the slow-
growing Suwannee River region.
"They're sitting in the Saudi Arabia of water," Arnold said.
But the sheiks of the Suwannee had no interest in any deals
for their water supply, arguing they needed it for their own future
growth.Across North Florida there was a strong backlash against
the Council of ioo. More than 1,ooo people packed one public
hearing, waving signs that said, "Not One Damn Drop!"
Gov Bush delayed the water transfer plan.
In 2005, Bush and the Legislature approved a new law that
requires counties to show they have sufficient water to supply
any new development they approve. The law's first test came
the following year in Miami-Dade.
Miami-Dade was pumping 346 million gallons of water
a day from its wellfields. It asked state officials to approve
pumping out another ioo million gallons a day to supply a
dozen proposed new developments. Instead of replying by
letter, the heads of the South Florida Water Management
District and the state Department of Environmental Protec-
tion showed up in Miami in person. They spent two days in
closed-door meetings with county officials delivering a strong
warning: Don't count on getting more underground water for
your growth, because there's not enough without damaging
They told Miami-Dade officials theyneeded to start building al-
ternative water sources like the ones Tampa BayWater had turned
to. Their options could include desalination, skimmingwater from
rivers and increasing the use of treated wastewater for irrigation.
"We definitely got their attention," Carol Wehle, executive
director of the South FloridaWater Management District said
at the time.
Environmental Engineering Sciences Department Chair
Paul Chadik says a culture change is required before conserva-
tion can be fully realized. "For example, watering restrictions
can be imposed and perhaps enforced, but Florida residents
must take ownership of the problem and implement the con-
servation techniques," Chadik said in an e-mail. "We are begin-
ning to see this cultural change with respect to energy usage,
but we still have a long way to go."
As Chadik points out, old habits can be hard to break. After
a lengthy drought required South Florida to impose a two-day-
a-week limit on sprinkling lawns, water managers considered
making the restriction permanent. But a coalition of utilities
argued that making their customers cut back on water use per-
manently would hurt them financially.
So Wehle's agency proposed three-day-a-week watering re-
strictions and as of November, the utilities were objecting to
even that much of a cutback. Theywanted a guarantee that their
water usage permits will not be reduced as consumption drops.
Growing concerns over the state's future water supply
prompted the Century Commission on a Sustainable Florida
in the fall of 2008 to convene a two-day gathering of more
IN A STATE
COURSE, LOTS OF
GET RICH WHEN WE BUILD DESAL
NSERVAT ON," BARNETT SAID.
than ioo utility officials, developers, bureaucrats, lobbyists,
lawyers and environmental activists.
Dubbed the FloridaWater Congress, the group picked as its
top priority getting the state to help pay for building those big-
ticket projects like reservoirs and desalination plants. Second
place went to forming more regional partnerships like Tampa
BayWater, to share the cost of building alternative supply proj-
ects. A proposal to put conservation of water on equal footing
with building new supply projects finished third in the voting.
But those expensive engineering projects are far from an ideal
solution. Just ask Tampa Bay Water. The regional utility built the
nation's largest desalination plant in Apollo Beach to give some
relief to the 13wellfields that were pumping more than 190 million
gallons ofwater a day to serve 2.5 million people. But itwas plagued
with problems right from the start everything from contractors
declaring bankruptcy to Asian green mussels clogging the filters.
By the time it was up and running, it was five years past
deadline and millions of dollars over budget. Even when the
$140 million project was finished, the wholesale utility avoided
IRSON running it at its full 25 million gallons a day capacity because its
production costs were higher than any other water source.
ER USE "The Tampa Bay desalination plant had its start-up problems
but important lessons were learned for investigating and then
ORIDA correcting the failures," Paul Chadik said. "These lessons will
reduce problems with future plants and reduce costs. Mem-
IMBED brane treatment and desalination of brackish and salt water
will be a major advance in supply water in the future."
FROM By contrast, Tampa Bay Water's other big engineering so-
THAN lution a IS-billion-gallon reservoir designed to hold water
skimmed from three area waterways and run through its new
surface-water treatment plant seemed like a big success.
But about a year after opening, its soil-cement walls began
cracking. The cracks were not deep enough to threaten the
LLONS reservoir's structural integrity, but they have proven persis-
tent. Repair them and soon they reappear.
IN 1955 The utility is now suing its contractors on the job none of
S whom had any prior experience with building an above-ground
Reservoir of this magnitude and figuring out how to fix the
7 cracks so they stay fixed.
S Despite Tampa BayWater's woes, other utilities are looking
to skimming the surface of their rivers as a way to supply their
ONS A thirsty customers.
Seminole County, for instance, recently won permission to
NOW slurp 5.5 million gallons a day out of the St. Johns River, to
be filtered by a $90 million plant and sent northward via a
network of pipelines.
The county won its permit despite strong opposition from
Jacksonville and environmental activists. Their concern: the
county's long-range plan calls for siphoning 70 million or 80
million gallons each day from the river eventually.
"If we just keep putting a straw into the river, instead of ac-
tually changing our water habits, what's going to happen when
we eventually suck the St.Johns dry?" asked RebeccaWodder,
of the environmental group American Rivers.
A judge issued a 66-page ruling that the county "has pro-
vided reasonable assurance the quality of the St. Johns River
will not be seriously harmed." But then, inJuly, the St. Johns
River Water Management District launched its own study
of the impact such plants would have on the river. Review-
ing the potential cost and complexity of such major projects
convinced the water board's members to take another look at
whether conservation might be cheaper.
There are other environmental concerns, too and several
Florida counties and cities are workingwith the St.Johns Riv-
er Water Management District on studying whether to build
the state's second desalination plant in Flagler County, on the
Atlantic coast. Such a plant would be an alternative to drawing
water out of the controversial St.Johns.
But there are questions about the impact of dumping so
much brine in a coastal area, said Y. Peter Sheng, a UF coastal
engineering professor who has been asked to help study the
effects. So far he is optimistic.
"Desal is definitely a potential solution," Sheng said. "Find-
ing a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly technology for
desal is still a viable option."
Faced with the initial difficulty and expense that come
with the alternatives, is it any wonder that the idea of piping
groundwater south has come up again?
Last fall, the Council of ioo's staff produced a new report
that again suggested creating a statewide commission that could
oversee building pipelines and storage tanks "needed for the
storage and distribution ofwater over broad geographic areas so
as to provide water to and between regional water supply enti-
ties," the draft report says. Or there could be "a state water czar
with the responsibility. .. concentrated in a single individual."
Once again, though, there was no discussion of the expense.
Although the full council had not yet approved that sugges-
tion, it had already gotten an amen from another corner.
5 MILLION GALLONS
The Florida Senate's Environmental Preservation and Conser-
vation Committee staff produced its own independent report,
saying it's time to "establish a central regulatory commission that
oversees Florida's water resources and supply development."
According to the Senate report, regardless of "local sources
first," none of Florida's 67 counties should count on exclusive
use of its water if someone else in the state needs it: "The
people of Florida own the water collectively, irrespective of
regional jurisdiction, and a statewide body should govern
Florida's water supply accordingly."
Nevertheless, if either the Legislature or the Council of ioo
pursues this plan, they should expect a revival of the resistance
that arose before, predict North Florida water experts.
"It's a slippery slope to seek some sort of statewide distribu-
tion system at the expense of those parts of the state that still
have reasonable amounts of water," warned David Still, (B.S.
ABE '82, M.E. ABE '84) of the Suwannee River Water Manage-
ment District. "Do people in Dade or Duval or Hillsborough
have more of a right to water in Suwannee County, just because
Suwannee may have more of this finite resource ?"
However, the idea of a statewide water czar is based on a
faulty premise, namely that the continued growth means the
demand for freshwater will inevitably increase in Florida, con-
tends Barnett, the author of Mirage.
Of course, she said, "lots of people get rich when we build
desal plants and reservoirs. No one gets rich off water conser-
vation," Barnett said. "The most progressive thinking on water
right now is to plan for how to use less not how to use more.
It's where everything is headed in the future."
After all, she pointed out, conservation can save money as
well as water and that's where there's an opportunity for
engineering to help.
Using treated wastewater for irrigation is vitally important to
ensuring the water supply for generations to come even if it might
be the most unpalatable solution.
Except, it actually can be palatable.
"We already are practicing indirect reuse," said Paul Chad-
ik. "Treating wastewater putting it into the river or into the
ground and then withdrawing it downstream. We have yet to
get to direct reuse converting wastewater into drinking
water but that may not be far away. Most folks are put off
by the direct reuse concept. Sometimes I wonder how much
better our conservation efforts would be if direct reuse was
the next option in line."
There are more options engineering offers. For instance air
conditioning systems waste a lot of water during warm weath-
er. If all the large commercial buildings in Broward County
re-engineered their cooling towers to re-use the condensate
and blow-down water that now goes to the sewer system, they
could save as much as 5 million gallons of water a day, said
Steven Bassett, senior engineer with Eco-Advisors LLC and
a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Bassett should
know he's done that kind of air-conditioning design work
for everything from hospitals to South Beach condos.
Engineering solutions can help limit the waste from excessive
lawn-watering, too, said Michael Dukes, an associate professor in
the University of Florida's Department ofAgricultural & Biological
Engineering. Over the past decade, Dukes and his colleagues have
done extensive studies of smart irrigation systems using soil mois-
ture sensors that can detect the optimum times for watering.
"This is kind of cutting edge," he said, "the results have been
really, really good."
As more and more cities and counties are pushed by
drought, by generalwater shortages, by the high cost of alterna-
tive water supply methods to curtail water use, the more they
turn to engineering solutions like smart irrigation, he said.
Depending on people to remember to save water can pro-
duce unreliable results. They forget to change the timers on
their sprinklers, or try to keep watering their lawn on the sly
so it doesn't turn brown. That's why an engineering solution
can be more effective. As a result "I see these technologies as
inevitable," he said.
Wendy Graham, director of the University of Florida's Wa-
ter Institute says "We have one of the most prolific aquifers
in the world. For a long time it provided us with cheap and
But that era is clearly over, she said. And the alternatives "all
have their own ecological impacts." The alternatives such as
desalination also cost more than simply convincing the public
to use less water, she said.
Engineering solutions offer some promise, Graham said. She
named soil-moisture sensors to limit lawn-watering to the times
when it's really needed, and retrofitting homes to use something
of a lower quality than drinking water for flushing toilets.
But ultimately, she said, the real solution lies in changing our
behavior to use water more wisely
"We don't want to build expensive desal plants just to use the-
drinking water they produce for watering our lawns," she said. o
by WAYNE GARCIA
THE FLORIDA EN INEER 25
teve Precourt prepped for last year's
Florida Legislature special session on
high-speed rail funding from two points
of view: As a practicing transportation
engineer, he knew the value of rail tran-
sit in a multi-modal model. As an elected
member of the Florida House of Rep-
resentatives, however, he knew selling
high-speed rail and the hundreds of mil-
lions of dollars it would cost to the voting
public would not simply be a matter of
crunching the numbers.
"My assessment of the issue is a lot
deeper than almost anybody who is en-
gaged in it would know," the Orlando law-
maker said before the December special
Although Precourt knew more gov-
ernment spending might cause public
discomfort, he supported the state mon-
ey for a commuter rail system in Orlando, more funding for
Tri-Rail in South Florida and a shot at a future high-speed
rail between Tampa and Orlando. The transportation pack-
age passed and was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist. It
was, Precourt decided, a smarter move to invest in infrastruc-
ture now than to delay spending that is inevitable and key to
Florida's future economy.
Precourt is a rarity, an engineer who is also a politician,
somebody not content with merely doing the engineering
work to implement public policy but an advocate for engineers
getting out in front and helping drive civic decisions.
He is one of only three engineers in the Florida House (two
ofwhom are Gator Engineering graduates, including Precourt,
B.S. CCE '83). That low number is not atypical.
Why so few? Working in the public policy arena can be
frustrating for engineers who work with people who aren't al-
ways looking for the best solution to a problem, just the most
But now more than ever, engineering business leaders
are making the case that all engineers have to improve their
"There are never enough [engineers involved], if you are
from a political perspective and you are trying to promote your
issues," said Greg Knopp, the executive director for public af-
fairs for the American Council of Engineering Companies, a
Washington-based trade group that lobbies Congress. "In this
current environment with the emphasis on infrastructure, it
will draw more people into the debate."
ENGINEERS IN THE MINORITY
No matter what their party, engineers in Congress or in the
Florida Legislature are in the minority. In the 435-member U.S.
House of Representatives, for instance, io elected engineers
compare with 152 lawyers and 175 business owners.
And in the U.S. Senate? Two engineers.
The "dean" of Congressional engineers is Joe Barton, a
congressman from Texas. An industrial engineer by training,
Barton worked in industry and also served under Secretary
of Energy James B. Edwards. So what's it like trying to make
policy when you're the odd man out?
'At one level it is very frustrating, because engineers are
trained to be logical. They're focused and problem solving,"
Barton said in a telephone interview just before being called
to the floor of the House for a vote. "Congress and most at-
torneys are just the opposite."
He laughed and added, "You have to kind of grin and bear it."
Barton said the lack of engineers in elected office is not
surprising to him.
"Politics is people and listening and coming to consensus,"
the congressman said. "The classic engineer is much more com-
fortable... focusing on a specific problem: What's the best way
to build this bridge instead of where is this bridge going to go.
"There is a thing called 'human factors,' when I was in en-
gineering school it was the hot new thing," Barton continued.
"How is this person going to interact with this design? Look
at the iPhone. The antithesis of that was the early computer,
where you had to put all your information on cards and put
1 1 *
those cards into a card reader and batch them and the next
day you would get your run results. That was an engineering
solution; it was not a people solution."
When it comes to incorporating leadership skills and drive
into engineering students and faculty, the College is already on
the case, through the Leadership Initiative started by Dean
A committee is looking at how public and private institu-
tions teach and instill leadership skills and values, said Erik
Sander, the committee's chairman and director of industry
programs at the College of Engineering.
"We want to structure a program that will be focused on
graduate, undergraduate and faculty to better prepare them-
selves to make an impact in their career and other people's
lives, as well, no matter what type of field they go into," Sander
said.The end result,whichwould be implemented through the
rest of this year, would "expand the technical curriculum focus
... to round out not only the students but provide resources to
the faculty, so that we've given them a broader background and
help them realize their leadership capabilities."
In addition to augmenting current courses, the Leadership
Initiative is looking at ways of offering new programs or cours-
es for those students who want further education in public,
private and civic leadership.
Today's biggest political issues cry out for an engineering
perspective. Global warming. Energy costs. Re-stimulating
the economy. Even the dominant health care debate has as-
pects of computer engineering and systems engineering as
lawmakers try to find cost-efficiencies.
The economic stimulus package was co-opted by some special
interests and stuffed with non-infrastructure projects instead of
some of the forward-looking engineering spending on energy
and transportation that was initially discussed. The money that
did come through the lawmaking process was for "shovel-ready"
projects that had already been engineered and so neither helped
employ more engineers but failed to push for innovations that
could transform the nation and its moribund economy
Now, some engineering advocates say they want to see that
kind of spending be put back on the table in Congress as it looks
at reauthorizing the Surface Transportation Act this year.
"We would love to have that debate," said Knopp of the
American Council of Engineering Companies. "But a lot of
air is being sucked out of the room by health care."
Then there's money, commonly called the "mother's milk"
of politics. While campaign cash may not directly buy influ-
ence, it certainly affords an interest group access to lawmakers
and a louder voice with which to be heard. By that financial
measurement, engineering is found wanting, as well.
Engineers ranked 26th in terms of money donated to 2008
campaigns, according to an analysis by the Center for Re-
sponsive Politics. Engineers as part of a larger Construction
Services category that accounted for more than $13 million in
contributions. Compare that with the $126 million donated
by lawyers and law firms or the $64 million from the securi-
ties industry and you begin to get an idea of who gets heard
on Capitol Hill and who doesn't.
ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL
But you don't have to be a powerful member of Congress or do-
nate hundreds of thousands of dollars to have your engineering
influence felt.Just ask Peter Partlow, the chairman of the Florida
Engineering Society's committee on legislative and government
issues. Partlow, who studied electrical engineering at UF before
finishing his studies at the University of Central Florida, is a
principal at E Sciences Inc. in Orlando, and for years worked
at the local level on transportation issues and seeing very few
engineers at the public advisory committee meetings.
"I was always joking that we need more engineers and less
attorneys so we can get some problems solved," Partlow said.
"The rub is that the kind of people who are attracted to
engineering are problem solvers and not necessarily interested
in making public policy," he quickly added. 'Avery small per-
centage are interested in this."
State Rep. Precourt got his start in a similar way, working on
local boards such as Orange County's Building Codes Board of
Adjustment &Appeals and the Development Advisory Board,
where he was chairman.
"I built a business doing the engineering and trying to give
back to the community," Precourt said. 'And then you see that
the policy decisions that are being made aren't making a lot of
sense. We were getting the opposite result of what was being
hoped for through the policy decision."
He got involved and learned an important lesson.
"Unless you have a seat at the table with a vote, your voice is
very faint," Precourt said. "That's how I evolved into wanting
to get involved in public policy."
He decided to run for the state Legislature in 2006. "There
were a lot of people who said, what in the world are you think-
ing?" Precourt recalled. He raised more than $280,000, beat
two Republicans in the primary and won the general election,
58 percent to 42 percent.
"I really can't break the politician away from the engineer,"
Precourt said. "I wouldn't be here but for my interest in infra-
structure. I want to make a better world. I can operate in this
political environment and make a difference on these infra-
Precourt now serves with two other engineers in the 120-
member Florida House: Trudi Williams of Fort Myers and
Lake Ray ofJacksonville (B.S. CCE' 81).
With two of the three House engineers being Gator grads,
a pattern emerges of political engineering power centered in
Gainesville. UF grad Pegeen Hanrahan is the elected mayor
of Gainesville and uses her engineering degree to advocate for
causes like global warming. And Gainesville's member of Con-
gress, Cliff Stearns of Ocala, though not a Gator engineering
graduate is an electrical engineer.
"I believe that having more engineers in Congress would
bring greater diversity, but would also bring a perspective to
problem solving that would help Congress serve the American
people." Stearns said in an e-mail interview.
"Engineers are trained to use engineering analysis to solve
problems. Engineers also realize that there are time and cost
restraints in producing a product or service that is reliable and
workable," Stearns said. "I would encourage graduates of the
College of Engineering to consider public service, including
PUBLIC SERVICE PUSH
That's exactly what some industry groups and engineering
leaders are trying to do.
In 2005, two of Florida's top engineering organizations,
the Florida Engineering Society and the Florida Institute of
Consulting Engineers, published the "Engineer's Guide to
Community Service,"which urged "Florida's professional en-
gineers to become an influential force in community-based
and government organizations such as homeowner associa-
tions, chambers of commerce, public planning boards and
advisory committees, and appointed boards. These entities
offer great venues for FES/FICE members to be a voice in
the community." The 20-page booklet outlined ways for en-
gineers to be involved with civic groups, government boards
and elected offices.
In it, another UF civil engineering grad, state Rep. Lake Ray
ofJacksonville, explained, "The best waywe can make a differ-
ence is to get involved in our communities and government.
I have always had an interest in the process of government. I
love American history and our system of government."
Even Gainesville's mayor, Pegeen Hanrahan, made a pitch
for public service in the guide. Hanrahan has a bachelor's and
master's degree from UF in environmental engineering and is
married to a civil engineer.
'As I was finishing my master's of engineering degree at the
University of Florida, the chairman of my department, Joe
Delfino, asked me what I was planning to do after gradua-
tion," Hanrahan recalled. "When I told him that I hoped to
work as a consulting engineer, he shook his head. 'You should
go to law school.'This was stunning;Joe was one of my heroes,
and it was clear to me, and to him, I was sure, that the world
needed one more engineer more than it needed one more law-
yer. 'True,' he said. 'But what the world really needs is more
people in charge who understand engineering. In our culture,
it's the lawyers making the rules.'
"When I have the opportunity to talk to young engineers,
typically in civil or environmental classes at UF, or during the
annual induction to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society,
I give them advice similar toJoe Delfino's guidance to gave me:
consider going into public policy," Hanrahan said. "The world
needs more people in charge who understand engineering."
Though, some engineers think that focus on public policy
is still lacking today.
"There's not enough emphasis on being involved. It kind
of comes back to all politics are local," said Partlow, the Flor-
ida Engineering Society government committee chairman.
"There's not been enough emphasis on getting engineers in-
volved on municipal boards. Engineers get involved in [Florida
Department of Transportation matters] or Everglades clean-
up but not necessarily at the highest levels.
"That's the difference between a vision and a mission," he
continued. "Public policy is the vision. The mission becomes
how to do it, and that tends to be how engineers are involved,
more on the mission side of things."
It does take, however, some different skills to begin to interact
directly with politicians, especially on highly technical issues.
"The challenge is we suffer from too much knowledge,"
Partlow said. "We need to back off and look at it from a holis-
tic approach, from the io,ooo foot level. Keep it brief, keep
it directed at a level that they can comprehend."
For Partlow, the movement toward civic-minded engineers
moves next to college campuses.
'As a consulting industry, there has been more of a move-
ment toward getting involved in public policy," Partlow said.
'And that's a good thing. The thing that doesn't happen as
much, again in broad terms, is we have not focused on the
broader issues of public policies like education. Back when I
was in school, there was never any discussion of that. It was
all focused on how do you solve a certain problem. It was all
reactive and not proactive on public policy."
And the more that gets emphasized, the more Steve Pre-
courts will start their rise through the political system.
"I am a product of the engineers starting to open their eyes
that they need to be involved in the policy decisions and not
just the implementation," Precourt said. "We've been getting
more organized, teaching engineers how to lobby and how to
communicate. Yes, and its starting to get some legs.
"Engineers in general tend to be service-oriented people," he
continued. "... we are supposed to look out for the health safety
and welfare of the public. You are looking at people who should
be fundamentally inclined toward public service." o
Two Gator Engineers, a horrific
Haitian earthquake, a frustrating
hunt for answers and race
against time to find a friend
amongst the rubble of the Hotel
Montana. by NICOLE MCKEEN
From: Forrest Masters
Date: January 16, 2010 6:57:27 PM EST
To: "McKeen, Nicole Cisneros"
Subject: Urgent: COE Alum trapped in Hotel Montana, Haiti
Nicole, please call me as quickly as you can regarding the Haiti
earthquake. I need your help. 359- Forrest
The irony is almost too much.
Brendan Beck, who graduated from the University of Florida in
1998 with his bachelor's in civil engineering, traveled the world for
work, for pleasure and for the Peace Corps. He was 34 years old
and still getting his footing. So in December 2009, he spent week
back on campus exploring his options for graduate school.
He planned to study sustainable infrastructure to help hur-
ricane- and earthquake-prone areas.
His plane landed in Port-au-Prince on January 12, the same
day Haiti crumbled in the largest earthquake ever recorded
in the region.
Brendan Beck's body was pulled from the ruins of the Hotel
Montana on February 14 33 days after Haiti was devastated.
Twelve years ago, two University of Florida civil engineering
majors became friends. And that friendship book-ended by
UF held fast through graduation and weekend fishing trips,
to pursuing and fulfilling their dreams, to working all over the
world on a mission to make people safer. Brendan was the world-
traveling engineer and humanitarian. Forrest Masters became the
a professor and hurricane expert making mad dashes all over the
southeastern coast to record effects of landfalling hurricanes.
The two friends reunited on campus in December of 2009.
Brendan was ready to become a student again and Masters,
always a friend, was now his advocate, his mentor.
On his resume, Brendan said his objective was to enroll in
a doctoral program that built on his civil-engineering founda-
tion, construction knowledge and international development
experience. His goal was "to help countries in need develop
Masters says talent and passion embodied Brendan. "Some-
where along the way, somewhere in his mid-twenties, he decided
he wanted to do more. He told us one day he was joining the Peace
Corps. He went off to Mali in Western African for two years. We
kept in touch. I was one of the first people to see himwhen he got
back. But we did drift in and out of communication. We both got
busy But he was one of those people that it didn't matter what the
duration of time was between visits. It was a seamless relationship
with him. He just instantly fit back in your life again."
Brendan was a nomad. He spent the better part of 2009 sail-
ing the Mediterranean and riding the Trans-Siberian Railway.
He had felt the pull for a routine, predictable life. He told
Masters he was ready, finally, to take the next step, to settle
down and get into a doctoral program.
"He had pretty much narrowed his choice between UF and
Johns Hopkins," Masters said. "He had opportunities both
places. From talking to his dad, he was leaning toward com-
ing here heavily. He had put his application in. He would have
been pursuing research that involves low-cost sustainable con-
struction in hurricane- and earthquake-prone areas."
On January 12, Brendan was headed to Cap Haitien, Haiti
for international aid work with the U.S. Agency for Interna-
tional Development. He flew into Port-au-Prince, but because
his flight was canceled due to bad weather, the agency put him
up for the night at the Hotel Montana.
"We know he was in the hotel [at the time of the quake] be-
cause he was chatting on the computer with his girlfriend and
the chat was dropped," Masters said. "She didn't think anything
about it because she is used to that happening [during Beck's in-
ternational travel. Itwasn't until a few hours later when she heard
about the earthquake that she realized why she lost the chat."
Brendan was one of 97 Americans reported or presumed dead
in the Haitian earthquake, according to the U.S. State De-
partment. The Bureau of Consular Affairs also stated that it
received more than 390,000 phone calls to the center since
the earthquake. The bureau's Web site offered a list of need-to-
know answers for the families of the Hotel Montana victims,
but those need-to-know answers to must-ask questions weren't
so available for Brendan's family following the quake. In fact,
any communication about victims of the Hotel Montana from
any government, Haitian or American, was absent.
The only information the family was getting came from an
unlikely messenger Facebook. The same social-networking
site that allows users to "throw" virtual pickles or sheep at
friends was to the only place to get information about the post-
quake Hotel Montana.
As Masters wrote in an email, "We just got off a call with the
moderators of the Facebook site: Hotel Montana Earthquake
Haiti. This has become the de facto site for anyone to get and
share updates on the Hotel Montana. They confirmed the State
(left) and Brendan
(right) have a fruit-
ful day fishing near
the flats of Boca
Grande in 1999.
g r and t c wasad
Department has not released any names of Americans found
deceased. This information suggests the whereabouts and well-
being of the missing are known but are not being disseminated.
The overarching question this raises is why isn't more informa-
tion streaming back? Why are families having to travel to Haiti
to investigate this matter personally?"
Barry Beckwas determined to find his son. "I went toAsheville
to meet Matt [his youngest son} on Saturday afternoon," says
Barry Beck. "We spent the evening gathering the supplies that
we thought we might need to go to the Hotel Montana from the
Dominican Republic. On Sunday morning, we caught an early
flight to Atlanta." The two met up with Masters and three men
got to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, five
days after the earthquake. Shortly after they arrived, the group
was met by more people looking for answers and wanting to help,
Brendan's friends, Nami and Thang Tran and his cousin Guerry
Wooten. Presuming that it would be difficult to cross Haiti's bor-
der, they went to the American consulate, hoping for answers.
But answers weren't waiting for them. They started at the
American Embassy with a 45-minute wait for a security guard
to escort them to the medical wing. There they spoke with a
doctor but she wasn't able to give them any information about
casualties or injured Americans. "She was responsible for get-
ting medical supplies and
body bags to the embassy in
Sa Port-au-Prince, but she re-
ally couldn't help us much,"
said Barry Beck. Theywere
told they needed to go to
the American consulate
to try and find out informa-
tion about Brendan.
Eventually, the group
met with a Duty Greene. Greene was an economic growth
team leader for the U.S. Agency for International Develop-
ment, the same agency that Brendan was an independent
contractor for. Master says Greene genuinely tried to help.
"It was at that point we realized we were going to have to
mobilize politically," he says. Masters launched a volley of
emails and phone calls, calling in every favor he could. (As an
expert on structural damages caused by hurricanes, Masters
had received his share of Florida-media attention.) The media
helped get word out about Beck and other missingAmericans.
TheAssociatedPress, CNN, NBC, NPR, The Orlando Sentinel, The
Gainesville Sun, The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Palm Beach
Post, and even wwwgatorcountrycom tried to get help for the
families of those lost beneath the untouched rubble of the
Sally Baldwin, Brendan's mother, made appeals on her local
Fort Worth and Dallas TV stations. The media were not the last
stop for this debilitated and heartbroken group. Letters were
sent to President Obama and Secretary Clinton. Baldwin went
to work on other politicians, too. Texas Congressmen Burgess
and Barton, U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchi-
son, State Representative Chet Edwards, State Senator Wendy
Davis rounded out the Texas political support. There were also
representatives and senators
from Florida, Massachusetts,
New Jersey and Virginia that
also applied pressure to the
State Department to ap-
point an accountable person
to coordinate the effort, to
commit to bring missing fam-
ily members home and most
importantly to communicate
And all along, clawing at
their minds was the fear that
every moment that passed
was a moment pushing away
the likelihood of ever seeing
Brendan alive again.
JUST THAT TYPE OF BOY
The boy's name was Brendan. It's an Irish name, of Gaelic and
Celtic origin and, it means "prince." Saint Brendan of Ireland
was known as "The Voyager," famed for his scholarship and
Brendan Scott Beck was born January 15, 1975 in South
Bend, Indiana. He grew up in Longwood, Florida, where he
raced remote-control cars, built model rockets, rode horses
and bikes, and spent hours swimming. His grandfather even
passed on his love for the ocean and fishing.
Sally Baldwin says her son was a thoughtful young boy.
She recalls taking him to a wedding with her girlfriends. "I
think he was 7," she says. "He just went around the table and
made sure all the women were taken care of. He was just that
type of boy, always picking wildflowers and bringing them
He graduated from Lake Brantley High School in 1993,
where he helped start a lacrosse program and had a brief career
in show choir. When it came time for college, even though he
claimed to be a dedicated University of Miami fan, there was
no hesitation to become a Gator.
During college, he discovered his love for travel and spent
time in France and Italy. He also loved being in Gainesville,
given a stated pride that his education took long enough to
cover six football seasons. He was hardly ever seen without his
Gator baseball hat. After he graduated, he moved closer to the
ocean where he landed a job with Kimley-Horn Associates in
Sarasota and would spend most weekends fishing.
Brendan never lost his genetic compassion for people or his drive
to help. He volunteered with Big Brothers-Big Sisters in Sarasota,
which kick-started his drive to make his work and his life count.
He joined the Peace Corps and arrived in South Africa in
2003. He began as a water and sanitation extension agent in
Yanfolila, Mali. The next year, he was chosen as volunteer
leader, responsible for 36 volunteers. He sometimes hosted a
radio show and played guitar for friends, leading sing-alongs.
He visited Senegal, Ghana and Tanzania. He climbed Mount
Kilimanjaro after finishing a safari in the Serengeti. After leav-
ing the Peace Corps, he learned to sail in SouthAfrica. He set
off again for Europe. This time, he took his newfound sailing
skills and cruised the coasts of Spain, France and Portugal.
Brendan wasn't back in the U.S. long before work took him
to Anguilla, where he served as an engineer for Hensel Phelps.
When that hotel project ended, he worked for a few years in
Washington, D.C., but soon gave in to his desire for adven-
ture. Beck and family members sailed in the Eastern Medi-
terranean Yacht Rally, sending him along the coasts of Turkey,
Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, and then traveled to
Moscow. There, he hopped on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Af-
ter his journey, he took up contract work Solimar Intertional.
He began a project for the U.S.AID in Haiti.
Brendan was found underneath a collapsed wall of the Hotel
Montana. "It's a pretty sure bet he died instantly. Thankfully,"
Masters said, "Brendan is one of those people who is com-
Losing a friend is tragic. Losing a son is devastating. Having
to deal with the State Department and bureaucracy and in-
ternational red tape made the numbing horror worse for Sally
Baldwin and Barry Beck.
Brendan's bodywas brought to Asheville, N.C. on Wednesday,
March 3. The immediate family viewed his closed casket for a
short time on Saturday afternoon, he was cremated that evening.
"The ongoing nightmare is lessened somewhat now that we have
him home," says Barry Beck.
But nothing will ever be whole again.
"I was relieved because he had been found," his mother said,
"but I was heartbroken because it's so final." o
"No one will ever fill
the place he had in
my life, and a lot of
other people's lives,"
says Forrest Masters.
(He) never lost his innate~~~~~I
comasionfo popl o hi div
Every little boy's dream became this Gator's reality
BY STEVE MILLER
T he UF chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers shaped his work
ethic, the College of Engineering prepared him for his careers and Gator
football weekends taught him how to tailgate. Now, Kevin Byrd is doing
the teaching as a one of the hosts of "Two Guys Garage." He's also been
on other car-junkie shows like "Rides" and "Overhaulin" on TLC. He
was also the host and builder on "Payback," a series on the SPEED channel featur-
ing pimped out rides forJay Leno,Jaimie Pressly and Dale EarnhardtJr.
WHAT BRINGS IN THE PAYCHECK? I
work for Ford in powertrain research
and advanced engines and I am co-host
of "Two Guys Garage" on the Speed
SUPER-HERO NAME: Byrdman
YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSES-
SION? My tools. I've always found that
new tools give you more opportunities
to do and try new things. I used to
walk into a shop or garage and scope
out the welder, or the car lift, or the
machine tools and think of what I
could make with them. I like 'em all,
like impact tools wrenches, welders,
grinders things I can fabricate with.
GATOR FOOTBALLOR GATOR BAS-
KETBALL? Gator football. Basketballis
a great sport, but I always had problems
with the dribble. But football I could do. I
loved playing it through high school. Plus,
the pre-game parties were awesome.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DREAM CAR?
Every time I think I have one picked out,
I change my mind. As a little kid, it was
heavy machinery like dozers or dump
trucks. At one point it was a'57 Chevy. If
I ever won the lottery, like six times, I'd
have a crazy collection likeJay Leno.
WHAT'S THE ABSOLUTE WORST
THING TO GO WRONG ON ACAR?
Cars can be so mean! I mean really, you
pamper them at the car wash, change all
the fluids, do your maintenance. And
thenwhat? They hose you at the worst
moment. When I was at UF, I was work-
ing on my hot rod one afternoon after
work at the local Tuffy, where Iwas a
part-time mechanic.Just as I was shutting
the hood, I got called over to help push
a customer's car in the shop. My hood
was avery light, fiberglass piece that used
hood pins to hold it down. So I forgot to
put the pins in. Ohyeah, you can imagine
I didn't get very far down Archer Road
before that thing just flew right up and
tore right off the hinges. You could have
put a string on it and called it a kite.
WHY TV? You know, TV was never in
my plans. But I've always been excited
about working on cool projects. And
a lot of cool projects and TV just hap-
pened to be tied together.
MOST VIVID UF MEMORY? When I'm
neck deep in a project, the deadlines
are screaming, and I'm feeling like I'm
drowning, I remember the incredible
hours we spent building the Formula SAE
race cars. I've thought a hundred times,
"if I could pull that off then, I can sure
do it now." On a TLC show I did called
"Overhaulin", we literally took a 30-40
year old car and created a show piece in 7
days. And as the adrenaline turned into
fatigue, I kept thinking about exam finals
and building those SAE cars.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE
WORDS. Fun, creative, hard working,
rule breaker (was that three?)
IF NOTAN ENGINEER, WHATWOULD
YOU BE? When I was a kid, I wanted
to be a garbage man. They got to ride
around the neighborhood on the back
of that big truck. But today, a surf
instructor might be cool.
FAVORITE UF PROFESSOR? I had a
few favorites. Dr. Schueller. He was
very practical. Then there was Dr.
Matthew. He was quirky and mad
scientist-like. And he liked cars.
WHAT PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED
TO KNOW ABOUT YOU? I don't like
chocolate. But I love chocolate milk or
chocolate ice cream. If it's not
too chocolaty. o
ALUMNI BY YEAR
Stanley H. Apte, B.S. MAE
is an attorney. His wife, Laura, passed away
in July 2007 His son is circuit judge Alan S.
Apte. Apte says he, "Intends to retire this year
(hopefully)." And is "still practicing law because
I haven't gotten it right yet, after 50 years.
Probably should have stayed working as an aero
engineer. My sole claims to fame are the pro-
duction of my son Alan, and helping design and
the production of the F84F Fighter Jet during
the Korean War."
Robert C. Mattaline, B.S. MAE
retired from McDonnell Douglas. He and his
wife Betty have six children and 16 grandchildren.
Mattaline holds an MBA from St. Louis University
(1957) and a J.D. from Laclede School of Law
Donald R. Baker, B.S. MAE
resides in Lawndale, Calif He retired in 1980.
Paul I. Nunez,
B.S. MAE, M.S. MAE '63
resides in Covington, La. He earned his Ph.D.
in engineering physics at the University of
California at San Diego in 1969 and continued
postdoctoral training in the neuroscience at
UCSD Medical School from 1971-73. He is an
Emeritus Professor of Biomedical Engineering
at Tulane University and the head of Cognitive
Dissonance, LLC, a small consulting firm. His
fourth book, "Brain, Mind and the Structure of
Reality" is his first book aimed at a general audi-
ence and was published by Oxford Press, 2009.
Fred Fagan, B.S. MAE
is a program manager from Energy Systems
West. He holds an M.S. EE and MBA from USC
and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University
StephenW. Adams, B.S. MAE '81
is a utility engineer manager for the City of
Punta Gorda, Fla.
Kurt Ardman, B.S. CCE
received his Juris Doctorate from UF in 1984.
He partner in the Fishback Dominick law firm
which was founded in 1935. He was appointed
by the Florida Bar President as chairman of
the Florida Bar Eminent DomainCommittee
Greg Nott, B.S. MAE
resides in Avondale Estates, Ga. He works as a
residential architect for Park Heydt and Assoc.
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 37
Ben Fertic, B.S. MAE
is the chief executive of World Endurance Hold-
ings, the Tampa, Fla. based operator of Ironman
Triathlon events. He was inspired to compete
in a triathlon eight years after his brother's leg
and arm were amputated when his brother
was shocked by a power line at age 14. His
brother competed in 1984 and inspired Fertic to
compete in a triathalon in 1986. In competing, he
found his passion and turned it into a career.
David Goshorn, B.S. MAE
resides in Hamilton, Ohio. He is a Senior Engi-
neer at GE Aviation.
Michael McGhee, B.S. MAE
works as an independent contractor project engi-
neer. His wife is Angela and they have four children.
Jennifer Richards Garbos, B.S. MAE
is a senior product development engineer for
Hallmark Cards. She married Gregory Garbos
in September 2007. Garbos writes that she
"previously worked for Ford Motor Company
and moved to Hallmark to engineer singing and
KANITRA PERRY WAS AWARDED
AWARD BY THE UNIVERSITY
in the Division of
was awarded a
by the University
for her continued
and tireless dedi-
cation to the staff
'As our front desk
beautifully" said Deb Mayhew, assistant director of student
affairs. "She always delivers the very best "customer service" by
seeking first to understand the needs of each individual and then
directing them to appropriate resources. She has improved the
daily experience of our advising staff through her skill in manag-
ing high volumes of student traffic, while keeping our schedules
and individual responsibilities in mind. Personally, I depend
on her (usually) gentle reminders to keep me on track during
especially busy times."
Gator Engineering faculty are nationally recognized for
outstanding reserach and committment to engineering
neers for "outstand-
tion through service
CHE ACM fellow for in engineering materials growth
Fan Ren 11 significant con- organizations using molecular
was selected as tributions to the including ASME, beam epitaxy."
a fellow of IEEE fields of Computer the Accreditation
for "contributions Vision and Medical Board for Engineer-
to processing Image Analysis." ing and Technology A.0
technologies and the American
for compound Institute for Medical
semiconductor and Biomedical
A was elected as
a fellow of the
ECE American As-
Ann sociation for the
was awarded an of Science for
Jennifer Curtis NSF CAREER Prabhir Barooah "distinguished con-
was selected as Award for 'A was awarded an tributions to the
a fellow of the Self-Tuning Cache NSF CAREER field of oxide thin
American Institute Architecture Award for "Dis- films and super
of Chemical Engi- for Multi-Core tribute estimation lattices, including
neers for "pioneer- Systems." and control for contributions in
ing contributions energy effi- superconductivity,
to particle technol- cient buildings." wide-band gap
ogy, simulation of semiconductors,
multiphase, fluid- and thin-films."
particle flows, and
in chemical engi-
and service." Jenshan Lin
was selected as
a fel low of IEEE Mark Sheplak 01
for 'contributions was selected as
to integrated a fellow of the Susan Sinnott
W*V microwave circuits Acoustical Society was selected as
t!" and systems for of America for a fellow of the
wireless sensors." 11 contributions to American As-
microelectrome- association for the
CISE chanical systems Advancement
My Thai (MEMS) acoustic of Science for
was awarded an transducers." 11 electronic-struc-
NSF CAREER ture calculations
Award for "Opti- MSE and atomic-scale
mization Models Carnmy simulations to
and Approxima- Abernathy understand materi-
tion Algorithms MAE was elected as a als, particularly
for Network Win Phillips fellow of the Ameri- point defects in
Vulnerability and Vice President of can Physical Society metal oxides, and
Adaptability." Research at U F for contributions fluorocarbon-
was honored by the to the develop- plasma-modified
Baba Vernuri American Society ment of compound polymers and
was selected as a of Mechanical Engi- semiconductor composites."
Daus Studenbert, B.S. MAE
is an applications engineer at Ludeca. He recently
Kyle Grandusky, B.S. CCE
is a project manager at Engenuity Group, Inc.
where he has worked for six years providing engi-
neering solutions to water management, environ-
mental permitting, construction administration,
and civil site design problems. He was recently
inducted as president of the Palm Beach Branch
of the American Society of Civil Engineering.
Angelina Rosenberg, B.S. CCE, PE
is a project engineer at Miller Legg. She was
installed as president of the American Society of
Civil Engineers Broward branch for a one-year
term from October 2009 to September 2010. In
addition to ASCE, she is a member of the Florida
Engineering Society and the National Society of
Professional Engineers. Also, she is a member of
Emerge Broward, a program of the Leadership
Broward Foundation, Inc. for young professionals
which promotes leadership and personal develop-
ment through networking, community involve-
ment, and educational opportunities.
Aaron Vorel, B.S. ECE
was hired into GE's Edison Engineering
Leadership Program. During the two years
in the program, he worked in four different jobs
while receiving GE leadership and engineering
training and completing a masters degree in me-
chanical engineering through Georgia Tech. He
now works in GE's Energy Advanced Controls
Technology group, which develops and applies
new algorithms for power plant control.
Luis Holkon, B.S. CCE
is serving in Afghanistan. His wife sent in this
picture and caption: "GO GATORS! BUC
Genereux and I ensuring the "Gator Nation
is everywhere" while entering USMC Camp
Leatherneck, Helmand, AFG." (Holkon pictured
Dustin Mclarty, B.S. MAE
resides in Irvine, Calif He is attending
graduate school at the University of California
Irvine and is working as a lifeguard at
Huntington Beach, Calif
"It is very rare that you
can call the company
who makes the product
you are working with and
speak to an engineer that
can help with all types
Scott Whaley, B.S. CCE
From Ohio to
Hume Hall to the
to a few ques-
on Archer Road,
Whaley has lived
a lot of places,
but it's Atlanta he
calls home now.
Whaley is a staff
engineer at Tensar
where he is an
integral part of
Tensar team -
even though he is
one of the young-
est engineers to
ever get hired
by the company
Chris Cobb, hu-
Tensar, said that
Whaley is one
of the best hires
they ever made
because of what
he brings to the
table. And, now,
the UF College
of Engineering is
the first place the
for new hires.
to ensure the
geogrid and geo-
are exactly what
the client needs,
from design to
are a very unique
ley said. "It is very
rare that you can
call the company
who makes the
product you are
working with and
speak to an engi-
neer that can help
with all types of
engineer star or
not, Whaley says
he misses his
time at UF and
especially the civil
structures lab on
the ground floor
in the lab were
when we were
working on Steel
Bridge." He was
part of the 2008
team that hosted
the Steel Bridge
in the country
And being part of
that team, helped
prepare him to
be a part of the
~* -- --- i -
I. ir4 l
For!'' addition inomain please
Ihash.eylll ufl*, du or' cal ll [
A marriage made in Gator Engineering and UAV hea
BY ANTHONY CLARK
Erica and Don MacArthur
(B.S. MAE 'oo, M.S. MAE '03,
Ph.D. MAE '07) have worked
in robotics together since the
high-school sweethearts were
on the robotics team at the Maritime
and Science Technology Academy
in Miami, competing against other
schools to design machines to perform
Together, they earned their bach-
elor's, master's and doctorate degrees in
mechanical engineering at the Univer-
sity of Florida.
They designed a navigation system to
help a vehicle drive itself across a desert
as part of the Grand Challenge compe-
tition against other schools.
As graduate students, they helped
clear live bombing ranges of unexplod-
ed ordnance with unmanned air and
ground vehicles at TyndallAir Force
Base in Panama City.
Now, the husband and wife run
IATech, which stands for Innovative
Automation Technologies. The start-up
company housed at the Gainesville
Technology Enterprise Center makes
navigation sensors for unmanned ve-
hicles used by universities, research labs
and small defense contractors.
They are shifting focus to t
vehicle using the sensor. In S
they launched the Point and
unmanned air vehicle at the A
tion for Unmanned Vehicle S
International Conference in'
ton, D.C. Their vehicle was fe
I s is
The idea was to create avehi
is easy to use reducing the ti
expense of training and costs
than $25,000 compared to mor
$ioo,ooo for comparable aircr;
Just assemble the plane in a
steps, point it, lock in its setting
a handheld device, turn on the
and toss it. The plane captures
photographs and returns to its
point. Unlike similar systems, i
require a laptop computer to o
"It's a minimalistic approach
getting aerial without all the bells and
whistles," Don MacArthur said.
Interested customers so far are mili-
After graduating, the MacArthurs
formed the company around what
they saw as a need for small, inexpen-
sive navigation sensors for unmanned
vehicles that would improve on the cost
and quality of what was available.
Erica MacArthur, 31, is president
and Don MacArthur, also 31, is chief
S technology officer.
The IATech sensors serve as a Global
Positioning System, magnetic compass
and tilt sensor, much like the naviga-
tion system of an airplane, only much
smaller and cheaper.
Their academic customers include
Oxford University in England, which
mounted their sensor and camera on
a Steppe Eagle to analyze its flight as
part of a project funded by the U.S. Air
Force Research Laboratory
The air force is using "biomimicry,"
studying wing movements of live crea-
tures, for ideas to design aircraft, Erica
MacArthur said. The project found hid-
den feathers deployed from an eagle's
tail during certain maneuvers.
Last year, they received a $oo,ooo000
research grant along with UF to work
with graduate students to develop
ven. larger unmanned air vehicles that can
capture smaller UAVs.
The company formed in 2006 and
last year was accepted into GTEC,
heir own a partnership between the city and
september, Gainesville Area Chamber of Com-
Toss small merce to nurture tech start ups.
issocia- The incubator helped them tremen-
ystems dously with managing the business,
Washing- planning product development and
featured in providing a network of professionals,
Don MacArthur said.
cle that The MacArthurs handle all the prod-
me and uct design and manufacturing them-
s less selves, teaming with local companies
'e than for electronics assembly and composite
couple Manufacturing locally costs more
g with than outsourcing to China, but the
motor local access makes quality control easier
videos or and is good for the local economy, Erica
starting MacArthur said. o
it does not
operate. This article was originally published in
h to The Gainesville Sun
IN THE NEWS 11.09
A DOOR TO MANY BENEFITS
Harris Corporation Gives $3 Million to
the College of Engineering
he Harris Corporation,
based in Melbourne, Fla.,
gave $3 million to the Col-
lege to promote research
collaboration, train scien-
tists, and retain and recruit faculty.
The gift, made through the Harris
Foundation, will establish an endow-
ment fund to support early stage,
innovative research projects in the field
of computer science and engineering.
Areas of research may include mobile
computing and medical informatics.
"We're very fortunate to be part of
Harris Corporation's leadership initia-
tive in education and research," said
UF President Bernie Machen. "Their
commitment to UF and their recogni-
tion of the importance of a healthy
and diverse state economy demon-
strates an optimistic strategic view of
the future, and we share that view with
In recognition of the Harris gift,
UF will create the Harris Gateway to
Learning and Innovation in the College
of Engineering, housed in the current
Computer and Information Sciences
building. A portion of the gift will fund
this spring's renovation of
the third floor of the build-
ing to make way for this
new facility. "The Harris
Gateway is aptly named in
that it will provide a 'door'
to many benefits," said
Howard L. Lance, chair-
man, president and chief
executive officer ofHarris.
"It will support the recruit-
ment and development
of outstanding faculty,
enhance industry partner-
ships, create a dynamic
educational model and play a key role in
recruiting outstanding students to UF."
Harris Corporation has had a long-
time partnership with the University of
Florida and currently employs 850o of its
graduates. "The Harris gift is an example
of how leadership, partnership and
innovation can mutually benefit two dy-
namic organizations, and in turn, benefit
industry and the nation's economy," said
CammyAbernathy, dean of the College
of Engineering. "It is also a fitting tribute
to the launch of the college's celebration
of its iooth anniversary" o
CIVIL GATORS is a great way to reconnect with former
classmates, the Department faculty, staff and students.
CIVIL GATORS fosters and enhances the
relationship between civil & coastal engineering, its
alumni and friends, and supports CCE's mission of
teaching, research and service.
A.muiato of InAformation
(idsr nes trns emploment
Education Beeft (jbeprecsemnrlcues
Fudasngt eeftteU C 0prmn
UPDATE: Spring 2009 but 10,000 times oxygen, extreme
TRIBOLOGY REVISTED more durable, temperatures and
are being tested other space haz-
to see if they ards. Sawyer, his
could coat the family and some
mechanical parts of his students at-
of the space sta- tended the launch
tion. "These are at Kennedy Space
g7dtj low-wear, low- Center in Cape
friction materials Canaveral. During
that work well in the third space
vacuum, and we walk the MISSE
On November 16, Atlantis STS 129. want to know if 7 experiments
2009, the Materi- And hitching a they work well in were installed and
als International ride were a few space," Sawyer turned on. All
Space Station little gems cour- said in an MSNBC eight tribom-
Experiment, rtesy of professor interview. But first eters successfully
was successfully Greg Sawyer. The the material must began making
launched aboard nanomaterials survive ultraviolet measurements
Space Shuttle similar to teflon radiation, atomic in space.
1940 Allan M. Biggar B.S. CHE ARLINGTON, VA., JULY 4, 2008 1942 Lewis E. Cooke,Jr. B. ME MELBOURNE, FLA., AUG. 23, 2009 1944 Robert
Royal McPherson B. EE GAINESVILLE, FLA., NOV. 21,2009 1948 Charles H. Edwards ME WARNER ROBINS, GA.,JAN. 3,2009 I Richard F. Heitzman
B. CHE TYLER, TEXAS,JAN. 15, 2010 | Walter B. King,Jr. B.S. ME BELLEAIR BLUFFS, FLA.,JAN. 29,2010 1949 Richard D. Hodge B. ME GAINESVILLE,
FLA.,JAN. 13, 2010 | AlbertJ. Smith B. ME FERNANDINA BEACH, FLA., OCT. 26, 2009 I Manuel M. Solis MSE CE NAPLES, FLA., AUG. 30,20091950
James W Craig B. CHE HOUSTON, TEXAS, OCT. 20, 2009 | Austin C. Dillinger B.S. ME ORLANDO, FLA., JUNE 20, 2008 James A. Howze MSE CE
BRADENTON, FLA., NOV. 27, 2009 | John A. Lanehart B.S. CE CYPRESS, TEXAS, NOV. 27, 2009 I John C. Rountree B.S. CE MOBILE, ALA., NOV. 13,
2009 I Ragan M. Womack B.S. ME PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA., NOV. II, 20091951 Marcus R. Baggett B.S. IE SPRING HILL, TENN.,JAN. 20, 2007
I Wayne E. Fausset B.S. EE GAINESVILLE, FLA., SEPT. 15, 2009 | Ross D. Reitz B.S. EAE CLERMONT, FLA., JAN. 13, 2009 John P. Roebuck, Jr. B. IE
TAMPA, FLA., NOV. II, 2009 1952 Raymond N. Garrison TAMPA, FLA., JUNE I, 2009 1 Earl K. Ossorio B. IE ORLANDO, FLA., JULY 9, 2009 1953
Robert S. Webb MSEJAMESVILLE, N.Y., OCT. 28, 2009 | James R. Young, Jr. B. IE PLANT CITY, FLA.,JAN. 6, 2010 1956 Edward C. Edmunds,Jr.
B.S. ME INVERNESS, FLA., OCT. 4, 2009 1957 Richard H. Smith B. CE PITTSBURGH, PA., SEPT. 14, 2009 I Daniel V Stateler B. EE LOUGHMAN,
FLA., JULY 24, 2009 | Fred W Vosloh III B. ME FOLEY, ALA., OCT. 12, 2009 1958 Shelby A. Johnson B. EE NEW ORLEANS, LA., JUNE I, 2006 I
Kenneth C. LeDuc B. ME SAINT PETERSBURG, FLA., OCT. 10, 2009 | Dr. Roy O. McCaldin PH.D. CE TUCSON, ARIZ., AUG. 20, 2009 I Carlton K.
Shen-Tu MSE CHE PASADENA, CALIF., JULY 24, 2009 1959 Richard A. Claridge B. CE CASSELBERRY, FLA., NOV. 3, 2009 | William M. Moran BA
SHALIMAR, FLA., DEC. 19, 2009 | John P. Redmond B. EE CLEARWATER, FLA., OCT. 31, 2009 I Lawrence A. Seely B. ME TULLAHOMA, TENN., APRIL
28, 2009 I Herbert G. Yalof B.S. IE QUECHEE, VT., SEPT. 21, 2009 1960 Robert E. Nichols,Jr. B. CE TALLAHASSEE, FLA., OCT. 19, 2004 | Bureon
L. Wheeler B.S. EE KNOXVILLE, TENN., SEPT. 4, 2009 1961 Epifanio Agliano B.S. ME SEFFNER, FLA., OCT. 15, 2009 I Eugene M. Beverly B.S. CHE
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA., OCT. 25, 2009 | Dr. Allen E. Leybourne III PH.D. CHE HATTIESBURG, MISS., AUG. I, 2009 | Dr. Forrest L. Poska PH.D.
CHE DALLAS, TEXAS, APRIL 2, 2009 1962 Wynfred H. Garrett B. EE CRESTVIEW, FLA., JAN. I, 2010 | Gerald L. Gibson B. EE MERRITT ISLAND,
FLA., DEC. II, 2009 1963 William A. Walker B. CHE BATON ROUGE, LA., NOV. 27, 2009 1964 Daniel P. Olszewski B. ME MERRITT ISLAND,
FLA., SEPT. 29, 2009 1966 William T Pettit III MSE VENICE, FLA., SEPT. 8, 2009 1967 Richard W Wilkens B.S. EE WILDWOOD, FLA., FEB. 14,
2009 1968 John C. Hsieh ENG EE FLUSHING, N.Y., DEC. 12, 2008 1970 Yasar B. Tanrikut M.S. CHE BLOOMFIELD, CONN., OCT. 16, 2008 1971
Joseph A. Scianna ENG MAITLAND, FLA., OCT. 2009 1973 Fletcher W Gibson III B.S. IE HOUSTON, TEXAS,JAN. 29, 2010 | Elliot P. Valkenburg
M.S. EE MAITLAND, FLA., MAY 21, 2003 1974 Dr. C. Fred Hiatt PH.D. EE LAKEVILLE, MINN., AUG. 4, 2009 1977 Clement J. Brossier B.S. ENE
EUREKA, MO., MAY 25, 2006 1978 Dr. John F. Alexander, Jr. PH.D. ENE GAINESVILLE, FLA., NOV. 6, 2009 1980 Glenn A. Porcella M.E. CHE
LAKE PLACID, FLA., AUG. 22, 2009 1986 Deborah L. Parmenter B.S. EE HERNDON, VA., SEPT. 8, 2009 1988 Lee Strickland B.S. CE WINTER
PARK, FLA., JAN. 12, 2010 1990 Bruce T. Wright II B.S. CHE PALM HARBOR, FLA., SEPT. 22, 2006 1991 Scott M. Moeller B.S. EAE ORLANDO,
FLA., JUN. 19, 2005 1992 Robert A. Borys B.S. EES MONMOUTH BEACH, N.J., DEC. 28, 2009 1994 Jonathan T Roberts B.S. EE FORSYTH, GA.,
FEB. IO, 2007 1995 DonaldJ. Davis II B.S. CHE DOVER, DEL., OCT. 23, 2009 1998 Brendan S. Beck B.S. CE GAINESVILLE, FLA.,JAN. 12, 2010
S Professor Charles Beatty Mary Lynn Slone
passed away in early February after an extended a veteran Gator Engineering staff member, passed
illness. Chuck, as he was called, came to the mate- away in January Mary Lynn began her career at the
rials science department in 1979 from Xerox. He UF in 1976. She worked nearly 20 years in the Depart-
was an expert in polymer processing and quickly ment of Computer & Information Science & Engi-
established a world-class group, organized a stu- neering. She moved to the College administration in
dent chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers the early 9os, serving as manager of the Personnel &
and shared his passion for plastics with hundreds Payroll office for more than a decade. Mary Lynn was
of students. His friendly disposition, excellence in widely admired and highly regarded for her compas-
research, coupled with rare creativity helped him continue to create re- sionate and selfless approach to life, both at work and at home. To the Gator
search ideas up until his passing. He will be missed by everyone, and we Engineering family, Mary Lynn was a trusted colleague and a friend. To her
extend our condolences to his wife Barbara and his family, husband, children and grandchildren, we extend our deepest sympathies.
THE FLORIDA ENgINEER 43
WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING
But seriously, it just feels so darn good when you do
Being a part of Gator Engineering is one of which I
am most proud of. I'm already a Gator. I was raised
for a good portion of my childhood in Gainesville.
When it was time for me to go to College even
though it was later than most students begin their
college career I only applied to UF. I graduated from UF's
College ofJournalism and Communications. My husband is a
professor at UF. We are Gator-football season ticket holders.
I even insisted my second son, Travis' birth be induced on a
Thursday so I could be sure to watch the Tennessee vs Florida
game in my home rather than in the hospital. Being champion
for the College through the pages of The Florida Engineer has
been such an honor for me and lots of fun.
It all culminated this winter, when The Florida Engineer
was named the winner of the "Grand Award for Best Alumni
Magazine" for institutions with an enrollment under io,ooo.
The recognition was given by the southeastern CASE district,
the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
(Basically CASE is the mothership for any and all higher ed
communication and development efforts).
It was after I got involved with CASE a few years ago that
I learned how and why to produce an alumni magazine. I
was taught that alumni magazines have potential rarely
exercised by their institutions and that while we may have a
built in circulation, we still have to earn our readers.
Here are some of the rules I work by:
i. Mirror your institution.
2.Put yourself in the reader's seat and reward the reader.
3. Good design has to have a purpose and editorial
has to be read.
4. Give readers what they want, not just what
the institution wants them to want.
5. Design the reader experience, not just the magazine.
6. Let reason rule the day.
7. Be consistent but not predictable.
8. Have fun (this is my favorite, of course, and as Elvis said
"If this ceases to be fun, we will cease to do it.")
I am really excited and thankful I get to work with such
amazing people, a wickedly talented design firm, brilliant
faculty and students, a supportive administration and the
best alumni around that all make producing this magazine
the best gig I've ever had.
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