University of Rhode Island College of Engineering honors
12 distinguished graduates
KINGSTON, R.I.-- November 3, 1999 -- The University of Rhode Island's
College of Engineering recently honored 12 of its graduates during its Second
Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards and Founders Club banquet.
The ceremonies were held at the Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.
The awards and the recipients are as follows:
1999 Engineering Excellence Award
Lisa Pruitt, URI class of 1988, of Oakland, Calif.
Lisa Pruitt is a young superstar in the field of mechanical engineering.
As an undergraduate at URI, Pruitt received the first material engineering
degree awarded by the College of Engineering, as well as a degree in chemical
and ocean engineering. Upon graduation, she was awarded a Presidential
Fellowship from Brown University, where she earned a Ph.D in 1993. She
was recruited to join the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley
as an assistant professor to help build a strong program in mechanical materials
behavior in the department of mechanical engineering. An associate professor
with tenure, Lisa's primary scope of research is polymers. She currently
is the director of the Medical Polymer Group overseeing a bio-engineering
graduate group from UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley.
Pruitt attributes her exceptional success to the mentoring she received
as an undergraduate at URI.
She plans to continue her research with the goal of creating a viable
hybrid of synthetic and natural materials for use in bio-medical engineering
1999 Engineering Entrepreneur Award
Jim Hubbard, Class of 1949 of Jamestown, R.I.
Jim Hubbard is the founder and chairman of Precision Handling Devices,
Inc., a company that manufactures paper feeder devices for computer peripheral
equipment. Precision sells its products throughout the world and has operations
in Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and Japan. Precision's core product group
continues to expand, employing process design and material application innovations
developed and patented by the URI alumnus. Prior to founding his own company,
Hubbard was employed by Hughes Aircraft, General Electric Co., Xerox Corp.,
Schreiber Press, and Litton Industries. He remains active with consulting
projects and is currently working on improving safety equipment to be used
in the automotive industry. Jim has been married to his wife, Virginia,
for 53 years. They have nine children, 22 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
1999 Distinguished Engineering Service Award
Henry J. Nardone Class of 1943, honorary Ph.D., 1993, of Westerly,
After graduating from URI, Henry Nardone enrolled in naval studies at
Yale. In 1944, following midshipman's school at Columbia University, he
was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy. During 12 years of service,
he became project officer for the USS Nautilus, and was technical leader
for the first missile-firing submarine. While in the Navy, he also obtained
his professional naval engineering degree from MIT. In 1955, Henry began
a long and successful career with Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics.
He advanced to facility manager at Quonset Point, then served as division
program director for Trident submarines. He recently served as CEO of American
Shipyard Corp. Henry has also served Rhode Island's educational community
in a number of leadership roles. He was named to the Rhode Island Board
of Regents in 1971, then stayed on the Board of Governors for Higher Education
from its inception through 1997. He remains a member of the Westerly School
Committee, the Board of Incorporators of the Westerly Hospital, URI's College
of Engineering Advisory Committee, and is an Executive Committee Trustee
of the URI Foundation.
1999 Founders Club-Nine alumni were inducted into the 1999 Founders Club.
Alfred S. Budnick, Class of 1959, honorary Ph.D., 1997, of East
Under Al Budnick's leadership as president, Cherry Semiconductor Corp.
has seen explosive growth in sales of its integrated circuits over the past
two decades. Started with only 20 employees, this $100 million company
currently employs approximately 1,000. Recognizing that education is the
key to success, Budnick provides financial resources for students pursuing
degrees in higher education through URI's Cherry Academic Scholarship and
the Cherry Semiconductor Educational Scholarship at East Greenwich High
School. In addition to tuition reimbursement, he offers his employees on-site
training and in-house degree courses. These innovative educational opportunities
serve as models for other companies in Rhode Island. Budnick also serves
on URI's Executive Committee of the College of Engineering's Advisory Council,
the Advisory Board for Sensors and Surface Technology Partnership for Education
and Research, and participates in URI's mentoring program, encouraging students
to visit his East Greenwich facility and providing advice and direction
for future careers.
Paul DiMatteo, Class of 1951, of Dix Hills, N.Y.
Paul DiMatteo is the inventor or co-inventor of about 70 patents. He
founded and was chairman, president and CEO of three public high-tech companies:
Dynell Electronics Corp., (1960-1977), Robotic Vision Systems Inc. (RVSI
1977-1984), and Vivax Medical Systems Inc. (1984-1996). Before being acquired
by United Technologies in 1977, Dynell had as many as 720 employees, specialized
in naval radar manufacture, advanced signal processing, and pioneered 3D
vision and replication. RVSI, with about 100 employees, during Paul's tenure
as president, specialized in electronic 3D vision and 3D replication. In
1998, RVSI had over 700 employees and revenues of $169,000,000. Vivax developed
the world's first essentially automatic patient transfer system which will,
with the push of a button, transfer a patient to and from a bed and a wheelchair.
The automatic patient transfer system was one of three major national product
innovations chosen to be demonstrated at the Governors Conference in Las
Vegas in 1997. Today, DiMatteo is self-employed and is pursuing new inventions
at Nextek Corp.
Paul J. Gelardi, Class of 1970, of Cape Porpoise, Maine
In 1973 with his brother Anthony, Paul co-founded Shape Inc., an engineering
and manufacturing company of 8-track cartridges and cassettes. Shape grew
rapidly into a multinational company, employed 3,000 people, and had revenues
of $195 million at its peak in 1987. It manufactured audio cassettes, video
cassettes, diskettes, data cartridges, ribbon cartridges, magnetic tape,
company discs, media packaging, injection molds and assembly automation.
Shape has been recognized worldwide for its technical achievements and innovations
in product design and manufacturing.
Michael Giuttari, Class of 1982, of Warwick, R.I.
During Giuttari's five years with Rogers Corp. in Connecticut and Arizona,
he held numerous positions, including industrial and manufacturing engineer,
division financial controller and data processor. In early 1987, Giuttari
returned to Rhode Island to form Paramount Properties Group, a commercial
real estate brokerage and consulting company. That company grew to the
point where it transacted $34 million annually in consulting and real estate
deals. In 1998, Giuttari sold Paramount to start MG Commercial Real Estate
Services, which focuses more regionally and nationally. Giuttari presently
serves as president of the Rhode Island Commercial & Appraisal Board
of Realtors, is a member of the Executive Committee for the Realtors in
Rhode Island Association of Realtors, and also serves on the board of directors
for the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. Additionally, Giuttari holds
the SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors) designation, the most
prestigious designation attainable in his field. Only five others in his
market, and only 2.5 percent of the commercial real estate consultant and
brokers in the country, hold this designation. Giuttari lives in Warwick,
R.I. with his wife and four children.
Donald R. Hall, Class of 1964, of Barrington, R.I.
Don Hall started his career as a construction engineer in 1966 with the
Hart Corp. in East Providence, R.I. He later became a project engineer with
the renamed Herzog-Hart Corp., a company involved in ship, boat, machines
and product design. He was named president and CEO in 1982. Today, Herzog-Hart
Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Herzog-Hart Corp. and Engineered Technologies,
have nearly 300 employees with annual sales of $46.5 million. In 1984,
Hall bought the company with Frank Esposito, vice president of Herzog-Hart
Corp., Herzog-Hart Group and Engineered Technologies. In 1992, Hall became
chairman of Herzog-Hart Corp.
Rudolph (Ralph) Lux, Class of 1957, of Cranston, R.I.
Lux earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Providence College
in 1950. Later, he obtained both his engineering degree from URI-CCE and
a metallurgy degree from Brown University in 1958. He retired as owner
and president of Lux Associates, Inc. in June 1998. His wife, Dorothy Nolan
Lux, earned her B.S. in business administration in 1949 from the University
of Rhode Island. Ralph currently serves on the Advisory Board to the Dean
of the College of Engineering, the selection of distinguished Engineering
Professors Committee, and the Capital Committee for Engineering. He is
also a lifetime member of the American Association of Individual Investors
and a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Henry H. Mackal, Class of 1933
Henry was the son of immigrant German-Austrian parents who was twice
turned away from admission to URI. He finally enrolled on probation after
making a personal visit to URI President Edwards. He graduated four years
later with honors. Mackal founded the Halkey-Roberts Co. in the basement
of his Paramus, N.J., home to manufacture precision valves he had designed.
He later invented the machinery to mass produce the valves that are used
in aircraft, space vehicles, medical catheters, and airline survival equipment.
The firm is now a subsidiary of Atrion Corp. In 1973, the Mackal Field
House was named to honor Mackal posthumously for his generous $500,000
donation to the University.
Franklin W. Simon, Class of 1950, of Milton, Mass.
After serving in the U.S. Army Infantry and Rangers during World
War II, including the Normandy Invasion and having been awarded a number
of combat decorations, Simon received his engineering degree from the University
of Rhode Island, then a master of business degree from Harvard University.
In 1966, after 10 years in the manufacturing sector and real estate industry,
Simon established his own firm, The Simon Companies, specializing in development,
construction and property management. This firm originally developed affordable
housing for low- to moderate-income families. To this end, Franklin's activities
have produced approximately 6,000 apartment units. In addition, he has
given freely of his time and his firm's time to help produce a 200-unit,
non-profit, low-income senior citizen housing development. Currently, Simon's
firm provides thousands of affordable and high end rental apartments and
office buildings in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, employing
approximately 85 people.
Earl C. Sparks, Jr., Class of 1942, of Wakefield, R.I.
After graduating from URI, spending four years with the U.S. Navy and
five years with Raytheon Co., Earl Sparks joined with 10 other Raytheon
engineers to start a company called Sanders Associates Inc. in July, 1951.
With hard work and creativity, the company grew to more than 10,000 employees
at its peak and became one of the top 100 defense suppliers. Sparks spent
time in manufacturing engineering and configuration management (CM) before
finishing as corporate director of CM, responsible for all policies and
procedures in the company associated with CM hardware and software. One
major program requiring good configuration management was the operational
display system for the Saturn 5 rocket, which launched the Apollo shots.
The company was acquired in 1986 by Lockheed in one of the first mergers
that exceeded $1 billion. The company name changed after the merger to Lockheed
For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116