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 applications. 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, R.I. 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 Greenwich, R.I. 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 Sanders, Inc. -xxx- For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116