University of Pittsburgh
March 28, 2004

Pitt School of Engineering Honored Eight Alumni March 24 Lauding Achievements in Business and Research


PITTSBURGH—Eight alumni, in businesses ranging from oil to ketchup to biocatalysts, were honored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering for outstanding contributions to their professions at the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet March 24.

John Mascaro, who earned the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering, in 1966 and 1980, respectively, was chosen as the School of Engineering 2004 Distinguished Alumnus. Six other alumni were honored by individual departments within the school, and one alumnus was honored with the school's inaugural Young Alumni Award.

Mascaro, of Pittsburgh, is president and CEO of Mascaro Construction Company, one of the region's largest general contracting, construction management, and design/build firms. His awards include the Metcalf Award from the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania, the National and Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and 2001 Pittsburgh Civil Engineer of the Year. Mascaro is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Pitt's John C. Mascaro Learning Center, a high-tech "green facility," was dedicated in September 2000. With seed funding from Mascaro and others, the School of Engineering created the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative (MSI) in October 2003. The MSI builds on the School of Engineering's educational program in green construction by helping to define the next generation of research in sustainability.

The Young Alumni Award honored Keith E. LeJeune, who received the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering, in 1994 and 1996, respectively. LeJeune earned the Ph.D. degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1998 and is cofounder and CEO of Agentase, a biocatalyst technology company. He invented EnzymeFoam D2-1, a product that was recognized in R&D Magazine as one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of 2000.

The six individual departments and the alumni they honored follow.

Pitt's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering honored C.L. Mike Winget, who received the Master of Science degree in energy resources in 1978. Winget is president and CEO of the Transcor/Astra Oil/AOT group, an International Energy Trading Company specializing in physical commodity arbitrage of oil, natural gas, coal, and coke on ocean-going ships. Globally, the company trades half a million barrels of oil equivalent daily.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering honored James M. Coull, who received the Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1957. In 1984, Coull formed J.M. Coull, Inc., a commercial and industrial construction services firm specializing in designing and building projects for high technology, of which he is president. The firm, based in Concord, Mass., has been recognized with multiple Excellence in Construction Awards.

The Department of Electrical Engineering honored John W. Pavia, who received the Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and the Master of Business Administration degree from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, in 1969 and 1973, respectively. Pavia is president of UEC Technologies, an internationally known Pittsburgh-based steel consulting group and a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Steel.

The Department of Industrial Engineering honored Kenneth Smialek, who received the Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering in 1978. Smialek is vice president and chief cost officer of H.J. Heinz Company. He began working for the H.J. Heinz company in 1979 on the factory floor and progressed through increasing operations management assignments. He became general manager of manufacturing for Heinz USA in 1990, then director of operations for Heinz Australia in 1994. In 1998, prior to his current position, he became director of supply chain for Heinz Europe.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering honored Charles Eckhert, who received the Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgical engineering in 1976. Eckert is president of Apogee Technology, which develops high performance molten metal treatment reactors for aluminum, used by General Motors, ALCOA, and other leading companies. He received the Ph.D. degree in materials engineering from Drexel University and is an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Eckert currently holds 168 U.S. and international patents.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering honored Frederick L. Kocher, who earned the Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1977. Before retiring, Kocher was senior vice president of customer service for Rolls-Royce North America. He began his career in 1970 as an engineer of structures and power plants for USAir, eventually becoming senior vice president of maintenance operations in 1990. In 1995, he began working with Rolls-Royce North America. Kocher serves on the School of Engineering Board of Visitors.