Alumni Fast Facts
Prominent LTU Alumni
Over 30,000 students have graduated from Lawrence Technological University since the University was founded in 1932. Additionally, some 40,000 individuals are former students. While most alumni reside in Michigan, all 50 states are represented as well as nearly 50 countries. Prominent alumni include:
Steven A. Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, participated in Lawrence Tech’s Summer Science Institute for promising high school students and then spent a year at the University, acing six of Lawrence Tech’s top mathematics classes while still co-enrolled in high school. He then enrolled at Harvard where he became dorm buddies with Bill Gates and later they together launched one of the most innovative and successful businesses in history.
Bennie L. Benjamin, BSCivE’55 (deceased), retired as director of one of the nation's largest water and waste treatment organizations – the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. DWS provides water and waste treatment service to Detroit and 125 suburban Michigan communities – serving nearly half of the citizens of Michigan.
John Buffone, BSAr’74, BAr’75, is vice president of architecture for Little Caesar’s. He oversaw design of the Detroit Tigers’ $350 million Comerica Park, opened in 2000, managing a team of hundreds of architects, artists, and designers to develop the new ballpark, which features such diverse entertainment as a carousel, Ferris wheel, and 150-foot wide fountain.
Donald W. Date, BSArE’49 (deceased), was chief architect of the United States’ Panama Canal Co. During his tenure in the 1950s through 1970s, the huge number of improvements and modernizations he managed significantly increased efficiency and tonnage transported through the Canal, one of the world’s engineering wonders and busiest routes of commerce.
John Z. DeLorean, BSIE’48 (deceased), former General Motors division manager and executive vice president, is credited with developing the first “muscle car,” the Pontiac GTO, along with a host of other innovations. After leaving GM, he launched the stainless steel-bodied DeLorean automobile, made even more famous as the time machine in the “Back to the Future” movies.
Matt DeMars, BSME’78, chief operating officer of The Vehicle Production Group, is a former executive vice president of Plastech and a former vice president for vehicle operations at Ford Motor Company, responsible for the operation of all Ford manufacturing plants in North America. He led the launch of the 2004 Ford F-150 pick-up, named Motor Trends’ Truck of the Year and the most popular vehicle sold in the United States.
Edward Donley, BSME’43, is retired chairman of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Allentown, PA, a Fortune 200 company. Donley is also former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has worked with several U.S. presidents and state governors on numerous commissions aimed at improving education at all levels.
Hajj Flemings, MBA’03, founded Brand Camp University, which focuses on entrepreneurial and digital technology training. He is also the author of The Brand YU Life: Re-thinking Who You Are Through Personal Brand Management. His clients include Disney, the US Olympic Committee (Paralympics), and the US Department of Defense.
Beverly K. Hannah, BSAr’85, BAr’88, is among the first five African-American women to found their own architectural firms. Ebony Magazine in 1995 discovered there were 800 minority architects in the country, 10 percent were female, and only five had launched their own firms.
Jennifer A. Hitchcock, BSME’88, MGLM’09, PE, is executive director for Research and Technology Integration at the US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, in Warren, MI. One of eight such major research, development, and engineering centers in the country, RDECOM is the Army’s largest technology developer. Hitchcock is responsible for leading the research and integration of Army ground vehicle mobility, power and energy, survivability, and robotic and vehicle electronic architecture technologies. The civilian equivalent of a brigadier (one-star) general, she oversees more than 600 people in five technical business areas and manages the planning, execution, funding, and selection of technology programs the Army will pursue to meet emerging Army battlefield challenges.
Ronald P. Knockert, BSEE’63, invented the laser bar code scanner, developed computers that helped land Americans on the moon, pioneered remote keyless door locks for automobiles, and most recently helped perfect intelligent transportation systems for consumer vehicles that provide directional, traffic, and service information.
John W. Laister, BSAeroE’38 (deceased), during World War II developed the revolutionary
high wing/rear door cargo plane design still used in cargo aircraft worldwide. The plane he designed also carried the heaviest payload of its era and had one of the highest security clearances of the war. The huge glider was developed for an expected aerial invasion of Japan, to be used to ferry troops and supplies had the atomic bomb failed to bring an end to the conflict.
Larry A. Lawson, BSEE’80, president and CEO, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., one of the world's largest non-OEM designers and manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial aircraft. Formerly executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp. and president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Lawson has held a broad range of leadership positions in engineering, advanced development, business development, and program management. He began his career as a flight control engineer working on the F-15 Eagle at McDonnell Douglas. In his work at Lockheed Martin, Lawson oversaw key aircraft production programs, such as the F-35, F-22, F-16, C-130J, and C-5, including highly classified programs in the world-renowned Skunk Works® organization.
Javad Mokhbery, BSME’79, and Mohammed Mokhberi, BSIM’78 (deceased), are the founders of FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. of Irvine, CA, which makes sensors for the aerospace, medical, robotic/automation, and automotive industries. They developed two sensors for the robotic arm of Curiosity, the NASA Mars rover, which were used to take core samples during the historic mission: A low-temperature (23°F to -124°F) multi-axial load and torsion sensor responsible for monitoring the Rover’s drilling arm and its robotic maneuvers as it retrieves sediments for analysis and a secondary low-temperature load cell that supervises the precision and force used to drill directly into the surface of Mars. They also work with NASA on several projects, including the creation of parts for the craft that will replace the space shuttle in 2020.
Thomas S. Moore, BSEE’86, retired as general manager of Chrysler's advanced vehicle research and development program, called Liberty and Technical Affairs. For more than a decade he oversaw development of all future Chrysler products, working with a five to 10 year lead time.
James P. Ryan, BSArE’66, is retired owner and principal of one of the nation's leading architectural firms that specializes in commercial and shopping center development. Highly acclaimed local designs include the Somerset Collection and Great Lakes Crossing malls.
Kirk T. Steudle, BSCE’87, PE, has served as director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) since 2006, the highest-ranking state official among LTU’s alumni. Steudle oversees MDOT’s more than $3 billion budget and is responsible for the construction, maintenance, and operation of nearly 10,000 miles of state highways, more than 4,000 state highway bridges, and some 2,500 employees. He also administers a variety of multi-modal transportation programs and projects that range from aviation to the Zilwaukee Bridge. Steudle is a national expert in connected vehicle technology, a high-tech highway operations technology that enables vehicles to communicate with roads and each other to improve safety and mobility.
A. Alfred Taubman, a former Lawrence Tech architecture student, is one of the nation's leading
real estate developers, innovators, and owners of shopping malls throughout the United States. He also owned Sotheby's auctioneers and the A&W restaurant chain.
Robert Trombley, AEEtT’65, is one of the world’s leading volcano experts. He monitors more than 500 volcanoes all over the world at the International Volcano Research Center in Apache Junction, AZ. The author or co-author of six books on volcanoes, he also developed a proprietary computer software program that is used by other volcano centers around the globe.
Gina Van Tine, BSAr’89, BAr’94, AIA, LEED AP, co-founder with Kenneth Van Tine, BSAr’85, BAr’86, AIA, of inFORM studio. This AIA Firm of the Year in 2011 designed, developed, and built the award-winning Bagley Street Pedestrian Bridge in Detroit as part of the $170 million Michigan Department of Transportation Ambassador Gateway Project.
Lewis C. Veraldi, BSME’68 (deceased), was the "father" of the original Ford Taurus and Sable. As Ford vice president in charge of car development, Veraldi pioneered the forming of cross-disciplinary personnel teams in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to the launch of these cars, which were among the most popular, successful, and innovative new automotive lines in history. More importantly, the "team" development process he innovated has since become the industry standard – widely adopted by other domestic and foreign manufacturers for numerous consumer products.
Daniel Winey, BSAr’75, chair of Gensler’s executive committee, is building Shanghai Tower, the world’s second tallest building and the tallest building in China.