A member of the Navy Reserve and an engineering supervisor at Ford Motor Company’s Body and Chassis Test Lab, Todd Brooks balances two demanding careers with excellence and sacrifice. Now an information dominance warfare officer, he served as an in-flight aviation electronics technician on board the P-3 Orion naval aircraft, participating in intelligence gathering, surveillance missions, and counter-narcotics. He also has served as a facilitator in the Navy’s leadership development program at the Center for Naval Leadership Midwest Region in Great Lakes, IL.
Brooks entered the Navy after graduating from high school and was on active duty from 1985 to 1991. He served with Patrol Squadron 56, then Commander, Patrol, and Reconnaissance Wing 11, which recognized him as its sailor of the quarter in 1989. Brooks left active service in 1991, and two years later went to work for Ford Motor Company. He entered the Navy Reserve in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and joined Patrol Squadron 92, a unit that recognized him as its sailor of the quarter, and then its sailor of the year, every year from 2003 to 2006.
In 2007 Brooks was named the Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year, the organization’s highest honor, out of 43,000 Navy reservists. Brooks commits to 12 weekends and several more weeks of active duty each year. He also was mobilized to Iraq for a year in 2008. Because of these demands on his time, it took him 13 years to complete his Lawrence Tech degree.
Alumni Achievement Award, 1959
Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees
Member of the LTU Corporation
Exemplifying the highest standards of leadership, Edward Donley has devoted himself to the betterment of the country, his profession, education, and Lawrence Tech. In recognition of his service, he has received numerous honorary degrees, including two from LTU: Doctor of Industrial Management, 1976, and Doctor of Engineering, 1987. He was awarded the Society of Chemical Industry’s Chemical Industry Medal in 1980.
Donley served as president and chairman of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., which he joined in 1943 and grew from a small Detroit-area firm to a Fortune 500 company. He also is former chairman of the board of directors of American Standard Inc. and a former member of the boards of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Mellon Bank Corporation, Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, and the National Endowment for Democracy.
He chaired the US Chamber of Commerce, 1986–87, and founded the Chamber’s Center for Workforce Preparation and Quality Education, which he chaired, 1989–93. Donley was chairman of the Business-Higher Education Forum of the American Council on Education, and a member of the board of trustees of American College Testing. He also was a member of the boards of the
Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
At LTU Donley was a member and chair, 1982–93, of the Board of Trustees. One of the largest individual donors to LTU, he and his wife, Inez, have given more than $7 million to expand student services and establish the Donley Scholars Program.
Alumni Achievement Award, 2006
Jennifer A. Hitchcock 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.
She also has been instrumental in advising Army leaders on power and energy technologies, issues, and initiatives, and helping to establish baseline Army technology roadmaps for several technology portfolios. Hitchcock has more than 23 years of technical leadership and managerial experience in mobility and power and energy technologies, system engineering, acquisition, and program management. In recognition of her tireless work in support of the US Army,
RDECOM in Aberdeen, MD, awarded Hitchcock the Superior Civilian Service Award in 2012 and the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service in 2006. She was the second woman in LTU history to win the Alumni Achievement Award.
Alumni Achievement Award, 1963
Member of the LTU Corporation
Throughout his 39 years with the Ford Motor Company, William D. Innes made numerous contributions to the auto industry in the areas of manufacturing and product engineering. In 1933 at the age of 12, he attended the Ford Trade School and after graduation, started full-time employment in 1940. Enlisting in the US Navy in 1942, Innes served four years in the South Pacific aboard the USS Chenango as a tail gunner and machinist mate. Following World War II, he returned to Ford Motor Company’s drafting room and attended LTU’s evening school program.
After graduation, Innes quickly moved up the ranks in Ford Motor Company’s powertrain engineering organization. While leading Ford’s Engine and Foundry Division, Innes worked with motorsports icons Colin Chapman, Carroll Shelby, and John Holman to develop Ford’s dominate powertrains in the 1960s, contributing to the company’s unprecedented success at Indianapolis, Le Mans, and Daytona.
Innes was promoted to executive vice president in 1970, Ford’s number three position, and was responsible for managing North American Automotive Operations, which consisted of 15 divisions and over 250,000 employees. Through his innovative thinking, he is credited with manufacturing processes that shortened downtime between model changeovers and engineering advances that led to the development of safer, more pollution-free automobiles. Innes received the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Eli Whitney Award for distinguished achievement in mass production and manufacturing in 1973. LTU awarded him an honorary Doctor of Engineering in 1968.
Alumni Achievement Award, 2012
Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees
Larry A. Lawson, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp. and president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, leads the corporation’s military aircraft business, which employs more than 26,000 people at nine locations in the United States. He oversees such key programs as the F-35 Lightning II Multi-role Fighter, F-22 Raptor Air Dominance Fighter, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon Combat Aircraft as well as the C-130J Super Hercules, C-5M Super Galaxy transport, and the U-2 Dragon Lady High-altitude Reconnaissance Aircraft. He is also responsible for the world-renowned Skunk Works®, a leader in aerospace innovation for nearly 70 years.
With more than 32 years of experience in the aerospace industry, Lawson also held leadership positions at McDonnell Douglas, Recon-Optical Inc., and Martin Marietta. He has patents in advanced signal processing discrimination technology. Named Inventor of the Year in 1991 and Manager of the Year in 1997 and 1999, he received the Silver Knight of Leadership award from the National Management Association in 2008. He is an active member of the Air Force Association and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the National Management Association. He has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellow.
Lawson established the Larry A. Lawson Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering and is a substantial supporter of Lawrence Technological University.
Alumni Achievement Award, 1968
A. Leon Linton is the founder and CEO of Southern Systems Inc. (SSI) of Memphis, which designs, builds, and installs custom conveyor systems for manufacturing and distribution facilities.
Born in a rural Mississippi town on the Tennessee River about 90 miles from Memphis, Linton moved with his family to Michigan when he was 12. While still in high school, he began a millwright craftsman trade apprenticeship and worked the night shift at a Lincoln-Mercury assembly plant. After high school, he worked in the millwright trade on the construction and installation of conveyor systems, machinery, and automation equipment.
Upon completing his Lawrence Tech education, Linton became a project engineer for Jervis B. Webb, working on conveyor system installations in automotive plants. He persuaded his employer to let him return to Tennessee and open a one-man office in Memphis. Five years later he went out on his own, and SSI quickly developed a niche market for the heavy-duty conveyor systems utilized in the manufacture and production of heavy trucks, construction equipment, military tanks, oil field pipe, aircraft, furniture, appliances, and package handling.
In 2009 Linton donated $2.5 million to LTU to establish an endowment in support of the University’s Mechanical Engineering program. In recognition of his generosity and the example he sets as an engineer and distinguished alumnus, the Mechanical Engineering department was renamed the A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Alumni Achievement Award, 1979
The only woman in her class, Gretchen Minnhaar was the first woman in Lawrence Technological University history to receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Both an architectural engineer and artist, she combines these two disciplines into a practice that focuses on revitalizing cities by creating vibrant spaces and environments.
As principal of Gretchen Minnhaar Designs in Grand Rapids, MI, Minnhaar creates vivid, large-scale artworks encompassing a broad spectrum of media and genres: oils, watercolor, etching, lithography, acrylics, portrait painting, life drawing, and graphic design. Her work is represented in public and private collections in the United States, Argentina, Spain, and the Netherlands, and she has exhibited all over the world.
Minnhaar earned the Master of Architecture from the Universidad del Litoral, Argentina, and the Master of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University, in addition to pursuing doctoral studies in city planning at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
She has served as director of design of DeWinter Associates, Inc., in Grand Rapids and as architectural designer at Smith, Hinchman & Grylls in Detroit. Among her many projects are the Gerald R. Ford Museum and the renovation of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, both in Grand Rapids.
She has served with the Michigan Corridor Board, ArtServe Michigan, Michigan Council for the Arts, and the Michigan Construction Code Commission and has returned many times to LTU to lecture and serve as a thesis advisor and student project jurist.
Alumni Achievement Award, 2008
Kirk T. Steudle has served as director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) since 2006, the highest-ranking state official among LTU’s alumni. He joined MDOT in 1987 as an engineer trainee and served the department in various positions across the state before becoming director.
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. He has served as president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and in various leadership capacities with the Strategic Highway Research Program II, Intelligent Transportation Society of America, and the Engineering Society of Detroit, the largest engineering society in the United States.
In 2010 Steudle was recognized nationally for his outstanding contribution to highway engineering when he received the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ prestigious Thomas H. MacDonald award. In 2011 he was awarded the P.D. McLean Award from the Washington, DC-based Road Gang for excellence in highway transportation.
Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees
Member of the LTU Corporation
As Ford Motor Company vice president of product and manufacturing engineering, Lewis C. Veraldi pioneered the car team development approach that in 1986 produced the highly successful Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. The $3.25 billion Taurus project was then the most ambitious in the firm’s history and is credited with returning the Ford Motor Company to profitability.
Believing that quality would improve if all the people concerned with the outcome of a vehicle were involved from its earliest stages, Veraldi engaged consumers, parts suppliers, assembly-line workers, and marketing and service people along with the designers and engineers. This revolutionary approach resulted in design innovations, reduced development time, high quality, a successful launch, and the Taurus becoming America’s top-selling car.
The Taurus received Motor Trend ’s 1986 Car of the Year award, and Veraldi was named the 1987 Man of the Year by Automotive Industries Magazine . In 1988 he received the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Eli Whitney Productivity Award.
Veraldi worked at Ford Motor Company for 40 years. A Ford Trade School graduate, he joined the company in 1949 as a draftsman and steadily advanced to positions of increasing responsibility and leadership. In Europe, he led the development and launch of the successful Ford Fiesta. He held a patent on a vehicle chassis front suspension mechanism.
Juggling his career and a growing family, Veraldi earned his Lawrence Tech degree after taking 18 years of evening classes.