U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) will deliver the commencement address at Lawrence Technological University’s 84th commencement exercises Saturday, May 7.
LTU will hold indoor ceremonies at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac. The University is awarding approximately 900 degrees and certificates this academic year.
Lawrence Tech alumnus Javad Mokhbery, BSME’79, will receive the LTU Alumni Achievement Award at the event. Mokhbery is founder and CEO of FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology Inc. in Irvine, Calif. Sensors made by his firm are used in a variety of applications, including the NASA Mars rover Curiosity. Rep. Lawrence will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at the ceremony.
Rep. Lawrence has lived in Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, which includes a portion of Detroit as well the city of Southfield and 16 other cities in Oakland and Wayne counties, her entire life. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2014, after serving since 2001 as the mayor of Southfield. Earlier, she served on the Southfield City Council, where she was elected president in 1999. She also served on the Southfield Public Schools Board of Education as secretary, vice president, and president. In Congress, Lawrence was instrumental in reviving the Congressional Former Mayors’ Caucus and is co-chair and founder of the Congressional Skilled Workforce Caucus.
Rep. Lawrence has been an active supporter and loyal friend of Lawrence Tech and its students since her service on the school board. As mayor, she did much to advance and invigorate the “town and gown” relationship between the city and the University, encouraging closer ties with city government and area businesses and retailers. She has also played an important role in promoting LTU applied research, helping the University develop more partnerships in projects undertaken by the College of Engineering’s Center for Innovative Materials Research.
Mokhbery is a native of Iran who left his home country to study in England at age 19, and made his way to Lawrence Tech in 1974. He worked his way through school as an ice cream truck driver in Detroit. After graduating, he worked for sensor companies in Detroit and California before founding FUTEK in 1988. FUTEK sensors are used in the medical, aerospace and automation industries, where the company’s products maintain a zero field reject rate. The company also has never laid off an employee despite economic downturns – in the last recession, they kept machinists and skilled technicians at work doing such tasks as landscaping, until activity picked up again. In 2015, Mokhbery was a semi-finalist for Orange County’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a finalist for the ACG Founder’s Award.