Lawrence Tech inducts 10 people into College of Engineering Hall of Fame

SOUTHFIELD—Ten people were inducted into the Lawrence Technological University College of Engineering Hall of Fame in a ceremony Friday afternoon.

Included were seven people who would have been inducted in a ceremony in the fall of 2020 were it not for the pandemic.

“The achievements of these outstanding alumni are further evidence that LTU produces not just capable engineers, architects, scientists, and business executives, but top-notch leaders in every field of study that we offer,” LTU President Tarek M. Sobh said. “We are proud of their achievements and anticipate even greater things from them, as we do all of our current students and recent graduates, as they strive to become the innovators of tomorrow.”

In alphabetical order, the 2020 inductees were:

  • Rajeev Batra, who graduated from LTU with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1990. He is president of digital industries for Siemens USA and a board member of the Siemens Foundation. Batra held a wide range of management strategy and sales positions since joining Siemens in 1993. In 2019, he was named chairman of the board of governors of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. He is also on the board of two global manufacturers. Under Batra’s guidance, Siemens has furthered LTU student education with nearly $300 million worth of in-kind software contributions and helped create the Siemens Electro-Matic Industrial Engineering Laboratory. He also earned LTU’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2017.
  • Donna Bell, who graduated from LTU with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1989. Bell, with almost 30 years of automotive product development and technology innovation leadership experience, is executive vice president of product creation, engineering, and supply chain at the electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors. She spent more than 25 years with Ford Motor Co., including as director of technology and feature strategy; and planning, technical, and leadership roles in product development, purchasing, quality, research and advanced engineering. She was an influential electrical leader launching key Ford vehicles and technologies, including the Sync in-vehicle infotainment system and ambient lighting. Bell gives back to the community through mentorship and serving in various roles of many professional organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers Foundation, and National Action Coalition for Minorities in Engineering among others. Bell has received many honors including the 2018 Women of Color in STEM Technologist of the Year award and the 2019 NSBE Outstanding Technical Contributions award. Bell was the president of the LTU Alumni Association Board of Directors where she established alumni programs and events, and scholarships for LTU students.
  • David Darbyshire, who graduated from LTU with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 1987. As co-founder and chief innovation officer, Darbyshire leads engineering market development for DASI Solutions LLC; Cyb Lings Inc.; and Revitalize IT Inc. Darbyshire has a passion for bringing the latest technologies to emerging industries to create thriving communities through economic and workforce development. He is involved in business and educational organizations such as Automation Alley, SAE, National Defense Industrial Association, SME, and the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan. Darbyshire was named Automation Alley’s Member of the Year in 2007 for his continued commitment to education, in part for the planning of Superhighway to Success/MiCareer Quest, an event where 10,000 high school students explored careers in Michigan’s tech and skilled trade sectors. Darbyshire serves on various boards and professional committees. He was instrumental in the launch of the innovative Industrial Design Technician Professional Apprenticeship program in partnership with Focus Hope: Detroit that received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. He is also is involved in the Lawrence Tech Alumni Association and Phi Kappa Upsilon Fraternity.
  • Gino DiClemente, who graduated from the Detroit Institute of Technology in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. Born and raised in Italy, DiClemente started his career as a schoolteacher. He moved to Detroit at 21, became a U.S. citizen, and served in the Army. Later, he opened his own engineering firm with General Motors and Ford as the main clients. In 1969, his firm continued to expand when mechanical engineer Ed Siegel joined and the company became DiClemente Siegel Engineering, offering electrical and mechanical engineering. In 1996, his company added architectural services, and now has over 45 employees working on projects throughout Michigan. A philanthropist and supporter of Lawrence Tech, DiClemente created the Gino and Luciana DiClemente Endowed Scholarship in 2015 to support architectural engineering students.
  • Jason Hammond, who earned an associate’s degree in construction engineering technology from LTU in 2005 and a Bachelor of Science in construction management in 2009. Hammond is vice president at A.Z. Shmina, a Brighton construction firm. His other roles at the company include superintendent, project manager, and director of construction operations. A former U.S. Army Ranger, Hammond has worked for several companies with the goal of gaining broader experience in different areas of the industry. While at A.Z. Shmina, Hammond has worked primarily on building projects for the University of Michigan including athletics, healthcare, and housing structures. Hammond has been recognized by his peers for his work at U-M and has earned Pyramid Awards from the Washtenaw Contractor Association. Hammond is passionate about mentoring and helping students in their careers. He shares his experience with Lawrence Tech students as a member of the adjunct faculty and Lawrence Tech’s Construction Advisory Committee and has helped shape LTU curricula. He believes his Lawrence Tech education laid a strong foundation for his success in the construction industry. Hammond is also scuba rescue certified and is a rescue divemaster.
  • Nicole Kennedy, who started her multifaceted education with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from LTU in 1995 and won the University’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2019. Kennedy is CEO at ArborHive, an Ann Arbor-based medical device and biotech consulting firm. Formerly she was section chief of vascular surgery at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. She began her career as an electrical engineer and continued her education with Master’s degrees in electrical and biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan, a medical degree from Wayne State University, and an MBA from U-M. She is experienced in device development, regulatory affairs, and quality assurance. She is also a member of multiple surgical organizations including the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Academy of Surgery of Detroit. Kennedy gives back to Lawrence Tech by serving as a panelist for the Women in STEM program, a donor to the University’s Campus Connections program. and working with Lawrence Tech’s Office of Career Services to mentor and facilitate the placement of students at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.
  • Andrew Rener earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 1999 and a Master’s in civil engineering in 2000, both from LTU. Rener spent summers and school breaks working for his parents’ construction company as a laborer and carpenter, then followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, becoming a third-generation alumnus of Lawrence Tech. After graduation, Rener joined Barton Malow Co. as a field engineer, working his way up to senior director. In 2013, Rener joined Bouma and today serves as president. His vision and leadership resulted in a successful venture in offsite manufactured prefabricated building components. He leads the manufacturing business and prime contracting efforts across the country. Passionate about education and giving back to LTU, he taught as an adjunct professor for 15 years, earning the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty award. He developed curricula for the master’s degree program and guest lectured for other construction-related courses. He has served on the Department of Civil Engineering Advisory board since 2000 and has been granted emeritus status. Rener is a peer-reviewed author, a trade journal corresponding editor, and serves on national committees for industry organizations. He has served as both a chair and member on many national committees including the American Society of Civil Engineers. Rener is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan, and a licensed builder in eight states. He is also a Designated Design-Build Professional.

The three 2022 inductees are:

  • Harvey Ferrero, who earned a Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering from LTU in 1955. Ferrero was going to work with Alden B. Dow, a Midland architect, but was drafted in 1956 before he could take the position. Upon returning to Detroit in 1960, he worked for architecture firms but was inspired to create freelance architectural renderings. He worked with the firm now known as Tozai Architecture + Interiors until he got his architectural license in 1962 and began teaching as an adjunct professor at LTU. He entered private practice in 1969, focusing primarily on architectural illustrations and residential projects. His clientele has consisted of many local and national firms. Ferrero’s breakthrough project was the Max Klein office building in Southfield, completed in 1984. The project earned an AIA Detroit award that year. Ferrero has lectured before professional organizations and universities throughout the country. His drawings have been published in eight books, and his projects have been featured in several architectural journals.
  • Kenneth Grezlik, who earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from LTU in 1978. He attended LTU completely in the evening while working for General Motors during the day. His career included prominent positions at Detroit Diesel, TRW, and Johnson Controls, where he retired as quality director. In 2007 he formed Grezlik International LLC, a consulting company specializing in quality manufacturing and controls for metal products. He holds several certifications with the American Society of Quality, including Certified Quality Engineer, Auditor and Manager. He was trained in Six Sigma as Champion, Black Belt Technical Support, and Green Belt. He was a Certified Program Instructor with Kepner-Tregoe. Grezlik is a senior member of the American Society of Quality, was chairman of the Detroit Chapter of the American Society for Metals, and served on the chapter’s executive committee for 20 years. He and his wife, Margaret, are avid supporters of Blue Devil Motorsports, volunteering with the Formula SAE team at local and national competitions. The Grezliks contribute financially to help the teams purchase such critical items as a new Motorsports trailer. They also established the Kenneth and Margaret Grezlik Endowed Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 to help students succeed academically.
  • Javad Mokhbery, who earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from LTU in 1979. Mokhbery, a native of Iran, came to Lawrence Tech in 1974. Arriving in America with less than $350 in his pocket, he worked his way through school as an ice cream truck driver. After graduating from LTU, he worked for sensor companies in Detroit and California. Mokhbery built a career as a problem solver for tech giants like Rockwell International before starting his own business in 1988, FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology Inc., in his one-bedroom apartment in Irvine, Calif., while he was working as an engineer at Rockwell, designing instruments for NASA space shuttles. Sensors made by FUTEK are used in the medical, aerospace, and automation industries. Mokhbery and FUTEK developed two sensors for the robotic arm of Curiosity, the NASA Mars rover, used to take core samples during its historic mission. FUTEK’s embedded instrumentation has also made the company a leading single-source supplier for the med-tech sector, as well as industries with advanced high-precision automated assembly. Mokhbery has dedicated his life and career to being a committed leader, setting a positive example and showing that the American dream is achievable to anyone.

From left to right in the photo above are Nicole Kennedy, Rajeev Batra, Javad Mokhbery, David Darbyshire, LTU President Tarek M. Sobh, Harvey Fererro, LTU College of Engineering Dean Nabil Grace, Donna Bell, Jason Hammond, Andrew Rener, and Kenneth Grezlik. Seated in front is Gino DiClemente.

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. The Wall Street Journal ranks LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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