CEE Awards Ceremony Honors Notable AlumniCEE faculty, staff, students, and alumni gathered at Phipps Conservatory for the CEE annual Alumni Awards Brunch on Sunday, October 11th to honor the outstanding achievements of several of our alumni. Department Head Dave Dzombak presented awards in four categories: Recent Alumni Achievement, Outstanding Alumni Service, the Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible Award for Distinguished Public Service, and Distinguished Alumni.
Recent Alumni AchievementChristopher M. Watts (CEE ’08) received the 2015 Recent Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes an alumnus who has made noteworthy achievements within a decade of receiving his or her highest degree from CEE.
Watts is the Executive Director of the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, which is congressionally chartered as the official Foundation of the President’s Council to identify effective efforts to help Americans live healthy, active lifestyles. He has previously served as the managing director at 4POINT4, a sportswear company that donates a percentage of every purchase to various nonprofits, and he remains involved in the company as an advisor. He is also an advisor at a crowdfunding platform for amateur athletes called Pursu.it.
“The skills and the knowledge I learned while at Carnegie Mellon are with me every single day, in everything that I do,” Watts said when he accepted his award. “I learned that it was important to have a relentless work ethic and critical thinking skills, and, as Andrew Carnegie said, to have your heart in the work.”
Outstanding Alumni ServiceRoberta Marstellar (CEE ’93) was awarded the CEE Outstanding Alumni Service Award, which honors alumni who have made sustained contributions to the CEE department, the university, or the engineering profession.
Marstellar has been a business development consultant at Le Bon Viviant Media since 2009. She has a talent for strategic planning and problem solving, and she leads projects to success by fostering collaborative relationships between different groups and organizational levels. She has supported the CEE department in numerous capacities throughout the years, including service on the alumni advisory council. Marstellar was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible Distinguished Public Service AwardMajor John R. Moran (CEE ’96) was honored with the Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible Distinguished Public Service Award, which recognizes CEE alumni who have performed outstanding service to the public, including distinguished military service. The award was created in memory of CEE alumnus Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012.
When he was called to active duty in 2002, Moran joined a facility engineer team that designed and built five base camps for more than 45,000 soldiers in fewer than nine months. On his second tour of duty in 2008, Moran served as a facility engineer and master planner at Contingency Operating Base Basra in Southern Iraq. In 2013, he was the Deputy Director of Public Works for all Army facilities in Kuwait.
Moran is currently the director for strategic initiatives at deciBel Research, Inc., where he works with innovative radar components and software. Moran and his family are relocating to Tampa, Florida, as he returns to active duty for the next year to help plan construction projects in Southwest and Central Asia for the U.S. Central Command.
“The department here has been great. They prepared me for my career and all the twists and turns along the way,” said Moran. “Chris Raible’s service was much more important than mine has ever been. It is really touching to get this award.”
CEE presented Dr. Melvin R. Ramey with the Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors an alumnus who has made one or more major achievement to advance the work of professional engineers or to improve people’s lives in some way.
Ramey currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Davis, and his research has spanned topics in structural design, structural testing, fiber reinforced concrete, and biomechanics. Notably, he applied physics concepts to the long jump and became a track and field expert for US Olympic athletes.
Ramey has remained connected to Carnegie Mellon and CEE in many ways, including serving on the presidential advisory board review of the CEE department in the early ‘90s. “I learned a lot here,” Ramey said of Carnegie Mellon. “In fact, I had a lot of fun here. I was given a lot of freedom and flexibility from the opportunity to be in an open minded place. We were taught to think broadly and not to put a label on the fact that we’re civil engineers.”
The department was honored to host this event and congratulates the recipients for their success and achievements. “Our students think about how pieces fit together and what it takes for a system to work. We get them thinking about big problems and they go off and do great things,” Dzombak said.