Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame to Hold 2000 Ceremony

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The state of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame inducted five individuals and honored two projects and one corporation/institution at the Marriott’s Grand Hotel in Point Clear on Feb. 19.

The state of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame was founded by the governor in 1987 to honor, preserve and perpetuate the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of individuals, projects, corporations and institutions that have brought and continue to bring significant recognition to the state.

Joining the 67 previously inducted individuals in the Hall of Fame were:

Bernard N. Ames, known as the “godfather of the modern foundry industry” has led a distinguished career, spanning 58 years, that has been characterized by technological insight, executive skill and multifaceted leadership. Ames lives in Boca Raton, Fla. and serves as chairman of the board of Ferguson Propeller Inc. This company provided propellers for the USS Nautilus nuclear submarine, whose commander attributed the sub’s successful trip under the North Pole to the company’s metalcasting engineers.

A native of New York City, Ames holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from The University of Alabama College of Engineering. The College earlier named him one of its Distinguished Engineering Fellows, the highest honor it bestows upon its alumni. In 1962 the American Foundrymen’s Society honored Ames with the Award of Merit and elected him as national president in 1968.

W. Donald Bell, a native of Montgomery, is the founder of Bell Microproducts, the sixth largest electronics distribution company worldwide. Well-respected among his Silicon Valley, Calif., peers, Bell has gained a reputation for being an innovative strategist and leading expert on creative, high tech marketing and for having an impeccable technical mind.

Bell holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The University of Alabama where the College of Engineering named him one of its Distinguished Engineering Fellows. Bell also serves on The University of Alabama Engineering Leadership Board.

John V. Davis, a native of Illinois, has logged more than 50 registrations with the U.S. Patent Office allowing a notable share of the industrial growth of America during the past 50 years to be attributed to his inventive genius.

Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama. In 1937

Davis patented his first invention, which revolutionized the world’s metal production industry. Until the invention of high impact plastic, every car bumper in every country had been chrome-plated by his machine. On every continent his machine is still in use in the production of many other products.

Ronald M. Dykes is the chief financial officer at BellSouth Corporation and a prime reason that company became the strongest company to come from AT&T’s divestiture. For more than 30 years Dykes, an Atlanta resident, has been at the heart of design, development, implementation and growth of technology in telecommunications.

Dykes holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University where he is a member of the Auburn University Electrical Engineering Industry Advisory Board. Dykes holds an M.B.A. degree from Emory University and the MSM degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was a Sloan Fellow.

Sam H. Wainwright is a registered professional engineer in 12 states and a registered professional land surveyor in seven. In 1960 Wainwright established what would later become the Wainwright Engineering Company in Dothan. Wainwright and his staff were responsible for critical infrastructure projects, roads, drainage, water and wastewater projects in the Southeast and aviation and airport projects across the country.

Wainwright, a native of Birmingham, graduated from Auburn University in 1957. In engineering-based public service, Wainwright has made something of a second career. For 15 years Wainwright served on the Alabama Board of Registration for Engineers and Land Surveyors, repeatedly taking on the responsibilities of the board chairmanship. Wainwright’s service with the Consulting Engineers Council of Alabama (CECA) dates to its beginning, and he served as its state president in 1973. Wainwright was the first Alabamian to become a CECA Fellow.

Also honored at the induction were two projects: Mobile’s Cochrane/Africatown USA Bridge, which has received four state and three national awards recognizing its originality and innovation, technical value to the engineering profession, social and economic contributions, environmental responsibility, complexity and beauty; and Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which is proving to be one of the most significant additions to Alabama’s business base.

The Cochrane/Africatown USA Bridge, designed by David Volkert & Associates, is the first cable-stayed bridge built in Alabama and has become a landmark and symbol of progress to residents and visitors. The bridge was named in honor of Africatown, a Civil War-era settlement founded by the last group of Africans brought to the United States as slaves.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, an Alabama recreational masterpiece and business venture, was created by Dr. David Bronner of the Retirement System of Alabama and designed by golf architect Robert Trent Jones. The Trail offers more than 100 miles of golf and draws golfers from across the United States, other countries and the top ranks of pro players. The Trail facilities host the Nike Tour Championship and the LPGA’s Aflac Champions Tour and are located in Huntsville, Birmingham, Anniston/Gadsden, Auburn/Opelika, Prattville, Greenville, Dothan and Mobile.

In the corporation/institution category, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, in Birmingham, Ala., was honored at the induction. In 1881 Sloss Furnace Company was established by James Withers Sloss. Today, it is designated as the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark and is the world’s only modern blast furnace actively being preserved. It contains a museum of city and industry history and a performing arts center.

Jerry St. Pe¢ , executive vice president of Litton Industries and chief operating officer of the Litton Ship Systems Group provided the keynote address at the induction ceremony.

St. Pe¢ serves as chairman of the American Shipbuilding Association, is a member of the Navy League of the United States, the United States Naval Institute, the American Society of Naval Engineers and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. In 1998 St. Pe¢ was presented the Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award by the Navy League of the United States and the 1999 Man of the Year management award by the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York and Vicinity.

The Engineering Hall of Fame is governed by a 17-member board of directors, which establishes the criteria for selecting inductees. Permanent archives will be established and maintained for the collection and display of memorabilia related to the lives, accomplishments and contributions of those chosen for induction.

The office of the Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors in Montgomery, Ala., provides temporary quarters for the Hall of Fame display.


Jacque Cordle, Engineering Student Writer, 205/348-3051 Chris Bryant, 205/348-8323