Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame to Hold 2009 Ceremony

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The state of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame will induct seven individuals and honor one project during a Feb. 21 ceremony at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center in Auburn.

Joining the 123 individuals already inducted into the Hall of Fame will be:

Timothy D. Cook, has demonstrated an ongoing dedication to Apple where he has been a leader with his innovative visions, bettering Apple and setting the bar for excellence for the company.

After graduating from Auburn University in industrial and systems engineering, Cook attended Duke University where he earned a master’s degree in business administration. Cook then joined a struggling Apple in 1998 where he quickly re-engineered the supply chain and established a new management system. It was his compassion and ideas that resulted in a supply chain turnaround ranked best in the world by AMR Research in 2008. Cook is responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including supply chain, sales activities, and services and support in all markets and countries, as well as heading the Macintosh division.

Cook currently serves as a member of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council and the College of Engineering Alumni Council at Auburn, as well as the Nike board of directors. Cook has also established the endowed Fund for Excellence and the Tim Cook Leadership Scholarship for Auburn students.

Kevin M. Hostler’s 30-year career in the oil industry has not only helped protect the environment and develop one of Alaska’s most valuable resources, but he has also taught future generations to follow his example by ethically handling the nation’s crude oil supply and the environment.

Before making his mark on Alaska, Hostler earned his chemical engineering degree from The University of Alabama. He now serves as president and chief executive officer of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. and is responsible for the Trans Alaska Pipeline, one of the largest pipeline systems in the world.

While Hostler is currently overseeing a half billion dollar upgrade of the pipeline system, he also consistently mentors those who will be supplying oil in the future by teaching them the importance of supplying responsibly and inspiring them to take an active role in tomorrow’s energy needs.

Hostler espoused Alyeska’s donation that helps endow a chair for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program and champions the company’s support of education through scholarships and the Rural Alaska Honor’s Institute funding for native Alaska students.

Lavon F. Jordan has devoted himself to a career that has not only furthered the field of engineering, but his efforts have also substantially benefited the national defense, small business, environmental educational and charitable communities across the nation.

Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. It was his skills at Robbins Air Force Base and with the Defense Intelligence Center in Huntsville that allowed him to return to Auburn on scholarship to earn a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in 1969.

His engineering career began at General Research Corp. and Jordan later founded Frontier Technology Inc. in 1985 and co-founded the Defense Planning and Analysis Society in 1995. He has made significant technical and programmatic contributions to the American defense industry, and his feats make him recognized in the aerospace community as a pioneer in quantitative planning and systems analysis.

In addition to making advancements in the defense industry, Jordan supports the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and the Royal Family Kids Camp for abused children while also funding on-site help to an orphanage in Africa.

Lt. Gen. Leslie G. Kenne has bettered not only the field of aerospace engineering throughout her career, but she has also acted as an inspiration and female pioneer in the military and world of flight.

Kenne studied aerospace engineering at Auburn University, and aside from qualifying for her pilots license during her undergraduate career, Kenne became the first female ROTC cadet to graduate from Auburn, as well as the first ROTC-commissioned female officer in the United States Air Force.

In 1970, the U.S. military refused to allow women to fly aircraft, however, Kenne entered the field of aircraft maintenance and served as a flight line maintenance officer in operations. In 1974, she leveraged her aerospace engineering degree to attend the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, where she achieved another first.

Being able to fully balance her military career with academic training, Kenne earned a master’s degree from West College and attended the Armed Forces Staff College and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In her 32-year career, Kenne has directed three major programs, served as division chief and deputy director of acquisition for fighters, bombers, and munitions at the Pentagon, and was the first choice to fill the newly created position of deputy chief of staff for Warfighting Integration.

Today, Kenne acts as president of the Kenne Group and serves on the boards of SRI International, Harris Corp. and Unisys Corp., as well as the Air Force Studies Board.

James W. Kennedy’s expertise and passion for space made him not only a key figure in the first space shuttle launch in 1981, but has also made a lasting impression on America’s positive outlook towards the exploration of space.

While working to attain his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University in 1971, Kennedy’s time was also spent working at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which strengthened his passion for space. Upon his graduation from Auburn, Kennedy earned his master’s degree from Georgia Southern University and began work at Emerson Electric for three years before returning to the Marshall Space Flight Center.

From 1982 to 1997, Kennedy served as chief of various space shuttle program offices, and played a key role in the launch of the first space shuttle. In 2001, Kennedy was selected to serve as deputy director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, and two years later, he was named the director of the Kennedy Space Center.

Kennedy devoted his time at the Kennedy Space Center toward meeting President Bush’s “Vision for Space Exploration” initiative, which includes the completion of the International Space Station and putting a man on Mars. He is currently enjoying retirement with his wife in Cocoa Beach where he grew up watching the first NASA rockets head into space.

Anthony J. Topazi has acted as a leader that has dedicated not only his career to public service while at Southern Company, but he has been an integral part in solving critical issues and strengthening the South economically.

While at Auburn University, Topazi completed a co-op with Alabama Power before graduating with an electrical engineering degree. This co-op proved to be only the beginning, as Topazi later held numerous positions at Alabama Power, including Western Division vice president, and then as president and chief executive officer of Mississippi Power.

In January 2004, Topazi assumed leadership at Mississippi Power and was immediately tapped by Gov. Haley Barbour to serve as chair of the newly created organization, Momentum Mississippi, to further develop Mississippi economically. Topazi continued to dedicate himself to Mississippians, particularly during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, in which his team restored power service to all in just 12 days.

While serving as vice chair of the Governor’s Commission on Recovery Rebuilding following the Katrina disaster, Topazi spearheaded the formation of the Gulf Coast Business Council to address critical public policy issues facing the coast. Topazi also created and chaired the Gulf Coast Renaissance Corp., a nonprofit devoted to developing affordable housing and providing down payment assistance for the area’s workers, and he raised $67 million of capital to carry out its mission.

H. Kenneth White has served as a leader in the field of engineering at local and national levels, but he has also been a dedicated advocate to his community while remaining actively involved and loyal to his alma mater.

White earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering at The University of Alabama in 1971, and he began his career with Goodwyn Engineering in Montgomery before founding his own firm in 1986.

While working at small firms, White also worked to protect their interests by being a diligent advocate on numerous legislative bills in the U.S. Congress. White has served as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and National Society of Professional Engineers, addressing key issues facing small engineering firms. He has also served many years with American Council of Engineering Companies, not only on the state level as its past state president and national director, but also on the national scene as a national vice president. As recognition of his achievements, White was elected in 2001 to the ACEC College of Fellows.

White continues to support Alabama as a board member of the Capstone Engineering Society, where he has also served as national chairman. He provides continuing support to his college through the Sandra E. and H. Kenneth White Endowed Engineering Scholarship, and he designed the site engineering for the expansion to the east upper deck of UA’s Bryant-Deny Stadium.

Honored in the projects category:

The Shelby Engineering Centers are state-of-the-art centers, possible though the efforts of Sen. Richard Shelby, that will continue to enhance the campuses of five public universities throughout Alabama.

Studies and reports vouch for the critical importance of education in the areas of engineering, mathematics and science. Those findings, combined with Shelby’s belief that investment in education pays off and that it pays off for every Alabamian, led to a constellation of five interdisciplinary research and technology centers providing the beacons that will attract the brightest minds to the state, securing Alabama’s place in the engineering and technological future.

The centers include: Shelby Center for Engineering Technology at Auburn University, Shelby Hall at The University of Alabama, Shelby Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Shelby Center for Science and Technology at The University of Alabama at Huntsville, and Shelby Engineering and Science Center at the University of South Alabama.


Whitney Taylor, Engineering Student Writer, 205/348-3051,
Mary Wymer,