The Award Goes To

The 2022 Auburn Alumni Engineering Council award winners included
Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer Kelly Roberts, ’05 and ’07 civil engineering;
Distinguished Auburn Engineer Jim Cooper, ’81 civil engineering;
Distinguished Auburn Engineer John MacFarlane, ’72 mechanical engineering;
Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer McClain Towery, ’03 civil engineering;
Distinguished Auburn Engineer Nicole Faulk, ’96 and ’99 mechanical engineering; and
Superior Service Angie Lemke, retired, dean’s assistant.
Not pictured is Distinguished Auburn Engineer TK Mattingly, ’58 and ’86 aerospace engineering.

Distinguished Auburn Engineers
Jim Cooper, ’81 Civil Engineering

Jim Cooper graduated from Auburn in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. In 1991, he founded Cooper Construction with a focus on personal relationships and satisfaction for every client. Cooper Construction operates as a general contractor specializing in industrial, warehouse/distribution and commercial projects.

The company’s expertise in private sector development has allowed for continued expansion and successfully completed projects throughout the United States. Cooper values a team-oriented mindset with a focus on thoroughness, clear communication and urgency throughout the organization. He is heavily involved in achieving the organization’s vision, and through his relentless efforts has grown Cooper Construction into a $400 million plus national company with offices in Birmingham, Huntsville and Dallas.

For his professional achievements, Cooper was named as Auburn’s Department of Civil Engineering Outstanding Alumnus in 2017, he received the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama highest honor — the Cornerstone Award — in 2019 and was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2021.

As a proud graduate of Auburn University, Cooper has generously devoted his time and resources to positively impact future generations of the state of Alabama’s engineers. He is an active member of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and the Department of Civil Engineering Advisory Board. Cooper and his wife, Anna, have a passion for connecting Auburn students with industry, and the college has named the Office Suites and Corporate Conference Room in the Office of Career Development and Corporate Relations in their honor. The Coopers are also members of Auburn Engineering’s Keystone, Ginn and Eagles societies as well as the university’s 1856 and Samford societies.

Nicole Faulk, ’96 and ’99 Mechanical Engineering

Nicole Faulk earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1996 and earned her master’s degree in the same discipline in 1999. She currently serves as Alabama Power’s vice president of Transmission Construction and Protection & Control where she oversees the transmission line construction, substation construction and P&C field services teams, providing a dedicated focus on critical field activities to ensure safe and efficient implementation of large transmission projects. She began her career with Southern Company in 1998 as an engineer in Southern Nuclear’s professional development program and previously served as Georgia Power’s senior vice president of Customer Strategy and Solutions, vice president of Corporate Services for Georgia Power and vice president of Customer Service and Operations at Mississippi Power.

In recognition of her professional accomplishments, Faulk was named Auburn’s Department of Mechanical Engineering Alumna of the Year in 2018. She currently serves as a director of the Auburn University Foundation Board, and formerly served as chair of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and chair of the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Faulk is a member of the university’s Foy, 1856 and Petrie giving societies and the College of Engineering’s Ginn Society. She has established scholarships in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, including an Ever Auburn Scholarship for underserved students.

John MacFarlane, ’72 Mechanical Engineering

John MacFarlane earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1972, his master’s degree in the same discipline in 1973 and was a member of the Air Force ROTC during his time at Auburn. He began his military assignment at the Air Force Special Weapons Center in Albuquerque in 1974 and completed his military service in 1976.

In 1976, MacFarlane began his career with Exxon as an engineer at its Baton Rouge refinery. He progressed through several technical, supervisory, planning and management assignments there and in Houston before being appointed manager of the Exxon Billings, Montana, Refinery in 1987. He later served as Operations Manager for Exxon USA’s Lubes and Petroleum Specialties business in Houston before moving to Exxon Company International in New Jersey where he led the development and deployment of a maintenance and reliability management system for 18 international refineries. He later transferred to Exxon Research and Engineering, holding leadership positions in the Projects and Engineering Technology organizations. Upon the ExxonMobil merger, MacFarlane was appointed Manager of ExxonMobil Engineering Europe. He subsequently transferred to Virginia to run ExxonMobil’s downstream technology licensing business. He served in that position for 10 years, during which the business grew 10-fold, before retiring in 2011 after a 35-year career. For his professional achievements, MacFarlane was named as the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Outstanding Alumnus in 2008.

MacFarlane and his wife, Anne, have endowed a Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and have also endowed a Cupola Scholarship. For their dedication, the MacFarlanes are members of the university’s Foy, Petrie and 1856 societies and the College of Engineering’s Keystone and Ginn societies.

TK Mattingly, ’58 and ’86 Aerospace Engineering

TK Mattingly earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1958 and later went on to earn his doctorate in the same discipline in 1986. He began his military career as an ensign and held assignments on the USS Saratoga and USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1966, he was one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 8 and 11 missions and was the astronaut representative in development and testing of the Apollo spacesuit and backpack. He was the designated command module pilot for the Apollo 13 flight but was removed from flight status 72 hours prior to the scheduled launch due to exposure to the German measles. His heroic support efforts were famously depicted by actor Gary Sinise in the Academy Award-winning film “Apollo 13.”

Mattingly would later fly on the Apollo 16, the fifth crewed lunar landing mission. During the return leg of the mission, he carried out an extravehicular activity (EVA) to retrieve film and data packages from the science bay on the side of the service module, only the second such “deep space” EVA in history. To this day, there have only been 3 EVAs. Mattingly remains one of only 24 people who have flown to the moon.

Following his return to Earth, Mattingly served in astronaut managerial positions in the Space Shuttle development program. In 1982, he was named to command STS-4, the fourth and final orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia with fellow Auburn graduate Henry W. Hartsfield Jr., as the pilot. STS-4 completed 112 orbits of the Earth before landing at Edwards Air Force Base where they were greeted by President Ronald Reagan after the landing. President Reagan recognized the pair during his speech as “you two sons of Auburn.” He retired from NASA in 1985, and from the Navy in 1986 with the two-star rank of Rear admiral, and subsequently entered the private sector. He worked as a Director in Grumman’s Space Station Support Division and then headed the Atlas booster program for General Dynamics. From there, he served as Vice President in charge of the X-33 development program at Lockheed Martin. He finished his career at Systems Planning and Analysis in Virginia.

Outstanding Young Auburn Engineers
Kelly Roberts, ’05 and ’07 Civil Engineering

Kelly Roberts earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2005 and a master’s degree in the same discipline in 2007. She is a Principal and Senior Structural Project Manager at Walter P Moore Atlanta with notable project experience including the 17-acre State Farm Park Center Campus, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Druid Hills Campus.

Roberts leads Walter P Moore’s Sustainable Design Community of Practice and is a founding board member of the non-profit material reuse center, Lifecycle Building Center.  She is founding chair of the NCSEA Sustainability Committee and co-chair of the Atlanta Carbon Leadership Forum. She is immediate Past-President of ACI Georgia and a member of ACI 318 N, SEI SE 2050 Advisory Council, USGBC Georgia Market Leadership Board, AIA Atlanta COTE Steering Committee, and the USGBC MR Technical Advisory Group.

Roberts was named as one of the 2018 Top Young Professionals by Engineering News Record, she was recognized by Building Design+ Construction as one of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 and by Engineering Georgia Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Women.

McClain Towery, ’03 Civil Engineering

McClain Towery graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2003. As a licensed civil engineer in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia and as a LEED Accredited Professional, he managed a site development team at Gresham, Smith and Partners for seven years.  There, his team was in charge of due diligence, site selection, site design, permitting and construction administration. His projects carried him through 17 states and countless cities, towns and counties and the projects included office, multi-family, mixed-use, healthcare, subdivisions, retail and restaurants.

In early 2012, Towery started a new real estate development endeavor —Towery Development. Towery Development focuses on urban core opportunistic real estate development and investment projects. These projects include multi-family, office, mixed-use and industrial in Nashville urban submarkets. Towery Holdings and its subsidiaries have a market cap of approximately $350 million. Concurrently with his new company, Towery pursued a master’s degree from Auburn University in Real Estate Development in early 2012 to compliment his technical skills with business, financial, market analysis, real estate law and securitization skills for real estate. 

Towery is a member of the Urban Land Institute and Auburn University Master of Real Estate Development Alumni Advisory Council and Advisory Board. He is an engineering Eagle donor and was named by the Nashville Post as an In Charge Development leader for the past seven years.

Superior Service
Angie Lemke, Retired, Dean’s Assistant

For the past 32 years, Angie Lemke has manned the front door to the Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. In Lemke’s role, she organized and managed logistics of events, including researching appropriate events, organized mode of participation, coordinated educational or promotional materials, and coordinated staff, faculty and volunteer support services. In addition to serving as the dean’s right hand, she assisted in planning and executing special engagements; developed and coordinated events; built relationships by developing and promoting interaction between the Board of Trustees, Auburn Foundation Board, College/School administration, business partners, alumni, faculty, staff, and students; managed a balanced program of events aimed at enhancing the reputation, scope and influence of the college, as well as the University overall; assisted with arranging travel accommodations for individuals associated with special events; maintained a comprehensive events calendar and managed and adhered to the special events budget of the college; supported and assisted with existing programs, conferences, or events within the college; and performed high level administrative and technical support duties for three deans. She retired from full-time work earlier this year.

Closer to home, Lemke has been a vital part of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, managing information packets, mailouts, updating information on council members, planning the dinners and meetings, etc. She served as integral assistant to the council secretary.

The Auburn Alumni Engineering Council (AAEC) was formed in 1966 as a group of Auburn Engineering alumni who work together to support the vision and goals of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. The council meets twice annually to assist and advise the college, and its members serve on a variety of committees geared to the mission and operation of the college. Council members are an active and valued component of the College of Engineering family. They demonstrate a continuing commitment to move the college to new levels of excellence and take its place among the nation’s premier engineering institutions. The council provides leadership and participation in areas such as academics, development, governmental affairs and public relations.

Comments are closed.