The Award Goes To…

The 2023 Auburn Alumni Engineering Council award winners included, from left, Distinguished Auburn Engineer Ed Yeilding, ’72 electrical engineering; Distinguished Auburn Engineer Pam Boyd, ’92 electrical engineering; Distinguished Auburn Engineer Richard Kretzschmar, ’90 and ’96 aerospace engineering; Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer Rodmesia Clarke, ’08 chemical engineering; Distinguished Auburn Engineer Metrick Houser, ’93 chemical engineering; Distinguished Auburn Engineer Mike Ogles, ’89 mechanical engineering, represented by his son Will Ogles; Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer Brandon Young, ’10 electrical engineering; Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer Christa Musgrove, ’07 mechanical engineering; and Superior Service Steve Duke, chemical engineering associate professor and the college’s former associate dean for academics.

Eight outstanding engineering alumni and one longtime faculty member of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering were honored by the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council during a September ceremony for their distinguished professional careers. These alumni include five who were recognized as Distinguished Auburn Engineers, three as Outstanding Young Auburn Engineers and chemical engineering associate professor and the college’s former associate dean for academics for Superior Service. The council also presented former Interim Dean Steve Taylor with a portrait honoring his service to the college.

Distinguished Auburn Engineers
Pam Boyd, ’92 Electrical Engineering

Pam Boyd is a 1992 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. During her career at Alabama Power, she held roles as transmission system operator and other various engineering positions. Her leadership roles included being the first female distribution support manager, operations manager and planning manager. She was named Birmingham Division distribution general manager in 2012 and her responsibilities expanded in 2016 to include power delivery services general manager. After her retirement from Alabama Power in 2021, she formed her own consulting company, Boyd Innovative Solutions.

During her career, she also served as the storm center director for Alabama Power, leading the company’s storm response after the devastating April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak.

Boyd has established an endowed scholarship in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering — the Boyd Family Endowed Scholarship. She has also given her time back to Auburn University by mentoring students and investing in the workforce. Boyd has been involved with the Center for Inclusive Engineering Excellence, and she currently serves on the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Council. Additionally, she was the first co-chair of the inaugural 100+ Women Strong executive committee.

Metrick Houser, ’93 Chemical Engineering

Metrick Houser earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1993 and an MBA from Auburn in 2001. He is currently the director, global sourcing North America with Sylvamo. He previously served as director of energy, raw materials and supplier diversity sourcing for International Paper (IP), which spun off Sylvamo. During his career, he has been responsible for $1.2 billion in goods and services for Sylvamo each year, while managing organizational development, supplier contracting and governance. In his previous roles within IP, he has had to manage complex issues across hundreds of facilities in procurement. 

Houser serves Auburn University in many capacities, including the Auburn Alumni Association Board as vice chair of the financial and strategic oversight committee, the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and the Department of Chemical Engineering Advisory Council. He is a longtime supporter of the National Society of Black Engineers and the college’s Center for Inclusive Engineering Excellence. Beyond Auburn, Houser serves Alpha Phi Alpha — the oldest African American college fraternity. He has served as the district director for the state of Tennessee, committing himself to mentor young men and to live up to the aims of “manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind.” He supports the youth in Tennessee and the broader region by leading programs such as “Go to High School, Go to College.”

Houser helped establish the Alpha Phi Alpha Omicron Kappa endowment at Auburn University, helping students obtain financial support for generations.

Richard Kretzschmar, ’90 and ’96 Aerospace Engineering

Richard Kretzschmar earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1990 and his master’s degree in the same discipline in 1996. He also earned an MBA from MIT. He currently serves as CEO of Integration Innovation Inc. (i3). Kretzschmar has been with the company since 2017, and previously served as i3’s president. Prior to joining i3, he served as the acting deputy program executive officer for aviation for the U.S. Army. He possesses more than 30 years of aerospace engineering and program acquisition experience, encompassing a variety of missile, rotary and fixed wing aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems. He is known for both his technical and management expertise related to major weapon system development and acquisition. An aerodynamicist by training, he joined the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center in 1992 and served in a variety of technical leadership positions. He transitioned to PEO Aviation in 2011 and served in leadership roles including deputy project manager, unmanned aircraft systems, project manager for the improved turbine engine and future vertical lift programs.

He is level III certified in program management and advanced system engineering, research, development and engineering career fields. Kretzschmar has won numerous awards including the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2017, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award in 2015, the Army Aviation Association of America 2014 Department of the Army Civilian of the Year Award, the 2014 Association of the United States Army (Redstone Chapter) Civilian of the Year, the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service in 2012 and was named by this group as an Outstanding Young Auburn Engineer in 2004.

Closer to home, Kretzschmar has served on the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center Advisory Board and the Auburn Aerospace Engineering Advisory Council. He is a member of the Engineering EAGLE Society and the Auburn Alumni Association.

Mike Ogles, ’89 Mechanical Engineering

Mike Ogles earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1989. He served the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering for several years as director of NASA programs and assistant director of the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME) until his passing in 2021. Prior to coming back home to Auburn, Ogles led Geocent’s information technology and engineering service business unit in support of NASA, the Department of Defense and industry partners across the nation. He worked in the aerospace, defense and automotive manufacturing industries for more than 25 years, which included experience in advanced manufacturing, engineering management, business unit management, systems engineering, executive management and business development.

For his efforts, he was previously recognized with the Most Valuable Player Award by his peers in the Space Launch System (SLS) Project Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and most recently awarded NASA’s Outstanding Public Leadership Medal which is presented to non-government individuals or to an individual who was not a government employee or government contractor who has achieved notable leadership accomplishments that significantly influence the NASA mission.

Ogles, along with his brother Mark, ‘89 electrical engineering, established a scholarship endowment that will provide for Auburn mechanical and electrical engineering students for years to come.

Ed Yeilding, ’72 Electrical Engineering

Ed Yeilding earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1972. He began his career as a co-op student working in Tennessee at Arnold Engineering and Development Complex and at TVA’s Cumberland Steam Plant, and commissioned through ROTC. After pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, his assignments included: the RF-4 at Bergstrom Air Force Base and in Okinawa, Japan, the F-4E fighter at Moody Air Force Base, the SR-71 at Beale Air Force Base and the C-20 at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington D.C. While at Moody in 1982, he earned a master’s degree in management through Troy University.

In 1983, he was selected for the SR-71 at Beale and flew 93 overseas reconnaissance missions and became an SR-71 instructor pilot and developmental test pilot. When the SR-71 fleet was retired in 1990, the Smithsonian Institution requested one for display and requested an official coast-to-coast aircraft speed record to call the public’s attention to the retirement of the SR-71 and to honor all the Americans who designed, maintained, supported and flew the aircraft during its 25 years of Cold War service. Departing California on March 6, 1990, SR-71 tail 972, pilot Yeilding and Reconnaissance Systems Officer J.T. Vida set that record, plus three city-to-city speed records. The four records still stand. Cruise speed was the flight manual limit, Mach 3.3, or 2,190 miles per hour, reaching an altitude that day of 83,000 feet, flying coast-to-coast in 67 minutes 54 seconds. In his next assignment at Andrews Air Force Base from 1990-96, Yeilding flew worldwide special air missions in the C-20.

After 23 years of active military service, Yeilding next flew the DC-9, DC-10 and the 747-400 for Northwest Airlines, retiring in 2009 as a Delta pilot after the airlines merged. He was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007, named to the Florence Walk of Honor in 2008 and named as a Distinguished Eagle Scout in 2011. His military awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Medals, three Commendation Medals, six Outstanding Unit Awards and four Combat Readiness Medals.

Outstanding Young Auburn Engineers

Rodmesia Clarke, ’08 Chemical Engineering

Rodmesia Clarke earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2008 and an MBA in 2012 from Texas A&M University. She currently serves as the director of asset management for Enbridge Gas. She previously served as an asset process engineer for BP America Production Company, commercial associate for the development program, manager of process development and manager of project execution for Spectra Energy Corporation. Once Spectra became Enbridge, Clarke served as supervisor for project execution and manager of maintenance programs. She later served as a business operations and project management office leader for Schneider Electric. She has championed the transition of a $200 million portfolio from operations to projects, establishing a highly competent team — from scratch — capable of successfully managing and executing change initiatives. She conceptualized and pitched several changes for the organizational structure of the project execution team at Spectra Energy, gaining approval and launching structural changes that improved operations. She also spearheaded the roll-out of a risk identification tool for operating assets across the U.S. and developed all communication and training plans. Her accomplishments also include the development of a process monitoring tool to identify operational issues for offshore production operating assets and prevent reductions throughout, keeping output above 100bbl per day.

Clarke serves on the Department of Chemical Engineering’s Advisory Council and the 100+ Women Strong Executive Committee. She also was a founding member of the college’s Young Alumni Council and the Auburn Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, and served on the Center for Inclusive Engineering Excellence’s 25th Anniversary host committee. She supports the college financially by giving to programming and scholarships, including establishing the Lula Pearl Collins Endowed Scholarship.

Christa Musgrove, ’07 Mechanical Engineering

Christa Musgrove earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University in 2007, followed by an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2023. During the span of more than 16 years, she has forged a remarkable career at Chevron, assuming various roles including operations superintendent, production supervisor, operations advisor, subsea intervention engineer and facilities engineer. Currently, she serves as a staff advisor for corporate strategy and sustainability.

Musgrove’s dedication to innovation is evident through her co-patent holder status for a subsea live hydrocarbon fluid retrieval system and method, granted in 2019. Her passion for leadership, mentorship and lifelong learning shines through her selection for numerous Chevron leadership programs, presentations at the Teledyne Brown Technology Showcase and service as a Chevron University Recruiter for Penn State, the University of Texas and Auburn. She has also received Lean Sigma Green Belt Certification.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Musgrove remains deeply committed to her alma mater, actively participating in 100+ Women Strong, the Department of Mechanical Engineering Industry Advisory Board and contributing to the university’s Foy and the College of Engineering’s EAGLE giving societies.

Brandon Young, ’10 Electrical Engineering

Brandon Young graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2010 and later went on to earn a master’s degree of engineering from UAB in 2014. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity incorporated, is a certified project management professional and serves as president and CEO of Young Management & Consulting. He founded Young Management & Consulting in 2015, pushing the firm from a start-up to a fully functional small business by 2019. Since that time, Young Management & Consulting has generated more than $37 million in revenue in the electric, gas, infrastructure and technology sectors.

Young has established the Randy De Wayne Young Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, is a member of the college’s Weatherby Society and is a donor for the newly constructed Legacy Plaza. He currently serves on the leadership team for American Heart Association Hard with Hearts campaign and was named as an Auburn Alumni Association 20 Under 40 recipient in 2022.

Superior Service

Steve Duke, Chemical Engineering Associate Professor and the college’s former Associate Dean for Academics

Steve Duke currently serves as an associate professor of chemical engineering. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech before going to work with ExxonMobil. He later earned his doctorate in the same discipline from the University of Illinois. For more than 25 years, Duke has dutifully served the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. He served as the college’s associate dean for academics from 2013-20, and played a leading role in conceptualizing and making the Brown-Kopel Center a reality. In that role, he also worked closely with the Academics and Student Experience Committee of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, the Engineering Young Alumni Council and the Engineering Student Council as the college’s liaison.

Duke teaches courses in process design and simulation, chemical separations, fluid mechanics, transport phenomena and introductory engineering. He has received the college’s prestigious Birdsong-Walker Superior Teaching Award three times, as well as the SGA Outstanding Faculty Award.

In addition, he was the driving force of the formation of the college’s Engineers Without Borders student chapter, and has been central to the chapter’s partnership with communities in Bolivia to help engineer better living environments and sustainable water sources for local residents.

The Auburn Alumni Engineering Council (AAEC) was formed in 1966 as a group of alumni who work together to support the vision and goals of the college. 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.

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