Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oklahoma City hires new MAPS chief, David Todd, OU Civil Engineering Alumnus

Published: December 24, 2011
Oklahoma City has hired David Todd, the owner of a local engineering firm and a former city employee, to be the new leader of its MAPS office and the point man for the MAPS 3 projects.

Todd, who recently sold Todd Engineering Inc., so he can take the new position with the city, replaces Eric Wenger, who was promoted to be the city's Public Works Director in August.

Todd said the opportunity to contribute to public works projects that are designed to end up as signature elements of a growing Oklahoma City was what attracted him to the position.

“I was raised here in Oklahoma City. I really care about what's happening in Oklahoma City, and I want to be a part of it,” Todd said. “It's a really exciting time.”

Todd graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He is on the board of directors of the South Oklahoma City Chamber, is a member of several engineering societies and has participated in other local civic groups.

He worked for the city from 1989 to 1994 in the Public Works Department and oversaw the division that inspects, maintains and builds bridges. He did some contractor work for the city while he owned his own firm.

Todd said he hopes his background in civil engineering will be a strength when it comes to many of the MAPS 3 projects.

“MAPS 3, with the exception of the convention center, is very heavily civil-related with the river improvements, the park and those sorts of things,” he said. “I think that's a good fit for me.”

Todd starts his new job Jan. 3. Wenger will work with him to help the transition.

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Brian Morris, OU Mechanical Engineering Alumnus, Named VP of Engineering for Cherokee Nation Industries

CNI announces new leadership
12/21/2011 9:18:43 AM


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Industries, the manufacturing and distribution division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, announced the promotions of Brian Morris to vice president of engineering and Don Whittington to vice president of operations for the company’s aerospace and defense division.

Morris, a Cherokee Nation citizen, graduated from Fort Gibson High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1995.

Prior to graduation, he worked as an engineering intern at CNI providing manufacturing solutions and cost savings measures. Morris has held the titles of planning manager, operations manager and director of manufacturing while being responsible for the engineering, quality, testing, purchasing, inventory and production departments.

Whittington, also a CN citizen, was born in Ventura, Calif. He is a Marine Corps veteran of 10 years and has more than 20 years experience in retail distribution and logistics management. Whittington has held titles within CNI, including warehouse supervisor, operations manager, general manager and vice president of operations.

Whittington will oversee the Stilwell manufacturing operations and the Pryor distribution facility.

J. Lynn Helms, Previous Head of FAA and OU Engineering Alumnus Dies at 86

J. Lynn Helms, left, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, confers with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis in June 1981 during the dispute between the FAA and the air traffic controllers union. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associate Press / January 17, 1981)

By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times

December 20, 2011
J. Lynn Helms, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration who carried out President Reagan's order to fire more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers and oversaw efforts to keep airlines flying during the crisis, has died. He was 86.

He died Dec. 11 of cardiopulmonary failure at his home in Westport, Conn., a family spokesman said.

Helms had a reputation as a decisive, technically brilliant aviation industry executive who led a number of companies out of financial straits, including Piper Aircraft, which he ran for six years. A former test pilot, he was the first FAA chief in a decade capable of designing an airplane that could fly.

Several months into his tenure, in August 1981, more than 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, known as PATCO, walked off the job after contract negotiations stalled over the union's call for a reduced workweek and higher pay.

After receiving assurances from Helms that a strike could be managed, Reagan declared the walkout illegal and warned that any workers who did not return to their jobs within 48 hours would be fired. The majority of controllers remained on strike and lost their jobs.

Helms' contingency plan sharply reduced flight schedules and used supervisors, non-striking air controllers and some military controllers to direct the nation's air traffic.

According to Georgetown University labor historian Joseph McCartin, who wrote a book about the strike, Helms was well suited to the challenge of standing up to the air controllers.

"Helms developed a strong dislike for unions as chief executive at Piper," McCartin told The Times last week. "He did not believe that collective bargaining had a place in a government agency such as the FAA. And he was instrumental in convincing President Reagan and other members of the administration that they could break a strike by highly skilled air traffic controllers, even if it took firing and permanently replacing large numbers of them."

PATCO was decertified by the government two months after the strike began. The Reagan administration allowed only a fraction of the striking air controllers to be rehired.

Helms later pushed through Congress the $10-billion, 10-year National Airspace System Plan for modernizing the air traffic control computer network. It was described at the time as the largest civil aviation project ever undertaken by the federal government.

Born on March 1, 1925, in DeQueen, Ark., Helms grew up in Norman, Okla., and earned a degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Oklahoma. After ROTC training, he joined the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant. He later became a Navy test pilot and was decorated for his service during the Korean War.

He once told an interviewer how a jet he was testing for McDonnell Douglas went out of control at 52,000 feet. He did not panic and by 12,000 feet had figured out what to do.

"You can think your way out of most problems," he said.

In 1956, he embarked on a career in the defense industry as a design engineer. He climbed the ranks at North American Aviation and Bendix before becoming president of the Norden Division of the United Air Craft Corp. in 1970. In 1974, he was named president of Piper Aircraft, rising to chairman in 1978.

A multimillionaire, Helms became the subject of federal investigations into his private business dealings in 1983. That year, the Wall Street Journal reported that two federal grand juries were examining questionable transfers of assets, frequent bankruptcies and defaults on money loaned or guaranteed by government agencies.

Helms resigned his FAA post a few days before Christmas in 1983.

The following year, the government charged that Helms and two associates had violated anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Helms' case was settled after he signed an order agreeing not to engage in the activities outlined in the charges. He was not required to return any of the several million dollars that investigators said he had diverted to companies he owned or for personal use.

In accepting Helms' resignation from the FAA, Reagan cited his handling of the strike as "your best accomplishment."

Helms is survived by his wife, Lorraine Bisgard Helms; two daughters; a son; three grandchildren; and a brother.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SME Education Foundation selects Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City, Okla., as one of six in nation for community-based approach to manufacturing education

SME Education Foundation selects Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City, Okla., as one of six in nation for community-based approach to manufacturing education. .

DEARBORN, Mich., OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., November 22, 2011 — The SME Education Foundation is taking a community-based approach to manufacturing education and creating strong partnerships between exemplary schools, businesses and organizations. Francis Tuttle Technology Center (FTTC), Oklahoma City, Okla., is an acknowledged leader for providing exceptional career and technology education to high school students and adults, as well as customized training for business and industry. It is one of six exemplary schools in the nation selected for the first phase of a new initiative, PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) launched in the fall of 2011.

Other PRIME exemplary schools include: Kettering Fairmont High School, Dayton, Ohio; Walker Career Center, Indianapolis, Ind.; Summit Technology Academy, Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Hawthorne High School of Engineering, Los Angeles, Calif., and Wheeling High School, Wheeling, Ill.

The Francis Tuttle Technology Center was selected based on their exemplary, technology-based manufacturing education curriculum, including a course in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) developed by Project Lead The Way (PLTW); skilled and dedicated instructors; engaged and active students; strong collaborative and administrative support from the manufacturing community, and having SME member involvement, including SME Oklahoma Student Chapter S143.

“The Francis Tuttle Technology Center has done an extraordinary job in paying attention to the needs of business and industry by using manufacturing disciplines in its delivery of customized training,’ said Bart A. Aslin, chief executive officer, SME Education Foundation. “We need to double our response time in educating young people in advanced manufacturing —following Francis Tuttle’s lead in how they provide “just-in-time” manufacturing education.”

As an exemplary school, the Francis Tuttle Technology Center has been granted $26,000 by the SME Education Foundation which includes $10,000 to update equipment, software and/or professional development, $1,000 to support their involvement in competitions tied to organizations such as SkillsUSA and/or FIRST Robotics; $5,000 toward a Gateway Academy —a technology-based summer day camp, and $10,000 to support scholarships with provided connections.

PRIME builds on the SME Education Foundation’s $5.2 million investment in STEM education which targets three critical issues: transforming manufacturing education, changing public perception of manufacturing, and addressing the shortage of manufacturing and technical talent in the United States.

“We pride ourselves on working closely with our business and education partners and work hard to customize our curriculum and deliver quality trained workers,” says Danny King, assistant director, Francis Tuttle Technology Center. ‘Being selected an exemplary school and having the SME Education Foundation’s endorsement of our commitment to local workforce development, will definitely allow us to accelerate our efforts.”

Reaching young people at an early age is critical to the future of advanced manufacturing. The Gateway Academy will be introduced at the Portland Campus of Francis Tuttle Technology Center in summer 2012. Middle-school students from several different school districts in Oklahoma City and surrounding cities will attend the summer day camp. As they learn about engineering and manufacturing they will use leading-edge technologies for hands-on learning projects including robotics, aeronautics and mechatronics. This experience will prepare students for either the Pre-Engineering Academy at Francis Tuttle which offers PLTW’s pre-engineering curriculum or the Advanced Manufacturing/Instrumentation Program that leads to immediate employment in high skill/high wage jobs.

The Pre-Engineering Academy is a college preparatory program that prepares students for success in collegiate engineering pathways. A fully realized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum allows students to complete mathematics courses through Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus BC and science courses that include Advanced Placement Chemistry and calculus-based (AP) Physics. Project Lead The Way engineering classes are taught as well. These classes allow for the integration of academics and add the very important component of relevance to advanced math and science.

The Advanced Manufacturing Career Training Programs at Francis Tuttle are specifically designed to deliver the knowledge and skills necessary for students to go directly from classroom and labs to a career. Equipment and facilities reflect the workplace, and curriculum is developed with advisory committee input from employers and business owners in each respective industry.

The Manufacturing Career Training Programs, led by highly qualified instructors, offer courses in Advanced Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, Precision Machining/Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) Machining and Welding.

Designed in cooperation with industry partners, these programs allow students to work on a state-of-the-art 3-D printer; and for rapid prototyping, HAAS CNC lathes and mills, CNC Plasma Cutter, CNC training stations, robotic work stations, and more. The facility provides students interested in engineering, architecture and manufacturing with hands-on design experience and a competitive edge for work or degree programs.

A major strength of the PRIME initiative is the connection it creates between schools, local manufacturers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and local SME Chapters. The PRIME initiative helps students by providing access to Introduced in 2009 by the SME Education Foundation, in partnership with the National Center for Manufacturing Education (NCME), the website encourages and provides young people in grades 11-14 with information they need on advanced manufacturing careers, regional and local access to companies, industry professionals, technologies and colleges and universities.

The involvement of SME Oklahoma Student Chapter S143 with the Francis Tuttle Technology Center has provided several opportunities for students including plant tours, mentoring and job shadowing.

Shivakumar Raman, PhD, University of Oklahoma and Faculty Advisor to SME Student Chapter S143, says, “It is very exciting that the local technology centers for whom I have been a very strong supporter, have been receiving such prestigious grants and contracts. The new PRIME program will improve the quality of manufacturing professionals who will be instrumental in job creation and revenue generation in our state. Our own partnership with Moore-Norman Technology Center for the past 15 years has helped fortify the “hands-on” contextual education of our sophomores and juniors in Engineering at OU. It is expected that the FTTC program will provide us another avenue in creating partnerships towards advanced manufacturing education. These educational partnerships, in very good measure, will lead to a revitalization of manufacturing in the U.S.”

Dr. Raman, a David Ross Boyd Professor; John A. Myers Professor in Engineering; Fellow, SME; Fellow ASME; and Fellow IIE, is also director of Shape Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (SEAM) at the University of Oklahoma, and a manufacturing educator for 25 years.

About Francis Tuttle Technology Center:
Francis Tuttle Technology Center, established in 1979, is named in honor of the founder of the Oklahoma CareerTech system, the late Dr. Francis Tuttle. The Center encompasses six public school districts serving 11,780 students who may attend Francis Tuttle tuition-free while in high school. Adult students are served by Adult & Career Development, Business and Industry Services, and daytime and evening Career Training Programs. The Center works closely with business and education partners with specific focus on workforce needs of the marketplace with the delivery of on-time, just-in-time, customized training. Visit

About Community Partnerships:
Francis Tuttle fosters mutually beneficial partnerships with many educational, business and community organizations to determine the best long-term strategies to meet current and future demands. Some of these include: Program advisory committees (approximately 700 members representing various industries), Center for Municipal Excellence; Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board, Edmond Downtown Community Center; Edmond Economic Development Authority; Oklahoma Blood Institute; Oklahoma Energy Resources Board; The Oklahoma Academy; The Oklahoma City Community Foundation; Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and Workforce Oklahoma.

Among the higher education partners who work closely with Francis Tuttle are: Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma State University (Oklahoma City and Okmulgee); The University of Central Oklahoma, The University of Oklahoma – College of Engineering; Oklahoma State University – College of Engineering, and Oklahoma Christian University – College of Engineering.

Several local Chambers of Commerce working with Francis Tuttle include: Deer Creek Chamber of Commerce, Edmond Chamber of Commerce, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce; Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Northwest Chamber of Commerce; South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and the State Chamber of Commerce.

About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at Also visit our award-winning website for young people at, and for information on advanced manufacturing careers, visit

Media Contacts:

SME Education Foundation, 313.425-3300,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oklahoma student robotics teams' competition takes flight

A drone takes to the air as students from middle and high schools compete with flying drones at the University of Oklahoma's Rawl Engineering Practice Facility in Norman, OK, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. By Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

Student robotics teams from four states traveled Saturday to the University of Oklahoma in Norman to compete with autonomous flying drones.

Published: December 4, 2011

NORMAN — Educators have been using robots for years to get students interested in math, engineering and science at an early age, but one robotics program is taking the game to new heights.

The Kiss Institute for Practical Robotics rolled out its newest model on Saturday, an autonomous flying drone that students can fly around a classroom, through their halls and outside; all controlled by student-developed programming.

“We teach about 8,000 kids around the world how to program and build autonomous ground robots and they think that is cool,” said Steve Goodgame, executive director of the nonprofit institute. “But kids are absolutely fascinated by a flying robot. It's over-the-top cool.”

Goodgame said they introduced the drones to a select number of middle school and high school teams to pilot the program.

Four teams — two from Oklahoma, one from Texas and one from New Mexico — traveled Saturday to the University of Oklahoma in Norman for the first drone competition.

“For us, it's such a beautiful fit for Oklahoma; the push for autonomous robotics is there,” Goodgame said.

Aerial emphasis

In Lawton, there's the Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems, which is an 80-acre site with three landing strips.

Oklahoma State University next year will offer a graduate degree in unmanned aerial systems. And Tinker Air Force Base is the epicenter of aircraft repair for the U.S. Air Force.

“We've already got an Oklahoma-based program that's filling the pipelines for those jobs,” Goodgame said, noting the institute has been around since 1994, inspiring students to go into math and science fields. “These guys are ready to get into college or a technical school and we'll have the jobs for them.”

The institute is best known for Botball, its robotics competition, which in the past 17 years has become a nationwide competition with 240 teams in 18 regions.

Goodgame said that next year the aerial vehicle competition will be available for Botball teams.

He estimated it costs about $1,000 to start up a Botball team with equipment and programming software, and then the aircraft, which looks like a hovercraft with four horizontal propellers, is an additional $300.

He said traveling and competing in Botball matches is also an expense for the programs.

The institute promotes studies in science and mathematics for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

ASSE's WISE Group Names Hawaii's Mary Silva One of 100 Women Making a Difference in Safety

December 02, 2011 | Targeted News Service

DES PLAINES, Ill., Dec. 1 -- The American Society of Safety Engineers issued the following news release:

The American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Women in Safety Engineering (WISE) Common Interest Group has honored Fairmont Specialty Group'sMary Silva, CSP, of Mililani, HI, for making a difference in the safety, health and environmental (SH&E) field as part of the WISE '100 Women, Making a Difference in Safety' project. Women from around the world and throughout history have been honored for their dedication to protecting people, property and the environment and for going above and beyond to make a difference.

Silva has been an active member of the safety, health and environmental (SH&E) field for more than 20 years. Last spring she joined Fairmont Specialty Group, which provides specialty niche property and accident, health insurance and surety products, as their Senior Loss Control Specialist.

In addition to her work in the insurance field, Silva has worked in construction, and in oil and gas safety, most recently as safety manager at the Maryl Group, Inc, one of Hawaii's most prominent residential developers. While at Maryl, she was responsible for ensuring a safe, compliant work environment throughout all of the company's Hawaii operations.

During her tenure at Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Silva helped the company achieve a 90% reduction in the cost of workers' compensation claims from 2005-2008, along with the reduction in the number of injuries from 123, down to 14. This accomplishment resulted in Silva being selected by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as its 2007 Safety Professional of the Year.

Silva has also improved the safety records of other prominent Hawaii-based corporations including Verizon, Fireman's Fund Insurances, and BHP Hawaii, where as safety, health and security coordinator, the company saw the loss ratio in both frequency and severity of incidents dropped by more than 50 percent.

In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Silva is an active member of ASSE's Hawaii Chapter and ASSE's Region I. She has served the Hawaii chapter as its treasurer, president-elect, president and delegate. Silva has also been a driving force behind the chapter's biennial Governor's Pacific Rim Safety and Health Conference. Through her work with her chapter, they achieved Chapter Star recognition for two years in a row and received the Small Chapter of the Year award in 2009.

Silva holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering/Pre-Med from the University of Oklahoma.

"It is absolutely such an honor to be considered and to be honored in the company of such phenomenal women, some of whom I know very well," said Silva of her inclusion in the WISE '100 Women, Making a Difference in Safety' project.

The '100 Women, Making a Difference in Safety' project honors women who, throughout history, have dedicated their careers to promoting innovation in safety, health and environmental issues. The valuable contributions of women to the SH&E profession have been recognized through this project and later this year WISE will consolidate the profiles of all 100 honorees into a single publication, titled 100 Women, Making a Difference in the Safety, Health and Environmental Profession as part of ASSE's (1911-2011) 100th anniversary.

WISE was established to foster the advancement of women in the SH&E profession. The group provides professional development opportunities, evaluates the ongoing state of women in SH&E, mentors women in the profession, provides opportunities for women to obtain professional certifications and promotes the development and peer review of written material related to issues specific to women in the SH&E workplace. For more information about WISE and upcoming events, please visit