Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two Outstanding Individuals Inducted into Distinguished Graduates Society

From left: Barney L. Capehart and David R. Bert
NORMAN, Okla. – Two exceptional University of Oklahoma alumni were inducted into the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Graduates Society at the college’s Convocation Ceremony, May 12, at the Lloyd Noble Center, 2900 S. Jenkins Ave.

In 1990, the College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society was established to honor accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service and significant contributions to the engineering profession.

David R. Bert, P.E., is vice president of Drilling-Eastern Division for Chesapeake Energy Corp. in Oklahoma City. Prior to joining Chesapeake in early 2008, Bert served in various drilling, completion, production and midstream operations leadership capacities at BP, including wells team leader for Arkoma and Thunder Horse projects. 

Bert has more than 26 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, working both domestic and international (North Sea, Vietnam, Canada). He started his career with Mobil Corp. in western Oklahoma, California and the Gulf of Mexico before moving to Amoco/BP and has had a wide variety of technical and leadership assignments with increasing responsibilities. Bert has responsibility for all Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling operations (35 rigs), drilling engineering and construction support activities within Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC. 

Bert graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from OU in 1985, a master of science degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California in 1993 and is a licensed professional engineer. He serves as chair of the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering’s Board of Advisors at OU. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, has authored numerous SPE technical papers, and has been awarded several patents for oil and gas well technology.  Bert currently serves as the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Technical Committee vice chair. He is an Eagle Scout.  Bert and his wife, Susan, have two teenage daughters and reside in Edmond, Okla.

Barney L. Capehart, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville, where he taught for 32 years. His research and publication focus for the past thirty30 years has been energy systems analysis. He is the co-author of 11 books on energy topics and has authored more than 50 energy research articles in scholarly journals. He worked with the Florida Legislature to write and pass the Florida Appliance Efficiency Act of 1987. He is given credit as the person most responsible for creating these appliance standards, which have saved Florida electric and water utility customers over $3 billion.

Capehart graduated with his bachelor and master of science degrees in 1961 and 1962, respectively, in electrical engineering and doctoral degree in engineering 1967, all from OU.  

Capehart currently teaches energy management seminars around the country and around the world for the Association of Energy Engineers. He is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Association of Energy Engineers, is listed in Who’s Who in the World and in 1988 was awarded the Palladium Medal by the American Association of Engineering Societies for his work on energy systems analysis and appliance efficiency standards. He also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the Institute of Industrial Engineers. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology (three volumes, 190 articles, July 2007). He served as lead author of the Guide to Energy Management, 7th Edition, 2011, which is the most widely used textbook in the United States for university, college and professional education courses in the field of energy management.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

University of Oklahoma students learn skills needed to work in developing regions

A new University of Oklahoma summer intersession course seeks to prepare students to work in developing regions. The class starts essentially from square one — most of the students haven't handled power tools. Many haven't even hammered nails.

photo - William Mwangi cuts a board in OU’s WaTER Center field methods course Monday.
William Mwangi cuts a board in OU’s WaTER Center field methods course Monday.
— As Anna Humphrey lifted a circular saw, lined it up against a pencil mark on a piece of lumber and began to cut, something crossed her mind.

 I could really hurt somebody with this thing, she thought.

Humphrey, 22, is a part of a new course at the University of Oklahoma designed to teach students like Humphrey how to work in developing countries.

Humphrey, a fifth-year undergraduate, hails from Fort Worth, Texas.

After Humphrey graduates, she'd like to do water resources work in a developing country, either through a corporation or a nongovernmental organization. But there's a problem, she said.

“I've never built my own stuff before,” said Humphrey, an environmental engineering major. She said she had used smaller hand tools like hammers and nails, but she hadn't handled power tools before.

Her classes are lectures or lab-based, she said, and they typically don't delve far into manual labor.
Even outside of school, she hasn't had many experiences that would call for power tools.

“I'm a city girl,” she said.

Practical experience
Jim Chamberlain, the course instructor, said students like Humphrey are the reason the course exists.
Most of them have limited, or no experience working with materials like concrete block and PVC pipe — exactly the materials they'd be using in those regions.

The course is offered through OU's Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center, or WaTER Center, a part of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. It runs six hours a day through OU's summer intersession, which began Monday.

The class starts essentially from square one, Chamberlain said. Most of the students haven't handled power tools. Many haven't even hammered nails. But nearly all of them want to work in developing regions in one capacity or another.
Ideally, Chamberlain said, the course will help those students get comfortable working with those materials.

It won't turn them into experts overnight, he said — they won't be able to leave the course and go to work building houses, for example — but it puts them in a better position to do meaningful development work.

Monday, the class built concrete pavers.

They cut and nailed two-by-fours to make forms and mixed and poured concrete.

Later in the class, students will be designing a compost latrine and learning to dig wells both with diesel drills and by hand.

They'll also learn to build bio-sand filters, a kind of water filtration system that uses a layer of bacteria to remove contaminants from water, and conduct baseline health surveys that will help them figure out how to address the needs of a community and, eventually, how effective their solutions are.

Although the course is offered through the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, it's open to anyone on campus.

Only about half the students in this session are engineering majors, Chamberlain said.
The other come from a range of disciplines — business, international studies, microbiology and pre-med.

Helping others
They also have different plans for the kind of work they want to do, he said. Some, like Humphrey, hope to make a career out of development work.

Others want to be doctors in the U.S. and go on occasional medical mission trips to developing regions. But the one thing the students all have in common, he said, is an interest in trying to better the lives of people in developing communities.

“We have a lot of students who have a desire to do development work,” he said.