Thursday, February 19, 2015

Where are they now? An interview with 2012 Engineering Physics alumus, Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe graduated from OU in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics.

Scott describes himself, according to his LinkedIn profile, as a recklessly idealistic, generally irreverent, student of life.

We caught up with Scott in Detroit and asked him a few questions.

How did your OU degree in engineering physics prepare you for your career?
Physics was always about finding solutions for me. My physics degree helped me hone my problem solving skills, and in my day-to-day as a software engineer, those skills come in handy.

How did your involvement in the CCEW (Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth) while a student at OU impact you?
CCEW taught me the value of a good team. It was my first real exposure to start-ups and business. In that way, CCEW started me down my current path.

Where have you been since OU? Where are you now?

Describe your experience as a fellow with Venture For America.
My VFA fellowship provided me with the start-up training, connections and resources I needed to start a company. As a fellow, I worked for two years at start-ups in Detroit, first as a business analyst, then a software engineer.

Describe your experience as a software engineer with Chalfly.
My transition into software development resulted in a huge expansion of my responsibilities. By leveraging my problem solving talent, I skyrocketed my value-add to the company which earned me the latitude to contribute to nearly every arm of the business, from digital marketing to recruiting. Being in the trenches and working on the many problems that you inevitably encounter while building a start-up only fueled my passion for coding.

How did you become a co-founder of Rebirth Realty?
A few other Detroit fellows and I realized that the disparity between real estate prices and rental rates presented an economic opportunity, so we bought an abandoned mansion in the tax auction. The plan was to build a communal living and working space for Detroit fellows by restoring one of the many blighted properties that plague Detroit. Today, the rehab is nearly complete and the mansion currently houses six fellows who have started a combined four businesses in Detroit.

How did Castle come about? Tell me more about this start-up.
Castle is a real estate tech start-up that takes the work out of being a landlord. We provide the same services as property management companies much more efficiently through software, automation and on-demand labor. Check us out at

At the end of our fellowship, the Rebirth guys and I knew we wanted to build a new start-up, and Castle was born at the intersection of our tech skills and real estate experience. After a few months of research and experimenting with different ideas, we found a problem that we could solve: being a landlord comes with a stressful, part-time job!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I'd like to look back and be proud of what I've built. Also a sports car would be cool. :]

Randa Shehab Elected New Senior Vice President, Academics by Institute of Industrial Engineers

Institute of Industrial Engineers Elects New Officers: The new senior vice president, academics, is Randa Shehab. Shehab is the Nettie Vincent Boggs Professor of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees, all in industrial engineering, from the University of Oklahoma.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Charles W. Bert, 1929-2015

By Danielle Geier
The AME family lost one of its valuable members, Dr. Charles W. Bert, on February 3, 2015. Bert began his journey at the University of Oklahoma in 1963, where he served the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as a Professor for 41 years before retiring in 2004. During this time, Bert served as Director from 1972-1978 and again in 1990-1995. He also held the Benjamin H. Perkinson Chair during his time at AME. In 1981, he was the recipient of the highest recognition for research at the University of Oklahoma—the George Lynn Cross Research Professorship. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I am deeply saddened to lose one of our best. Charlie was a giant in the broad field of mechanics and composite materials,” said M. Cengiz Altan, AME Director. “He has been such a positive influence on me since I started my career at OU. He has always been supportive and provided encouragement to many AME faculty, as well as to countless undergraduate and graduate students. I will miss him greatly as a mentor and a friend.”

Bert’s work in composite materials earned him an international reputation in the field; he authored and co-authored 205 papers in refereed journals, published one monograph, edited three books, produced 13 book chapters and 158 other papers. In connection with his research, he mentored 26 doctoral students and over 40 master’s students. He was a registered Professional Engineer, and consulted on numerous projects including the design of the propulsion clutch for the USS Nautilus (first nuclear submarine), first annular air-oil shock absorber, steel-belted radial tires and NASA Space Shuttle payload-bay doors. Charlie was elected as Fellow to seven technical organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society for Composites.

“Dr. Bert was a great mentor and guided me well throughout my career. His reputation and research accomplishments were spread worldwide. In international or national meetings I attended, there were always people who inquired about him when they saw my name tag mentioning OU,” said Subramanyam R. Gollahalli, AME Professor. “Above all, he was a great person. We miss him very much.”

The AME family would like to send its deepest condolences to the Bert family. Charlie’s kind heart, his encouraging words and supportive attitude along with his teaching, excellent research contributions and his friendship will be dearly missed by all.