Monday, June 12, 2017

Introducing the 2017 Class of Distinguished Graduates Society Inductees

Robert Purgason, Michael Miller, Dean Tom Landers and Pam Tucker at the May 13 Engineering Convocation Ceremony.
In 1990, the the Gallogly College of Engineering established the Distinguished Graduates Society to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contribution to and support of education, honors of election in organizations, and other contributions to the engineering profession.

Introducing the DGS Class of 2017: Michael Miller, Robert Purgason and Pam Tucker. These newest members of the DGS were inducted during the engineering convocation on May 13 at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Michael Miller was born in Norman, Okla., and graduated from Norman High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1987.

Miller began his career as a design engineer and second employee at Monitronics Inc.While at Monitronics, Miller completed many contract-engineering projects for Banctec, Seagate Inc., the NCR Corporation and the IBM Corporation.

In 1992, Miller co-founded Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. Under his direction as vice president of engineering, AFS developed more than 30 software products and became a world leader in payment processing. AFS transformed paper-based payment systems to image-based electronic clearing. AFS was recognized by Inc. 500 Magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies four years in a row. In addition to installing their software in more than 25 countries ‒ including Bank of China, Bank of Mexico and the Monetary Authority of Singapore ‒ AFS software ran more than half of the banks and credit unions in the United States.

He is active on the Gallogly College of Engineering Board of Visitors and the OU School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board.

Since selling AFS, Miller and his wife, Barbara, have embraced the idea of becoming life-long learners. They have spent years learning the French Language, receiving instruction both in the U.S. and in France. Additionally, they have become accomplished coastal and offshore sailors, traversing the U.S. East coast multiple times and spending extended time sailing the waters of the Bahamas.

Miller considers his greatest accomplishment raising three outstanding children ‒ Jordan, Elise and Albert.

Robert S. Purgason is the chief executive officer of Kayne Anderson Acquisition Corp. and senior managing director of Kayne Anderson. He has more than 35 years of experience in the energy industry, most recently serving as senior vice president, Access at Williams Companies, Inc. He was responsible for the central operation area and operational excellence for the entire enterprise.

Purgason has deep operational and commercial knowledge of midstream companies and has previously served as chief operating officer of Chesapeake Midstream Partners, L.L.C. and Crosstex Energy, L.P.

He has served on the Board of Directors and is the past chairman of the Texas Pipeline Association, the Board of Visitors at the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, and advisory board for the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering at The University of Oklahoma. Additionally, Purgason is the past program chair and director of GPA Midstream Association, where he authored numerous technical and marketing papers. He is currently a member of the Dallas Wildcat Committee and the National Association of Corporate Directors. Purgason also serves on the board of L.B. Foster Company, a manufacturing company specializing in rail, construction and energy-related products. Mr. Purgason’s strong leadership abilities, deep technical knowledge and energy-related M&A expertise make him an asset in the industry.

Purgason began his career at Perry Gas Companies in Odessa, Texas, working in all facets of the natural gas treating business.

He and his wife, Cyndy, live in Tulsa, Okla.

Pam Tucker is the chief operating officer of Utility Composites, Inc., a manufacturing company she co-founded in 1993. With Utility Composites, she was a member of the Austin Technology Incubator from 1994 – 1996. Prior to that, Tucker worked as a product development engineer for 3M for six years. She also served for six years as a part-time lecturer for the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and for two years as an adjunct professor for Park College.

Tucker holds 16 U.S. patents, two Canadian patents and two patents pending. She has published four articles in refereed journals.

Committed to community service, Tucker has served as member and chair of the national Younger Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society, an officer for the 3M Technical Forum, a member of the Gallogly College of Engineering Board of Visitors, a member of the Board of Directors of Fixeon, and, currently as an advisory board member of the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering. She has mentored several up-and-coming entrepreneurs and business owners.

Tucker grew up in Kansas and attended McPherson College for a liberal arts education before transferring to the University of Oklahoma. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from The University of Oklahoma in 1983 and her master’s and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Texas.

She lives in Austin, Texas, and has two children, Savanna and Harrison. She currently serves as financial secretary and trustee for the Congregational Church of Austin and is past chair of the Board of Trustees. She has been a private pilot since 1978 and enjoys traveling.

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