Saturday, December 24, 2016

Virginia Tech names Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in recognition of $15 million gift

Virginia Tech has named its Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in honor of alumnus Kevin Crofton (left above), president and chief executive officer of SPTS Technologies, in recognition of his philanthropy. Crofton, a native of Fincastle, Virginia, has committed $14 million to the department that will bear his name and $1 million to the university’s Division of Student Affairs. “Kevin’s generosity is both humbling and inspiring,” says Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “It opens up tremendous new possibilities for one of our academic departments and will benefit all our students by funding experiential learning programs.”

Crofton aspired to be an astronaut — following in the footsteps of his heroes, Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager, and Chris Kraft, who is also a Hokie — leading him to study to become an aerospace engineer. He earned his bachelor’s in aerospace and ocean engineering in 1982, holds an MBA in international business from American University, and heads a global semiconductor and microelectronic device manufacturing company headquartered in the United Kingdom. “I chose Virginia Tech because it has one of the best aerospace programs in the country,” says Crofton, reflecting on his decision to attend the university. “The education I received is one that taught me to be inquisitive, data-driven, and respectful of science. The social environment exposed me to different people, cultures, and views of life.”

The 55-year-old aerospace engineer further describes his collegiate experience at Virginia Tech as providing him with the foundation to have a successful professional and personal life, in addition to a platform from which to make a positive impact on the world. During the first decade of his career, Crofton worked on U.S. Department of Defense and commercial programs in propulsion for United Technologies, including Boeing’s Inertial Upper Stage Program, which positioned satellites in geosynchronous orbit from the space shuttle.

“Kevin’s gift will heighten the aerospace and ocean engineering department’s role at the university,” says Don Taylor, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “With a gift of this size, we can enhance learning for our engineering students and allow faculty, students, and staff to collaborate on cross-cutting, complex research projects.” The Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion and Department Head Eric Paterson added that “to be one of the few named aerospace and ocean engineering departments will increase our stature on a national and global level.”

The Kevin Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering has more than 550 undergraduate students and 160 graduate students enrolled. Its faculty and students are engaged in numerous areas of research, with annual expenditures of more than $8 million. Departmental facilities include wind tunnels, a flight-test runway and hangar, and an advanced power and propulsion laboratory.

The $1 million Crofton directed to Student Affairs is the largest cash gift ever made to that division and will benefit initiatives through VT Engage, Virginia Tech’s service-learning and civic-engagement center.

“Kevin is an extraordinary leader, alumnus, and human being, with a profound commitment to and modeling of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve),” Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo said, referring to the Virginia Tech motto. “His gift will make an extraordinary difference, allowing more students to serve and understand what it means to serve.”

“In many ways Ut Prosim is an extension of the values I live by and a humble expression of my desire to make a difference," Crofton remarks. “I have always wanted to give back to Virginia Tech in a meaningful way – one that makes a significant contribution and will impact future generations.”

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dan Parent, P.E. joins Cold Craft's HVACR engineering and design team

Dan Parent, P.E. and Cold Craft have similar philosophies regarding the design, planning, and installation of HVACR equipment; they keep many factors in mind to create a building environment that is comfortable, practical, and as energy efficient as the customer desires. Cold Craft, a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration firm in the San Francisco Bay area, sought an engineer to add to the team to hit specific targets such as improving the customer experience. They would do this by bridging the engineering and fulfillment experience to achieve even more predictable project's timelines, increased budgetary control, and clarity on the project.

While most engineers lack field experience and field professionals often lack the engineering component, it is unusual to find an individual such as Dan Parent experience in both. Cold Craft sought individuals that share their firm belief that control during the design process can eliminate cost over-runs that sometimes develop as a project moves from conception to design. Parent has worked with firms such as H-Square Mechanical, Therma, and Polyaire Mechanical. Coupled with his education from California Polytechnic University, this makes him a great fit for Cold Craft.

Customers opting for the design-build concept benefit from knowing that the complete responsibility for the entire system rests solely with one company. Susan Nichol, CEO of Cold Craft, adds, "Dan joining our firm can only be good for our clients, as they will get the whole package with just one responsible party. Dan's project management, engineering, and field fulfillment knowledge means that he has the knowledge of several positions.  This means one party - no finger pointing at other parties like you see with the splintered engineering and mechanical contractor jobs."  In the past, Cold Craft, hired outside talent for the engineering, and that worked well, but the firm is looking for a more seamless process for the clients.

Cold Craft specializes in green build construction, focusing on geothermal, for example, and grocery store construction and renovation. So whether the application is design or design-build, Cold Craft is positioned to assist the client with its experienced Engineering and Design Department. With Parent on board, Cold Craft says it can provide even better all-in-one services for prompt, precise, and well-defined proposals for negotiated projects in the initial stages of planning and development. The firm realizes the significance and importance of being able to provide true scopes and dependable pricing for these projects, and Parent's experience will help them meet those customer care goals.

Established in 1991, Cold Craft, based in Campbell, CA has established itself as an HVACR subcontractor in the Northern California area. The firm offers a diverse portfolio in both commercial and residential sectors. For more information, visit

Monday, December 5, 2016

Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation awards 42 scholarships

The Society of Plastics Engineers has named the winners of the 2016 scholarships administered by the SPE Foundation. The list includes 42 scholarships totaling over $110,000. The foundation supports the development of plastics professionals by funding and supporting quality educational programs, scholarships, and student experiences. Scholarship applicants must be majoring in or taking courses that would be beneficial to a career in the plastics industry. All applicants must be in good standing with their colleges.
The 2017 Scholarship Application process opens Dec. 1. For more information on SPE scholarship opportunities please go to
This year’s winners include:
Art Haas Scholarship: $3,000: Jason Sutter, a junior at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, who is working toward getting his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Automotive & Composites divisions: Jackie Rehkopf Memorial Scholarship: $5,000:Robert Hart, a Ph.D. candidate in the college of engineering at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
Automotive & Composites divisions: Jackie Rehkopf Memorial Scholarship: $5,000 / Injection Molding division Scholarship: $3,000: Sebastian Goris, a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Automotive and Composites Conference & Exhibition Scholarship: $2,000: Mariana DesireĆ© Reale Batista, a Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Automotive and Composites Conference & Exhibition Scholarship: $2,000: Lu Wang, a Ph.D. candidate at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center in the University of Maine in Orono.
Automotive and Composites Conference & Exhibition Scholarship: $2,000 / Thermoset division Scholarship: $2,500: Srikanth Raviprasad, a graduate student of aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Bill Benjamin Scholarship: $1,500: Logan Tate, a sophomore studying plastics and polymers engineering technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.
Blow Molding division: Carrie Fox Solin Scholarship : $3,000: Seth Cook, a senior in the plastics & polymers engineering technology major at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport.
Carl Haas Scholarship: $3,000 / Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000 / Thermoplastic Materials & Foams division Scholarship: $2,500 / Thermoset division Scholarship: $2,500: Josey Hrbek, a senior studying chemical engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
Composites division Scholarship: Harold Giles: $2,500: Emily Anne Vargas, an industrial and manufacturing engineering senior at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Composites division Scholarship: Harold Giles: $2,500: Siddhartha Brahma, who is pursuing a PhD in materials science and engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Detroit Section: Robert G. Dailey Scholarship: $3,000: Andrew Puck, a senior studying chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Detroit Section: Thomas E. Powers Scholarship, $3,000/Product Design and Development division/Mid, Michigan Section: Robert E. Cramer Scholarship: $1,000: Christina Sheng, a fifth-year honors student studying materials science & engineering at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Extrusion division Scholarship : Ed Steward: $2,500: Troy Metz, a sophomore at Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio.
Extrusion division: Lew Erwin Scholarship: $5,000: Barbara Calderon, a second-year Ph.D. student in plastics engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Extrusion: Russell Gould Scholarship: $2,500: Alison Davidson, a junior studying at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., seeking a bachelor’s in plastics engineering technology.
Fleming/Blaszcak Scholarship: $2,000: Miguel Sifuentes, a junior at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Gail Bristol Scholarship: $3,000 & Ruth Neward Scholarship: $3,000: Kathleen Nicosia, a senior undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Gulf Coast Hurricane Scholarship: $6,000: Emma Adams, a senior at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, pursuing a dual degree in chemical engineering and polymer and fiber engineering.
Jade Molds Scholarship: $1,000: Nicholas Moore, a sophomore at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology.
K. K. Wang Scholarship: $2,000: Cody Langlois, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering from UMass Lowell in 2016 as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar.
Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000: Glenn Spiering, a junior majoring in plastics engineering technology at Penn State Behrend in Erie.
Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000: Stephanie Ternullo, a senior majoring in plastics engineering at UMass Lowell.
Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000 / Detroit Section: Kakarala Scholarship: $3,000: William Miller, a senior in the plastics engineering program at the University of Wisconsin Stout in Menomonie.
Ted & Ruth Neward Scholarship: $3,000: Casey Baran a senior at Penn State Behrend studying plastics engineering technology.
Ted Neward Scholarship: $3,000/Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000: Patrick Facendola, who graduated from the honors college of UMass Lowell with a bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering.
Ted Neward Scholarship: $3,000: Blake Heller, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Thermoforming division Memorial Scholarship: $2,500: Austin Howard, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
Thermoforming division Scholarship: $2,500: Vincent Chee, a senior at Rutgers University, scheduled to graduate in December with a bachelor’s in packaging engineering.
Western Plastics Pioneers Scholarship: $2,000: Alec Jobbins, a freshman in UC Berkeley’s college of engineering with a major in mechanical engineering.