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. 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 www.coldcraft.com.