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Fall 2021 Alumnotes

1970s

Herb Piper ’72 M.S., a physicist and engineer who worked on various missile and satellite tracking, instrumentation acquisition, installation, missile launch and reentry performance projects on Florida’s Space Coast, recently published A Central Florida Historical Cornucopia.

Lt. Col. Michael Wilson (retired) ’76 A.S. recently retired from U.S. Airways/American Airlines, where he served as a flight crew instructor for 31 years. Mike taught DC-9, B-757/767 systems and international flight procedures.

Rich Scherch ’79 visited the Melbourne campus in April and posed with his granddaughter, Coralie, in front of the Florida Tech seal artwork in the Folliard Alumni Center.

1980s

Steve Bareis ’79 A.S., ’80, found himself in the cockpit with another Panther, Michael Wisniewski ’07, in a recent FedEx Boeing 757 flight. They may have attended Florida Tech during different decades, but both pilots are proud to be a #Panther4Life.

Richard Cook ’80 retired after a 36-year career in corporate aviation. He writes a monthly column for Antique Trader titled “On the Road with Rick: Vintage Camper Trailers” as well as the Antique Advertising Association of America’s monthly and quarterly newsletters, Checkerboard and Past Times.

Megan Davis-Hodgkins ’81, ’92 M.S., ’98 Ph.D., a research professor at Florida Atlantic University, has spent over four decades growing queen conch, a species in steady decline, and safeguarding the species through community-based solutions.

Jorge Mesquita ’83 was named CEO of BlueTriton Brands, formerly Nestlé Waters North America, which includes a family of water brands.

Connie Steinman ’83 A.S. published a teaching memoir, Behind the Wall, based upon her experiences in the classroom about teaching, learning and self-reliance. Born with an 85% decibel hearing loss, she has been teaching American Sign Language and English to underprivileged students in the Sacramento, California, area for over 20 years.

David Jerome ’85 MBA, Ph.D., director of the procurement technical assistance center for the University of Missouri System, earned his Ph.D. after his retirement from the U.S. Army and edited the book Examining War and Conflict Around the World.

Brenda Behan ’86 is deputy director for the United Nations World Food Program’s East Africa region. World Food Program received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts in combating hunger, bettering conditions of peace and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

Jim Flynn ’86 M.S. recently joined Microsoft as a contract performance benchmark engineer.

Andrew Malek ’86, a registered professional engineer in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida, became chief growth officer for architectural, engineering, environmental and surveying firm PS&S.

Scott Olson ’86 recently joined Inspire Environmental as senior field and innovation manager to enhance and expand the company’s underwater engineering capabilities.

Michael R. Mullaney ’88 is the new CEO of Fraport USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide and a leading developer of award-winning airport retail, food and beverage concession programs.

Ramin Elahi ’89 M.S., a technical training manager with Cisco Meraki and adjunct faculty and program chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley, used his time during the COVID-19 lockdown to complete his book, Bringing Down Sales Barriers and Challenges: A Road Map for Closing More Deals Faster!

Capt. James M. Hann ’89 A.S. recently upgraded to Airbus 300 captain with UPS Airlines based in Louisville, Kentucky, flying all over North America, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Jenny Lyons ’89 M.S., who is helping lead the Gateway deep space commercial supply chain to the moon, was named a 2021 Rainmaker awardee from DC Velocity magazine, a logistics supply chain industry magazine.

Cesar Soriano ’89, ’02 MSM, who served as captain in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer and is currently CEO at Confie, was recently appointed as a board member of eHealth Inc.

Ed Thomas Jr. ’89, Ph.D., professor of physics and associate dean for research and graduate studies at Auburn University, has been appointed interim dean of Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics. 

1990s

Mark Cartwright, a member of the NCAA National Championship team in 1991, was named the first-ever sporting director of the United Soccer League (USL). He will oversee player development, coaching and club education across the USL’s professional leagues.

Ravi Pendekanti ’90 M.S. became the senior vice president of product management and marketing with Western Digital. He is on the advisory boards of Solix Technologies and Olixus.

Ed Torres ’90, ’93 M.S., joined Orange County Utilities as the department’s new director. Torres has dedicated his career to managing public works, previously serving the City of Altamonte Springs, City of Casselberry and City of Palm Bay.

Roger Furr Jr. ’91 M.S. retired after 35 years in the aerospace and defense industry. He served as executive director of contracts at The Mitre Corp. for over 23 years and as a principal director of contracts for the civil systems group of The Aerospace Corp.

Mike Moses ’91 M.S., president of Virgin Galactic, was a part of space history with the VSS Unity spacecraft making the first commercial spaceflight in suborbital altitude.

John P McConnell ’93 M.S., Ph.D., earned his doctorate in information systems from Nova Southeastern University.  He is a technical manager with Johns Hopkins Hospital and teaches cybersecurity at Community College of Baltimore County.

Jean-Claude Nasr ’93 MBA was appointed vice president of growth for Averda, a leading waste management and recycling company operating in India, the Middle East and Africa.

Maj. James Thomas ’94 M.S. is interim CEO for Reach Inc., a nonprofit organization working with adults with disabilities.

Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins ’95 M.S. won unanimous approval in April as superintendent of Virginia Military Institute, becoming the first Black man to lead the school.

Paul Cecala ’85 (left) & Dan Nazzaro ’95 (right) toured campus and the Folliard Alumni Center. Paul is a past president of the Alumni Association and a career coach. Dan is a software engineer for UPS.

Jo Damato ’95 A.S., ’97, was promoted to senior vice president of education, training and workforce development for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Adrienne Somerville ’98 M.S. authored a book published in March, WINGSPAN: Talent Management – Gaining Corporate Dominance. 

Joshua Dannel ’97, ’12 MBA, was promoted to director of network operations with Southwest Airlines.

Mathieu Durand ’99 M.S. was promoted to senior manager for the product security team with Nuance Communications, bringing him back to Melbourne.

2000s

Sachin Dekate ’00, ’04, ’07 Ph.D., was recently promoted to technology group leader with BAE Systems Inc., leading the development of digital twins, photonics and fused signal processing in defense applications.

Michael Mannino ’00, Ph.D., who has served as the director of programs at the University of Miami’s Institute for Data Science and Computing, joined the advisory board of Neuvana LLC.

Tony Denkins ’01 M.S., Ph.D., joined Southeast Health as director of human resources operations.

George Kennett ’01 M.S. (right) became the 41st inductee into the Commander Naval installations Command U.S. Navy Fire & Emergency Services Hall of Fame. He retired in 2008 after a 30-year career and is currently in his 49th year with the volunteer fire and emergency medical services in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

Serena Thomas ’01 was promoted to field sales leader for USHealth Advisors.

Pinar Yilmaz ’01 M.S. joined Pegasus Airlines as a senior project manager.

Melroy Coelho ’02 recently joined Epicor Software as a principal product developer.

Adele Luta ’02, an American Association for the Advancement of Science If/Then ambassador, is part of a team of researchers and scientists who became aquanauts at the Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida.

Col. Gavin Gardner ’02 M.S., commander of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, was promoted to brigadier general. He received various accolades, including one Joint Meritorious Unit Award, one Valorous Unit Award, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Legion of Merit (one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (six Oak Leaf Clusters), the Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Wings.

Michelle Malone ’02 M.S. began a new role in 3M’s consumer business group as a plan-to-deliver plant coach, supporting all the company’s manufacturing plants in the deployment of a new ERP solution. She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Col. Aaron Stanek ’03 M.S. was selected by the Defense Commissary Agency as Defense Commissary Agency HQ Chief of Staff. Stanek previously served as the Army Logistics University commandant.

Terence Kadlec ’04, practice leader of the construction and defect group with Envista Forensics, spoke at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization, about the top 10 things design professionals need to know about forensics.

Christine Cooper ’06 M.S., ’08 Psy.D., became a support psychologist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and credits the skills gained during her degree programs for helping to alleviate mental illness, empower individuals and create positive organizational change.

Melissa Sheffer ’06, ’08 M.S., recently joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office in Chicago as a meteorologist.

Swapnil Adhav ’07 M.S. recently joined Infosys as delivery lead. He credits the practical project experience in his master’s program for helping him advance professionally and personally.

Russ Ayscue ‘09 M.S. has been named vice president and chief information officer at Eastman Credit Union (ECU). He joined ECU in 2016 and was previously the director of technical services at Wellmont Health System.

Jennifer Rodriguez Borges ’09 became a K-12 science coordinator with the Martin County School District. She previously spent over 11 years with Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida.

2010s

Garrett Duflo ’10, ’11 M.S., was appointed senior flight test operations and safety engineering leader with Boeing’s test & evaluation organization, leading the enterprise operational and safety engineering team responsible for Boeing’s flight test programs.

Col. Steven D. Gutierrez ’11 M.S., ’12 MPA, was recently promoted in the U.S. Army and named director of the Defense Contract Management Agency Americas in Ottawa, Canada.  

Gaël Le Bris ’11 MSA (left) and Loup-Giang Nguyen ’19 MSA (right) published ACRP Research Report 229: Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) to Manage Adverse Conditions. This research effort was conducted for the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine based in Washington, D.C.

Michael D. Parrish ’11 M.S. recently assumed the role of associate director of governance, risk and compliance with Marriott Vacations Worldwide. He is also an adjunct instructor of cybersecurity at the University of Central Florida.

Amanda Derleth ’12 moved to Los Angeles after receiving her degree in communication and serves as director of operations for Fearless TV. She and her husband welcomed their firstborn son, Lorenzo David, in February 2020.

Ameya Shrirang Vipat ’12 MBA was recently promoted to associate with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Coricka White ’12 MBA was promoted to refinery manager at Domino Sugar’s Baltimore facility. She became the first woman in 99 years in Locust Point to run the sugar refinery.

Julie Fainberg ’13, ’16 M.S., recently joined Array as a senior business development analyst, building and maintaining a pipeline of strategic opportunities in the government contracting space with a total value of over $2 billion.

Brian Crane ’14 recently joined LogicSource as an associate IT buyer, consulting retail clients in IT procurement.

Don Gatton ’14 MBA was named CEO of Four County Electric Membership Corporation. He began his career as a first-class lineworker and moved up to director of safety, training and loss control and eventually vice president of HR.

HsuanHu Lee ’14 MAT and his wife welcomed their daughter in August 2020.

Eman Mareh ’14 M.S. recently joined Panda Retail Co., part of the Savola Group, as a design and development specialist. She previously worked as an educator in Saudi Arabia.

Shannon Sullivan ’14 was promoted to senior marketing team leader with The Ad Leaf marketing firm.

Nick Toufexis ’14 earned his Juris Doctor this year after his retirement from the U.S. Navy and is currently an associate attorney with Saputo PLLC.

Bill Davis ’15 M.S., ’16 MBA, was appointed director of fleet operations for BHI Energy.

Patrick Green ’15 M.S. joined GoDaddy as senior manager of incident response and security operations.

Tiziano Bernard ’15, ’16 M.S., ’18 Ph.D., joined Gulfstream Aerospace as an experimental flight test engineer. He is also a collaborator with new site ilGornale.it on aerospace, science and Italo-American relations.

Leeanna Laporte ’15, ’18 M.A., was promoted to customer operations supervisor at Cardinal Health. She feels her career path has unlimited potential after earning her master’s degree in organizational leadership.

Amar Bayasgalan ’16, a director with Alliance-Tech Co. Ltd. in Mongolia, was recently named to the World Energy Council’s Future Energy Leaders.

Aisha Cato ’16 became a clinical research coordinator with Duke University School of Medicine.

Nakeya Johnston ’16 MBA was promoted to manager with Deloitte, supporting federal government agencies on mission-critical initiatives related to accounting and finance processes. She has also taken on multiple national roles to support the implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Ashley Kominsky ’16 M.S. was recently promoted to superintendent within the nuclear propulsion division of Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Zami Lam ’16 married his college sweetheart, Shelby Langner ’17. They met during their first day on campus. Zami recently joined Amazon Web Services as a talent acquisition specialist.

Stephanie Licari ’16 M.S., ’18 MBA, recently joined Florida’s Natural Growers and Citrus World Inc. as director or procurement.

Timothy Rosser ’16 Ph.D., who served as an associate professor at Florida Tech from 2008–2020, joined the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University as associate professor.

Zachary Rubenfeld ’16 was promoted to senior manager of automation services at Government Acquisitions Inc., where he leads a 10-person team of robotic process automation engineers who support the federal government.

Michael Arenella ’17, ’19 MBA was recently promoted to principal budget analyst at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s operation in Palm Bay, Florida. He is a graduate of the company’s Pathways Rotation Program and supports information technology budgeting where he oversees rates and allocations with the company’s Enterprise Services.

Gurjot Bandasha ’17 M.S. was promoted to vice president of engineering with DataSeers. She credits the cultural variety of her master’s program with helping her connect with her profession.

Cassandra Dahlm ’17 joined Egret Consulting Group as an executive recruiter specializing in the utility industry.

Kevin Griggs ’17 assumed a new role with KPMG US as director of CIO advisory, providing strategic consulting to information technology leaders in the areas of service management.

Alexandra Linnabary ’17 gained hands-on medical experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant after earning her undergraduate degree and is now a board-certified physician assistant in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Pamela Forero Lozano ’17 joined Humacyte as a process development engineer in biomaterials. Her work involves the creation of human acellular vessels with universal implantability, which shows great biocompatibility with patients.

Jordan Samuels ’17 joined National Airlines as an operations analyst. He is working toward his goal of becoming a commercial pilot by earning his flight instructor certification (CFI) and CFI instrument rating.

Scott Theriot ’17 M.S. was named general manager of supply chain services for Danos. He credits the online program for allowing him to continue building on his career and apply the learnings in real time.

Vinayaka Konanur Shivashankar ’17 M.S. began a new journey at Paychex as a network engineer.

Yousef Alshehri ’18 M.S. recently joined the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu as private projects coordinator.

Akash Chanda ’18 joined M1Finance as an Android engineer. He also authors a personal finance blog at sensemonkey.com.

Steve Farris ’18 MBA, who earned his MBA while serving in the U.S. Navy from 2011 to 2019, recently joined Northrop Grumman Corp. as a principal electronics engineer.

Brianna Jones ’18 M.A. was promoted to senior talent acquisition recruiter with Ochsner Health.

Tori Lane ’18 MBA was recently promoted to associate director of career education for Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. She says she used strategies learned during her studies to adapt facilitation approaches in her current role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jonathan Cirillo ’17 graduated from medical school in March and is now an internal medicine resident in Citrus County, Florida.

Cody Krueger ’17, ’20 MBA, and Caroline Dunleavy ’18 came back in June to where it all started: the Columbia Village parking garage! Cody arranged to propose to Caroline where they first met, and of course, she said yes!

Zhe Wang ’17, ’19 M.S., recently joined Jasci Software as an industrial engineer.

Samuel Boyd ’18, ’20 M.S., became a coastal engineering specialist with Stantec to help minimize the company’s impact to the natural environment and, in some cases, improve the surrounding environment.

Joshua J. Miller ’18 M.S. was promoted to product manager of e-commerce and payments at Giant Eagle.

Tetiana Pieloch ’18 MBA and her husband, Mark, welcomed Matthew Mark Pieloch on May 20. After 38 hours of labor, mom and baby are doing well!

1st Lt. Hank Abell ’19 successfully completed U.S. Army Ranger School and will now serve as a company commander in the 10th Mountain Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, located in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Justin Daimler ’19, ’20 M.S., joined Quantum Signal AI as a mechanical engineer.

Trevor Olds ’19, ’21 MBA, became director of marketing and business development with Heka.

Sydney Sullivan ’19 joined WYFF News 4 in Greenville, South Carolina, as a weekend morning meteorologist. 

2020s

Justin Choi ’20 M.S. joined InComm Payments as security risk analyst following the completion of his master’s in cybersecurity.

Brendan Diersen ’20 MBA was recently promoted to senior project engineer with Lockheed Martin.

Archita Gala ’20 M.S., a chartered accountant from India, joined Windham Brannon in Atlanta as an experienced assurance associate.

Bo Godfrey ’20 MBA moved from public accounting to the private sector, joining Craig Technologies, after completing his graduate degree in December 2020.

De’Shanna Hayden ’20 M.S. recently joined Dell Technologies as an IT project manager. She previously held information technologies roles with Boeing.

Payton Lynch ’20 MBA was promoted to senior product manager with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and recently published her first book, Rise From the Ashes: Stories of Trauma, Resilience, and Growth from the Children of 9/11.

Santiago Mauro Nguema Jr. ’20 recently joined Broadridge as a senior AWS Lambda engineer.

Mitzi Miranda ’20, team manager with Currency Exchange International, is currently managing four businesses in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Victor Moncada ’20 M.S. joined Northrop Grumman Corp. as a principal system engineer supporting the aeronautics systems sector. He has also been accepted into the electrical engineering doctoral program to add another Florida Tech degree to his name.

Darshan Patel ’20 M.S. recently became a project manager with Mammoth Inc.

Lt. Col. Juan Villatoro ’20 M.S. assumed command of the 902nd Contracting Battalion and Mission and Installation Contracting Command at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington state.

Zachary Behlok ’21 A.A., a senior software technician with Raytheon Technologies, published his first book, The Requiem of Apathy and Sorrow.

Darren “Randy” Hodges ’21 MBA was named primary care service line executive director with Munson Healthcare.

Nicolette Murphey ’21 joined The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as a genetic counseling assistant. She is also serving as ambassador for the United MSD Foundation to spread awareness and help find a cure for multiple sulfatase deficiency, a rare genetic disorder.


Florida Tech Magazine fall 2021 issue cover

This piece was featured in the fall 2021 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.