Here at Design News we are big on recognition. Actually some people think it’s just our excuse to have lots of parties, but the truth is that we love to recognize engineers who do great things. For over 20 years, Design News, in partnership with many important and forward-thinking companies, has been the proud sponsor of the Design News Engineering Awards Program. Throughout the years, we have honored some of the best and brightest engineers on the planet, including Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, Entrepreneur and Inventor Dean Kamen, and Composite Material Pioneer Burt Ratan. This year, we’re pleased to announce a renaming of the program. We think the new name, the Design News Golden Mousetrap Awards, gives a more specific nod to engineering achievement. As part of this multi-faceted awards program, we are pleased to announce this year’s candidates for the Design News Engineer of the Year. They have all made their mark on the profession and on society as whole through their skills, vision, imagination, leadership, focus, and determination. Please help us select the person you think is most deserving of this honor by casting your ballot online. Then, read about all of the winners of this year’s contest in the March 20, 2006 issue of Design News.
Aerovironment Design Development Center Chief Engineer of the AeroVironment Design Development Center, Alec Brooks has spent much of his career working on planes that fly high and long. Most recently, he spearheaded the design of an aviation first—an unmanned aircraft that runs on liquid hydrogen fuel. Called Global Observer, this breakthrough hydrogen-powered aircraft first took to the skies in May. It can fly as high as 65,000 feet for more than a week at a time, all the while carrying payloads up to 1,000 lbs. Brooks led the design effort on the ultra-lightweight liquid hydrogen tank, which is the key enabler for persistent hydrogen-powered flight. He also participated in the preliminary design of another enabling technology found on this aircraft—a 95 percent efficient, 50-kW motor drive system developed for the Lockheed High Altitude Airship program.
Sling Media While Sling Media, Inc.’s TV-anywhere SlingBox has been garnering awards from TIME, Pop-ular Science, Popular Mechanics, and the Consumer Electronics Association during the past year, Bhupen Shah has been the engineering force behind the company’s success. California-based Shah, who has led the American firm’s engineering team from the other side of the globe, enabled Sling Media to introduce a device that transforms Windows XP-based PCs and laptops into on-the-go digital TVs. With it, users can “place-shift” a live TV stream from a cable box or satellite receiver to a PC located anywhere in the world. Media experts expect the device, and others that are sure to follow it, to revolutionize the television landscape, attracting millions of viewers to TV, when they might otherwise be stuck on trains or waiting in airports. Shah holds a M.S. in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Ford Motor Co. When Ford Motor Co. announced plans late last year to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles annually by 2010, it tabbed engineer Tom Watson as the technical point man in its efforts. Watson, hybrid propulsion systems manager for the world’s second biggest automaker, had already helped steer the nascent hybrid powertrain into the company’s highly-publicized Ford Escape, and he ultimately foresees hybrids playing a far bigger role, even beyond the company’s 2010 target. “I predict that within 10 years, every new vehicle on the market will offer some sort of hybrid-electric system,” he says. “From a mild hybrid, with a simple start-stop feature, to full hybrids capable of electric-only propulsion, hybrid vehicles on the road are going to dramatically increase.” Watson is a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Illinois.
Cisco A 25 year man at Apple Computer before joining Cisco last year, Michael Dhuey is the hardware designer behind many famous products, including the Apple III, Lisa, and Macintosh. He designed the Mac II and Mac IIci. His most recent design, the wildly popular iPod, he created in stealth mode in half the time so Apple could bring it to market by Christmas 2001. By June 2005, a reported 22 million iPods had been sold worldwide. Dhuey began programming at 14 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and by 16 was working as a programmer at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance. He earned a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining Apple in 1980. Dhuey holds 13 U.S. patents and is a member of IEEE and ACM. Currently, he is helping Cisco’s design team with a new product. He’s also an avid runner.
Everyone has had the experience of trying to scrape the last of the peanut butter or mayonnaise from the bottom of a glass jar without getting your hand sticky. Inventor Ron Jidmar thinks he has a solution to all of that nonsense with a flexible jar design that can be squeezed with one hand to lift contents from the bottom to the top of a jar or container, leaving the other hand free to scoop the contents out cleanly.
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