Florida Tech Outstanding Alumni Achievement Awards

The Florida Tech Alumni Association recognizes distinguished alumni through the prestigious Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award. Alumni nominate candidates for this award which is presented at the Homecoming Gala each year. In addition, each college selects graduates who have made outstanding professional achievements in their chosen fields of endeavor to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award. These awards are also presented at the annual Homecoming Gala.

 


2015 Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award

Astronaut Sunita Williams '95 MS

Sunita Williams

Sunita Williams received her commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy from the United States Naval Academy in May 1987. She was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1989. Williams has logged more than 3000 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft.

Flight Experience - Selected by NASA in June 1998, she reported for training in August 1998. Following a period of training and evaluation, Williams worked in Moscow with the Russian Space Agency on the Russian contribution to the space station and with the first Expedition Crew. Following the return of Expedition 1, Williams worked within the Robotics branch on the station's Robotic Arm and the follow-on Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. As a NEEMO2 crewmember, she lived underwater in the Aquarius habitat for 9 days. After her first flight, she served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She then supported a long duration mission as Flight Engineer for Expedition 32 and International Space Station Commander for Expedition 33.

Space Flight Experience - Expedition 14/15, Williams launched with the crew of STS-116 on December 9, 2006, docking with the International Space Station on December 11, 2006. As a member of the Expedition 14 crew, Williams served as Flight Engineer. While onboard, she established a world record for females with four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes of Extravehicular Activity (EVA). (Astronaut Peggy Whitson subsequently broke the record in 2008 with a total of five spacewalks). Williams launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 14, 2012. Along with other astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, she spent four months conducting research and exploration aboard the orbiting laboratory. She landed in Kazakhstan on November 18, 2012, after spending 127 days in space. During the Expedition, Williams performed three spacewalks to replace a component that relays power from the space station's solar arrays to its systems, and repair an ammonia leak on a station radiator. With 50 hours and 40 minutes, Williams once again holds the record for total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut. In addition, Williams, who has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions, now ranks sixth on the all-time U.S. endurance list, and second all-time for a female astronaut.

 


2015 Outstanding Alumni Awards

Greg Donovan '91 B.S.

College of Aeronautics - Skurla Award
Outstanding Alumni Award
Greg Donovan

Greg Donovan, A.A.E. is the executive director of Melbourne International Airport (MLB) responsible for overseeing the authority's $28M budget and operation of a 2,750 acre airport. Donovan previously served as director of Pensacola International Airport (PNS) and was responsible for a $27M operation handling 1.5M passengers annually on six scheduled commercial airlines. From 2008-2013 Donovan served as the director of Okaloosa County's three airports consisting of Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS), Destin Airport (DTS), and Bob Sikes/Crestview Airport (CEW). Donovan has a total of 24 years of airport management experience. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1991, professional accreditation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in 2004, and holds a private pilot's license. Donovan received the state's top recognition in 2011, being named Aviation Professional of the Year from the Florida Department of Transportation and has served on the board of directors and as president of the Florida Airports Council (FAC).

 

Rick Rowe '11 MBA

Nathan M. Bisk College of Business
Outstanding Alumni Award
Rick Rowe

Mr. Rick Rowe is President and CEO of Think Tek, Inc. – Think Tek Globally. Mr. Rowe started his career in the United States Air Force at Homestead AFB. He received his first U.S. patent before the age of 20. Over the next 30 years, Mr. Rowe went on to work as an engineer, manager, and executive at a number of corporations including: Watkins Johnson Company, Lockheed Missiles and Space, and International Game Technology. For over twelve years, Mr. Rowe has taught computer science at Mission College in Santa Clara, California. He started his own intellectual property consulting and development company in 2008; and co-founded a next generation city transportation corporation in Nice, France. Mr. Rowe is a named inventor on over 100 patents and is a registered patent agent. Today, Mr. Rowe provides consulting for business startups, and he also continues inventing, patenting and starting new businesses to bring innovations to market. He has degrees in Avionics Systems Technology and Computer Science and an MBA; and he has FINRA licenses: Series 7, 24 and 79. Mr. Rowe is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business. He is an alumna of Florida Tech.

 

Rear Admiral Jonathan W. White, Retired '91 B.S.

College of Engineering
Outstanding Alumni Award
Jonathan W. White

Rear Adm. Johnathan White earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1981 and holds a master's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

After working at sea as a civilian oceanographer on board a seismic survey vessel, he was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983, and assigned as a surface warfare officer to USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) in Mayport, Florida.

White joined the oceanography community in 1987. Since then, he has had operational shore assignments at Jacksonville, Florida.; Guam; Monterey, California; and Stuttgart, Germany, where his joint duty included Special Operations Command Europe, and strike plans officer for U.S. European Command during Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and Serbia. White commanded Naval Training Meteorology and Oceanography Facility, Pensacola, Florida, and was the 50th superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory.

White's sea tours as a naval oceanographer include commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 where he completed deployments on board USS Saratoga (CV 60) and USS Wasp (LHD 1).

White was selected as a flag officer and honorary chief petty officer in 2009 and served as commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) in August 2012 as he assumed his duties as director, Task Force Climate Change, and Navy deputy to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

Manny Rodriguez '04 M.S.

College of Psychology and Liberal Arts
Outstanding Alumni Award
Manny Rodriguez

Manny Rodriguez is the Director of Continuing Education and Product Development for ABA Technologies, Inc., a leader in professional development, training and consulting in the field of behavior analysis.

Manny's experience spans various industries working with organizations such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Kraft Foods, Syncrude, Cigna, Heinz, Canadian National Railway, Duke Power, ADM, Blair, Bell Canada, Stewart Enterprises, and FMC Corporation. Manny has led large scale change efforts, providing one-on-one coaching with executives and senior managers, developing and delivery engaging professional development learning events, and led teams of professionals to achieve significant performance. His leadership in the science of human behavior has impacted the lives of thousands leaders and employees nationally and internationally. Manny currently serves on the board of directors as the current president-elect for the Organizational Behavior Management Network, a 500-member special interest group within the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Manny achieved his Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior Management from the Florida Institute of Technology. During his time at F.I.T., Manny was the co-creator of the Organizational Behavior Management track, now its own Master's degree within the School of Behavior Analysis, and he was the co-founder of the Society for Performance Management, now celebrating its twelfth year. Before joining F.I.T., Manny earned a dual Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and Criminology from Florida State University where his professional career in behavior analysis began. He and his wife Kelly, daughter Sabrina, and son Aidan enjoy living in Florida, and look to make Melbourne their long term home.

 

Duane De Freese '82, '88 M.S., Ph.D.

College of Science
Outstanding Alumni Award
Duane De Freese

Duane holds a B.S. degree in Zoology from the University of Rhode Island (1976) and M.S. (1982) & Ph.D. (1988) degrees in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology.

Duane was instrumental in helping to secure U.S. EPA National Estuary Program designation for the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) in 1990. In September 2015, his career came full circle when he was named Executive Director of a new special district of the state of Florida (Indian River Lagoon Council) that will serve as the host of a reorganized IRL National Estuary Program. In this new role, Duane is working with federal, state and local government agencies, scientific research organizations, academic institutions, elected officials, industry and the general public. The goal is to develop a restoration strategy for one of the nation's most threatened estuarine ecosystems.

De Freese served as the first program director for the acclaimed Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (1991-1998). In that capacity, Duane spearheaded efforts to secure over $20 million in matching funds to acquire properties in the Indian River Lagoon Blueway, Atlantic Coastal Ridge Scrub and southern barrier island Maritime Hammock initiatives. From 1998-2008, Duane served as the first Vice President of Florida Research for Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. In 2008-2009, Dr. De Freese served a 1-year appointment with the Dean of the College of Sciences at University of Central Florida. He provided leadership at UCF to create a long-range vision and plan for an expanded UCF coastal & sea turtle research center to be located within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in partnership with USFWS. That vision is being implemented today. His most recent appointment was as Senior Vice President of Science & Business Development at AquaFiber Technologies Corporation. As an AquaFiber senior executive, Duane provided leadership and oversight for all scientific and intellectual property activities associated with the company.

Duane currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Ocean Alliance (Vice-Chair) and was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the CareerSource Florida Inc. Board of Directors. Duane just completed a two-year term as the President of the Florida Tech Alumni Association Board.

 

Julian Field '84 B.S.

Outstanding International Alumni Award 2015
Julian Field

Julian Field is a senior eCommerce Advisor, working with businesses on their eCommerce strategy and implementation. Prior to this, Julian was Chief Executive Officer at Furniture123.co.uk from 1999 to 2012. The company was Europe's first online furniture retail business which he built from a start-up into a multi-million dollar operation and in 2012 the business was sold to Buy It Direct Ltd. Before that, Julian was Managing Director at Tomlinson Furniture Ltd, a manufacturer and wholesaler of furniture supplying an international network of retailers and distributors where he built the business from a start-up into a multi-million dollar company. Julian was also European Marketing Director at Courtaulds plc from 1989 to 1995 where he was responsible for marketing and export sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa for Courtaulds' $230m aerospace paints and sealants business. Prior to that, he was a Senior Field Engineer with Schlumberger from 1985 to 1988 where he worked in the oilfields of Algeria, Nigeria and Gabon. In 1984 he earned degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology and in 1989 he obtained an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He is currently Director of a start-up that is developing a solar powered vehicle and is Board Advisor to a start-up in the video commerce sector. His leisure interests include skiing, rowing, sailing, tennis and writing and in 2005 he sailed across the Atlantic. He was born in Argentina, raised in Venezuela and now lives in the United Kingdom. He is married and has two children.

 


Previous Award Winners: