Next week, on Tuesday, October 18th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, we’ll be announcing the winners of the 2022 LEAP Awards (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program). You may register for the live announcement here: https://gateway.on24.com/wcc/eh/2927718/lp/3976849/2022-leap-awards-winners-announcement
What sets this awards program apart from so many others is the involvement of the engineering community. As we do every year, our editorial team assembles a top-notch independent judging panel, comprised of a cross-section of OEM design engineers and academics — 14 professionals in total. No one here at WTWH Media chooses the winners; we leave that to the judges, to keep the process ethical and genuine. I am pleased to introduce our esteemed judging panel for 2022:
University of Missouri, KC
Dr. Plamen Doynov is the CTO of EMP Shield, Burlington, Kans. The company develops technologies for protection of electrical and electronic infrastructure from the effects of high-altitude nuclear blast and intentional EMI (directed energy). Plamen was born in Bulgaria, where he completed his Engineering degree in Radio-electronics (Technical University of Sofia), followed by doctoral research in Biophysics (the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). While a Visiting Research Scholar (the Physics Department of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.), Plamen completed his Master of Electrical Engineering degree, followed by interdisciplinary doctoral studies and a PhD in Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
For more than 20 years, Plamen was a Principal Engineer at MRI Global in Kansas City, working on multitude of scientific and engineering projects. He is a Project Management Professional and has multiple other professional specializations/certifications (machine vision, biometrics, data sciences, artificial intelligence, etc.) As a Research Professor at UMKC, Plamen worked on counter-UAV technologies. Currently, as an Adjunct Professor, he continues research in compact high-power microwave sources, high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, geo-magnetic disturbance, and mitigation of EMI. Plamen has multiple interdisciplinary publications and patents.
Geoffrey T. Haigh
Haigh Consulting LLP
Geoffrey Haigh holds a BS in Physics and Instrumentation from Drew University and is a Principal Partner and Senior Scientist form Haigh Consulting, which creates IP and solves problems for clients. Haigh has 31 patents issues worldwide and was the originator and inventor of the ADI ICoupler technology during his time working for Analog Devices Inc. Devices he has designed and patented are on Mars rovers.
He also previously worked for Analogic Corporation on factory automation systems and nuclear measurement instrumentation.
Director – Technical Services
Fluid Power SME
Rance Herren is the Director of Technical Services and founder of Fluid Power SME, a Houston-based hydraulic and pneumatic consulting firm. With more than 37 years of hydraulic and pneumatic application experience in a variety of roles and industries (including 24 years in Oil and Gas), he is widely recognized as an expert in fluid power system design, troubleshooting, and failure analysis.
Herren is a graduate of the Industrial Controls Technology program at California State University Fullerton, the Industrial Electrical Technology program at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and holds multiple advanced fluid power certifications. He is the former chair of the Fluid Power Hall of Fame; and past President (2016) and board member of the International Fluid Power Society, where he continues as a lifetime member, technical contributor, and advisor.
Innovative Products Inc.
As President of Innovative Products, Sam John is responsible for the design and manufacturing of various custom-built automatic machines for different industries. He also resolves design and manufacturing issues, conducts project meetings and issue status reports, manages budgets, submits project proposals, and directs projects. He’s worked with clients as varied as Medtronic, Tinker Air Force Base, GE Oil and Gas, and AVARA Pharmaceutical Services. Previously, he worked for Sorb Technology (now Fresenius) and Akzo-Nobel.
A member of the ASME, John has an MBA from Oklahoma City University, a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calicut.
Director of Professional Education/Research Dev.
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Dr. Medhat Khalil, for 17 years, has been working as the Director of Professional Education & Research Development at the Applied Technology Center, Milwaukee School of Engineering. Khalil has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Military Technical College, Cairo, Egypt and master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. He holds PhDs in Mechanical Engineering from Cairo University and also in Mechanical Engineering and Post-Doctoral Industrial Research Fellowship from Concordia University in Montreal.
Khalil authored several textbooks in the field of fluid power. He participated in many technical conferences and published several reviewed technical papers. Medhat has been certified by the International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) as: Certified Fluid Power Hydraulic Specialist and Certified Fluid Power Accredited Instructor. Medhat is a member of many grand institutions such as Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power Engineering Research Center (CCEFP), listed Fluid Power Consultant by the National Fluid Power Association, and listed professional instructor by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and National American Die Casting Association.
Khalil has been assigned as the chair of the education committee for the International Fluid Power Exposition since 2017. He developed and taught countless courses for industry professionals worldwide — and has a balance of academic and industrial experience. Khalil has designed several hydraulic systems and developed analytical and educational software. He also has vast experience in modeling and simulation of dynamic systems using Matlab-Simulink. He was the designer and founder of the Universal Fluid Power Trainers. Khalil was the recipient of the “Otto Maha Pioneers in Fluid Power” award in 2012 and the “IFPS-Hall of Fame” award in 2021.
Kollman Power Engineering
Robert Kollman is a retired Senior Applications Manager and Distinguished Member of Technical Staff from Texas Instruments. He has more than 40 years of experience in the power electronics business and has designed circuits and magnetics for power electronics ranging from sub-watt to sub-megawatt with operating frequencies into the megahertz range. Kollman has published ~200 power electronics related contributed articles including the Power Tips series. He also was heavily involved in TI (Unitroode) Power supply seminar by writing articles, presenting the material to a worldwide audience and producing the seminar.
Custom Automation Inc.
Andy Larson grew up on a dairy farm where there is much to learn about staying with a project until it is done. Larson is a P.E. in Minnesota and has a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Minnesota. This background has guided the founder and president of Custom Automation Inc. to be what it is today. The company is located in Blaine, Minn.
The purpose of Custom Automation, for its 30 year existence, is to design and build one of a kind factory automation machines. The machines, using components like those in the LEAP competition, are used to increase throughput and reduce costs. Many of the 200+ machines built over the years have assembled or processed medical devices including ophthalmic lenses and pacemaker components. Other machines have assembled a wide variety of consumer products.
Senior Engineering Operations Manager
Amar Maniar is a licensed Professional Engineer and IEEE senior member with a practical approach to problem solving. He is also a Chartered Engineer in the U.K. and enjoys streamlining complex requirements to simplify design approaches. Maniar has extensive experience designing various electrical systems from building-integrated utility-interactive solar power systems to lighting control systems, and even wastewater pumping station controls. He keeps his technical proficiency/knowledge relevant by achieving and maintaining pertinent certifications and licenses. This enables him to implement continuous improvement and develop innovative solutions. With degrees in electrical as well as computer engineering, his topics of interest include the power electronics and connectivity categories, as well as electrical-related submissions in the mechanical category. In his free time, he mentors high school students on electrical design and entrepreneurship. He has also published technical articles relating to the design and installation of low voltage and medium voltage switchgear.
Thomas E. Manley
Manager of Machine Design
Thomas Manley is Manager of Machine Design at Steris Corp., where he directs and designs the Automation Machinery for all Steris Manufacturing Plants. Manley is also a Part-Time Engineering instructor at Lakeland Community College and is the designer of 14-US Patents for various companies he has worked for. He has worked with High profile companies such as Harley-Davidson, American Axle, Meritor, Caterpillar, and Ford Motor Company, among others. Manley now supports the Steris Manufacturing Plants by implementing automation systems and small right size machines into all of Steris plants while adhering to strict budgets and goals.
Assistant Professor – Hybrid Drives
Tatiana Minav (ASME and IEEE member) is assistant professor in IHA – Innovative Hydraulics and Automation, Tampere University, Finland and associate professor in University of Agder, Norway. She has more than 15 years of experience working on improving the efficiency of off-highway mobile working machines. She has authored, in total, 120 scientific publications. Her current interests include zonal hydraulics based on EHA and EMA, sensorless position control with direct electric drive in hydraulic systems, failure and monitoring systems, thermal hydraulics simulation, energy balance, and energy recovery systems in non-road mobile working machines.
Jody Muelaner is a mechanical engineer with a background in aerospace R&D, but his passion is using engineering to help people lead more sustainable and healthy lives. Muelaner is a frequent freelance contributor to Design World and R&D World magazines. He leads SAE International’s transport decarbonization research, and founded betterbicycles.org, creating BriefBike — a folding e-bike that flicks open and closed in a single movement. When it’s folded, it can be rolled along behind you like a roller case.
Director of Sales and Marketing
RH Murphy Co. Inc.
Tom Solon has a diverse engineering background in roles as both an OEM and supplier, spanning many industries, from housewares and consumer products, to semiconductor manufacturing and medical equipment technology. A recognized authority in linear motion products, plastics, and semiconductor handling, he has authored numerous articles and technical papers.
Solon earned his BSME in Machine Design and BA in Economics from Brown University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He devotes much of his free time to public education as a school board member and technical education advisory board member.
Michael Traskos has been with Lectromec since 2004 and is the president and lead engineer. Traskos has led projects including design and testing of high energy electrical arcing events to assess the impact of in-flight wiring system failure, assessing aging aircraft fleet wiring systems health and predicting remaining reliable service life, and development of novel high voltage aircraft wiring architecture assessments and solutions. He was a key contributor to the USAF’s military handbook on aircraft wiring system fleet life assessment and life extension.
Traskos has written more than 250 articles/papers on the aircraft electrical systems and supporting technologies, presented research findings to industry groups, holds a patent on analysis, and is a contributing author to the latest revision of the Digital Avionics Handbook. Traskos is currently the chairman of the SAE committee for aerospace wire system installation, vice-chairman of the SAE committee on wire and cables standards, and an FAA Designated Engineering Representative. He earned a bachelor’s in both computer science and physics, and his master’s in applied physics.
Senior Systems Engineer
University of Malta
Daniel Zammit started his engineering adventure in 1998 when he attended the City & Guilds courses Technician Diploma in Applied Mechanical & Electrical Engineering, followed by the Advanced Technician Diploma in Applied Mechanical & Electrical Engineering, both at the ‘Mikilang Sapiano’ Technical Institute in Paola, Malta. Both courses consisted in a mix of academic, technical, and hand-on modules, including also an apprenticeship training period. The apprenticeship was done at Multi Packaging Limited, a leading corrugated carton factory in Malta, with the role of apprentice maintenance technician. Subsequently, after obtaining the City & Guilds technician qualifications he was employed full time with the maintenance team. The work consisted in troubleshoot, maintenance and installation of the factory machinery and utilities — a mix of electrical, electronic, and mechanical works.
Zammit continued his studies at the University of Malta and received the B.Eng and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 2007 and 2012, respectively. After obtaining the B.Eng degree, he worked as a Process Engineer at Carlo Gavazzi Ltd. The role consisted in introducing new and optimized assembly processes, and equipment in the production lines manufacturing Solid State Relays, as well as investigate and troubleshoot device failures to optimize the production/assembly of the manufactured devices.
Zammit is currently employed as a Senior Systems Engineer with the Department of Industrial Electrical Power Conversion at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Malta. He is currently reading for a Ph.D. degree on DC Microgrids. His research interests include Power Electronics, Grid-Connected Inverters, Power Converters, and Microgrids. He has published a number of academic papers and articles in these fields. These can be viewed on Daniel’s ResearchGate page: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Daniel_Zammit2
A hearty thank you to this year’s judging team, for all of the hard work!
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