News & Features

2013 Academy of Distinguished Alumni

 Oct. 26, 2013

Ten alumni from the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT Austin were inducted into the department's Academy of Distinguished Alumni on Oct. 25. The 2013 honorees were recognized for expertise in their fields, research and education advancements and strong leadership qualities.

The department established the Academy of Distinguished Alumni to acknowledge the professional achievements and contributions of its graduates. Twenty-seven charter members were inducted into the academy in 2003, and 74 additional members have been selected since.


Chia-pei Chou

Chia-pei Chou, M.S. 1983, Ph.D. 1988

In 1989, Chia-pei Chou joined the faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering at National Taiwan University (NTU), the country’s top-ranked university, where she is a distinguished professor. As a faculty member, she has been active in scholarly research in areas related to highway and airport pavements, and motor vehicle size and weights for more than two decades. In recognition of her teaching, she received NTU’s Outstanding and Excellent Teaching Award four times.

She developed the Pavement Management Systems for the National Freeway Bureau and the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Additionally, her work formed the basis for the runway skid resistance inspection and measurement specification for the Civil Aviation Administration of Taiwan. She also acted as director of the Center for International Academic Exchange of NTU and as CEO of the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan. She recently served her government as the director of the Division of Science and Technology, Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices in the United States for the National Science Council of Taiwan.

Sam Dawson

Samuel G. Dawson, B.S. 1983

Sam Dawson has spent his entire professional career working for Pape-Dawson Engineers, starting as an engineer and working his way up to his current position as CEO. His professional background includes providing design, technical support and management for a wide range of civil and environmental engineering projects. His vast project experience includes federal and state highways; master development of residential, commercial and industrial developments; sport facilities; public school campuses; floodplain modeling and reclamation; municipal and private wastewater collection and water distribution systems; and water pollution abatement facilities.

Since graduating from UT Austin, Dawson has always maintained a strong commitment to his profession and alma mater. He has held many leadership positions within San Antonio Chapters of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers and ASCE. He is currently serving as chair of the Engineering Advisory Board for the Cockrell School of Engineering and serves on the Engineering Task Force and Chancellor’s Council for the UT System. He also exhibits vigorous leadership in San Antonio civic affairs and the local business community, as well as in his church.

greg deierlein

Gregory G. Deierlein, Ph.D. 1988

Greg Deierlein, John A. Blume Professor at Stanford University, has been a transformative leader in the development of computational and experimental methods for stimulating nonlinear structural performance and characterizing structural material and component behavior. His expertise includes fracture and stability of steel structures and composite steel and concrete structures. He has applied his research to the development of performance-based design for earthquake and fire hazards. Since 2003, he has served as director of Stanford's John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center. His research has influenced the development of national codes and guidelines related to stability and collapse of buildings and other structures.

Deierlein has directed research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Applied Technology Council, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the American Institute of Steel Construction. He received the ASCE Norman Medal in 1994, 2002 and 2008. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his many contributions to the profession.

Hellmut Fleckseder

Hellmut Fleckseder, M.S. 1969

After receiving his master's degree at UT Austin, Hellmut Fleckseder returned to his native Austria to complete a Ph.D. at TU Wien/Vienna. His dissertation focused on the treatment of pulp mill effluent, which was the country’s most severe water pollution problem. He continued as a researcher and university professor, going abroad to Finland, Switzerland, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He also authored many important research papers on wastewater treatment and water pollution control for the Danube River and waters of Austria.

In 1994, Fleckseder moved from applied academia to public administration and began working for the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. He was dispatched to the Secretariat of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. The river passes through or touches the borders of 10 countries and its drainage basin extends into nine more. As the official steward of the entire river basin, he managed water quality issues and helped stabilize water disputes among the upstream and downstream countries, striving for equitable and sustainable water management.

Stuart Hudson

Stuart W. Hudson, B.S. 1982

Stuart Hudson began his career as a project engineer with Austin Research Engineers (ARE) performing technical functions on multiple projects related to bridge and pavement research, engineering and management. In his first assignment, he spent a year in Nigeria developing a pavement evaluation unit for the Federal Ministry of Works under sponsorship from the World Bank. He later conducted several large research projects for the Federal Highway Administration and state DOTs. In 1990, he became VP of the Infrastructure Division at ARE, responsible for research, development and implementation of projects for federal, state and local agencies.

He became president of the Texas Research and Development Foundation in 1993, which evolved into AgileAssets, Inc., of which he is founder, president and CEO. This leading global provider of engineering systems develops, supplies and updates asset management technology and software to transportation agencies and public works groups worldwide. He also helps implement these infrastructure management systems for numerous state departments of transportation and for international administrations and companies.

Candice Koederitz

Candice E. Koederitz, B.S. 1978

Candice Koederitz joined Exxon Chemicals as a project engineer in Baytown, Texas, shortly after graduating from UT Austin in 1978. She supplemented her engineering skills with an MBA from Harvard Business School. Here she was introduced to the world of finance and Wall Street. After earning her MBA, she joined Morgan Stanley and has been there for more than 30 years.

In her role as managing director, head of capital markets, she has been involved in new and innovative developments in finance including interest rate swaps, the securitization of the mortgage market, the first global bond and several new equity-based securities. She has raised capital to finance growth by restructuring or recapitalizing for companies around the world and across many industries including insurance, health care, manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation, retail, banking, energy, biotechnology, media and technology. Koederitz spent four years in Asia when capital markets for China opened and during the Asian currency and economic crisis, serving as the chief executive officer for Morgan Stanley’s business in Southeast Asia for two years.

Roberto Leon

Roberto T. Leon, Ph.D. 1983

Roberto Leon is the David H. Burrows Professor in Construction Engineering at Virginia Tech and is recognized for his research, teaching and service. One of the leading researchers in the field of steel-concrete composite structures and earthquake engineering, his work has affected numerous national and international design codes. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, books and book chapters, and has directed or co-directed nearly $7 million of external research funding at Georgia Tech and the University of Minnesota. In addition, he has been part of large, multidisciplinary teams that have collectively conducted more than $120 million in research.

The quality of Leon's research has been recognized several times, including with the ASCE Norman Medal in 2000 and the ASCE State-of-the-Art Award in 1996 and 2000. A dedicated instructor and research adviser, he is well-respected and sought out as a graduate adviser, as reflected by the large number of students he has advised or co-advised. His commitment to his profession through technical societies and committees has led to numerous leadership positions, including president of the Structural Engineering Institute.

Sher Ali Mirza

Sher Ali Mirza, M.S. 1968, Ph.D. 1974

S. Ali Mirza is professor emeritus of civil engineering at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada. As an educator, researcher and engineer, he has made outstanding contributions to the structural engineering profession. His research on safety, stability and modeling of reinforced concrete and composite steel-concrete structures has received international recognition.

The results of his research have been incorporated into several structural codes of practice and he has distinguished himself through his technical and professional contributions to civil engineering learned societies. He has also developed several innovative design and testing procedures that are widely used. He invented the confined capping system for compressive strength testing of high-performance concrete for which he holds American and Canadian patents and developed methods that are widely used for design of bridges employing inverted T-girders. His research on structural stability produced more rational and integrated designs of structural concrete columns and frames. Mirza's overall service was acknowledged with the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest official honor.

Jonathan Motherwell

Jonathan T. Motherwell, M.S. 1976

Jonathan Motherwell is a consulting engineer with more than 35 years of experience in environmental and geotechnical engineering. He worked on numerous projects around the world related to the oil and gas, mining, power and chemical manufacturing industries. He started his career with D’Appolonia Consulting Engineers in Brussels, Belgium, focused on project siting and development in Europe and the Middle East. After moving to Houston for a project assignment, he also became involved with contamination and remediation projects in the U.S. and Latin America. He has held senior positions with several major consulting and engineering companies including Dames & Moore, URS and ERM.

Since forming his own company in 2008, Motherwell has focused on project siting, development and construction in a sustainable manner that integrates engineering, environmental and social issues, and satisfies the performance standards required of international finance. Clients range from ExxonMobil to Anadarko Petroleum to the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.

Franz Rad

Franz N. Rad, B.S. 1968, M.S. 1969, Ph.D. 1973

Franz Rad joined the engineering faculty at Portland State University (PSU) in 1971 and was elected head of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in 1979. He was re-elected seven more times consecutively by the departmental faculty. Under his near quarter century of leadership, the department expanded faculty and staff, student enrollment and research productivity on a large scale.

Rad is currently a professor at PSU with research interests in earthquake-resistant structural engineering and forensic engineering. He has developed and taught 16 different courses, including a popular course in forensic structural engineering. Research projects include conducting a survey of the seismic hazards for nearly 50,000 non-residential buildings in Portland, and developing earthquake damage and loss estimation models for buildings. In 2003, in recognition of his extensive contributions to engineering education and research at PSU, and service to his professional community, he was honored by his peers to receive the first endowed Professorship in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Arthur M. James Professorship in Structural Engineering.