Distinguished Engineering Lecture Series Begins Fifth Year

The Distinguished Engineering Lecture Series, established in 2000 by Dean Frank P. Incropera, is entering its fifth year of service to undergraduates. Its goal is to expose students, particularly first-year engineering intents, to professional engineers who have achieved at the highest levels in their fields, giving the new undergraduates an overview of the range of opportunities available in engineering and providing them with a deeper understanding of the role of engineering in society and the impact that they, as future engineers, can have. The two speakers who participated this past year represent different fields, but they both serve in high-profile industries where decisions and actions can have tremendous consequences.

William F. Readdy, associate administrator of NASA’s Office of Space Flight, delivered the first talk in the 2003-04 series. A former astronaut and veteran of three space shuttle missions -- including commanding a docking mission to the MIR Space Station -- he is responsible for the Johnson, Kennedy, Marshall, and Stennis space stations; the International Space Station; and space shuttle, space communications and space launch vehicles programs.

During his presentation, “Engineering Challenges in Human Space Flight: NASA’s Path from Columbia Recovery to Return to Flight,” Readdy discussed the engineering challenges of space flight as he highlighted the incredible successes and tragic failures of the space program. He also addressed the Columbia Accident Investigation Board report and the path that NASA has chartered for a stronger, smarter, and safer flight program.

Readdy earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, with honors, from the U.S. Naval Academy and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

The second speaker in the 2003-04 series was Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for FPL Energy, LLC. His talk, “Engineering Careers and the Energy Industry,” outlined the importance of energy in a global economy; wind energy, one of the most exciting developments in power generation today; and the benefits of an engineering education.

O’Sullivan, who was appointed to his current position in July 2001, is responsible for FPL Energy’s business development and asset acquisition activities. He previously held management positions at Commonwealth Edison, NRG Energy, and the AES Corporation.

A registered professional engineer, O’Sullivan earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Notre Dame in 1982 and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Chicago in 1987.

FPL Energy is one of the largest providers of clean energy in the United States, operating facilities -- natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear -- in more than 20 states.

Speakers for the 2004-05 academic year will be announced on the College of Engineering home page, www.nd.edu/~engineer, later this year.
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