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Engineer of the Year

Shah named 2017 Engineer of the Year

Over 240 students participate in annual Order of the Engineer ceremony

UB’s Engineering Alumni Association named Ashish Shah (center) its Engineer of the Year. Shown with Shah are Jordan Walbesser and Courtney Bentley. Photo credit: The Onion Studio.

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published March 20, 2017

“Take pride in everything that you do, and know that if you do good work, you will be helping someone somewhere in the world,” were some of the words of wisdom Ashish Shah (PhD ’93, MS ’89, Electrical Engineering) shared with students and fellow alumni of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences during its annual Engineering Celebrations event.

Shah was selected as Engineer of the Year by the UB Engineering Alumni Association in recognition of his dedicated service to the school, where he chairs the Department of Biomedical Engineering’s advisory board, and serves as a member of the school’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

An expert in plasma processes and coatings, Shah is the Vice President of Research and Development for the Advanced Surgical and Orthopaedics division at Integer (formerly Greatbatch).

During his 20-plus year tenure at Greatbatch, Shah has served in a variety of leadership positions. As R&D Director for Primary Batteries, he led the development and innovation of next generation battery technologies for use in cardiac neuro devices.

He concurrently served as Director of Materials Research, where he provided materials expertise to various divisions within the company while conducting research into new materials and material-related issues for use in medical components and devices.

Earlier in his career, Shah played a significant role in the research and development of tantalum electrolytic capacitors for use in implantable cardiac defibrillators. He holds 24 U.S. patents and in 1999, was presented with the Niagara Frontier “Inventor of the Year” award for collaboration on breakthrough capacitor patents in 1999.

Shah leads the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Battery technical information report committee and is a contributing member on a number of other AAMI committees. He maintains a relationship with Upstate New York Medtech as co-chair of the science and technology committee.

Originally from Kolkata, India, Shah came to Buffalo to attend graduate school at UB in 1985 and has called Western New York home ever since.

The award was presented by Jordan Walbesser (BS’07 CompE, JD ’10), a board member of the UB Engineering Alumni Association.

Order of the Engineer Ceremony

Following the presentation of the award, students participated in the Order of the Engineer ceremony. The annual ceremony is held for students in their senior year to foster a spirit of pride and responsibility in the engineering profession.

Christine Human, SEAS Associate Dean for Accreditation and Student Affairs, presented a brief history of the events leading up to the formation of the Order. A bridge collapse in Quebec in 1907 caused 75 casualties, primarily due to design errors and inadequate supervision of the construction. These events led to a Canadian “Calling of the Engineer” or “Iron Ring” ceremony in 1925. The ceremony became the basis for what is today the Order of the Engineer in the United States, which began in 1970. UB became a Link for the Order of the Engineer in 2006.

Students show off their rings, which symbolize their dedication to professional and ethical obligations as engineers. Photo credit: The Onion Studio.

Mark Adams, P.E., President of the Erie-Niagara Chapter of the NYS Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE), then led the group in a formal reading of the Obligation. The Obligation is a creed similar to the oath attributed to Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) that is generally taken by medical graduates and which sets forth an ethical code. Likewise, the Obligation contains parts of the Canon of Ethics of major engineering societies. Initiates, as they accept it voluntarily, pledge to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession and to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.

The ceremony concluded with the students placing a stainless steel ring on the little finger of their working hand, to present to the public a visible symbol identifying them as an engineer.

In addition to Adams, Shem Kobialka, P.E., Kevin M. Madoo, P.E., and Larry Zamojski, P.E., all from the Erie-Niagara Chapter of NYSSPE, attended the event. A reception for all participants followed the ceremony.

See photos from the Order of the Engineer ceremony here.