by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published March 26, 2018
James F. van Oss is passionate about his alma mater and in giving back to the University at Buffalo and the community at large.
van Oss, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UB, was selected as this year’s Engineer of the Year by the UB Engineering Alumni Association in recognition of his dedicated service to the school.
“UB is a great gift; give back your time, treasure and talent,” van Oss urged the over 200 senior engineering and computer science students, SEAS faculty and staff, members of the UB Engineering Alumni Association, NYS Society of Professional Engineering and Technical Societies Council, and family and friends, as he accepted the award during the annual SEAS Engineering Celebrations event.
The Engineer of the Year award goes to a school alumnus or closely affiliated person with distinguishing activities in alumni, community, business and professional affairs.
“UB means a lot to me and is a big part of my life,” said van Oss, who first moved to Buffalo when his father joined UB as a professor of microbiology in what is today the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. His mother worked in Lockwood Library.
“It is where I met my wife, Rosanne Frandina. Both my sons are UB alumni, as is my father-in-law Phil Frandina and my brothers-in-law Joe and Frank Frandina.”
“The big thing that UB taught me was not just engineering skills, but also leadership and communication skills and learning how to learn,” he continued. “That is why this award means so much to me. I have a lot invested in UB and I try to give back.”
He advised the students to “consider attending graduate school, especially at UB, since advanced degrees enable you to do what you want to do rather than what someone else tells you to do.”
He also advised the students to get involved with professional societies, to volunteer to help other students as alumni, and to stay involved with faculty.
Since joining Moog, Inc. in 1984, van Oss has worked on numerous aerospace programs including the Space Shuttle and Space Station, as well as several aircraft, missile and many satellite programs. He currently serves as an aerospace and defense product lifecycle management (PLM) architect and strategist, where he works on PLM programs and additive manufacturing projects in the Space and Defense Group and Aircraft Group.
While at Moog, he has worked in both engineering and information technology areas. His previous positions include engineering manager spacecraft fluid controls, group vice president and chief information officer, manager of engineering applications, section head of design engineering, and design engineer.
Born in Paris, France, van Oss speaks fluent French, plays ice hockey and is active in scouting, canoeing, and old home repair. He served as scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 5 for eight years, and as a trustee of the Buffalo Zoological Society for nine years.
His wife, Rosanne Frandina, P.E., L.S., is a civil engineer, land surveyor, and a UB alumna who owns her own business. They have three children, Tim, Dan and Katie, and live in Buffalo, N.Y.
To nominate an outstanding member of the SEAS community to be considered for the Engineer of the Year award, visit the UB Engineering Alumni Association’s webpage. See past Engineer of the Year winners here.
About the SEAS Engineering Celebrations Event
The Engineer of the Year award is presented during Engineers Week, in conjunction with the Order of the Engineer Induction Ceremony. New this year, students in computer science were invited to participate in the Pledge of the Computing Professional Oath Ceremony.
Modeled after the Order of the Engineer, this rite-of-passage ceremony recognizes and promotes the ethical and moral behavior of graduates of computing-related degree programs as they transition to careers of service to society. Pledge participants recite the Oath and wear a lapel pin featuring the word honor in binary code.
The event is open to all seniors in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It was held on February 21, 2018, in Slee Hall.