Class Notes

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Class Notes by Decade


James Devald (BS Chemical Engineering 1970) has retired from the Niagara County Health Department, where he was the director of environmental health since 1988. He started with the agency on June 1, 1970 as a junior engineer.

Hratch Kouyoumdjian, SE (MS Civil Engineering 1970) joined the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Dean’s Advisory Council. He is the founder, president and CEO of the KPA Group, a well-respected small engineering and architectural consulting practice headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Norm J. Hirschey (BS Mechanical Engineering 1977) was elected to the board of the Engineering Society of Buffalo. He is currently a professional engineer at An-Cor Industrial Plastics in North Tonawanda, New York.

Richard J. Kotecki, P.E. (BS Civil Engineering 1977) received the Basinski-Wohler Distinguished Service award from the Erie Niagara Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). He is the immediate past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers Buffalo Chapter and recently retired from the New York State Department of Transportation.

Joseph S. Frandina, P.E. (BS Civil Engineering 1978) received the Engineering Manager of the Year award from the Erie Niagara Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). He is the director of construction management for the Buffalo Bills and his most recent project consists of overseeing the recent $130M upgrade to Ralph Wilson Stadium (now New Era Field).

Ronald C. Kraemer (BS Civil Engineering 1978) has been promoted to senior vice president of National Fuel Gas Company. He will also continue in his role as president of Empire Pipeline, Inc.


C.L. Max Nikias (MS/PhD Electrical Engineering 1980/1982) received the 2016 Diversity Award from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department Heads Association at its Annual Conference and ECExpo. The award recognizes his efforts to boost diversity across USC’s student population. Nikias is president of the University of Southern California.

Daniel D’Angelo, P.E. (BS Civil Engineering 1983) joined the University at Buffalo’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering’s Advisory Board. He is a deputy chief engineer with the New York State Department of Transportation and currently serves as a member of the project executive management team and designated NYSDOT project liaison for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

Sung Ho Lee (BS Chemical and Biological Engineering 1984/1987) was appointed as the new pastor at Trinity United Methodist church.

Steven W. Smith (BS Civil Engineering 1985) was named head of Highways and Bridges at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in the United Kingdom. He is responsible for operations and financial performance of the business, which focuses on highway, bridge (rail & highway), civil infrastructure projects and ground/tunneling engineering.

Joseph Bracci (BS/MS/PhD Civil Engineering 1987/1989/1992) joined the University at Buffalo’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering’s Advisory Board. He is a professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University.


John Hubert, P.E. (BS/ME Civil Engineering 1991/1998) was elected to the board of the Engineering Society of Buffalo. He is assistant vice president with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, with 25 years of experience in the engineering field. He leads the civil and highway group in Buffalo, New York.

Alejandro Rivera Becerra (MS/PhD Industrial Engineering 1993/2001, ME Civil Engineering 1998) is now the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Mexico Embassy in Berlin, Germany.

Kevin R. Drozynski, P.E. (ME Mechanical Engineering 1996) received the Engineer of the Year award from the Erie Niagara Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). He is a customer facilities engineer with National Grid and has held numerous technical engineering positions with the firm spanning over 33 years.

Todd Snyder (ME Civil Engineering 1996) co-founded the recently opened Niagara Craft Spirits Distillery and Tasting Room, and was featured in the Gusto section of the Buffalo News on January 3, 2016. Snyder is an instructional support specialist in UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and faculty advisor to UB’s ASCE student chapter.

Matthew B. Kahn (BS Chemical and Biological Engineering 1998) co-founder and president of the Big Ditch Brewing Company in Buffalo, NY, was featured in the Gusto section of the Buffalo News on March 27, 2016.

Diego Lopez-Garcia (MS/PhD Civil Engineering/ Structural and Earthquake Engineering 1999/2004) was named chairman of the Department of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. During his time at UB, he was advised by SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus T.T. Soong and participated in earthquake engineering research through MCEER.


Jonathan K. Watts (BS/BS Industrial and Systems Engineering/Civil Engineering 2000/2003) was promoted to vice president of Watts Architecture & Engineering, P.C. in Buffalo, NY. He rejoined the firm after spending five and a half years with Pure Technologies US.

Lesley Weitz (BS Mechanical Engineering 2002) was named an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Weitz is a Principal Simulation Modeling Engineer at The MITRE Corporation, Center for Advanced Aviation System Development, in McLean, Virginia.

Rosaleen B. Nogle, P.E. (BS/MS Civil Engineering 2005/2007) received the Young Engineer of the Year award from the Erie Niagara Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). She is an associate engineer with the Buffalo Sewer Authority and is currently responsible for direction and supervision of storm and wastewater construction projects.

Justin Yates (MS/PhD Industrial Engineering 2007/2008) joined Francis Marion University as an assistant professor of industrial engineering.

Dapeng Cao (MS/PhD Industrial Engineering 2009/2014) was promoted to manager of healthcare analytics by Catholic Medical Partners.


Viralkumar A. Patel (BS/BS Electrical/Electrical Engineering 2012/2015) joined Iconics in Foxborough, Massachusetts, as an application engineer.

Dalton J. Barksdale (BA Computer Science 2015) joined CPR (Cell Phone Repair) of Tonawanda as a small electronics repair technician.

Ajeya Gupta (MS Electrical Engineering 2015) joined Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, as a research engineer. He is a member of the advanced networking research team, which is developing high speed networking protocols and electrical architecture in Ford-based vehicles.

Rahul Sindhu (MS Electrical Engineering 2015) joined Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale, California as a software engineer. He is working with the DevTest team in the routing business unit to develop, test and support CD 45 minute test suites for JUNOS.

Sreya Harshad Vedant (MS Electrical Engineering 2015) joined Intel Corporation as a platform application engineer, where she enables Intel hardware and software based platforms to support customer IOT applications.

Connor Brown (BS Mechanical Engineering 2016) is working at John W. Danforth in Tonawanda, N.Y., as a design build engineer, where he designs HVAC systems for buildings in Buffalo and throughout New York State including the First Niagara Center, the M&T Center, and Conventus. He was president of Engineers for a Sustainable World.

Jeffrey T. Scott (BS Mechanical Engineering 2016) was elected to the board of the Engineering Society of Buffalo. He is an aspiring controls engineer who teaches STEM topics and computer skills at the Valley Community Association in Buffalo, New York.

Tyler Szczesniak (BS Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 2016) is an Industrial/Manufacturing Engineer 1 at PCB Piezotronics in Depew, N.Y. He was president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).


Richard Schad (BS Engineering Science 1969) passed away on July 25, 2015 at the age of 93. He was the vice president and chief engineer at Rigidized Metals Corporation for over 30 years.

Allen Scott Pleban (BS Aerospace Engineering 1987, MS Mechanical Engineering 1992) passed away on December 15, 2015. He was employed by the Navy to work on weapon systems in California and Virginia. He won two bronze medals in World Masters ski orienteering competitions, a winter endurance sport that combines navigation and cross-country skiing, often over extremely rough terrain. He was 51.

Gloria Koontz passed away on August 13, 2016. She worked in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for 17 years, and retired in 1999 after serving as secretary to the chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Class of 2016: Off to a great start!

"I work with an amazing team of engineers and software developers in the Runtimecore team, which builds the core API for all the products Esri offers.”
Gela Malek Pour (BS Computer Science 2016), product engineer, Esri, Redlands, Calif. and former president of Scientista.

Joe Pace.

"I’m working in plant operations while also being trained in other facets of Praxair’s business including project planning and execution, plant start-ups or shutdowns, maintenance, project management, sales and planning.”
Joe Pace (BS Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 2016), Leadership and Technical Orientation Program engineer, Praxair, Deer Park, Texas. Joe is a former engineering clubs coordinator and treasurer for UB’s Student Association.

"I am working on a project to develop a mobile application for biomedical engineering technicians in developing countries to help them troubleshoot and repair hospital equipment.”
Katherine Czerniejewski (BS Biomedical Engineering, 2016), graduate student at Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design, Baltimore, Md. and former president of Tau Beta Pi.

"I am responsible for the entire development life cycle of the Infotainment software, which includes the screen in the center console and the instrument cluster.”
Nolan Foster (BS Computer Engineering 2016), software engineer, General Motors, Warren, Mich. and former president of the National Society of Black Engineers.

"I am assigned to the Schenectady City School District School Capital Project, which is a $70 million multi-school renovation project. I am onsite every day working with the contractors to solve problems and manage the project so that it is completed on time, on budget, safely, and in accordance to the contract documents.”
Brianne Stasiak (BS Civil Engineering, 2016), field engineer, Turner Construction Company, Albany, N.Y. As a senior, she was the engineering clubs coordinator for UB’s Student Association, and as a junior, she was president of the Society of Women Engineers.

Brianne Stasiak.

"I work on large capital projects for the HVAC industry, specifying, selecting, and pricing pumps, heat exchangers, and other equipment as well as traveling to meet with contractors and engineers to discuss technical details of projects.”
Robert Pettitt (BS Chemical Engineering 2016), integrated project engineer, Armstrong Fluid Technology, North Tonawanda, N.Y. and former president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Did you know?

Quadgen Wireless Solutions, located in King of Prussia, Pa., near Philadelphia, has been hiring our recent Master’s level graduates from the Department of Electrical Engineering’s communications and networking research group. At least nine graduates from the Class of 2015 have started their careers as network engineers and related roles at the company.