Public Release: 

Pitt School of Engineering to honor alumni, student at April 19 banquet

Achievements in construction, telecommunications, and energy lauded

University of Pittsburgh

At the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet April 19, the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering will honor James J. McGrath as its 2006 Distinguished Alumnus. Six other alumni also will be honored by individual departments within the school, one alumna will be honored with the school's 2006 Young Alumni Award, and a student will receive the Student Leadership Award.

McGrath, who earned the Bachelor of Science degree in chemical and petroleum engineering at Pitt in 1971, is president of Aker Kvaerner, Inc., of Houston. McGrath has more than 30 years experience in domestic and international engineering, construction management, project management, and executive management of heavy industrial projects ranging from chemical plants to steelmaking facilities. Previously, McGrath was president of Aker Kvaerner's Pittsburgh office. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania and has presented at the annual meeting of the National Petroleum Refiners Association. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pitt's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in 1998 and is a past chair of that department's visiting committee.

The 2006 Young Alumni Award, given to alumni in the early stages of their careers who make significant contributions to engineering, honors Vibha Rustagi, founding partner, president, and CEO of itaas Inc. of Duluth, Ga. Rustagi received the Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Pitt and the Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University. She is an active member of the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, and serves on the advisory board of the Women's Leadership Exchange. Rustagi recently was featured among the "Top 40 Under 40 Up and Comers" by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and was selected as one of the top 100 most influential minorities in cable by Cable World magazine.

The 2006 Student Leadership Award honors Joseph M. Pasqualichio, a senior electrical and computer engineering major. While attending classes full time, Pasqualichio also has held student leadership positions, including president of student government. He was selected as a freshman engineering leadership team mentor in 2003, a role that has allowed him to work directly with underclass students and provide academic guidance. Pasqualichio is involved in the School of Engineering as a member of Pex and Tau Beta Pi, and is a member of the national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa.

The six individual departments and the alumni they will honor follow.

Pitt's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering will honor David W. Wohlfarth, managing director of gas and fuel supply for Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) subsidiary PSEG Power LLC of Newark, N.J. Wohlfarth's experience in the energy business spans 37 years and covers production, pipeline, marketing, and distribution. Wohlfarth received the Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering from Pitt and the M.B.A. degree from Rutgers University. He is a member of the Pitt Varsity Letter Club, the Pitt Panther Club, the Pitt Alumni Association, the Chancellor's Circle, and the New Jersey Pitt Club. He previously served on the University's Commission for the Third Century and was recently named to the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering's visiting committee.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will honor Joseph A. Massaro Jr., founder, chair, and CEO of the Pittsburgh-based Massaro Corporation, a full-service construction and real estate company. Massaro received the Bachelor of Science degree from the department in 1958. He serves on the board of directors of Central Catholic High School, the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Pittsburgh Opera. His many honors include the Italian Heritage Society Businessman of the Year Award, the Pittsburgh Italian American Man of the Year Award, and the University of Pittsburgh Medallion of Distinction.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will honor Dennis Wisnosky, president of Wizdom Systems, Inc., of Naperville, Ill. Wisnosky received the Master of Science degree from the department in 1958. Recognition for his work includes the Hero of U.S. Manufacturing award from Fortune magazine, the San Fernando Valley Engineers Council International Engineer of the Year Award, and the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

The Department of Industrial Engineering will honor Glenn M. Foglio, president of the Pittsburgh-based Graciano Corporation, a construction services company focusing on masonry restoration and construction and historic preservation. He earned the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in the department in 1983 and 1990, respectively. Graciano has worked on many national and Pittsburgh landmarks, including Rockefeller Center, Two Mellon Center (formerly the Union Trust Building), and many buildings on the Pitt campus. Foglio also is president of the Restoration Contractors Association of Western Pennsylvania.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering will honor Jack B. Allen, senior vice president for operational excellence at Westinghouse Electric Company in Windsor, Conn. Allen received the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the department in 1971 and 1980, respectively. Allen is responsible for the Westinghouse behavioral and operational transformation initiative called Customer 1st, which involves focusing on customer-centric continuous improvement in company operations. Previously, he served as senior vice president for nuclear power plants.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering will honor Andy J. Benedict, who retired as executive director of global facilities, materials, and services purchasing (FM&SP) at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich. Benedict earned the Bachelor of Science degree in the department and the M.B.A. degree from the University of Detroit. Under Benedict's leadership, FM&SP became a global benchmark for nonproduction purchasing, incorporating new commodities and processes like team value management, accelerated revitalization, and the "Way Forward" efforts into nonproduction.


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