WASHINGTON (20 April 2010) — Ultrasound pioneer Gerald J.
Posakony was honored with the John Fritz Medal — the highest award
in the engineering profession – on Monday night by the
American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES).
Posakony’s pioneering contributions to the fields of
ultrasonics, medical diagnostic ultrasound and nondestructive
evaluation technologies were recognized during AAES’ 31st annual
awards ceremony at the Great Hall of the National Academy of
Engineering. He was one of six engineers honored.
Posakony’s work on medical ultrasound technology began in the
early 1950s when he was the lead engineer on an ultrasonic
diagnostic imaging system for investigating human disease
processes. His efforts, particularly in the development of
ultrasonic transducers — the “eyes” of an ultrasound system —
have contributed greatly to modern ultrasound technology. The
medical imaging of muscles, tendons and internal organs is used to
gauge their size and structure and determine if pathological
lesions are present. Obstetric sonography is important in
monitoring the health of a pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
Posakony also designed, fabricated and tested an ultrasonic
phased array system for the Electric Power Research Institute to
conduct inspections of nuclear power plant components. The
transducer he developed to test for aging in the Sparrow solid
rocket motor enabled the U.S national inventory to be screened, and
aged motors to be removed.
A former senior research scientist at Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory in Richland, Wash., Posakony graduated from Iowa State
University in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering. He
holds 13 patents and became an honorary IEEE member in 2009.
The John Fritz Medal is presented each year for scientific or
industrial achievement in any field of pure or applied science. It
was established in 1902 as a memorial to the engineer whose name it
bears. Past recipients include Alexander Graham Bell (1907), Thomas
Edison (1908), Alfred Nobel (1910), Orville Wright (1920) and
Guglielmo Marconi (1923).
National Engineering Award
Dr. Charles M. Vest received the National Engineering Award for
his long and distinguished career as a leader in engineering
education, his strong advocacy for the engineering profession, and
for strengthening national policy on science, engineering and
education. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering
(NAE) and a former president of the Massachusetts Institute of
After graduating from West Virginia University with a degree in
mechanical engineering, Vest began his tenure at Michigan by
earning his master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical
engineering. He taught courses in heat transfer, thermodynamics and
fluid mechanics, and conducted research in heat transfer, laser
optics and holography. He concluded his 27-year Michigan career as
dean of engineering.
During his 14 years as MIT president (1990-2004), Vest was
active in science, technology and innovation policy; building
partnerships among academia, government and industry; and promoting
the importance of open, global scientific communication, travel and
sharing of intellectual resources.
Vest was awarded a 2006 National Medal of Technology — since
renamed the National Medal of Technology and Innovation — from
former President George W. Bush. The award is the highest honor for
technological achievement bestowed by the president on America’s
leading innovators. Vest became NAE president in 2007.
The National Engineering Award is presented for inspirational
leadership and tireless devotion to the improvement of engineering
education and to the advancement of the engineering profession, as
well as to the development of sound public policies as an
engineer-statesman. Previous recipients include IEEE Fellow and
former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine (1991) and former
astronaut Neil Armstrong (1979).
Norm Augustine Award
IEEE Fellow Dr. Karen Panetta, a Tufts University professor in
the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received the
Norm Augustine Award for communicating the excitement of
engineering through outreach activities that promote careers in
science and engineering, and encourage youth to improve the
environment and change the lives of individuals and
Panetta, who founded and serves as editor-in-chief of the IEEE
Women in Engineering magazine, has devoted much of her energy
toward encouraging young women and minorities to become engineers.
She developed the highly successful international program “Nerd
Girls,” which challenges women engineers to complete
interdisciplinary projects and connect with K-12 girls to generate
interest in the profession. By demonstrating how engineering helps
society and improves the quality of life for humans and wildlife,
she has motivated thousands of girls to pursue engineering
Panetta also developed India’s “Health and Human Information
System,” a database program used to track and analyze disabilities
in young children. It has been accessed by more than four million
users and provides reliable data for medical doctors and the
government to identify the causes of several disabilities. The
Indian government of Tamil Nadu recognized her with an Award for
The Norm Augustine Award is presented to an engineer who has
demonstrated the capacity for communicating the excitement and
wonder of engineering. The award is conferred on those rare
individuals who can speak with passion about engineering — its
promise as well as its responsibility — so that the public may
have a better understanding of engineering and a better
appreciation for how engineers improve our quality of life.
The Kenneth Andrew Roe Award
Daniel D. Clinton, Jr., P.E., was presented the Kenneth Andrew
Roe Award for being an inspirational leader, ambassador and
crusader for the advancement of worldwide unity among engineers
throughout his more than 50-year career.
Clinton’s leadership as a member of numerous international
societies and federations has resulted in many successful
initiatives, such as promoting the development of engineering
capabilities in developing countries through accreditation,
licensing and knowledge transfer, and the publication of a
“Guidebook for Capacity Building in Engineering.”
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Clinton worked at the firm
of Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, Inc. for 41 years. He retired as
senior vice president, director and corporate secretary. He is a
former president of the National Society of Professional Engineers
(NSPE), the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, the Engineers
Council of Houston, the Houston Engineering & Scientific
Society and the Council of Engineering Companies of Texas.
Clinton has served as a member of the United States Council of
International Engineering Practice, and as the NSPE representative
to the Union Pan American de Asociaciones de Ingenieros and the
World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO). He is
currently president of the WFEO Committee on Engineering Capacity
Building and has organized and participated in capacity building
sessions in India, Brazil and Kuwait.
He received civil engineering degrees from Texas A&M
University and Stanford University.
The Kenneth Andrew Roe Award is presented on behalf of the
engineering community to recognize an engineer who has been
effective in promoting unity among the engineering societies.
Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal
Clifford W. Randall, Ph.D.
Dr. Clifford W. Randall received the Joan Hodges Queneau
Palladium Medal for leading the cooperative efforts of engineers,
scientists and environmentalists to create innovative solutions to
environmental problems specific to estuaries like the Chesapeake
Randall, who has devoted decades of service to improved water
quality throughout the world, was a key member of the Chesapeake
Bay Project team that identified and quantified pollution sources;
developed, promoted, and negotiated solutions with the
stakeholders; and significantly improved the bay’s water quality.
His work has also led to innovative approaches to nutrient removal
in wastewater treatment plant discharges — improvements which were
imperative to meet the water quality goals of the project.
Randall’s contributions throughout his career have had a major
impact on hundreds of wastewater facilities around the world,
allowing them to greatly reduce nutrient releases without incurring
major increases in treatment process costs. He has worked
tirelessly with environmental engineers and scientists to improve
treatment facilities in South Africa, India, China, Canada, Puerto
Rico and South Korea. The cost-effective solutions he promoted and
implemented bridged the gap between engineers and
environmentalists, while satisfying the demands of regulators and
those being regulated.
After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the
University of Kentucky in the field of civil/sanitary engineering,
Randall completed a doctorate in environmental health engineering
from the University of Texas in 1966.
The Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal honors an engineer’s
outstanding achievement in environmental conservation. The medal
underscores the vital importance of mutual understanding between
conservationists and engineering professionals.
AAES Chair’s Award
Dr. John S. Mayo, a veteran designer of advanced communications
and computer systems, and former president of Bell Laboratories,
received the AAES Chair’s Award for leading the development of the
digital technology foundation for the Internet age, from early PCM
(Pulse Code Modulation) transmission systems to later broadband
optical transmission systems and advanced digital switching
An IEEE Fellow, Mayo received a National Medal of Technology
from former president George Bush in 1990.
Mayo began his career with Bell Labs — now Alcatel-Lucent Bell
Labs — in 1955. He worked on the design of the first
transistorized digital computer, Tradic, a military development
project. He then became supervisor for the T1 carrier project, a
time-division multiplexed digital transmission facility capable of
supporting 24 voice channels. Mayo also contributed to the
development of the Telstar satellite communications system,
electronic systems for ocean sonar and the world’s first
long-distance digital switching system.
After serving as Bell Labs’ director of Ocean Systems
Laboratory, executive director of the Ocean Systems division and
the Toll Electronic Switching division, and vice president of
Electronics Technology, Mayo became Bell Labs president in 1991. He
served until mandatory retirement age in 1995. He is credited with
globalizing Bell Labs and forging closer ties between its research
and development and business units.
Mayo earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D in electrical engineering
from North Carolina State University.
Dr. Ralph W. Wyndrum, Jr., who worked with Mayo at Bell Labs and
served as AAES chair last year, nominated him.