2004 Engineers and Technologist of Distinction honored

Distinctive leadership in high profile positions characterizes the careers of three Tennessee Tech University College of Engineering graduates who will be honored at this year’s Engineering Week Awards Banquet on Thursday.

Along with the annual awards for two Engineers of Distinction, TTU’s College of Engineering will present its first Technologist of Distinction award, created to annually recognize the distinguished career of a TTU manufacturing and industrial technology department graduate.

Alice L. Cannella, plant superintendent for the City of Chattanooga’s wastewater treatment facility; and Randy G. Darcy, senior vice president and chief technical officer of General Mills, will be honored as the 2004 Engineers of Distinction. Lem McSpadden, owner of A+ Home Inspection Services, will receive the university’s first Technologist of Distinction honor.

The two recognition programs honor alumni and others whose careers have contributed to or reflected credit on the College of Engineering’s academic program. The awards banquet serves as the culmination of Engineering Week, a national week celebrated at TTU by highlighting engineering students and faculty.

Alice L. Cannella
'78 B.S. Civil Engineering, ’72 B.A. Sociology

Cannella’s distinguished career reflects her commitment to public service. With special expertise in design, development, construction and operation of sanitary and combined sewer collection systems, her career path led her to positions with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Hamilton County (Tenn.) government, Fyie Engineering and the City of Chattanooga.

Since 2002, she has served as plant superintendent over the regional wastewater treatment facility serving the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and surrounding communities in the Tennessee-Northwest Georgia area. In this role, she establishes operational and capital project priorities for the wastewater system and provides administrative assistance. She oversees a program with an annual operating budget of $17 million and a five-year capital improvements program of $60 million.

A Registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Grade II Collection System Operator, and a Grade IV Wastewater Operator in the state of Tennessee, Canella holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from TTU, in addition to two other bachelor’s degrees, one from TTU in sociology and one from Middle Tennessee State University in fine arts.

Cannella is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Tennessee Tech Engineering Development Foundation, the Tennessee Tech Engineering Dean's Advisory Board and the Water Environment Federation.

Randy G. Darcy
'73 B.S. Mechanical Engineering

Darcy joined General Mills in 1987 as Director of Cereal Manufacturing. Named the company’s senior vice president in 1994, he became responsible for purchasing, grain merchandising, engineering, manufacturing and packaging.

His responsibilities expanded in 1998 to include all aspects of the General Mills supply chain, including distribution and logistics. In 2003, he was promoted to his current position as senior vice president and chief technical officer with responsibilities for research and development, quality and regulatory operations, and supply chain operations.

Prior to joining General Mills, Darcy was employed from 1973 to 1987 by Procter and Gamble within their manufacturing, engineering, sales, and research groups.

Darcy graduated cum laude in 1973 from TTU, earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He attended the university on an athletic scholarship and captained the 1973 varsity golf team.
In addition to his General Mills’ leadership positions, he is a director of Northwestern Corp., PTI (a joint venture with Dupont), and Nistevo, as well as a member of the Dunwoody Institute Board of Trustees.

Darcy and his wife, Cathy, have a daughter, Jennifer, and a son, Craig, and live in Wayzata, Minn.-more-


Lem McSpadden
’71 B.S. Industrial Technology

During his 30-year tenure at Fleetguard/Nelson, a manufacturer of heavy-duty filtration and exhaust system products, McSpadden met numerous technological and sociological challenges, including integration of a second company and its product line into the company’s business plan. He was responsible for leading a global cross-functional team of engineers, sales and marketing personnel to achieve growth for specific customers, including JI Case, John Deere and Peterbilt/Kenworth, on a global basis.

McSpadden joined Fleetguard/Nelson after graduating from TTU in 1971. During his career, he held numerous positions with the company, including sales training manager, senior account manager, and global account executive.

In retirement, McSpadden has exercised his entrepreneurial spirit by creating a new company in Cookeville, A+ Home Inspection Services. A certified inspector with American Home Inspection, he recently launched an additional business – EnviroTENN – that specializes in mold inspection and prevention.

McSpadden has devoted extensive energy assisting TTU’s College of Engineering, particularly through his service to the Tennessee Tech Engineering Development Foundation.

In 2003, McSpadden and his wife, Donna (business management, ’75), were selected by the Tennessee Board of Regents as the first recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy.

He and Donna, a senior consultant for DLM Associates, a medical management consulting service, reside in Cookeville.
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