2006 TTU Engineers and Technologist of Distinction Honored

Three engineers who have taken the lead on global and national stages in their fields received accolades where their success took shape at the College of Engineering's annual awards banquet last week.

David W. Swindle Jr., president of IAP Worldwide Services, and Dudley Garner Jr., chairman of Symetrics Technology Group, were honored as 2006 Engineers of Distinction, and Paul E. Trussell, owner of Trussell Brothers Construction Co., received the 2006 Technologist of Distinction Award during Engineering Week.

The Engineers of Distinction program recognizes alumni and others whose careers have contributed to or reflected credit on the College of Engineering’s academic program, and the Technologist of Distinction award was created to annually recognize the distinguished career of a TTU Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Department graduate.

The awards banquet serves as the culmination of Engineering Week, a national week celebrated at TTU by highlighting engineering student and faculty activities.

David W. Swindle Jr.

During times of conflict and peace, the U.S. military must keep its focus on the job at hand, and Swindle assists the U.S. military and other government branches with civilian expertise few can match.

As president of IAP Worldwide Services Inc., a government contractor providing services for the federal government across the globe, Swindle oversees a broad spectrum of projects at more than 50 international locations. Projects include the operation of military bases, support of overseas military operations and implementation of domestic projects that require specialized technical and professional support.

Swindle shares responsibilities with IAP’s CEO for day-to-day business operations and program management of worldwide activities that exceeded $1.25 billion in 2005. Specific focus areas include business operations and development, strategic planning, government affairs, public relations and corporate communications. Typical company projects include transporting U.S. Army equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan, maintaining security and facilities management such as heating and cooling operations for military bases, finding highly qualified personnel to conduct science projects for the Department of Energy and procuring timely disaster relief.

Before joining IAP in 2005, Swindle, vice president of business acquisition and national security programs for KBR’s Government and Infrastructure Division, led a team of more than 80 specialists in development, communications and government relations that worked on worldwide projects exceeding $10 billion. In addition to the his current responsibilities, Swindle is also a technical advisor for several key national and homeland security programs performed directly for senior leadership of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence community.

Swindle earned a bachelor's degree in 1976 in engineering science from TTU, where he won the Derryberry Award and served as SGA president for two consecutive years. He received a master's degree in nuclear engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and an MBA in industrial management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Swindle is a registered professional engineer in seven states. He has two daughters, Mary-Louise and Caroline, and he and his wife, Carolyn, live in Leesburg, Va.

Dudley Garner Jr.

Now chairman of Symetrics Technology Group, Garner has distinguished himself as a design engineer, manager and entrepreneur. Symetrics, a customer-oriented aerospace company that he rebuilt starting in 1977, has operations in Florida and Texas, employs 165 people and has annual revenues of $35 million. Symetrics designs, manufactures and markets worldwide cutting-edge electronic and electro-optical products for telemetry, digital video recording, countermeasures dispensing, aircraft health monitoring, micro unmanned aerial vehicles and modems for digital and compressed imagery data.

Prior to Symetrics, Garner worked for Chance Vought Aircraft, Texas Instruments, International Data Systems, and Harris Corp. He contributed electrical product designs for the F-8U Crusader and F-4 Phantom Jet aircraft, Bomarc, Titan II, and Saturn V missiles and the Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft; program management for products for Titan III and Advanced Minuteman missiles and laser-based photographic quality facsimile; and general management as vice president of a Harris scientific computer subsidiary.

A staunch Tennessee Tech supporter, Garner, along with his friend Lt. Gen. Ret. Don Rodgers, contacted their classmates and started the EE Class of 1957 Scholarship Endowment in 1995. Garner has served on the ECE Industry Advisory Board since its inception in 1996 and through the IAB has challenged ECE alumni to establish similar endowments. In 2005, he helped start the ECE Seminar and ECE Undergraduate Research Endowments. He is a member of the President’s Club.

Garner and his wife have also established three college scholarships through two churches and a high school for deserving students needing financial assistance. Through Symetrics, and individually, they contribute annually to many charities.

Paul Edward Trussell

After earning an industrial technology degree in 1967, Trussell left Tennessee Tech with a wife, child, a job at General Motors as a design engineer, and a legacy from his father — a passion for hard work and cars. He later went to work for a company that contracted work for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

Trussell followed his entrepreneurial spirit and began his own company before moving from Ohio to South Carolina. There, he established Trussell Brothers Construction Co., a city, county and state contract construction company in Columbia. He oversees dozens of crewmen, including his two sons, Anthony and Michael, and he longs to work in the field more, but bids and orders take up most of his time, along with visits to every job site.

With contracts for small job bids at $15,000 and large job bids that soar as high as $7 million, the company's success has allowed him to follow his true passion — cars and racing.

His '32 Ford Roadster, a show car valued around $500,000 that travels around the world but has never hit the road, won the Oakland Roadster show and finished first runner-up for the prestigious Ritler Award at the Detroit AutoRama.

He became partners with "Fast Eddie" Hoover, a drag racer in the Pro Modified series, and their teamwork has made them champions in the International Hot Rod Association and the National Hot Rod Association. The sponsor and driver have won six major events and are driven by the pursuit of the NHRA World Championship.

Trussell and his wife, Peggy, live in Columbia, S.C. All of his brothers — Ray Gene, James Ronald and Billy F. Trussell, as well as his sister, Ellen Joann Smith, attended TTU. James and Billy are TTU alumni, as are his niece, Amy Trussell, and his brother-in-law, Jimmy Smith.