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College of Engineering

Hawkins recognized for excellence by the College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech's College of Engineering faculty, students and industry partners

Honoring a valued member of your staff is a welcome opportunity for employers in any year, but especially with the challenges of 2020. It is an added bonus, when that employee’s excellence is acknowledged by a broad base of support from colleagues. The College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech recently had this opportunity.

Wayne Hawkins was selected to receive the 2020-2021 Outstanding Staff Award for his work as manager of the Math and Materials Science Lab, which is located in the Center for Manufacturing Research. His nomination for the award was endorsed by students, professors, and an industry partner, all who value the commitment to excellence Hawkins has displayed in his work.

“Wayne works tirelessly to maintain and improve the wide array of equipment he oversees,” said David Chesson, graduate student assistant in the Mechanical Engineering program. His friendly demeanor and willingness to support both staff and students have made him indispensable within the graduate community.”

“He treats the students with respect and quickly develops a positive working relationship with them,” said Dale Wilson, Ph.D., and chair of the Manufacturing and Engineering Technology program. “He takes the time to provide complete safety training, and is able to share his expertise and offer flexibility in scheduling for students and professors, all while maintaining a high level of research support.”

One of Hawkins tasks is to work with industry through the Industrial Assessment Center located in the College of Engineering at Tech. The center partners with manufacturers to conduct no-cost, on-site energy efficiency assessments. It is one of only 28 such assessment centers in the U.S., and is certified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.

“Wayne takes the time to explain metallurgical reports associated with our products and the sample preparations, which support these reports,” said Brad Long, Global Chief Engineer for Cummins Filtration. “He is always on time with delivering results, and takes the time to listen and better understand the circumstances surrounding the sample(s) under investigation.”

Hawkins is responsible for managing a 2,050 square foot laboratory that houses sophisticated scientific equipment that supports graduate, undergraduate education and faculty research in the College of Engineering.  He leads lab sections for a variety of courses and oversees hands-on demonstrations, including Materials and Processes in Manufacturing, Microstructural Analysis. And, he participates in the Tech After Dark program for potential students to view areas of the College of Engineering that are not usually on the regular campus tour.

Hawkins is also involved with the Governor’s School for Emerging Technologies at Tech, which provides 11th and 12th grade students with opportunities to learn from leading researchers and experience cutting-edge research facilities through weekly field trips. Some of the past summer enrichment programs have included visits to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Arnold Engineering and Development Center, and the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Nominees for the Outstanding Staff Award are evaluated on job performance, attitude, commitment, professional development, and suggestions for improvements to programs. Traits all evident in Hawkins work. In addition to the recognition of his colleagues and clients, Hawkins was given $1,000 and a commemorative plaque.

Tech has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in its Best National University listing for the past four years, and in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs listing for a doctorate university for the past five years.

The College of Engineering at Tennessee Tech offers ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in basic engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, manufacturing and engineering technology, and mechanical engineering. At the graduate level, Tech offers both master’s degrees in the above disciplines and an engineering doctorate. 

Founded in 1915, the state’s only public technological university, Tennessee Tech offers degrees from eight academic schools and colleges to more than 10,000 students across its 282-acre campus. Its degree programs focus on Agriculture and Human Ecology, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Nursing.

College of Engineering Dean Joseph C Slater presents the Outstanding Staff Award for 2021 plaque to Wayne Hawkins for 2021

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