Published Tuesday Oct 31, 2006
The Distinguished Alumnus, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Young Alumnus awards are the highest bestowed by the university's alumni association and recognize those who have demonstrated professional excellence and achievement or outstanding service to the university.
This year's Distinguished Alumnus is Allen Atkins, retired vice president of technology for Boeing's Phantom Works. The Outstanding Service Award will be presented to Chuck Cagle, attorney at law and partner with Lewis, King, Krieg and Waldrop in Nashville. The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, which recognizes graduates who are 40 or younger, will be awarded to Art Blanchford, vice president of the GM Global Business Unit for Autoliv Inc. in Auburn Hills, Mich.
The awards reception and ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10, in the Roaden University Center Tech Pride Room. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.
Atkins is credited with being the father of stealth technology because of his technical leadership that led to the success of the country's stealth programs. Soon after graduation from Tech, he began working at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where Atkins spearheaded the development of the first electric remotely piloted vehicle, the first solar powered RPV, the smallest operational RPV, and the first truly stealthy RPV.
His success with the RPV programs led to the extension of the low observable technologies to the larger manned aircraft. This maturation of the technology led by Atkins resulted in the F-117 Stealth Fighter and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff directly attributed the country's success in Desert Storm to the technical leadership that Atkins provided on the stealth demonstrator programs.
In 1981, Atkins received the Department of Defense's second-highest civilian award. After a highly successful tour at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ending as the director of the Aero-Space Technology Office, Atkins moved to McDonnell Douglas in 1987 as vice president general manager of a newly created organization that became the Phantom Works.
In 1990, Atkins became the vice president general manager of McDonnell Douglas Technology Inc., a corporate subsidiary specializing in making things "invisible." In 1997 at the merger of McDonnell Douglas with Boeing, Atkins rejoined the Phantom Works as the vice president of technology, furthering the application of both foreign and domestic advanced technology to Boeing products.
Atkins has given time, counsel, and resource to the electrical and computer engineering department and to the College of Engineering by serving and providing leadership on the Industrial Advisory Board and the Dean's Advisory Board. He helped the college create a blueprint to enhance research and scholarly activities and establish an endowment to support research in honor of his mentor, Carl Ventrice. Atkins was one of the first two graduates awarded doctoral degrees in Engineering at TTU in 1975.
For more than two decades, Cagle has served TTU despite a heavy travel and work schedule as a leading education attorney in the state. He oversees his firm's representation of more than 70 boards of education, two private schools and two private universities. He works on a regular basis with education leaders concerning issues related to school law, governmental relations and personnel management.
Cagle serves his alma mater with enthusiasm, acting as an ambassador for the university in several roles. He consistently gives of his time as a presenter and consultant in several university-sponsored workshops and seminars, including the annual Safe and Accountable Schools Conference and the Upper Cumberland Educators Conference.
He supports TTU's music department and has made major contributions to department projects throughout the years. He has demonstrated particular dedication to the TTU Tuba Ensemble.
Cagle chairs the Board of Advisors for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education and serves on the board of Tennessee Tech's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics (STEM) Center. He also holds adjunct faculty appointments at TTU and at George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University where he teaches graduate courses in education law.
He is a member of the American, Tennessee, Davidson County and Sevier County Bar Associations, the Tennessee Council of School Board Attorneys, the National School Boards Association's Council of School Attorneys and the Education Law Association.
After graduating from TTU with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Blanchford entered the automotive industry as a product development/systems engineer with TRW. He then took a position with Autoliv, North America, the worldwide leader in automotive safety systems.
Throughout his career he has demonstrated an ability to increase company sales and profits by building strong alliances, reducing costs and simultaneously finding new engineering solutions. He has made quick ascension through the ranks of his company due to his ability to negotiate and lead with successful results. He has displayed determination to improve the bottom line of his company, while at the same time maintaining strong relationships with customers.
Blanchford has been responsible for several high-profile, multimillion dollar projects with all of General Motors' companies and brands from Opel in Germany to Shanghai GM in China. With direct responsibility for global sales and program management/launch and accountability for engineering, production, quality and purchasing, he has 18 direct reports and 100 in his organization.
This year, he and his team have booked the largest orders for each of Autoliv's three main technologies — seat belts, airbags, and electronics — in the history of the company. He is in charge of more than $700M in annual sales, and it is growing significantly each year. With his leadership, Autoliv was also awarded GM Global Supplier of the Year for Airbags and Electronics for the first time in 2005.