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TTU News


To celebrate some of its top engineering alumni, Tennessee Tech University’s College of Engineering recently recognized four of its graduates for their contributions to their fields.

The ceremony was part of the culminating banquet for the university’s annual Engineers Week.

thumb Kim_Williams_HeadshotKim Williams

’94 industrial engineering

Kim Williams, vice president of manufacturing at Calsonic Kansei North America, received the College of Engineering’s Technologist of Distinction Award.

Williams is responsible for the operations of Calsonic’s United States manufacturing sites in Shelbyville, Lewisburg and Smyrna, Tenn., as well as Canton, Miss. The company is a leading supplier of products for Nissan, Subaru and Mitsubishi, and Williams uses metric management to oversee safety, quality, operations, delivery and new model launch at her plants.

She joined the company in April 2010 as plant manager of exhaust, stamping and heat exchange manufacturing plants. She was named vice president of manufacturing in January 2013.

Williams spent 16 years in a variety of manufacturing roles starting at General Motors Powertrain in Spring Hill, Tenn. There, she was responsible for quality engineering, compliance management, service/campaign engineering, new product launch and manufacturing management. Following her time at General Motors, she managed a privately owned business for two years, which provided painting and powder coating of automotive and major appliance industry components.  

Williams is co-president of Southern Automotive Women’s Forum, a non-profit, professional organization dedicated to promoting women’s personal and professional advancement in the automotive industry. The organization’s membership comes from all major original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and service industries. The organization has raised several thousand dollars for scholarships for young women pursuing technological degrees. 

Williams earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering technology from TTU in 1994, and a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University in 2004.

She was born February 11, 1972. She has been married to Marty, her childhood sweetheart, for 19 years. They have two daughters and a son.

Her hobbies include watching her children play softball and riding horses in the hills of Tennessee. She is passionate about working in the automotive industry and has always had a love of automobiles and horsepower. She enjoys her 1972 restored Corvette.

thumb Lynne-colorLynne Parker

’83, computer science

Lynne Parker was named the College of Engineering’s Computer Scientist of Distinction.

Parker is a professor and associate chairperson of the electrical engineering and computer science department at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. There, she directs the research of the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory. From 2010-2012, she was UTK’s founding director of the Center for Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning.

She is assistant director of the Science Alliance between UTK and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she is principally responsible for managing the joint directed Research and Development Program. She is also an adjunct distinguished research and development staff member at ORNL, and has worked there as a full-time researcher for several years.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in computer science from TTU, Parker went on to receive a master’s degree in computer science from UTK in 1988 and a doctoral degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.

Parker is a leading international researcher in the field of distributed multi-robot systems. She is frequently a featured speaker at international conferences, workshops and universities, and has given more than 110 lectures in more than 15 countries. She has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles in the areas of mobile robot cooperation, human-robot cooperation, sensor networks, robotic and machine learning, intelligent agent architectures and robot navigation.

For this research, she was awarded the 1999 U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Scientist Award and the 2000 U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. 

Her UTK awards include the 1996 Angie Warren Perkins Award for scholarship, teaching, and contributions to campus intellectual life; the 1999 College of Engineering Allen and Hoshall Engineering Faculty Award; the 1999 Ralph Gonzalez Family Research Excellence Award; the 2011 Chancellor's Honor for Research and Creative Achievement; and the 2013 College of Engineering Moses and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award. 

She is editor-in-chief of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Conference Editorial Board, and served as an elected administrative committee member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society from 2008-2013. 

From 2005-2010, she was a senior editor of IEEE Transactions on Robotics. She has served on the editorial board of IEEE Intelligent Systems since 2003 and is one of the organization’s fellows. She has also been on the editorial board of the Swarm Intelligence Journal since 2008. 

She serves as general chair of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation and is a member of the National Research Council's advisory panel on information science. She has previously served on the advisory panels on armor and armaments, and air and ground vehicle technology, all of which oversee research at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Parker is committed to training the next generation of scholars in computer science. She regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in algorithms, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Parker and her husband Bob, also a TTU graduate, are members of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, where Bob serves as a deacon. They have eight nieces and nephews and one grandnephew. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, attending The University of Tennessee sporting events, playing the piano and entertaining her two cats.

thumb Dunn_PhotoCullen Lamar Dunn

’64, civil engineering

Cullen Lamar Dunn received TTU’s Engineer of Distinction Award.

Following graduation from Tech, Dunn worked for the Tennessee Department of Public Health’s Sanitary Engineering Division. In 1976, he opened the division’s first office outside of Nashville.

After nine years working for the state, he opened an office in Knoxville for the international consulting firm of Russell & Axon. In the course of nine years at Russell & Axon, his responsibilities increased, culminating in the position of executive vice president. In that role, he was responsible for all domestic operations and his engineering work involved domestic and international projects.

In 1982, he founded Lamar Dunn & Associates, Inc. Over the next three decades, the firm grew and was involved in many projects that were recognized with awards of engineering excellence.

Dunn is a life member of the American Water Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers and the Water Environment Federation. He has served as state president of the Consulting Engineers of Tennessee and as national director representing Tennessee in the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Dunn was elected by his peers to serve as senior vice president on ACEC’s executive committee. He is a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute sponsored by ACEC and conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Advanced Management Institute. He has been active in licensure matters, chairing the Council’s committee of licensure. He serves on the United States Committee for International Engineering Practices.

In 2010, he received the designation of executive engineer, ACEC’s highest designation, and was elected to the College of Fellows in 1997.

He served on the business practices committee in FIDIC, an international consulting engineering association.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at TTU, he went on to earn a master’s in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1967. Dunn is a member of the civil and environmental engineering advisory board at Tennessee Tech.

Dunn enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening and traveling. His business and leisure travels have taken him to all seven continents. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have a son, two daughters and five grandchildren.

thumb Harper_second_photoTrudy A. Harper

’83, ’84 electrical engineering

Trudy Harper received the Engineer of Distinction Award from her alma mater.

Harper recently retired as president of Tenaska Power Services Co., the power marketing affiliate of Tenaska, one of the largest non-regulated developers and owners of power plants in the United States. She remains on the Tenaska Board of Stakeholders, and continues to participate in board meetings and strategic planning activities. 

Before leading Tenaska, Harper was general manager of business development for Tenaska’s independent power plant development efforts.

She has been involved in various industry activities, serving most recently on the members committee of the Southwest Power Pool, the board of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the executive committee of the Electric Power Supply Association. She has chaired numerous industry committees, including the North American Electric Reliability Corporation stakeholders committee. 

Harper was the 2010 recipient of the Gulf Coast Power Association’s Pat Wood Power Start Award for her contributions to the deregulation of the Texas power market. 

Before joining Tenaska in 1992, Ms. Harper worked with Texas Utilities Electric Company in Dallas, where she held various transmission and generation planning, and state and federal regulatory affairs positions. In those capacities, she was responsible for licensing new generation and transmission facilities and developing company policies on transmission access and pricing. 

After completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at TTU, Harper went on to earn an MBA with an emphasis in finance from Southern Methodist University in 1989.

Harper has served as co-chair of the Industry Advisory Board to TTU’s electrical and computer engineering program and serves as an adjunct faculty member.

Since retirement Harper has returned to her hometown of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., where she lives on the lake with her husband Roger Knipp.