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Three engineers whose work on land, in air or at sea exemplifies excellence were honored by Tennessee Tech University's College of Engineering at the annual awards banquet.

Teresa Vanhooser, co-deputy director of Marshall Space Flight Center's Engineering Directorate, and Carl W. Sandlin, drilling operations manager for ExxonMobil Development Co., were honored as 2007 Engineers of Distinction, and Kenneth R. Winter, owner of Winter Yacht Basin, received the 2007 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.

Teresa Vanhooser (industrial engineering, '80)

Vanhooser, a Johnson City native, serves as co-deputy director of one of Marshall Space Flight Center's largest organizations, consisting of more than 2,000 civil service and contractor employees with an annual budget in excess of $135 million.

The Engineering Directorate is responsible for the design, testing, evaluation, and operation of hardware and software associated with space transportation, spacecraft systems and science instruments, along with payloads under development at the center. The directorate also manages Marshall's Payload Operations Center, which is the command post for scientific research experiments aboard the International Space Station.

She was the first woman and youngest person ever to serve as mission manager for the Second Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science Mission, for which she received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for her accomplishments. In 1997, she served as mission manager for the first Microgravity Science Laboratory on the Columbia shuttle mission.

In 2000 she was named to the Senior Executive Service as manager of the payload operations and Integration Department. Under her leadership, multiple racks were successfully delivered to orbit and 24/7/365 payload support was provided to the International Space Station. She was promoted in 2004 to Deputy Director of Flight Projects.

Vanhooser's career has been marked with numerous awards. In 2006, she was recognized by President George Bush with the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive for outstanding leadership and service in federal government. She also received the 2006 Federal Women's Program Outstanding Woman Achiever Award for outstanding performance, dedication and innovations as a supervisor.

Vanhooser and her husband, Mike, also a Tennessee Tech graduate, have two daughters, Heather and Holly, and reside in Madison, Ala.

Carl W. Sandlin (chemical engineering, '71)

As ExxonMobil's drilling operations manager, Sandlin is responsible for drilling operations in Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Russia, for deepwater drilling in the Americas and for worldwide exploration drilling in areas where ExxonMobil does not have production operations. He is also responsible for the safety, health and environmental work of the drilling organization.

Sandlin joined Exxon in 1972 and has held a variety of engineering assignments in both drilling and production. Since 1981, he has held managerial positions in production, exploration and planning, and business analysis. In 1990 Sandlin moved to Malaysia as drilling manager and returned to Houston in 1994 as drilling operations manager. With the merger of Exxon and Mobil in 1999, he retained his position.

Sandlin serves on Tennessee Tech's Chemical Engineering Department Board of Advisers. He is a member of both the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Sandlin graduated from TTU in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and from Georgia Tech with a master's degree in chemical engineering in 1972. He and his wife, Judy, have a daughter, Rachel, who is currently living in Plano, Texas. He and his wife are active members of Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, where he is a member of the Chancel Choir. Sandlin is also on the board of directors for Caring Adoptions, a non-profit adoption agency.

Kenneth R. Winter (industrial technology, '62)

After graduating from Tennessee Tech, Winter, a New Jersey native, returned to his family's boatyard where he took over the business and built it into a full-service marina and boatyard, home base and port of call for some of the world's finest yachts.

Spurring innovation in the business, Winter moved the facility beyond the traditional ship's chandler role. He brought in large lifts, sophisticated repair techniques and high-tech materials. Winter Yacht Basin, located on the Intercoastal Waterway at Barnegat Bay, grew to be a pre-eminent luxury yacht service. Winter even added a helipad for the convenience of his fast-moving clientele.

Winter is past president and board member of the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association. A member of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey Hall of Fame, Winter also served on that organization's board and was elected president.

In addition to giving to Tennessee Tech, Winter has supported education by serving on the General Advisory Board for Ocean County Vocational Technical School. He served as chairman of the board and as a member of the Marine Trades Committee.

Ken and wife, Karen, have three grown children, Kimberly, Andrew and Ginna, and two grandchildren, Ryan and Sydney.