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University of Iowa News Release

June 10, 2005

UI Engineering Inducts Three Into Distinguished Alumni Academy

The University of Iowa College of Engineering will induct three new members into its Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy this spring for contributions toward personal engineering achievement, leadership and service to the profession and society.

The distinguished engineers, who will be inducted into the academy during the college's spring alumni reunion dinner Saturday, June 11, are Luther H. Smith, Robert P. Stearns and Ahmet Selcuk Uzuner.

Luther H. Smith (bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, 1950) of Villanova, Pa. is a retired U.S. Air Force captain who flew 133 combat missions in World War II and a retired General Electric Co. engineer with 37 years service and two U.S. patents. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Captain Smith is an original member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, eight European and Mediterranean Theaters Campaign Ribbons and the Prisoner of War Medal after being permanently injured on his final combat mission, parachuting while unconscious from his burning P-51 Mustang aircraft, and held as a prisoner for seven months until the war ended. After earning his degree at the University of Iowa, Smith worked at GE's Electric Missile and Space Operations until his retirement in 1988. Since then, he has served on the Engineer Architect Evaluation Board that chose the design for the World War II Memorial, and has worked tirelessly to gain recognition for the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen. Furthermore, he has contributed significantly to the achievement of racial equality in the United States and the world and helped change the face of the U.S. military in a remarkably short period of time.

Robert P. Stearns (bachelor of science in civil engineering, 1960) is co-founder and chairman of SCS Engineers, Long Beach, Calif. He is recognized nationally for his significant contributions to the environmental engineering profession and advancement of practices of solid waste management. The innovative work performed by SCS forms the basis for many standard industry procedures for investigating and controlling sanitary landfill gas emissions, forecasting emission generation rates and designing emission extraction and migration controls. Stearns led an effort to improve refuse collection productivity through mechanization, making SCS a present-day bioreactor landfill specialist. He also conducted a pioneering refuse collection privatization project with the City of Phoenix, Ariz. that resulted in an innovative program considered a model for many cities and countries. In 2003, Stearns was inducted into the Environmental Industry Association's prestigious Hall of Fame. He is a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, chairman of the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, former board member of the Solid Waste Association of North America and a registered engineer in California, Virginia and Ohio.

Ahmet Selcuk Uzuner (master of science in mechanics and hydraulics, 1975) is an engineer and entrepreneurial business leader respected throughout the Middle East and internationally. He is a co-founder (along with his brother, Secil, another member of the College's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy) and vice president of UZKA, a leading Turkey contracting firm, and president of UZPA, an international trading company in Turkey and the Middle East. HHe also is founder and finance manager of BETRA, partnering with an Austrian company to produce concrete railroad sleepers and other pre-cast concrete products, including interlocking barriers. His most recent initiative, RAYMAK, is renovating the tracks and metro systems of Turkey's railroads. Previously, Uzuner held several positions at ENKA, Inc., the largest international engineering company in Turkey. There he led efforts to build an entire city in the Saudi desert, and helped lead construction of the 600 megawatt Hamitabat Combined Cycle Gas Power Plant in Turkey, completed in only nine months. Uzuner also served the Greater Municipality of Istanbul to help manage construction of the Istanbul Rapid Tramway System.

The 2005 induction ceremonies bring the Academy's membership to 55. Among them are 10 members of the National Academy of Engineering, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, senior executives who have served many national and global corporations, two chiefs of engineer of the Army Corps of Engineers, a minister of foreign affairs for Ireland, two ministers of education and one minister of water resources for Taiwan, and the president of Hokkaido Institute of Technology in Japan.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu