Montana State University

College of Engineering alumni, faculty, staff honored during MSU Homecoming

October 9, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN – Eight individuals associated with Montana State University’s College of Engineering received awards during ceremonies for MSU’s 2015 homecoming, which celebrated “100 Years of the College M.”   

The College of Engineering awards honor individuals in four categories—alumni achievement, distinguished faculty, distinguished staff and honorary alumni. The Academy of Distinguished Alumni recognizes alumni who are outstanding in their field, are leaders in community affairs, are worthy of emulation and have made outstanding contributions to the college.

Alumni achievement awards went to Karen Arnold, Steve Daines, Wesley D. Kremer, Jerry Miller, and Michael C. Stears; the Distinguished Faculty Award was received by Denbigh Starkey, professor emeritus; the Distinguished Staff Award was given to Terry Kennedy; and the Honorary Alumni Award went to David Vap.

  • A Minnesota resident, Arnold is a co-founder and CEO of Nanocopoeia, a drug development company that creates complex therapeutic nanoparticles. For more than 30 years, Arnold has had a successful career in engineering, research, business development, technology commercialization, corporate partnering, corporate restructuring and venture capital. Arnold has worked with technology businesses in industries as diverse as medical devices, biotechnology, information technology and industrial manufacturing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MSU and a master’s degree in business administration and manufacturing from the University of St. Thomas.
  • Daines, who is from Bozeman, represents Montana in the U.S. Senate. Daines spent 28 years in industry, including 13 working as a manager at Procter & Gamble and three years working in his family’s construction business. In 2000, Daines took on the role of VP at RightNow Technologies, a Bozeman-based cloud computing start-up company that was subsequently acquired by Oracle in 2012. Daines began his political career in 2012 after being elected to serve as Montana’s United States Representative. He became a Senator in 2014. Daines earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MSU in 1984.
  • Kremer, a Tucson, Ariz., resident, is president of Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), a division of Raytheon Company. IDS supplies weapons, sensors and integration systems to international and domestic customers, including the U.S. government. Prior to joining Raytheon in 2003, Kremer served 11 years in the Air Force as a weapon systems officer, with more than 1,500 hours flying fighter aircraft, including more than 90 combat sorties in Iraq and Bosnia. Kremer received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MSU and his master’s in business administration from City University of Seattle.
  • Miller, who grew up in Libby, is senior vice president for the southwest region at Ames Construction, Inc., which provides heavy civil, mining, industrial and transportation construction services in the U.S. and Canada. Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at MSU in 1996, Miller joined Ames’ Salt Lake City office. He was soon transferred to Phoenix, where he was a project engineer in operations and a project manager. In 2009, Miller became general manager of the Arizona Region at Skanska, a large international construction company. Miller returned to Ames in 2011 to oversee its Phoenix and Los Angeles offices and operations as Vice President. In 2014 Miller was promoted to his current position.
  • In 1978, Stears, a Butte native, launched his career in data storage with StorageTek, a Boulder, Colo., company, where he became a senior development engineer. Another Boulder County company, MiniScribe, recruited him in 1986 and eventually promoted him to senior manager. In 1990, he joined Conner Peripherals. By 1995, as a senior vice president, he helped arrange a merger with Seagate Technology. Seagate moved Stears to Singapore, where he worked to improve manufacturing productivity as senior vice president of Asian operations. In 2001, Stears returned to Boulder to work for Exabyte, where he oversaw most of its critical functions. Stears earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University and a certificate in executive management through a program offered by Stanford and the National University of Singapore.
  • A longtime faculty member and former head of MSU’s Computer Science Department, Starkey earned his bachelor’s degree from the Honour School of Mathematics and Philosophy at Oxford University in the United Kingdom in 1968. After earning his doctorate in computer and information sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972, Starkey became an assistant professor of computer science at Washington State University. While at WSU, he was named a National Lecturer by the Association of Computing Machinery. In 1984 Starkey came to MSU as professor and the first department head of the new Computer Science Department, a position he held until 2002. He retired in December 2011 after nearly 40 years of university teaching. Starkey still lives in Bozeman.
  • Kennedy, a Bozeman resident, was hired as a receptionist within the College of Engineering 1981 and remained until retiring in 2014. Kennedy helped what was then the Mechanical Engineering Department transition to using computers for clerical work. As her knowledge of academics quickly grew, her role expanded. She helped countless students navigate their majors’ curricular requirements and scheduled courses. When a merger created the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department in the early 1990s, Kennedy was integral as the new department introduced new minors and a fourth major. She witnessed the department’s enrollment grow from approximately 400 students to more than 1,300. Kennedy earned recognition with an Employee of the Year Award in 2010.
  • Vap, group vice president of applications at Oracle in Bozeman, is responsible for product strategy, product management, engineering, and quality assurance for the Oracle Service Cloud product line. A 20-year veteran of the technology industry, Vap was RightNow’s chief solution officer when it was acquired by Oracle in 2012. Prior to joining RightNow, Vap served as vice president of sales and marketing at Software AG. He also worked at Artesia Technologies as the vice president of products. Before joining Artesia, he founded and ultimately sold a professional services company. He began his career at Price Waterhouse in Washington, D.C. Vap earned his bachelor’s degree in 1990 at Carnegie Mellon University.

Contact: Elizabeth Brock, (406) 994-1564,