Orange County Engineering Council Recognizes UC Irvine Engineering at Annual Awards Banquet

Engineering faculty, students, and alumni highlighted for engineering accomplishments and contributions


The Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC), a non-profit umbrella organization established in 1962 to promote and improve the image of engineers and scientists as professionals, while recognizing the work they accomplish locally and nationally, honored four UC Irvine alumni, one current engineering student, and two Samueli School faculty members at their 2008 annual awards banquet.

UC Irvine alumni Jamie Yoshida, Joan Wada, and John Hanrahan received the Outstanding Engineering Merit Awards, and Duke Young was given the Young Engineer Award.  Masanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D., distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was awarded the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award and J. Michael McCarthy, Ph.D., professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, received the Outstanding Engineering Educator Award.  The Outstanding Engineering Student Award was given to undergraduate student Justin Little.   

Justin M. Little, an aerospace engineering and physics undergraduate student, has been awarded several fellowships that enable him to conduct a number of diverse research projects.  He was introduced to the forefront of nanotechnology under the Integrated/Nano Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.  Little was also granted the National Undergraduate Fellowship Program in plasma physics and fusion energy sciences, affording him the opportunity to attend a weeklong seminar at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in preparation for ten weeks of research at UC Irvine.  Currently, Little’s senior thesis project, a study of electron transport within a Hall effect thruster, serves as the capstone of his research accomplishments.  With project funding from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering Undergraduate Research Fellowships, Little continues to build upon his successes, seeking future research undertakings and aspires to gain expertise within his competitive field.

Duke Young, who holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UC Irvine, has over six years of experience in the design and construction of infrastructure improvement projects.  His experience includes the design of runways, taxiways, aircraft aprons, roadways, parking lots, hydraulics and hydrology, grading and drainage, computer-aided design on Intergraph/AutoCAD, drainage culverts, foundations, and fencing and gate design for airport clients.  He is experienced in developing plans, specifications, and estimates for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines.

Over the last several years he has taken on a considerable amount of added responsibility in his role of lead engineer/project manager.  Young has grown as both an engineer and a leader in the department, and is highly regarded by his peers.  He has consistently demonstrated outstanding commitment and dependability toward the accomplishments of the Aviation Group.

Jamie Yoshida, who holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in civil engineering from the Samueli School, works for the Irvine Community Development Company, where he provides engineering management for large master planned communities.  This includes interfacing with project management, builders, agencies, and consultants to determine infrastructure delivery requirements and project expenditures in accordance with business plan goals.  Key projects include: Newport Coast, Pacific Ridge, Crystal Cove, Turtle Ridge, Shady Canyon, Quail Hill, Northwood, Woodbury, Portola Springs, Orchard Hills, Stonegate, Laguna Crossing, Santiago Hills II, and Mountain Park.

Joan Wada, a systems engineer for The Boeing Company, is one of Boeing’s recognized experts in the area of test and integration of hardware and software systems.  Her work at Boeing includes over 22 years of experience, spending most of those years in systems engineering and software engineering to develop advanced simulations and modeling of hardware and software for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. 

Wada has received over 25 awards from the community, industry, and Boeing organizations for her technical contributions.  In 2007, she was recognized by the Chinese Institute of Engineering as Asian American Engineer of the Year.  Prior to that, she received a declaration from the City of Anaheim, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly.  Wada was recently honored as a Boeing Technical Fellow for her technical contributions to the Boeing Company.  This prestigious designation is given only to a few top candidates from around the country.

John Hanrahan, a technical director for The Boeing Company’s led Joint Tactical Radio Systems Ground Mobile Radio program, has over 27 years of experience building satellite and ground based communications systems for the government.  He holds his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from UC Irvine and his B.S. degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign.

Hanrahan was Boeing Engineer of the year in 2002 and was designated as a Boeing Technical Fellow in 2006.  He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) Communications Society and Software Defined Radio (SDR) Forum, and developed the system design for the first SDR radio for military communications.  This includes the development of the Wideband Networking Waveform, which will bring unprecedented data capability to the military in a secure tactical environment. 

Masanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D., distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine, is a world renowned expert in earthquake and structural engineering.  His research focuses on mechanics, structural engineering, and earthquake engineering.  His more recent research focuses on MEMS-based real-time health monitoring and damage detection of utility and transportation networks.  Shinozuka received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and his M.S. and B.S. degrees from Kyoto University.

J. Michael McCarthy, Ph.D., professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is co-director of the Center for Engineering Science in Design (CESD) at the Samueli School.  The CESD was established in 2006 and allows primarily undergraduate engineering students to develop engineering leadership qualities and effectively integrate engineering fundamentals and research into major design project execution.

McCarthy has been a leader in his field and has also been an advisor on many student projects.  His personal research interests include kinematic theory of spatial motion, design of mechanical systems, and robotics research.  He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and has published numerous papers.

In addition to assisting the science and engineering industries, the OCEC also supports science and engineering education, including the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair at the junior and senior high school levels, the Future Scientists and Engineers of America after-school program, and the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program.  The Council also hosts a Leader’s Night for networking among the presidents and CEO’s of technical societies, science engineering, and scientific corporations in Orange County.