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College honors seven DEA award winners

From left, Lonnie Poole, Jr.; John Brantley, III; Linda Butler, Dean Louis Martin-Vega, Joseph Pleasant, Jr.; and Carl Stutts, Jr.
From left, Lonnie Poole, Jr.; John Brantley, III; Linda Butler, Dean Louis Martin-Vega, Joseph Pleasant, Jr.; and Carl Stutts, Jr.

The College honored seven winners of its Distinguished Engineering Alumnus (DEA) award during a ceremony on campus on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, as part of Red and White Week.

The award was established by the College’s faculty in 1966 and is the highest honor it bestows upon alumni. Recipients are traditionally honored at an awards ceremony during homecoming week. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no event was held during 2020.

The 2021 ceremony honored DEA recipients from 2020 and 2021, along with one alumnus from the 2019 class who could not attend that year’s event.

John C. Brantley, III (2019) earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1964. After working with the Federal Aviation Agency and a private engineering firm, he founded an airport planning and design consultancy. He joined the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority in 1977 and served as airport director for 29 years.

Linda H. Butler (2020) earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering in 1986, followed by master’s and M.D. degrees from University of Florida and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively. Since 2009, she has served as vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at UNC REX Healthcare in Raleigh.

Carl S. Stutts, Jr. (2020) earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1968 and an MBA from the University of Houston. He retired as chairman and CEO of Cyanco, a leading global supplier of sodium cyanide for gold mining, and is focused on work with nonprofits.

Gregory N. Washington (2020) earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering in 1989, 1991 and 1994, respectively. He is president of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He served previously as dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine.

Christina H. Koch (2021) earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 2001 and a bachelor’s in physics and master’s in electrical engineering in 2002. As an astronaut on the International Space Station, she set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Koch conducted six spacewalks, including the first three all-women spacewalks.

Joseph M. Pleasant, Jr. (2021) earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in 1972. He retired after 42 years with Premier, Inc. and its predecessor organizations, where he served as CIO and senior vice president. Pleasant also served as chairman and a founding member of the Coalition for Healthcare eStandards and a founding member of the College for Healthcare Information Management Executives organization.

Lonnie C. Poole, Jr. (2021) earned a bachelor’s degree in 1959 in civil engineering. He is the founder and retired CEO and chairman of Waste Industries USA. He and his wife, Carol Johnson Poole, provided a naming gift for the Lonnie Poole Golf Course as well as the lead gift for the Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse. They also endowed the Poole College of Management at NC State.

Koch and Washington were not able to attend the 2021 ceremony because of prior commitments.