Three alumni awards were presented at the Touchstone and Homecoming Celebration Dinner
on Friday, Sept. 30, as part of Trine University’s 2016 homecoming events.
Cliff Ryan, a 1966 accounting graduate, received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
The Outstanding Achievement Alumnus award is given each year to an alumnus who has
attained a high level of achievement in his or her profession, is well thought of
in his or her community, and who upholds the ideals of Trine University.
Ryan worked as a CPA for Price Waterhouse & Co. in Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio, from
1966 to 1974. He moved on to spend 10 years as vice president of corporate planning
for DuBois Chemicals before becoming vice president of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures
for the Johnson Group, an English holding company.
In 1987, he purchased a small environmental company, which he expanded over the next
17 years into a dominant supplier of disposal and recycling services for many customers
in the Midwest. In 2004, he sold the company to his 135 employees via an employee
stock ownership plan.
Ryan has served as a member of Trine University's Board of Trustees since 2009 and
is active on the Campus Planning Committee and the Committee on Trustees. The Ryan
Concert Hall in the Furth Center for Performing Arts is named in honor of Ryan and
his wife, Sig, as well as the Ryan Tennis Center and the Ryan Skywalk connecting the
Rick and Vicki James University Center with the Zollner Athletic Stadium.
Edward R. Gerecke Jr., P.E., a 1970 civil engineering graduate, is the 2016 recipient
of the Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service award is given each
year to an alumnus/ae who has performed outstanding service to society in his or her
profession, personal achievement or community; and who has manifest interest in Trine
University and has supported it by contributions of time, talent, and money; by recruitment
of students; or by placement of graduates.
After working for two years as an assistant field engineer for Bethlehem Steel Construction,
Gerecke began a 30-year career with the New York State Department of Transportation
as a civil engineer. Among other projects, he developed the scope of work for an upgrade
of an 89-mile section of New York Route 17, Southern Tier Expressway, to Interstate
86 standards. He also developed a proposal for the design and construction for two
safety rest areas on the I-86 expressway, and updated two cycles of the Federal Appalachian
Cost Estimate for an 89-mile section of I-86.
After retiring from NYSDOT in 2003, he served as an on-call disaster assistance representative
for the New York State Office of Emergency Management. In that position, he worked
with FEMA on federal disaster declarations to evaluate and prepare storm claims and
complete project closeouts. During the summers of 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008 he served
as a member of the transportation staff for the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit
adult education center and summer resort, and since 2004 has served as a substitute
bus driver for Lake Shore Central Schools in Angola, New York.
James Sturgeon, 2002 BSME, and Amanda Sturgeon, 2002 BSBIO, are the 2016 recipients
of the Distinguished Service Young Alumnus/a Award. The Distinguished Service Young
Alumnus/a Award is presented to an alumnus or alumna who is 40 years of age or younger
who has performed outstanding service to society in his or her profession, personal
achievement or community; and who has manifest interest in Trine University and has
supported it by contributions of time, talent and money; by recruitment of students;
or by placement of graduates.
Amanda has worked for Coastal Carolina University for 14 years, where she currently
serves as lab manager for the Environmental Quality Lab, a nonprofit facility within
the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science emphasizing education, research and
community service. The EQL is a state-certified analytical chemistry and microbiology
lab focused on environmental investigations. She is an active member of the Water
Environment Federation and the Water Environment Association of South Carolina.
James has worked for 14 years for Conbraco Industries, a manufacturer of commercial
and industrial flow control products, including the Apollo ball valve. He currently
serves as foundry manager, where he is responsible for plant operations in the production
of investment castings and sand castings in corrosion-resistant alloys, high alloy
steels, super alloys and titanium. He is the past chairman of the Piedmont Chapter
of the American Foundry Society and is also a member of the AFS 4L Technical Committee
on investment casting. He was instrumental in establishing the foundry lab at Trine
University and assisted Virginia Tech with the development of its cast metal program.
Photos: Top: Ned Haylett, left, president of the Trine University Alumni Association Board
of Directors, and Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president, present the
Distinguished Service Young Alumnus/a Award to Amanda and James Sturgeon. Middle:
Cliff Ryan receives the Outstanding Achievement Award. Bottom: Edward R. Gerecke Jr.
receives the Distinguished Service Award. (Photos by Dean Orewiler)