2010-2011

2010 Goddard Award Recipients

Bob Whyte '60

Bob Whyte, you have epitomized the WPI motto of theory and practice by using your skills to solve complex problems and make a significant impact in the world.

Starting out at the Picatinny Arsenal as an aeroballistics engineer in the early 1960s, you recognized the shortcomings of the process used to predict and evaluate ammunition performance. Back then, engineers worked by hand, sorting though massive quantities of data and attempting to work out intricate equations on paper. But the process wasn't an exact science and engineers didn't always produce the right answer.

You knew that there had to be more accurate and effective ways to develop and test weapons. Early on, you saw an innovative application for a fledging science and harnessed the power of the computer to create an aerodynamic coefficient predictive code.

In the 1970s, while employed by General Electric's Armament Department as an ammunition project engineer, you initiated the development of a comprehensive ammunition design and system simulation computer model called PRODAS. But the lack of high quality aerodynamic data inhibited its progress. So you adapted and modified NASA-derived, non-linear methodology to compute highly accurate aerodynamic data from free flight tests. Data from prior years could quickly be reanalyzed by this powerful methodology, which became the U.S. government's standard and remains so today. In recognition of this achievement, General Electric named you their 1973 Engineer of the Year.

In 1987, you and business partner Burdett K. Stearns, an expert in structural dynamics, founded Arrow Tech to support the U.S. defense industry. As weaponry became more sophisticated, you understood the growing need for efficient, reliable simulation methods. Throughout your career, you have shared your expertise through countless technical publications and course offerings. You expanded Arrow Tech's reach by providing commercial software tools to professional engineers. Today, the PRODAS software you developed is an industry standard, and is recognized as the most advanced analytical tool kit in the world for the design and analysis of ammunition and missiles.

Robert Whyte, we take pride in your on-target innovations, and we are honored to present you with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.

Peter Rado '70

Peter Rado, you have what it takes to soar in the turbulent universe of technology management.

As the computer age started to take off, you jumped on board and steered a decisive course towards an engaging and influential career.

You honed your skills in engineering at Alpex Computer and Bunker Ramo, both companies that pioneered computer-controlled cash registers. Then you moved to Digital Equipment Corp. to work on the first VAX computer in the VAX engineering group and received two patent awards. At Apollo Computer, the innovator in engineering workstations and networked computing, you moved into engineering management roles. You joined Sun Microsystems before the beginning of the dot com boom and proved yourself as a leader in the company's workstation and server development. You advanced to the post of Vice President of Engineering for the company's volume system product line, ultimately devoting a total of 17 years to the strategic advancement of Sun technology, and winning the Sun Microsystems Chairman's Award for Innovation.

At the dawn of a new millennium you brought your talents to Silicon Image, an international leader in the high-definition market. You started there as Vice President of Storage Systems Engineering and quickly rose to become Vice President of Worldwide Operations and Quality, with overall responsibility for supply chain management, procurement, manufacturing, distribution, test engineering, and quality.

Peter Rado, for your rich contributions to the digital innovations that enhance our work and personal lives, we are honored to present you with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.

Mark O'Neil '80

Mark O'Neil, you've taken the fast track from WPI to success, blazing new trails for the automotive retail industry to follow—and leaving the competition in the dust.

With an MBA from Harvard Business School, you entered the business world and quickly found your way to the automotive retail sector, where you began rewriting the rules of the road. After presiding over the Ertley MotorWorld group, you co-founded CarMax, Inc., bringing the efficiencies of the big-box "superstore" to the used automotive market.

Next, you became President and Chief Operating Officer of Greenlight.com, which chauffeured used car buying into the 21st century with online search and sales capabilities. Your web-based network helped sellers expedite inventory, while giving customers increased reach to locate the car they wanted at a price they could afford.

Today you serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DealerTrack Holdings, equipping auto dealers with the management tools they need to grow and prosper. Across the country, thousands of dealerships rely on this suite of performance solutions to streamline operations, maximize sales, and assist customers in financing their purchase. It's impossible to calculate the number of car owners whose dreams have become a reality through your efforts.

Mark O'Neil, you have revolutionized the way America shops for and buys used cars. Your contributions are a tremendous inspiration to your fellow WPI alumni. We are pleased to present you with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.

Edward Cheung '85

Edward Cheung, thanks to your work as principal engineer for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Project, images from the far reaches of outer space continue to inspire the earthbound and to spur the discovery of new knowledge. It is fitting that we recognize you today with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement—named for WPI's most famous alumnus who worked tirelessly to launch humankind into orbit.

You joined NASA in 1991, and five years later became part of the Hubble team. Your leadership and ability to solve complex problems have been vital to advancing our understanding of deep space. With your team, you have designed and implemented innovative hardware and equipment that has kept the Hubble Telescope in orbit, and you have dedicated years to perfecting the Wide Field Camera III, which was installed on the telescope in May 2009. This camera has brought new depth and range to Hubble and is expected to become the telescope's new main instrument. Your work on this powerful camera has implications far beyond the stunning images it will capture. These images will have a profound impact our understanding of the universe, driving new studies of dark energy, dark matter, and the formation of individual stars—and the discovery of extremely remote galaxies.

Your great contributions to the Hubble project and other innovations in computer science and robotics have garnered many accolades, including a Silver Snoopy Award, presented by NASA astronauts to NASA employees in recognition of outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success. In addition, you received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement, and you have been bestowed a knighthood by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, inducting you into the Royal Order of the Netherlands Lion.

This is not the first time your alma mater has recognized you. In 2000, you received the Ichabod Washburn Young Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement. At that time, we honored you for your work to design and install the HOST controller—an elegant, low-cost computer to command the Hubble's cooling system, gyroscopes, and vital data-recording devices and to provide a data link to ground control. Today, we are proud to recognize your continuing remarkable work on the Hubble Space Telescope Project by presenting you with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Oustanding Professional Achievement.

Paul Chodak III '85

Energy is one of the most pressing issues of our day. Paul Chodak, with your extensive knowledge of energy issues and hands-on experience in the energy industry, you have become just the kind of leader that WPI strives to develop in each student.

After earning your bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, you accepted a commission in the U.S. Navy, serving more than seven years as a submarine officer, including qualification as a chief engineer. During that time you also earned a master's degree in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1992. You were then awarded a Department of Energy Fellowship and went on to earn a doctorate in nuclear engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996. You put your knowledge to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where you delved into the technology and complex policy issues surrounding nuclear power and proliferation risks.

In 2001, you embarked on an impressive career at American Electric Power, one of the nation's largest power generators. You first joined AEP's Service Corporation as a senior project manager. Your talent and expertise quickly surfaced, and you advanced to leadership positions in Regional Engineering for Regulated Generation, Corporate Technology Development, Environmental Programs, and New Generation. Since 2008 you have served as  president and chief operating officer of Southwestern Electric Power Company, with 439,000 customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, and northeast Texas. In August 2010, you became president and chief operating officer of AEP's Indiana Michigan Power. In this new role, you are leading the company in meeting the energy needs of 582,000 customers in Indiana and Michigan.

Throughout your career you have always remembered the important lessons you learned at WPI, about working with people, teams, and communities. You have been described as thoughtful in your work with employees, and exceedingly conscious of the communities in which you have worked and lived. You are a role model for our students, a leader whose vision is grounded in theory and practice. We are proud to recognize you today with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement.

October 19, 2010