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Screenshot of IHS Petra Software
Screenshot of IHS Petra Software

IHS Inc. Provides Petroleum Engineering with $1.25 Million Software

Whitacre College of Engineering students will now have access to a powerful software tool for geological, engineering and petrophysical analysis, through IHS Petra® software valued at more than $1.25 million from IHS Inc., the leading source of critical information and insight.

"Many engineering and production companies, especially independents, use IHS Petra to conduct their geological and engineering analysis," said Dr. Marshall Watson, chair of the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering. "Having basic knowledge of this software will give our undergraduate students a real competitive advantage in job placement."

IHS Petra is a PC-based geological and engineering analysis software tool that is used by geoscientists and engineers to visualize, analyze and manage well production, well log, drilling, reservoir and other related information. This software also includes a database of more than 3.5 million current and historic well records from across the world.

"We are pleased to be able to provide this IHS software to Texas Tech, which is a global leader in both education and research for the petroleum engineering community," said Russ Sagert, vice president of energy software products at IHS. "This software will ensure that Texas Tech students have industry-leading technology at their fingertips and will help them significantly when they enter the workforce, since many oil and gas companies require their interpreters and engineers to have experience with our geology and engineering applications such as IHS Petra."

The IHS Petra license will allow up to 150 students to work on the software at the same time. The department is one of the largest petroleum engineering programs in the U.S., and this software will be deployed in the new $22.8 million Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building's unique cluster of laboratories.

"Once implemented, our students will benefit from hands-on use of the software in their classes," Watson said. "Also, once data is assembled, it can be shared with other universities in an overall senior-design-project exchange plan to help create a portfolio of design projects."

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Baumgartner Named Young Distinguished Engineer of the Year

James Baumgartner, a 2009 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, has been named the inaugural Whitacre College of Engineering Young Distinguished Engineer of the Year.

The Young Distinguished Engineer of the Year Award has been established to honor a young Whitacre College of Engineering alumnus who represents the college in an outstanding way through their professional and civic achievements and through their overall involvement with the college.

Originally from San Antonio, Baumgartner has already established a successful career with ExxonMobil.  He has acquired experience on four continents and more than 12 countries in a variety of areas, including government and national oil company negotiations, large-scale contract development and bidding, contract management, offshore/onshore execution planning, and general project engineering. He is currently working in St. John's Canada on the Hebron Project, but returns to Lubbock on a regular basis as part of the ExxonMobil Recruiting Team. 

One year after graduation, he started a scholarship endowment in the college that has provided scholarship funding to two engineering students. Baumgartner is one of the founding members of the Young Guns young engineering alumni board and serves on the Young Guns executive committee. Since graduation, he has also been involved with a number of civic and philanthropic organizations including Compassion International, United Way, the Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity.


Phillips Named Entrepreneur of the Year

Aaron Phillips, a 2007 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and a 2008 graduate with a Master of Science in industrial engineering, has been named the inaugural Whitacre College of Engineering Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes a Whitacre College of Engineering graduate that has taken personal risks and sacrificed himself or herself to pursue a dream of new and better products and services that benefit society. The award criteria include a thorough assessment of recent financial performance, strategic direction, product or service innovation, company leadership including personal integrity and risk-taking, values and key employee initiatives, and community involvement.

Phillips attended Texas Tech University to study industrial engineering, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as completing all of his Ph.D. coursework, before he decided to forgo his academic research in favor of starting AmpliSine Labs. He is the founder, president, and CEO of AmpliSine Labs in Lubbock, Texas. His background includes leading a broad array of development and research projects ranging from the creation of AmpliSine's patented next-generation SitePro automation software, to in-depth work with groups such as the United States Nuclear Weapons Complex, Penn State University, the National Science Foundation and many others.

Student News
Feroz Liu
Feroz Liu

Feroz and Liu Receive Travel Awards to Attend IEEE Big Data 2014

Mohammed Feroz and Jialin Liu, graduate computer science students, have been awarded travel grants to attend the IEEE International Conference on Big Data 2014 (IEEE BigData 2014). The National Science Foundation provides support for travel grants so that students can present research papers. The conference received 264 student submissions and 49 were accepted as full papers.

Feroz will present his full paper, "Examination of Data, Rule Generation and Detection of Phishing URLs using Online Logistic Regression," which was written with Dr. Susan Mengel, an associate professor of computer science.

Liu will present his paper, "In-advance Data Analytics for Reducing Time to Discovery," which was written with Yin Lu, a graduate computer science student, and Dr. Yong Chen, an assistant professor of computer science.

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Leidel Chairs PGAS-X Workshop

John Leidel, a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science, recently served as chair of The Third International Workshop on Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) Extensions for Heterogeneous Architectures (PGAS-X).  The workshop was held in conjunction with The 8th International Conference on Partitioned Global Address Space Programming Models held in October 2014 in Eugene, Oregon.

PGAS-X aimed to address the gap in programming model support for large-scale heterogeneous architectures in high performance computing. In its third year, the event attracted papers, talks, and panel members from participants in government, academia and industry from the North America, Asia and Europe. 

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Faculty News

Mehta Receives ASCE Cermak Medal

Dr. Kishor C. Mehta, P.W. Horn Professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Jack E. Cermak Medal. He was recognized for outstanding contributions to wind engineering, particularly for systematic studies of structural damage caused by windstorms and leadership in the development of structural design standards for wind loads. The Jack E. Cermak Medal was established by the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Division/SEI to recognize Dr. Jack E. Cermak's lifetime achievements in the field of wind engineering and industrial aerodynamics.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Mehta was elected for his systematic studies of structural damage caused by windstorms, and for leadership in the development of structural design standards for wind loads. Mehta was the first to study tornado damage from an engineering perspective and develop techniques for estimating tornado wind speeds by structural analysis of damaged and undamaged structures; he has also built facilities and collected full-scale wind data for calibration of wind tunnels around the world. His research contributions include development of an above-ground shelter for tornadoes, the widely recognized EF-scale for tornado intensity rating, and the Wind Engineering Field Research Laboratory (WERFL), which he organized and of which he became director in 1988.

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Alumni News

Gunalan Appointed to ASCE Geo-Institute Board of Governors

Dr. Kancheepuram N. Gunalan, a 1986 graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy in civil engineering, has been appointed to a two-year term to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute Board of Governors starting this October. The Geo-Institute (G-I) is a specialty membership organization focused on geo-professionals and the geo-industry. It is one of the ASCE's eight specialty institutes. Membership in G-I consists of more than 11,000 individual members and more than 60 organizational members: engineers, scientists, technologists, students, and organizations interested in improving the environment, mitigating natural hazards, and economically constructing engineered facilities.

Gunalan also recently chaired the 2014 ASCE Global Engineering Conference in Panama. In October 2014, more than 1,200 current and future civil and other engineers from around the globe came together in Ciudad de Panama (Panama City), Panama, for the ASCE and EWB-USA Global Engineering Conference 2014 – celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal.

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McCalla Named CEO of Lubbock Power & Light

David McCalla, a 1980 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, has been named the CEO of Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L). He previously served LP&L as the as assistant director of electric utilities. Before coming to LP&L, he worked as the general manager for Greenville Electric Utility System and served as president of the Texas Public Power Association. He has more than 34 years of experience in the electric utility industry.

As general manager of Greenville Electric Utility System, McCalla oversaw all aspects of their operation, including power plants, power supply, engineering operations, accounting, customer service, and cable and internet services.  McCalla procured, constructed, and successfully operated new generation resources for the utility.  He established a Power Supply Management System department tasked with managing Greenville's daily power supply in the ERCOT wholesale market, which resulted in substantial system-wide savings for its customers.

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Patrick Receives Texas Section-ASCE Award of Honor

Richard L. Patrick, a 1971 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, has been given a Texas Section-ASCE Award of Honor. Each year, the Texas Section presents awards to deserving individuals in the section or in the community who are nominated by their peers in recognition of their service. The Award of Honor was established by the Texas Section-ASCE to be presented to a limited number of members of the Texas Section "in recognition of service to the Texas Section and outstanding professional achievement in civil engineering."

After graduation, Patrick joined the Texas Department of Transportation and gained valuable transportation experience designing highways in the Dallas area. In 1976, he moved to Houston and joined the consulting engineering firm LIA, and gained valuable residential development experience designing streets and utilities for subdivisions and municipal utility districts. In 1984, LIA began a transportation practice and Patrick led a design team that designed two sections of the Sam Houston Toll Road. From 1988 to 1995, he gained valuable public works experience with LIA designing streets and utilities for public works clients. Since 1996, he has focused on business development responsibilities for consulting engineering firms.

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Grants and Contracts

September 15 – October 20, 2014

Investigator(s) Agency Title Amount
Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation
Dr. Sanjaya P. Senadheera TX Dept of Transportation Coordination of Services in Support of TxDOT's Research Program $137,687
Dr. William A. Jackson,
Dr. William D. Lawson,
Dr. Daan Liang,
Dr. Audra N. Morse,
Dr. Kenneth A. Rainwater,
Dr. Sanjaya P. Senadheera,
Dr. James G. Surles,
Dr. Timothy A. Wood, and
Dr. Weile Yan
TX Dept of Transportation Snow and Ice Chemicals for Texas Roads: Modification 3, Field and Lab Testing $226,164
Center for Nanophotonics
Dr. Hongxing Jiang and
Dr. Jingyu Lin
U.S. Dept of Homeland Security ARI-MA: Collaborative Research: Hexagonal Boron Nitride Based Neutron Detectors (Homeland Security) $394,963
Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics
Dr. James Dickens and
Dr. Andreas A. Neuber
U.S. Army/Ness Engineering, Inc. Feasibility of High Gain PCSS $33,120
Dr. Stephen B. Bayne* and
Dr. Michael G. Giesselmann
U.S. Army Research Lab Semiconductor Evaluation for High Action Applications $300,000
Chemical Engineering
Dr. Brandon L. Weeks U.S. Dept of Homeland Security/Northeastern Univ ALERT: Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats - Phase 2 $37,500
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Delong Zuo DOE/Alstom (NWI) Development of Innovative Control Systems for Offshore Wind Turbine Performance and Reliability $74,241.50
Computer Science
Dr. Joseph N. Rushton DARPA/Kestrel Technology, LLC Defectory: A Crowd-sourced Program Verifier $26,437
Dr. Yong Chen National Science Foundation I/UCRC: Cloud and Automatic Computing I/UCRC site at Texas Tech University $11,504.13
Industrial Engineering
Dr. Simon M. Hsiang NASA - Johnson Space Center Computational Model for Spacecraft/Habitat Volume $80,161
Nano Tech Center
Dr. Sergey A. Nikishin U.S. Army/Ness Engineering, Inc. Feasibility of High Gain PCSS $49,680
Petroleum Engineering
Dr. James J. Sheng and
Dr. Marshall C. Watson
U.S. Dept of Energy Maximize Liquid Oil Production from Shale Oil and Gas Condensate Reservoirs by Cyclic Gas Injection $1,195,800
T-STEM Center
Dr. Cathy H. Allen and
Dr. John R. Chandler
TX Education Agency Texas Tech T-STEM Center 2014-2015 Cycle 2 Continuation Grant $576,985
Water Resources Center
Dr. Anudra N. Morse and
Dr. Tony Vercellino
NASA/Selenium LTD Organoselenium Surface Modification of Stainless Steel Surfaces to Prevent Biofouling in Treatment of Space Wastestreams $26,630

* Primary Investigator


See a full listing of the college's events on the Engineering Master Calendar.

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Nov 20, 2014Mar 9, 2015