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Hall of Fame

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering’s Hall of Fame

UT’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering’s (CBE) Hall of Fame award is given to individuals that have achieved significant accomplishments or have made great contributions to the profession.

To be considered for the award, inductees must have earned a degree from CBE, or an engineering degree from another accredited engineering school or college with a sustained positive relationship with CBE. They must also have a minimum of ten years of engineering and/or other professional experience since earning their engineering degree.

Inductees should be recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the profession and to society by membership in honorary societies and receipt or special honors and awards from recognized national and international academic and/or industrial organizations.

Nominees cannot be current faculty or administrators of UT.

Kenneth M. Elliott

BS Chemical Engineering 1942

Kenneth M. Elliott passed away on June 12, 2011. He attended Tennessee Wesleyan College before graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He graduated from the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 1972. Ken retired from Mobil Oil after 44 years of service, the last 22 as the Vice President of Engineering. During his tenure as vice president, Ken managed engineers and scientists responsible for over 200 Mobile patents in fuel and lubricant additives alone. His team was responsible for developing cutting edge technology in the area of deepwater, subsea oil production as well as Arctic technology that is still in worldwide use today.

Ken and his wife Ginny shared a great love for UT, and this is evident by the Kenneth M. Elliott Chemical Engineering Scholarship Endowment they established in the Tickle College of Engineering.

David McKinney

BS Chemical Engineering 1984

David McKinney is the president of ISOFlex Packaging, an industrial film manufacturer based in Greer, South Carolina. Under his direction, the company has seen a season of remarkable growth he likens to a whirlwind. Currently, McKinney is logging significant travel time overseeing 500 employees across four US locations. Before joining ISOFlex, he founded Coldpack, which creates insulating liners that are compatible with dry ice or compressed gas. The company achieved considerable success before he sold it in 2008. Read more about McKinney’s contributions to the field.

Homer F. Johnson

Homer F. Johnson had a long and distinguished career at UT. He joined the chemical engineering faculty in 1949 and served as professor and head of the Department of Chemical, Metallurgical and Polymer Engineering from 1960 until his retirement in 1984. Under Johnson’s able leadership, the department grew from a small group of six professors to one of the larger departments in the college, in part due to his proposal to the National Science Foundation to designate the department as a “Center of Excellence,” resulting in approximately one million dollars of funding to significantly expand the staff and facilities. The department eventually split into two: CBE and Materials Science and Engineering.

Oscar Martin Jr.

MS Chemical Engineering 1996

Oscar Martin Jr. has led an accomplished career of 19+ years at DuPont, currently serving as North American Regional Technology Leader, and has added many patents to his name during his time there. These patents include materials designed for armored cables, flame and chemical protection garments, and composite sheet material. His management and leadership at DuPont has also been acknowledged. The DuPont Teijin Films team, which Martin led, was awarded the American Chemical Society Team Innovation Award for the launch of Mylar® Cook- ovenable pouch.

In addition to his lengthy and decorated career at DuPont, Martin has also maintained a great interest in teaching. The demands on his time presented by lecturing in a traditional university setting proved difficult. Recognizing the need for more flexible classes for the working adult, Martin launched his own company and online school, TechnologyEd. It grew from a handful of classes to hundreds within a few years. Since its 2009 inception, the school has served thousands of students. This and his other accomplishments were recognized in 2014 in Style Weekly’s 40 under 40. He was honored with the Accomplished Alumni Award earlier this year.

Virginia C. Butler

MS Chemical Engineering 1971

After graduation in 1971, Butler was employed as an Environmental Engineer with the Air Quality Branch of TVA, the first female engineer in the Environmental Division. Work there incorporated her studies in computer modeling and simulation to monitor air quality and implement EPA standards. Her career then led her into the computer industry, first with Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of HP), and completing her career at the UT Health Science Center.

She helped organize the local chapter of DECUS user group and served in leadership roles both locally and nationally. She also continued to actively support UT and CBE throughout her career.

James J. Downs

PhD, Chemical Engineering 1982

Downs served as the leader of the Advanced Controls Technology group at Eastman Chemical Company for much of his career. His work in this role involved the development and mentoring of engineers, development of process control technology, and automation of process operations. He developed regulatory and overall plant-wide operation strategies for numerous chemical processes combining plant design and control system design technology. He collaborated with the academic community to broaden the concept of automatic control to encompass management of process variability.

He was recognized by the AIChE for his contribution to the profession by receiving the CAST Computing Practice Award. He received the Perley S. Wilcox Award for significant innovative achievement from Eastman Chemical Company and was inducted to the Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Charles F. Moore

PhD, Chemical Engineering 1969

Moore joined UT in January 1969 and for the next 50 years taught several generations of chemical engineering graduates. He was internationally known for his work in applied process dynamics and control. In addition to research and teaching at UT, he also served as consultant to many chemical and petrochemical companies and organized workshops and short courses to practicing engineers both here and in Europe. In 2017, Moore was named to Control Engineering’s Hall of Fame for his work in solving industrial control problems.

Mark K. Cox

BS Chemical Engineering 1989

Cox has served more than 30 years with Eastman Chemical since beginning as a co-op student in 1986. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University and has held various leadership positions within Eastman. In 2014, he became a member of the Eastman Executive Team, serving as Senior Vice President, Chief Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Engineering officer. He holds US and international patents for his work as an engineer and championed the formation of the Eastman Unit Operations Laboratory within the UT Tickle College of Engineering.

He is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and sits on the UT Tickle College of Engineering Board of Advisors. Cox has served as a volunteer with multiple United Way Agencies and church-related medical mission efforts.

Stephen (Steve) G. Crawford

BS Chemical Engineering 1987

Crawford is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. He joined Eastman Chemical Company in 1984 as a co-op and remains with the company after 34 years. While at Eastman, he has held several leadership positions of increasing responsibility in both Manufacturing Operations and Technology. In his role in Technology he has lead the development of the Innovation Strategy for the Specialty Businesses in Eastman including the building of the Eastman Innovation network in both the Asia Pacific and the European regions. He has held the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer since 2014.

Crawford is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Society of Chemical Industry, and the Industrial Research Institute. He serves on the Board of Directors of both Launch Tennessee, supporting entrepreneurship in Tennessee, and the Board of Eastman Credit Union. He also champions the Master research agreements between Eastman and UT and serves on the Board of Advisors for CBE.

Michael T. Harris

PhD Chemical Engineering 1992

Michael T. Harris was the first African American to receive a PhD in Chemical Engineering from UT. During his studies at the UT, he worked full time as a development engineer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the areas of environmental control technology, colloids, and interfacial phenomena, and the application of finite element and boundary element numerical methods.

Harris is an inventor with 11 patents and has approximately 100 peer-review publication. Currently he is the Associate Dean of Engineering for Engagement and Undergraduate Education and the Robert B. and Virginia V. Covalt Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. Prior to Purdue University, he spent six years on the faculty in Chemical Engineering and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland.

He is dedicated to educating students and has advised over 130 undergraduate researchers and 23 former PhD students.  He is a fellow of AIChE. He received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career, the AIChE Grimes and the AIChE Pioneers of Diversity Awards. He served as chair of the Minority Division of ASEE, chair of Minority Affairs Committee of AIChE, a member of the Chemical Technology Operating Council, a Trustee of AIChE Foundation, secretary/treasurer of the Nanoscience and Engineering Forum of AIChE and Director of the Materials Division of AIChE.

James B. Porter

BS Chemical Engineering 1965

Following graduation, James B. Porter Jr. went to work for the DuPont Company where his career spanned more than 42 years. He held numerous technical and management positions and he was the Chief Engineer and Vice President of Engineering and Operations when he retired in 2008.

His volunteer work in improving the business effectiveness of capital project management and construction practices and systems earned him leadership awards from the Construction Industry Institute and FIATECH. His strong support of diversity in engineering was recognized by the Society of Women Engineers’ Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award.

Porter served as the Chair of UT’s Tickle College of Engineering Board of Advisors for several years and he was the 2015 recipient of the Nathan W. Dougherty Award.  He is a Fellow of AIChE and a member of the National Academy of Construction.

John Prados

Prados joined the department as a graduate assistant in 1953. He quickly climbed the ranks in both the department and the college, serving as a full-time faculty member from 1956 to 1968 before spending the next two decades in stints as associate dean of engineering, dean of admissions and records, acting chancellor of the Knoxville and Martin campuses, acting director of energy conversion programs at the UT Space Institute, and, from 1973 through 1988, vice president for academic affairs of the statewide UT System.

A native of Spring Hill, Tennessee, Prados is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AiCHE), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), and the American Society for Engineering Education. He has received the L. E. Grinter Distinguished Service Award, UT’s Macebearer Award, and the James T. Rogers Award from the Commission on Colleges.

In other higher learning institutions, Prados has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, a trustee of the F. W. Olin College of Engineering, and an executive councilor of Tau Beta Pim as well as advising more than thirty other universities, government entities, and industries.

Outside academia, he has served as the National Science Foundation’s senior education associate in its Engineering Directorate, as director and treasurer of the AiCHE, president and treasurer of the scientific research society Sigma Xi, chair of the Engineering Accreditation Commission, and secretary and president of ABET.