CoE Alumni Inducted into the Circle of Distinction

The College of Engineering inducted its 2018 cohort of outstanding alumni into the Circle of Distinction this month. The Circle of Distinction is the highest honor the college bestows upon alumni who have made significant contributions to the field of engineering and who have shown exemplary support for the College of Engineering and for Drexel University.

Circle of Distinction recipients
Circle of Distinction recipients with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese

Over the years, these individuals have forged a path of accomplishment that serves as an inspiration for all of us here at Drexel, but particularly for our students, the individuals who will be the future problem solvers in our increasingly complex world.

We are honored to recognize the following alumni as our newest inductees:

Monica L. Alston, BS ’88; Director of Environment, Health and Safety, Comcast

Manik K. Arora, BS ’92; CEO, Arora Engineers, Inc.

Jane A. Bierstedt, BS ’81; Principal, Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants

Ari B. Naim, BS ’87, MS ’89, PhD ’92; President and CEO, CenTrak

Paul D. VanDuyne, BS ’74; President and CEO, IMEG Corp

John W. Via III, MS ’92, MS ’94; Consultant and Teaching Professor of Engineering Management, Project Management and Systems Engineering, Drexel University

The induction ceremony and luncheon took place Saturday, May 19 during Drexel Alumni Weekend, and featured remarks by Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD; and CoE Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese, PhD.

“The College’s distinct model of experiential education and interdisciplinary discovery fosters pragmatic innovation,” Blake told those gathered at The Study at University City for the event. “It looks to the application of technology to solve urgent societal challenges and it promotes economic development and improvements in our quality of life.

“The contributions of engineering alumni—as leaders and volunteers, as supporters and allies—shape the character and future of this great institution.”

The inductees represent a broad range of achievements that reflect both the strengths of the College’s engineering program and the diverse ambitions of our alumni.

Circle of Distinction recipient Monica Alston with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese
Monica Alston with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese

Monica Alston, whose degree is in chemical engineering, is responsible for environment, health and safety leadership and risk-reduction strategies at Comcast, as well as sustainable management practices. She has also worked in leadership positions at Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; at the Kellogg Company; at the Eaton Corporation; and at GlaxoSmithKline. As a Drexel student, Alston participated in the Drexel Gospel Choir. As an alumna, she was a member of the CoE Campaign Committee and the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee. Alston has also been a member of Drexel Black Alumni and the Alumni Club of Chester County, and serves as a mentor to Drexel’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

Circle of Distinction recipient Manik Arora
Manik Arora

Manik K. Arora received his degree in electrical engineering. As CEO of Arora Engineers, he oversees a 140-person, multi-disciplinary engineering firm that specializes in design, program and construction management, facilities management, and information technology. He is a registered professional engineer in more than 30 states. As a Drexel student, Arora participated in Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, IFA Council, IFA Sports, the South Asian Society, Men’s Volleyball, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Circle of Distinction recipient Jane Bierstedt with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese
Jane Bierstedt with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese

Jane A. Bierstedt, whose degree is in civil engineering, is principal of Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants and works in their Walnut Creek, CA and San Jose, CA offices. Her project work includes transportation planning and engineering for land-use projects, emphasizing infill and mixed-use and high-tech campuses. She has worked on Google’s campus expansion, Apple Park, and a proposed ballpark for the Oakland A’s. As a student at Drexel, Bierstedt was a resident assistant and president of the Student Programming Association. She was a member of two national engineering honor societies, and the Society of Women Engineers. She is an active member of Drexel’s Alumni Club of Northern California.

Circle of Distinction recipient Ari Naim with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese
Ari Naim with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese

Ari B. Naim received his BS in chemical engineering, and his MS and PhD in electrical engineering, all at Drexel. He is president and CEO of CenTrak, which he co-founded in 2003 with Drexel alumnus Israel Amir, Gideon Naim, and Karups Annamalai. CenTrak is the leading provider of real-time tracking solutions for the healthcare industry. CenTrak has been recognized as Deloitte’s Tech Fast 500 for three consecutive years (2013 to 2016) as one of the fastest-growing tech companies and the top Real time Locations Systems provider in North America. Naim has served as the former chairman of IEEE Philadelphia Section of Communications and Information Theory.

Circle of Distinction recipient Paul VanDuyne
Paul VanDuyne

Paul D. VanDuyne, who received his degree in electrical engineering, is president and CEO of IMEG Corp., a position he has held since 2015. IMEG is an international engineering and consulting firm headquartered in Rock Island, IL. It specializes in high performance building systems, infrastructure and construction-related services. VanDuyne has been a licensed professional engineer since 1983 and is licensed in 18 states. In addition to his degree from Drexel, VanDuyne earned an MBA from Rutgers University and a doctorate in chiropractic from Palmer University.

Circle of Distinction recipient John Via with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese
John Via with Provost Brian Blake and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese

John W. Via III, who received his two Drexel MS degrees in chemical engineering and in engineering management, is a teaching professor of engineering management, project management and systems engineering at Drexel. He is also founding director of the Vince & Judy Vidas Program in Systems Engineering, and an online learning council fellow. He was active in the curriculum development for the master’s program in Peace Engineering and is currently developing new courses in pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing. Via was elected to the Order of St. John in 2016, and is currently a trustee of the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering.

--By Wendy Plump, Staff Writer, CoE