2009 PSEC Engineer of the Year Awards

The annual Puget Sound Engineering Council (PSEC) Awards Banquet was held at the Palisade Restaurant February 21, 2009, from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. The banquet concludes Engineering Week activities for PSEC, celebrates the engineering profession and recognizes the achievements of members of the profession who have excelled. The general atmosphere was festive, the food was good, and service was prompt and well executed. Master of Ceremonies Kalan Guiley set the tone for the evening by reading excerpts of President Herbert Hoover's eloquent description of the profession of engineering:Ron

2009 Award Recipients Left to Right: Leonard Reid, Kelly Griswold, Neil Norman, Neil Hawkins,
Stephen Snelling, Ronald Borowski

Engineering. It is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer's high privilege. ..To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope.

No doubt as years go by the people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew...But the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants.

Dr. Donald Brownlee, PhD, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington, delivered a unique and astonishing keynote address to the gathering. Dr. Brownlee is extensively involved with the laboratory study of primitive materials from asteroids and comets and he is the Principle Investigator on NASA's Stardust comet sample return mission, which collected comet samples and returned them to Earth. The program was an account of aspects of science and engineering involved in the Stardust project, and some of the surprising information that has emerged from analysis of the comet samples that were retrieved. The challenges in developing a vehicle to travel into space (more 3 billion miles so far!), photograph the comet, collect samples, return the samples to earth, and continue on the journey, involve experimental materials and original techniques that almost defy the imagination. Studies of the retrieved materials by scientists around the world, using the most advanced electron microscopes and particle accelerators, showed the presence of materials that had been subjected to the highest and lowest temperatures imaginable in the comet trail dust. This surprising mixture of materials has provided the basis for new hypotheses about the beginning of our universe.

Dr. Brownlee has received numerous awards and honors, including the J. Lawrence Smith medal from the National Academy of Sciences, the Leonard medal from the Meteoritical Society, and the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He is also a member of the UW Astrobiology program and he has recently co-authored two books with UW paleontologist Peter Ward on the Earth's evolution to become a habitat for advanced life and the remarkable aspects of the processes involved as viewed from the perspectives of space and time.

Concluding the evening, PSEC President-Elect and Banquet Chair Kalan Guiley presented the following awards to an outstanding group of engineers possessing remarkable achievements:


Several proclamations were issued to mark the 2009 Engineers Week. See the links below.