The inaugural class of Academy honorees includes 70 Texas ChE alumni, all of whom have been recognized as Distinguished Engineering Graduates by the Cockrell School of Engineering. Honorees are organized by decade of their earliest graduation year, then alphabetically by last name. (*deceased)
Z. David Bonner* (B.S. ’41)
Z. David Bonner was president of Gulf Oil Chemicals Co., a division of Gulf Oil Corp. in Pittsburgh. Joining Gulf after service in the Navy during WWII, Bonner filled increasingly responsible positions with Gulf and its affiliates in Pittsburgh, Washington, D. C., Port Arthur, Tokyo, London, and Cleveland.
Bob R. Dorsey* (B.S. ’40)
Bob Rawls Dorsey was senior vice president of Gulf Oil Corp. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With Gulf since 1940, he served as manager of the Venezuelan Gulf Refining Co., supervisor of schedule and cost control in the manufacturing department, coordinator of the manufacturing department and administrative vice president. He was the board chairman of Colonial Pipeline Co., a director of Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh and was listed in Who’s Who and World’s Who’s Who in commerce and industry.
A. Ray Dudley, Jr. (B.S. ’48)
Arthur Ray Dudley, Jr. was senior vice president of Tenneco Oil Company. A veteran of World War II, Dudley was a bomber pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in the European Theatre from 1943 to 1945. He received an air medal with four oak leaf clusters and the purple heart.
In 1948, Dudley was employed by Humble Oil and Refining Company in Baytown, Texas. He stayed with the Humble facility in Baytown until 1959, progressing from junior engineer to assistant chemical engineer, to chemical engineer, to senior chemical engineer, and finally to section head of the lubricant section.
In 1949, Tenneco Oil Company hired Dudley as a senior process engineer. After a year in Houston, he was transferred to the Tenneco facility in Chalmette, Louisiana, where he was promoted to chief refinery engineering in 1961. Returning to Houston in 1963, he was named director of refining. In 1964, he was appointed vice president, and in 1968, senior vice president of the company.
Dudley is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Petroleum Institute, and the national Petroleum Refiners Association. Dudley showed continuing commitment to UT Austin, particularly through participation on the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council of the College of Engineering.
Charles Shults Faulkner* (B.S. ’43)
Charles Shults Faulkner spent his 46-year career in the petroleum refining, chemical, petrochemical, and natural gas processing industry. He was president of C.S. Faulkner, Inc., a consulting engineers firm. After 10 years with oil and natural gas companies following graduation, Faulkner founded PONA Engineers Inc. in 1953 with $6,500 of his personal savings. Earlier in his career he had designed, constructed and started-up the first totally skid mounted, modular, fully integrated process plants ever built. In 1974, Faulkner sold the company which had grown to a multimillion dollar business.
In 1988, Faulkner was the leader in establishing the Chemical Engineering Class of 1943 Undergraduate Unit Operations Laboratory Endowment. He kept a close relationship with the department and the Cockrell School of Engineering through membership and involvement in Friends of Alec.
John T. Files* (B.S. ’41, M.S. ’42)
John T. Files was the founder and chairman of Merichem Company, a manufacturer of chemical intermediates from recycling of refinery wastes. Formerly with Dow Chemical Company, he pioneered processes for recovery of magnesium from sea water and chlorinated hydrocarbons. He was a founding member of the Texas Air Control Board in 1966, and was director of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Texas Chemical Council, National Petroleum Refiners Association, Southwest Research Institute, Keystone Center Foundation and Texas Engineering Foundation. Files was also chairman of the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council.
Louis Garbrecht* (B.S. ’44, M.S. ’48)
Louis Garbrecht, Jr., was the general manager in charge of the Engineering Department of Texaco, Inc. Garbrecht joined Texaco in 1944 as a chemical engineer in the U.S. Refining Department in Texas, and then served 18 months in the U.S. Army assigned to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico. After returning to Texaco, he held chemical engineering positions at Tulsa and El Paso until 1958, when he became Chief Process Engineering at Texaco’s Casper, Wyoming plant. In 1965, he was appointed assistant plant manager at the Puget Sound Plant in Anacortes, Washington, and in 1967, he became Manager of the Process Division for Texaco Development Corporation, the patent licensing subsidiary of Texaco, Inc.
In 1972, Garbrecht was appointed as assistant to the general manager in the Refining Department-International of Texaco. In 1974, he was appointed Assistant General Manager of Refining in the Petroleum Products Department-Europe. He was named Deputy General Manager of the Engineering Department in 1979
In 1983 and 1984, Mr. Garbrecht served as chairman of the executive committee of the Board of Advisors of the Construction Industry Institute, a research center in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He was on Texas ChE’s former Engineering Visiting Committee from 1981 to 1984, and was named “Man-of-the-Year” by The Engineering News Record in 1985.
Melvin H. Gertz* (B.S. ’43, M.S. ’44)
Melvin H. Gertz was employed by Humble Oil in 1944, and left the company in 1947 to join Robert L. Purvin in their consulting firm, Purvin & Gertz, becoming its president in 1957. He was a founder and president of Guam Oil & Refining Co., Inc., and was an executive of other oil, gas and sulphur companies.
Gertz was a registered professional engineer, and a member of national chemical, gas and petroleum societies. He participated in numerous civic and benevolent activities, including director of the Dallas Civic Opera and was a member of the Public Health Committee of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
While at UT Austin, he was a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, and Omega Chi Upsilon honor societies, the Student Assembly and the Cowboys service organization.
E. Henry Groppe (B.S. ’46)
Henry Groppe spent 35 years working in the petrochemical and oil and gas industries. He was a consultant in Houston beginning in 1955, and prior to that, he held various management and technical positions with Monsanto, Aramco in Saudi Arabia, Texaco and Dow Chemical Company.
Groppe is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and in 1978 established the Carol and Henry Groppe Professorship in Engineering, at UT Austin.
He was a founder of the Southwest Chemical group of companies and is a director of the Transco Companies, Inc., and Texas Commerce Bank-Westwood.
Groppe was a member of the Chancellor’s Council of The University of Texas System and was a member of Texas ChE’s former Chemical Engineering Visiting Committee.
Fred I. Harmon* (B.S. ’46)
Fred Harmon was president and owner of Southwestern Engineering and Equipment Company in Dallas, Texas. His professional career began in 1946 as a process design engineer with Celanese Chemical Corporation in corpus Christi. From 1947 to 1948, he was a sales engineer for Puffer-Sweiven Company, and from 1948 to 1949, he was chief engineer, and later, manager of Dallas Operations for Gulf Engineers, Inc.
Harmon and three partners founded Southwestern Engineering and Equipment Company in 1949. He was made president of the firm in 1958 and, in 1964, became its sole owner.
He was a member of the Instrument Society of America, the Institute of Environmental Sciences, the Society of Applied Spectroscopy, and the Texas and National Society of Professional Engineers. He was a member of the Advisory Councils of the Skyline Technical Center in Dallas, Texas, the UT Austin Engineering Foundation, and a lifelong member of Texas Exes.
Dr. J. William Haun* (B.S. ’46, Ph.D ’50)
James William Haun was vice president for engineering policy with General Mills, Inc. He was a director of the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C., and chairman of the board of Center for Parish Development in Chicago, Illinois. He was a member of the Environmental Engineering Committee, Science Advisory Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Haun was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States Committee on the Environment and a member of the Board of Directors of the World Environment Center.
Dr. L. Roberts Hellwig* (B.S. ’49, M.S. ’51, Ph.D. ’55)
L. Roberts Hellwig was executive vice president of Cities Service Company and president of the Chemicals Group in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He joined Cities Service Company in 1960 as manager for planning for Cities Service Research and Development Company. In 1963, he became director of the Chemical and Plastics Research Development, Technology and Planning Davison of Columbian Carbon Company. He was named vice president and manager of Research for Cities Service Research and Development in 1967. He also served the company as vice president of the Planning and Economics Division for four years and as manager of Planning and Acquisitions for the Research and Corporate Planning Group for three years.
T. Brockett Hudson* (B.S. ’47, M.S. ’49)
T. Brockett Hudson’s education at UT Austin was interrupted by World War II, during which he served his country in the U.S. Navy. He began his career in the research labs of Texaco’s Port Arthur Refinery. In 1952 he moved to Houston where he helped form Index Chemical Company and eventually became a vice president. In 1960, Mr. Hudson helped form Southwest Chemical and Plastics Company where he served as president and chairman of the board from its inception. The company was engaged in providing custom compounding and dispersion services to plastics manufacturers. In 1970, the company began producing specialty chemicals. In 1973, Southwest expanded its services to include the fabrication and sale of wire screen filters for use in plastics extruding equipment. In 1976, the company began formulating, blending and selling industrial and automotive lubricants, and 1978, Thiokol purchased Southwest Chemical. Mr. Hudson remained as president of Southwest until March of 1979. For the remainder of 1979 Southwest retained Mr. Hudson on a consulting basis. Mr. Hudson is presently involved in private investments. He is active in the Texas Chemical Council, is a director of the Texas Commerce Medical Bank, and serves as a director of several other smaller companies.
Curtis M. Klaerner* (B.S. ’42)
Before retiring from Mobil Corporation in early 1979, Curtis M. Klaerner was a director, member of the executive committee,