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)
Dr. David C. Bonner (B.S. ’67)
Peter R. Buenz (B.S. ’60)
After three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy and seven years with ARCO Chemical Company, Peter Buenz joined a non-engineer fraternity brother in 1970 to establish Chemical Exchange Industries, the forerunner of Creekside Industries. Their business model was to purchase processing facilities no longer needed by major chemical companies and adapt them to produce specialty and commodity products using innovative processes. Buenz amicably split the business with his partner in 1993, and his share became Creekside.
Creekside Industries is headquartered in Houston and has plants in Baytown and Houston. The company is a $100 million per year business with more than 100 employees.
Buenz and his wife, Claire, are strong supporters of the department, establishing several endowed scholarships in chemical engineering and maintaining a keen interest in the department’s programs. Buenz has been a member and president of the Texas ChE External Advisory Committee and was a member of the Cockrell School’s Engineering Advisory Board. He is also a Friend of Alec and a member of the Littlefield Society.
Dr. Ramsey W. Farley* (B.S. ’60)
Dr. Ralph T. Ferrell (B.S. ’61, Ph.D. ’66)
Ralph T. Ferrell began his career in the chemical industry as an engineer with Conoco Research and Development, Ponca City, OK, shortly after receiving his doctorate. Over the next eight years, he received several patents related to detergent processing and high-purity catalytic alumina production. He switched his focus from research and development to manufacturing in 1974, taking the post of plant manager of Conoco’s chemical plant in Oklahoma City. Four years there was followed by stints as manager of Conoco’s chemical plants in Baltimore, MD and Lake Charles, LA; and later as manager of Conoco’s chemical operations Louisiana-wide.
In 1984, he joined the newly-incorporated Vista Chemical Company, and in 1986 moved to the position of Vice President of Manufacturing. At Vista, Ferrell rose to Senior VP for Corporate Development in 1988. Between 1988 and 1993, he oversaw Vista’s Research, Engineering and Strategic Planning divisions. Since retiring from Vista in 1993, Ferrell and his wife Reba relocated to Plano, Texas and he has worked as an independent venture capitalist and consultant, including membership on the Board of Directors of the First State Bank of North Texas.
The Ferrells have paid tribute to the College of Engineering through endowed graduate fellowships, through benefactor support of the McKetta Challenge in Chemical Engineering Excellence, and helped to complete the Challenge for McKetta in 2016.
Ferrell was a member of the Chemical Engineering Department Visiting Committee from 1990-93 and chaired the committee in 1992-93. He holds current membership in The University’s Littlefield Society, President’s Associates, and Ex-Students Legends.
Robert A. Hermes (B.S. ’62)
Dr. William J. Koros (B.S. ’69)
Dr. J. Winston Porter (B.S. ’60)
After receiving his bachelor degree from Texas ChE, Winston Porter earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University at California, Berkeley in 1965. Porter chaired the University of Petroleum and Minerals chemistry department in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia from 1965 to 1966, then managed the Bechtel Organization’s environmental department and later served as project manager for the master plan of the $20 billion Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia. He also served as a vice president of several Bechtel affiliates in the Middle East.
In 1976, Dr. Porter created the management and engineering consulting firm of Porter & Associates in Leesburg, Virginia, specializing in environmental issues, regional planning, and Middle Eastern business consulting.
In 1985, he was appointed by President Reagan as assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he managed the Superfund and other solid and hazardous waste programs. He established a national goal for recycling 25 percent of the country’s municipal solid wastes, which was reached in 1995. Under his direction, a joint EPA-state mechanism was developed to remediate federal facilities such as nuclear weapon sites.
Dr. Porter became president of the Waste Policy Center in Leesburg, Virginia in 1989. He is also a frequent communicator on environmental issues through reports and speeches as well as op-ed articles in major newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He has written about American and European waste management, federal facilities site remediation, and changes needed to reduce Superfund cleanup times dramatically. Since 1985, he has also testified at some 60 Congressional hearings.
Dr. Porter is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and Tau Beta Pi. He has also served on the Texas ChE External Advisory Council and is a Friend of Alec.