Alumni notes

May 1, 2014
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Spring 2014


Christopher Ategeka (B.S.’11, M.S.’12 ME) was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs in 2014. Ategeka was recognized for founding CA Bikes, an organization in rural Uganda that produces bicycles and wheelchairs to facilitate transport to health care services and schools (see Forefront, fall 2011).

Lorenzo Einaudi (M.Eng.’12 IEOR) is moving back to the U.S. from Chile to work on a greenfield project, a new seamless pipe manufacturing facility, in Houston.

altClass of 2013: Last October, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering inducted eight civil engineering alumni — including academicians, founders of engineering firms and an official of the Smithsonian Institution — into the CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni.
L to R: Gregory Fenves, Jefferson Hilliard, John Koon, Brenda Myers Bohlke, Ashraf Habibullah and George Tchobanoglous. Not pictured: Wayne Clough and J. Michael Duncan. (Photo by Slava Blazer)

Thomas Emery (M.Eng.’13 ME) moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan last summer to work as a calibration engineer for General Motors, writing software for various features in automobiles. “I am loving the job so far,” he says, “because I am rarely at my desk and mostly out in the car.”

Guillermo Garcia (Ph.D.’12 ME) co-founded Heliotrope Technologies to develop new materials and manufacturing processes for electrochromic devices, such as energy-saving smart windows. Garcia has co-authored six articles for journals, including Nano Letters and Advanced Optical Materials.

David Kalinowski (M.Eng.’13 IEOR) is working on the supply chain at Tesla Motors and offers this career advice: “You should love and believe in what your company is doing—that is what is keeping me at Tesla.”

Viraj Kulkarni (M.Eng.’12 EECS) returned to India and got married. He and his wife have founded Algokraft Engineering, a big data software and technology company.

Daniel Lee (M.Eng.’13 MSE) is working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and creating his own show on the gaming website,, on the side.

Zhou Lin (M.Eng.’12 ME) is working with a bank in China to finance engineering projects, focusing on energy-related projects from coal and natural gas to wind and solar.

Eric Mai (M.S.’10 CEE) and Jerry Jariyasunant (Ph.D.’11 CEE) received CNN’s “Top 10 Inventions” award for their product, Automatic, a device that pulls data about engine conditions and driving habits from dashboard computers. It can also remember where your car is parked. The product made Apple’s top holiday gift list in 2013, and Fast Company called it a “visionary gadget that makes any driver more fuel-efficient.” While at Berkeley, the pair also collaborated on “BayTripper,” an app for real-time public transportation information.

Grace Yayun Wang (M.Eng.’13 IEOR) is running an organization called Consulting Incubation Network, which helps undergraduate and graduate students get into the consulting industry through training, mock interviews and one-on-one mentoring.


Soyoung (Sue) Ahn (M.S.’01, Ph.D.’05 CEE) joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in 2006 and is now an associate professor. Her research interests are in traffic flow theory and operations, intelligent transportation systems applications and traffic operation impacts on environment and safety.

Kushal Chakrabarti (B.S.’04 EECS) has returned from a year off after launching Vittana, a micro-lending non-profit organization (see Berkeley
Engineer, spring 2012). After travelling 100,000 miles over five continents, he offers these newfound bits of wisdom: 1) “People are the same everywhere: Moms worry, boys try to impress girls and everyone just wants to be seen”; 2) “Never try to bribe a Bangladeshi border guard”; and 3) “Smile, even—especially—if you don’t feel like it.”

Greg Lukina (B.S.’05, M.S.’06 CEE) has joined David Lyng Real Estate as director of business development. Previously, he was a senior manager with Cahill Contractors in San Francisco.

Juan Carlos Muñoz (M.S.’01, Ph.D.’02 CEE), associate professor of transport engineering at the Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, serves as associate dean of academic affairs in the school of engineering. In 2003, Muñoz served as advisor to the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications for Transantiago, the most ambitious transport reform undertaken by a developing country, according to the World Resources Institute. Last fall, Muñoz announced the successful implementation of a low-cost design to improve traffic patterns at a notoriously congested transfer station, which increased station capacity by 15 percent.

Ehsan Saadat (B.S.’06 BioE) provided medical care for Boston Marathon bombing victims last year as a third-year resident in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. Saadat studied orthopedics at the UCSF School of Medicine and says, “Every day in the operating room, orthopedics lets me dovetail my knowledge of biology and engineering with human anatomy.”

Nima Shomali (B.S.’08 ME) recently spent a year in Afghanistan helping to rebuild the country’s economy in his role as a senior strategy and innovation consultant for IBM. Shomali earned an MBA at NYU and is also an alumnus of the London Business School. He worked in investment management at Goldman Sachs, designed jet engines for the F22 Raptor and F35 joint strike fighter planes for Pratt and Whitney and designed satellites and ground-based observatories for NASA as part of Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. He also supervises a sanitation project in southern Honduras with the state health ministry and Save the Children.


Robert Bertini (Ph.D.’99 CEE) is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University, where he directs the Portland Sustainable Transport Lab and chairs the transportation research board committee on traffic flow theory. Recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award, Bertini has also served as deputy administrator of research and innovative technology at the U.S. Department of Transportation and was a visiting professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Gary Fedder (Ph.D.’94 EECS) has been named associate dean for research in engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Fedder’s research interests are in MEMS, specifically in design, fabrication and control of sensor- and actuator-based systems. He will continue to direct the Institute for Complex Engineering Systems, which fosters multidisciplinary research and relationships between the university, government and industry.

Kara Kockelman (B.S.’91, M.S.’96, Ph.D.’98 CE) is a professor of transportation engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She was named a “World’s Top 100 Young Innovator” by MIT’s Technology Review in 2002 and received two American Society of Civil Engineers awards, in 2007 and 2010. In 2008, she was named “Woman of the Year” by Women in Transportation Science, Heart of Texas chapter.

Sunil Kulkarni (B.S.’93 ME) studied law at UC Hastings, was a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster and served as senior counsel for the University of California. Last August, Governor Brown appointed him to a judgeship at the Santa Clara County Superior Court. According to the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, he will be the first South Asian American judge ever appointed in Northern California.


Scott Ashford (M.S.’86, Ph.D.’94 CE) was appointed dean of Oregon State University’s College of Engineering. A faculty member at OSU since 2007, Ashford has held the position of the Kearney Professor of Engineering and chaired the School of Civil and Construction Engineering.

Carlos Banchik (M.S.’87 ME) is the founder of Innova Technologies, a leading engineering firm specializing in monorail and people-mover transit. Innova has worked on such projects as the Las Vegas Monorail and the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Banchik is the president of the International Monorail Association.

Tzu-Yin Chiu (Ph.D.’83 EE), CEO of the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, and Mark Liu (M.S.’80, Ph.D.’83 EE), president and co-CEO of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, received 2013 distinguished alumni awards for electrical engineering from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Sue Holl (Ph.D.’80 MSE) has been a member of the engineering faculty at Sacramento State University since 1980. Now material sciences department chair, Holl has helped establish the Society for Manufacturing Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts at the college. Last year she was asked to deliver the Livingston Faculty Lecture, a distinction given to faculty members who go above and beyond general teaching requirements. A teacher for over 33 years, Holl says, “It is odd to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life at age 20 and still love it, but I do. I never get sick of teaching.”

Michael Luby (Ph.D.’83 CS), vice president of technology at Qualcomm, and Yoky Matsuoka (B.S.’93 CS), vice president of technology at Nest, received 2013 distinguished alumni awards for computer science from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Timothy D. Sands (B.S.’80, M.S.’81, Ph.D.’84 MSE) was appointed the 16th president of Virginia Tech, effective June 2014. Sands began his career at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1984 and later returned to campus as a professor in materials science and engineering. Sands moved on to Purdue University as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. He also served as acting president in fall 2012, launched Purdue’s online teaching platform and oversaw efforts that resulted in the highest first-to-second year retention and four-year graduation rates in Purdue’s history.

Ken Sasaki (B.S.’87, M.Eng.’89 CE) has been reappointed to the California Building Standards Commission, where he has served since 2012. Sasaki is a principal at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc.

Daniel L. Wade (B.S.’89 CE) is the new director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP), where he will oversee four geographic regions with 16 projects under construction. Wade earned his M.S. in civil and geotechnical engineering at Virginia Tech and became vice president for dams and hydropower services for the wet infrastructure firm MWH America before joining WSIP. He serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Society on Dams.


Charles H. Ballard (M.S.’74 EECS) was elected vice president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Ballard has served on the board for the East Penn School District for more than 18 years, a district that serves over 8,000 students in the Emmaus, Pennsylvania region.

Ebrahim Nana (B.S.’73 IEOR) is the president of NanaWall Systems, a company that produces environmentally friendly glass walls that absorb sound, retain heat and protect against harsh weather conditions. NanaWalls were used in the renovation of Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium; at the VIP level, 175 feet of NanaWalls allow an unobstructed view of the home side and a panorama of the Bay Area.


Anil K. Chopra (M.S.’63, Ph.D.’66 CE), Johnson Professor of structural engineering at Berkeley, received the 2013 Normal Medal, the oldest and most highly prized award of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his paper, “Earthquake Analysis of Arch Dams: Factors to be Considered,” published in ASCE’s Journal of Structural Engineering. This is Chopra’s fourth Normal Medal—a rare distinction in itself.

Mahesh Desai (M.S.’66 ME) has worked in a variety of engineering fields for the last 48 years, including nuclear power, disk drives, tandem servers and integrated defense systems. He now runs a consulting business in San Jose.

Charles Markee (B.S.’60 EE), author of the young adult novel, Irish the Demon Slayer, has released a sequel in his Otherworld Tales series entitled Demon Invasion. After retiring from his engineering career in 2001, Markee says this venture into writing has been an exciting change from his last technical position in Silicon Valley.


B.J. Barden (B.S.’53 ME) spent two years in the U.S. Army at the Benicia Arsenal, accelerating his path to U.S. citizenship before joining IBM in San Jose in 1956. He then transferred to the New York headquarters, where he stayed for 10 years. An early retirement in 1987 allowed him and his wife, Marie, to return to the Bay Area and travel the world. When at home in San Francisco, Barden volunteers as a docent at the Hyde Street Pier and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

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Topics: Alumni