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April 13, 2007

College of Technology honors distinguished alumni

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's College of Technology is honoring nine of its graduates as Distinguished Technology Alumni on Friday (April 13) during a ceremony at the Purdue Memorial Union.

Wendy J. Baker, Jill Sias Cook, Ronald F. Gonzales, Herbert C. Haggard, John P. McDonald, Michael A. Pierle II, Robert F. Pratt, Scott M. Whitlock and Joseph M. Zachman are being honored for their professional and personal success across the spectrum of technology fields

"This outstanding group of College of Technology graduates has made significant contributions in a wide variety of fields and industries," said Dean Dennis R. Depew. "These 10 men and women serve as tremendous examples of the diverse career paths that our college prepares its students for when they leave Purdue."

Distinguished alumni award recipients include:

- Wendy J. Baker of South Jordan, Utah. Baker earned a bachelor's degree in computer graphics technology from Purdue in 1995 and is program manager of L-3 Communications in Salt Lake City and owner of WJB Services. In her position at L-3 Communications, she creates specialized products that meet the needs of diverse clients, including Department of Defense contractors. Baker was a host and volunteer for the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Committee and for General Electric during the company board's visit to the Olympics.

- Jill Sias Cook of Columbus, Ind. Cook earned a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership and supervision from Purdue in 1986. She is currently vice president of human resources for Cummins, based in Columbus. She started at the company in 1988 as a labor relations representative and has served as manager and director of various divisions before being named to her current position in February 2003. Cook also serves as vice chair of the Indiana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and is a member of the employee benefits committee for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers Human Resource Policy Committee.

- Ronald F. Gonzales of Pleasant Grove, Utah. Gonzales earned a doctorate in graduate studies from Purdue in 1982. He is a professor of technology teacher education and information technology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he has been employed for 30 years. He was recently honored by the Association of Career and Technical Educators, International Technology Educators Association and Epsilon Pi Tau, the international honor society for professionals in technology. He has conducted research with laser, holography, fiber optics, agricultural technology and automotive products and serves as a consultant to several organizations across the country.

- Herbert C. Haggard of Mooresville, Ind. Haggard earned an associate in applied science degree in industrial technology from Purdue in 1964. He is CEO, president and owner of Haggard & Stocking Associates Inc. in Indianapolis. He started his sales career with General Telephone Co. and later with Indiana Bell. He and an associate formed their own company in 1972, and in 1993 Haggard bought out his partner and became sole owner and CEO of Haggard & Stocking. The company, which sells maintenance, repair, and operational products, encompasses six facilities in five states. Its customers include clients in aerospace, automotive, foundry, transportation, machine tool and fabrication markets. Individually and through his company, Haggard has been honored by the National Industrial Supply Association and the IBC/Industrial Supplies Plus.

- John P. McDonald of Fishers, Ind. McDonald earned a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology in 1995. He is the technical executive for IBM Corp.'s Rational brand. McDonald started with IBM in 1989 while still a student at Purdue. In 1995 he began his full-time employment with the company as a local software marketing leader. He has held positions as a technical specialist for OS/2, technical leader for Windows NT software sales and he managed the first Software Architect team. He leads all of the Americas technical sales team for IBM's Rational software brand.

- Michael A. Pierle II of Waxhaw, N.C. Pierle earned a bachelor's degree in building construction management technology from Purdue in 1990. He is currently senior vice president of health care and public facilities for BE&K Building Group Inc. Pierle has been the project executive for construction projects that total more than $1 billion. He has been honored by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the national and state chapters of Associated Builders and Contractors and the Association of General Contractors of the Carolinas.

- Robert F. Pratt of Punta Gorda, Fla. Pratt earned a bachelor's degree in aviation technology from Purdue in 1968. He is a retired pilot for Southwest Airlines. After his graduation from Purdue, he was a pilot for Purdue Airlines until it ceased operations in 1971. That year, he joined Southwest, which had just been launched and served three cities in Texas. The company now serves more than 60 cities in 32 states. In retirement, Pratt plans to continue his support of the growth of the aviation technology program and work on car and aircraft restoration projects.

- Scott M. Whitlock of Fishers, Ind. Whitlock earned a bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering technology from Purdue in 1992. He is the founder and president of Flexware Innovation Inc., a company that focuses on the information technology and automation needs of modern manufacturers. Before founding Flexware, Whitlock worked as an engineer at Indiana Automation. He also is a member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

- Joseph M. Zachman of Lafayette. Zachman earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology from Purdue in 1983. He is currently senior vice president of Wabash National Corp. and is responsible for all manufacturing, manufacturing engineering, safety, quality, production control, maintenance and continuous improvement at the company. Before joining Wabash National, he worked at Delco Electronics, Sanmina Corp., CDR Corp. and TTM Technologies.

Writer: Kim Medaris, (765) 494-6998,

Source: Erin Pennington, College of Technology director of alumni and donor relations, (765) 494-0887,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Complete biographies and publication-quality photos of the honorees are available online at

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