Early career award

2023 Early Career Award Cohort

Stephen Blanchard

Stephen Blanchard

Integrated bachelor and master of architectural engineering, 2013

Stephen Blanchard, chief operating officer of a large electrical subcontractor in Texas, is an experienced business leader who is proficient in driving business growth, profitability, and innovation.

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architectural engineering from Penn State in 2013, Blanchard began his career as a project manager at Fisk Electric, one of the nation’s largest electrical contractors. During his tenure at Fisk, Blanchard was instrumental in managing extremely large medical projects and implementing technologies company-wide to enhance proficiencies in work outputs.

In 2015, Blanchard joined TRIO Electric and by the start of 2017, he was promoted to the role of chief operating officer. His tenure as COO has been marked by rapid profitability growth with a heavy emphasis on people development and process innovation. Blanchard has created and employed many digital tools which have transformed the way TRIO operates. He has also guided a spin-off company, TRIO Education, which currently has more than 700 students enrolled in a 100 percent digital and virtual reality electrician training program.

In addition to his contributions to the electrical contracting industry, Blanchard continues to maintain a strong relationship with the Penn State architectural engineering program through recruitment, guest lectures, and mentorship. He graduated with an M.B.A. from the University of Oxford in 2023 and is a proud member of Vistage’s CEO peer network.

Blanchard currently lives in Houston with his wife, two children, and two dogs.

Brett Butler

Brett Garrett Butler

Bachelor of science in industrial engineering, 2007

Brett Garrett Butler is the general manager at Precision Custom Components (PCC), LLC. Based in York, Pennsylvania, PCC is a critical supplier in the defense industrial base, manufacturing large-scale components to support the construction of the U.S. Navy submarine programs.

Butler graduated from Penn State in 2007, earning a bachelor of science in industrial engineering. During his time as a student, Butler was active with the Penn State Blue Band, serving as president of the organization in his final marching season. In 2014, Butler earned an M.B.A. from Penn State World Campus.

Butler began his career at PCC as an industrial engineer focused on implementing continuous improvement strategies to core manufacturing processes. Butler quickly adapted to working with a team of skilled manufacturing personnel to reduce cycle times and increase throughput on a key product for spent fuel nuclear storage. Butler was promoted to a program manager position in 2010, overseeing the execution of a multi-million-dollar portfolio of products. He continued to drive innovation and change through the organization leading to his promotion to director of engineering in 2014. In this role, Butler managed the technical execution of building critically complex components and pursued a new product opportunity for PCC that resulted in more than $50 million of revenues in the past four years. Butler assumed the role of general manager in 2020, focusing on first-time quality, delivery, and workforce development.

The core principle of philanthropy was instilled in Butler by his parents, Gary, a 1971 graduate in industrial engineering, and Susan Butler. He served as president of the Penn State Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Society and helped to create the Industrial Engineering Mentoring Program, which provides students with opportunities to interact with industrial engineering alumni one-on-one. He also served as president of the Alumni Blue Band Association, leading a team to initiate an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $30,000 for the Blue Band Legacy Fund in its first four years. In his local community, Butler is committed to helping support the education of the next generation by participating in the York County Science and Engineering Fair, York County Pumpkin’ Chunkin’ Contest, and local high school marching bands.

Shaun Clair

Shaun E. Clair

Bachelor of science in engineering science, 2006

As Clair Global’s vice president of sales, Shaun E. Clair has been an integral part of its success as the world’s largest professional sound reinforcement live event production company. Clair Global is a third-generation family-owned, 21-location business headquartered in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Clair joined the company’s executive team in 2015 and has since contributed to the team which oversaw extraordinary growth for Clair Global: geographically, in market share, sales, and workforce. Clair attributes this growth and success to the efforts of Clair Global’s executive team and extraordinary community of workers and collaborators.

In 2006, Clair graduated with a bachelor of science in engineering science and credits his degree as the foundation for his work.

Clair was a key contributor in establishing Rock Lititz, a live entertainment campus in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Rock Lititz not only serves as a hub for many of the largest companies in the live events industry, but also fosters a community among the residents of Lititz and the surrounding areas by offering employment opportunities.

He maintains working relationships with legacy clients like the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Billy Joel and continues to focus on growth by bringing on new acts like Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, and Dua Lipa. In 2022, Clair Global brands were responsible for eight out of ten of the year’s biggest tours, as reported by Front of House magazine.

Clair believes very strongly in making time to serve his community as a board member of organizations such as Music for Everyone and Parnelli Awards; a founding member of LEAop; and a member of Diversify the Stage, Rock Lititz Community, and Sound Girls. Clair has also served on the College of Engineering’s Industrial and Professional Advisory Council.

Clair currently resides in Lititz, Pennsylvania with his wife, Nicole, and two daughters, Isabella, and Lillianna.

Mimi Connor

Maryellen (Mimi) Connor

Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, 2015

Maryellen (Mimi) Connor graduated from Penn State in 2015, earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. As a student, Connor was active in the Women in Engineering Program, Undergraduate Teaching and Research Experiences in Engineering, and Penn State THON™, and was named the mechanical engineering student marshal for the spring 2015 College of Engineering commencement ceremony.

After graduating, Connor joined Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. (BPMI) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she spent more than five years in various engineering and project management roles supporting instrumentation and control equipment installed in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. Connor led cross-functional teams of business and technical stakeholders across multiple organizations to support the design, integration, testing, manufacturing, delivery, and field support of complex hardware and software solutions. She was recognized with a strategic performance award for her project management & leadership as BPMI lead for an enterprise-wide task force. While working full-time, she earned a master of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019.

Connor moved to Denver in 2020 and joined Slalom, a purpose-led, global business and technology consulting company. She provides clients with project and program management expertise, most recently in the government and technology sectors, to implement technology solutions and solve business problems. Connor also helps to lead Slalom’s Community Career Catalyst Program which pairs individuals who are completing training for a career transition to technology with Slalom mentors who provide career and networking support and guidance.

Connor continues to give back to Penn State and the College of Engineering. As the president of the Penn State Mechanical Engineering Society (PSMES) Board, she leads a group of mechanical engineering alumni who aim to connect with each other and with current students and faculty, promote the visibility of the mechanical engineering program, and give back to the department through volunteerism. Through the PSMES mentoring program, Connor mentors mechanical engineering students to pay it forward and support the next generations of leaders. She was also featured in the College of Engineering’s Exposure to Major video series, which helps to provide prospective and current students with the necessary information to determine a major that aligns with their interests and skill sets.

Michael Ducker

Michael J. Ducker

Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, 2009

Michael J. Ducker is an energy industry executive with commercial, entrepreneurial, and technical experience in public and private roles. Ducker currently leads a team responsible for developing and deploying clean hydrogen production, storage, and delivery infrastructure to enable large-scale availability of renewable energy and decarbonization options in the power, transportation, industrial, and commercial sectors across the Western hemisphere.

He is also the chief operating officer of ACES Delta LLC, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Power and Magnum Development, which is currently constructing the world’s largest renewable hydrogen hub and secured the first U.S. Department of Energy renewable energy loan in more than a decade.

Ducker has held various roles at Mitsubishi Power, including serving as a founding member and contributor to the division that develops, launches, incubates, and turns over new businesses; establishing and leading the market analysis division; and contributing as an applications and performance engineer.

Before joining Mitsubishi Power, Ducker worked for the U.S. Department of Energy, where he developed market models to evaluate advanced energy technologies being pursued by the unit.

Ducker earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Penn State and a master of science in mechanical engineering from George Washington University. While attending Penn State, Ducker was a Leonhard Honors Scholar, served on the executive committee for Penn State THON™, and started Ohana, one of the largest THON™ special interest organizations. Since graduating, he has served on the Leonhard Center Advisory Board as well as the College of Engineering Industrial and Professional Advisory Council.

Ducker lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife, Katie, a 2010 Penn State alumna, and their children, Evelyn, Mikey, and Teddy.

John Fuller

John W. Fuller, P.E. 

Bachelor of science in electrical engineering, 2006

John W. Fuller, P.E., graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 2006. Upon graduation, Fuller began his career as a consultant as an entry-level engineer with TransCore, LLC in the Hummelstown, Pennsylvania office. Through delivering stellar work in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) design and traffic operations planning for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Fuller was promoted to a project manager role within the first five years of his career, solidifying his reputation as a versatile engineer and dedicated project manager.

In 2012, Fuller transitioned to his current firm, McMahon Associates, Inc.—a transportation engineering and planning company headquartered in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. From the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania office, Fuller continued to build the ITS business and developed additional expertise in roadway lighting design, a new service for the firm. He earned his electrical professional engineer license in the electronics, controls, and communication discipline in 2015, and now holds licenses in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Delaware. Fuller was honored to be invited to become a shareholder in 2017, making him the youngest shareholder of the firm. In 2023, he was promoted to the ITS and lighting services lead for the company.

In his career, Fuller has served the public through the design, planning, and implementation of traffic operations and lighting solutions for clients across nine states, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission; Departments of Transportation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York City, New York State, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, and Vermont; and many other private and municipal clients.

Some of Fuller’s notable completed design projects include the Pennsylvania Turnpike Traffic Operations Center; multiple regional and statewide ITS device deployment projects for the Pennsylvania Turnpike; an over-height vehicle detection system in Providence, Rhode Island; Pawtucket River Bridge architectural lighting replacement in Pawtucket, Rhode Island; and the Fenway Center Phase II long underpass lighting and Sumner Tunnel lighting, both in Boston.

Fuller is a member of the Penn State Alumni Association, ITS Pennsylvania, and Illuminating Engineering Society. He and his wife, Allison, and two sons, Jacob and Mason, reside in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Chris Haggerty

Christopher M. Haggerty, Ph.D. 

Bachelor of science in bioengineering, 2007

Christopher M. Haggerty, Ph.D., is a biomedical scientist with a passion for translating insights from data and models into clinical cardiology. This work has its roots in Penn State’s Artificial Heart Laboratory, where he worked for three years with Professor Keefe Manning studying heart valve mechanics. After graduating from the Penn State College of Engineering and Schreyer Honors College with high distinction and honors in bioengineering in 2007, Haggerty went on to earn a doctoral degree in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013.

Following two years as a Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Kentucky, Haggerty moved to Geisinger Health in 2015. There, he helped found and lead the Department of Translational Data Science and Informatics and initiated several research programs focused on cardiovascular imaging, genomics, and machine learning from health care data, receiving multiple National Institutes of Health R01 awards and industry grants. He has published 75 peer-reviewed publications, has been granted one U.S. patent, and has three pending applications. In 2021, Haggerty was promoted to associate professor of translational data science and informatics.

In 2022, Haggerty joined the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital as Director of Data Science, with an adjunct faculty appointment in the University of Columbia Department of Biomedical Informatics. In this role, he is leading efforts to develop, validate, and implement machine learning models in cardiology, and more broadly direct data science development and operations within one of the Nation’s top hospitals.

Haggerty lives with his wife and three children in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He remains active in the Penn State community, including recent service on the College of Engineering Industrial and Professional Advisory Council from 2017-19.

Hilary Ruby

Hilary Ruby

Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and bachelor of science in nuclear engineering, 2009

Master of engineering in nuclear engineering, 2012

Hilary Ruby, director of digital engineering services at Westinghouse Electric Company, has always had a passion for lifelong learning and helping others. She’s held a number of different roles over the past 15 years, and through those has discovered that she enjoys both the technical and business side of engineering.

Ruby graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering, and a minor in Spanish. In 2012, she received her master of engineering in nuclear engineering from Penn State while still working full-time at Westinghouse. She went on to receive her M.B.A., graduating with honors from the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in 2020 and was also inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society for Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited programs. She is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified and Engineer in Training accredited.

For the past four years, Ruby has served as the president of the Penn State Nuclear Engineering Alumni Society (PSNES) and has served as the Affiliate Program Group representative for nuclear engineering on the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society board. During this time, she fostered a strong alumni-to-student connection while also helping to raise more than $10,000 for the PSNES Nuclear Sustainability Fund, which aims to expand and diversify the nuclear student pool by providing opportunities for those across Pennsylvania who cannot afford or are unable to take classes full-time at Penn State University Park.

Locally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ruby supports several mentorship programs and opportunities at Westinghouse and is also closely involved with the Allegheny Conference, serving on its hydrogen hubs and carbon capture, utilization, and storage subcommittee to drive positive change in the region. She is a mom to two daughters and loves spending time with her family.

Prateek Srivastava

Prateek Srivastava

Master of engineering in civil engineering, 2017

Prateek Srivastava graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a master’s degree in civil engineering focused on structural engineering and mechanics and a minor in engineering leadership and innovation management.

After graduating, he moved to New York City to begin his career. Currently, Srivastava works as a structural engineer at Stantec.

His expertise includes the design, analysis, and inspection of various civil structures like high-rise buildings, wastewater treatment plants, bridges, and tunnels. He has worked on several high-profile projects including the Brooklyn Bridge renovation; the design and analysis of the West Hudson Yards, one of the biggest commercial/residential projects in the United States; and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, and Hugh L. Carey Tunnel inspections. Srivastava has an interest in sustainable construction and promotes sustainability in his professional and personal endeavors.

While at Penn State, Srivastava served as president of the Indian Graduate Student Association. In 2017, he was named a Just scholar by the International Living Future Institute in Seattle for his work in sustainability. Srivastava was also a recipient of a 2017 Grand Challenge Scholar award from the National Academy of Engineering.

Srivastava has volunteered with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) since 2017. In addition to serving as the secretary of the EWB New York Professional Chapter, he also played a role in two EWB projects aimed at helping communities in Rwanda and Guatemala.

As part of The Green Program, Srivastava traveled to Iceland to learn about renewable energies. He was chosen to be one of the Green Industry Mentors spearheading mentoring efforts to bring awareness about sustainable practices.

He served as a co-chair for the Young Member Forum Mentor Committee for the American Society of Civil Engineers Met NYC Section Chapter.

Srivastava was named an emerging professional by the Urban Green Council, which works toward creating awareness about sustainability in professional and personal settings in New York City.

Rachel Westbrook

Rachel Westbrook

Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, 2016

Since graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Rachel Westbrook has built a rewarding career with Ford Motor Company and served as an advocate for women engineers. As an advanced driving systems engineer, Westbrook has implemented safety features such as blind spot warnings and cross-traffic alerts into every Ford vehicle program worldwide. In her seven years at Ford, she has excelled in many roles including lead project engineer at five of Ford’s vehicle test laboratories and developing the first prototype of the all-electric F-150 Lightning. While working in the labs, Westbrook created opportunities for efficiency and technical improvements, earning three technical excellence awards in three years from the company. While working full-time at Ford, she earned her master of science in systems engineering from the University of Michigan.

Westbrook is passionate not only about the technical aspects of her career but about making engineering a more inclusive profession for all. She is heavily involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) where she leads efforts with recruiting, onboarding, community events, STEM outreach, and national conference planning. Westbrook was selected as a SWE National Conference speaker in 2020 and 2021, and has been featured in science, technology, engineering, and math outreach publications such as “With A Science Degree.” As a Penn State alumnus, she remains involved with the Women in Engineering Program and mentors current engineering students, which has resulted in the hiring and onboarding of more than 20 Penn State engineers at Ford.

Westbrook is originally from Beaver, Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with her husband, Aaron, also a 2016 Penn State mechanical engineering graduate.