Class of 2019
The University of Idaho recognizes these individuals for their personal contributions to engineering achievement, leadership, engineering education, and service to the profession and society.
We salute engineering leaders for their lifetime commitment to advancing the quality of life through achievement, high ethical standards, innovation and commitment.
Donald M. Blackketter
Donald M. Blackketter has been active in the practice, education, promotion and administration of engineers and scientists for over 30 years. In 2011, Blackketter became Chancellor of Montana Tech (MTU). During his career there, he was able to get Regent approval for standalone Mechanical and Civil Engineering programs (formerly General Engineering), and MTU’s first Ph.D. program in Material Science. Since its approval in 2013, MTU has graduated five doctoral students and currently has nearly 20 active Ph.D. candidates.
Blackketter was also responsible for raising $10 million in state and private funding for MTU’s Natural Resource Research Center (NRRC). The NRRC is a 30,000-square-foot research and undergraduate facility that includes labs supporting non-conventional drilling, industrial safety, the cleanest clean room within 500 miles, and a power engineering lab funded by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Blackketter retired from his position at MTU in 2019.
Born in Moscow, Blackketter followed in his father’s mechanical engineering footsteps and was at the University of Idaho from 1989 to 2011 as an Assistant, Associate, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He held positions as Department Chair, interim National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology Director, and was Dean of the College of Engineering from 2008 to 2011. He also organized the Academy of Engineers and inaugurated its first class in 2011.
He has been an active researcher and the author of over 60 journal and conference publications in areas that include experimental and computational composite materials, biomechanics, numerical methods, and hybrid/electric vehicles. Blackketter is a Registered Professional Engineer in Idaho and Montana.
A current U of I professor emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Blackketter is retired and lives in Moscow with his wife Vicki.
- B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 1985
- M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 1986
- Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 1989
Paul Cooley ’77, ’80 has more than 35 years of experience building on the knowledge received at University of Idaho and applying it to the design of aquatic life support systems for marine research facilities, algae culture, zoos, aquariums and marine parks. Most recently, he and his wife, Rebekah Gladson FAIA, founded PCA Global, an international aquatic life support systems design firm. They sold the firm to Ardurra Group, a Florida based engineering consulting firm. PCA Global opened an office in Sydney, Australia, and work is currently being done on a multibillion dollar marine park in Abu Dhabi.
Over his career, Cooley developed more than 200 integrated aquarium life support systems, utilizing some of the most advanced and innovative treatment systems to meet the unique challenges of maintaining and exhibiting species ranging from elephants to sharks to zebra fish and algae. His projects span the globe, including Sea World Australia in Brisbane, Australia, World of Discovery in Dubai, Polar Ocean World in Shanghai, China, McMurdo Station Research Aquarium in the Antarctic and Living Seas Pavilion at Disney Epcot in Orlando Florida.
Cooley and his wife Rebekah are very engaged in their community and professions. Cooley has been a Board Member for the San Diego Mental Health Association, President of the American Public Work Association’s San Diego chapter, President of the WEF San Diego Chapter, a volunteer at EMI’s orphanage project in Hyderabad, India, a participant in medical and humanitarian trips to Bolivia, Nicaragua and Tanzania, and he is currently an ambassador on the board for the micro-banking, nonprofit organization Opportunity International.
Cooley is a Registered Professional Engineer and certified by the Design-Build Institute of America.
- B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Idaho, 1977
- M.S., Civil Engineering, University of Idaho, 1980
Byron Flynn graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1980 and has worked in the utility industry for nearly 39 years, working with Idaho Power from 1981 to 1999 and General Electric from 1999 to present.
He currently serves as technical solutions director for General Electric Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions, a business that equips power utilities and industries worldwide to bring power reliably and efficiently from point of generation to the end consumer. Nearly 90% of the world’s electric energy is touched by a GE product or service.
He serves as a technology leader, supporting electric utilities across North America with designs and development of grid modernization solution architectures, roadmaps and business cases. This includes GE’s wide range of innovative products and solutions from traditional and renewable power resources across the transmission and distribution system to smart cities, industries and consumers.
He was GE’s lead architect in many industry award-winning projects, including the Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration Project at Southern California Edison, the Smart Grid, Smart City Project with Energy Australia (AusGrid), and the gridSMART Project at American Electric Power in Ohio.
He also designed the Automation, Protection and Control System Architecture for Consolidated Edison's substation in Lower Manhattan, which replaced the station destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
Byron was selected as part of an Experts Roundtable on Grid Modernization Technologies and State Policy Options for the National Governors Association in Washington D.C. He has worked with the SGIP, Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, and specifically with OpenFMB, Open Field Message Bus™, now a NAESB Standard, bringing the IoT and advanced interoperability to the power grid. He was also selected to present at the 2016 IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Plenary Session: Smart Grid Technology Vision at the 2018 IEEE PES & ISGT: Edge Computing for a More Adaptive and Manageable Grid. Over the last decade, he has published dozens of papers and delivered hundreds of presentations and taught multiple industry courses on substation and distribution automation, cybersecurity, personal privacy, distributed generation, communication networks and various other smart grid systems. Including recently, he is a co-author of “The Substation of the Future,” published in July/August 2019 IEEE Power & Energy and in October 2019 T&D World as part of an ongoing series “Charging Ahead.” He also is the lead inventor on a Smart Grid Patent: “Systems, Methods, And Apparatus for Maintaining Stable Conditions Within a Power Grid.”
He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Idaho, and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
He was a longtime volunteer with Boy Scouts of America, serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster and Committee Chairman for a local Troop for many years and is very proud of his three sons, all Eagle Scouts. With the College of Engineering (COE), he has served as a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board for over three years and an active Engineering Design EXPO judge. He is also currently part of the COE's Diversity Task Force and helped craft the college’s diversity plan. He and his wife Karen created the Strategic Initiatives Endowment for the College of Engineering to support programs such as the college’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program and the Dean's Endowment to Support Diversity and Inclusive Initiatives. They are also strong supporters of the new U of I Micron Student Center and the Vandal Scholarship Fund.
- B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Idaho, 1980
- M.B.A., Boise State University, 1986
A 32-year Idaho Power veteran, Lisa Grow ’87 was promoted to President of Idaho Power in October 2019. She began her career in 1987 as the second female to be hired at the power utility and held many engineering positions before moving into management.
In 2005, Grow was named Vice President of Delivery Engineering and Operations, and she assumed the role of Vice President of Power Supply in 2009. In 2016, she was named Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer, where she oversaw the generation, transmission, and distribution operations, or as she likes to say, “My job is to keep the lights on and the customers happy.”
Grow is a leader in her field and involved in a number of industry groups, currently or previously serving on various committees and boards associated with the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, Northwest Power Pool, National Hydropower Association, Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, and the Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee.
Grow has presented at U of I’s Energy Executive Course (formerly UEC), an internationally-recognized training program for industry executives worldwide. She also serves on the U of I Foundation Board and is a past member of the advisory boards for the U of I College of Engineering and the Boise State College of Engineering.
She served on the board of the Idaho division of the American Heart Association and currently serves on the St. Luke's Health System Board of Directors. She is also a Hope Society Member of the Women's and Children's Alliance.
- B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Idaho, 1987
Michael L. Olson
Michael L. Olson ’65, ’66 is a national and international leader in the development of wireless communications and global monitoring (GIS) with more than 35 years of experience.
Upon leaving the University of Idaho, Olson did post graduate work at Stanford University, which included a year (1968) of ionospheric research as part of the United States Antarctic Research Program (USARP) at Byrd Station, Antarctica. As a result of his contributions, an island off the coast of Antarctica bears his name.
Following post-graduate studies, Olson worked for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 1972-1979, where he led development of prototype high-altitude (stratospheric) super-pressure balloons. The network of balloons carried a payload of radiosondes that were periodically released from 80,000 feet to measure temperature and humidity profiles of the atmosphere in the deep tropics. Real-time data was relayed through Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) network. The objective was to support the First GARP Global Experiment in the late 1970s that collected data globally for improving weather forecasting.
Between 1979 and 1993, Olson served as VP of Engineering in three startup companies pioneering satellite and cellular technologies for remote data monitoring and transmission; Synergetics International, Inc. (remote environmental monitoring with communication through the GOES UHF satellite bands), Equatorial Communications (data communications in C- and Ku- frequency bands with small-aperture, spread-spectrum, satellite data terminals) , and Cellular Data Inc. (narrow-band data over analog cellular networks).
In 1993, Olson joined Pactel Mobile, Inc. (subsequently, AirTouch Communications, Inc.) as a Managing Director, Research and Technology, for advanced mobile cellular technology including microcells and new radio technologies, particularly, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). Enhanced versions of CDMA are the foundational transmission technologies for modern mobile cellular networks.
From 1995 to 2001, as Managing Director (CTO) (AirTouch Satellite Services (a division of AirTouch Communications, Inc.) and Globalstar USA (a division of the multinational telecommunications conglomerate Vodaphone Group), Olson managed the transition from development through commercial operation of five Globalstar, Inc. satellite gateways. These five gateways (part of a global network) support voice and low-speed data services via handheld satellite phones primarily from remote-locations across North America and the Caribbean.
Starting in 2001, Olson was Managing Director, International Technology and Engineering for Vodafone Group R&D. His focus during this period was identifying the technological and social changes that have led the mobile cellular industry to the smart devices and services of today.
After retiring in 2006, Olson became more involved in disaster preparation and management as a volunteer report reviewer and editor on the Deepwater Horizon Study Group at University of California, Berkeley. This group collected and assembled a comprehensive report that combined risk and technical analyses from well drilling experts from around the world who sought to identify the contributing and root causes of the Gulf Coast Macondo well blowout in April 2010.
Subsequently, in 2012, he became involved in the Civilian Emergency Response Team activities in Contra Costa County, California, and received training in a variety of skills useful in helping civil authorities and local citizens before, during, and after disasters that stress the capabilities of local authorities.
Olson’s current interests involve online education with emphasis on systems thinking, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, risk management, and Big Data technologies.
An Idaho native, Olson continues to manage the family farm homestead properties near Plummer, Idaho, and additional farmland near Brookings, South Dakota.
- B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Idaho, 1965
- M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Idaho, 1966