2015 Class of Distinguished Alumni

Karen Arnold

Karen Arnold


Karen Arnold is a co-founder and CEO of Nanocopoeia.

Nanocopoeia is a drug development company leveraging a proprietary ElectroNanospray™ technology platform to create complex therapeutic nanoparticles. These nanoparticles exhibit enhanced bioavailability, which can improve drug efficacy. They can also enable novel delivery methods for drug formulations.

Karen joined Nanocopoeia after serving as founder and CEO of Education Platform Group (SchoolExtra),

a K-12 student information solution system provider. With an extensive track record of growing technology businesses and moving products and

technologies into commercial scale operations, Ms. Arnold has had a successful 30+ year career in engineering, research, business development, technology commercialization, corporate partnering, corporate restructuring and venture capital.

Ms. Arnold has worked with technology businesses in industries as diverse as medical devices, biotechnology, information technology and industrial manufacturing. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Montana State University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Manufacturing from the University of St. Thomas.
Steve Daines

Steve Daines

U.S. Senator
State of Montana

A fifth-generation Montanan, Steve Daines brings 28 years of private- sector business experience to Washington, D.C., as he serves the people of Montana in the U.S. Senate.

Steve is a lifelong sportsman and grew up in Bozeman, Mont. After attending public schools (K-12) in Bozeman, Steve worked his way through college at Montana State University and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He spent

thirteen years in a management role for Procter & Gamble, and then returned to Bozeman in 1997 to work in a family construction business.

In 2000, Steve took on the role of VP at RightNow Technologies, a Bozeman-based cloud computing start-up company. The company grew rapidly and became a publicly traded software company with 17 offices around the world, and products in more than 30 languages. The company was acquired by Oracle in 2012 and remains one of Montana’s largest commercial employers.

Steve was elected to serve as Montana’s United States Representative in 2012. During his time in the House, Daines championed legislation to expand responsible development of Montana’s energy resources, move forward meaningful forest management reform, increase transparency and accountability in government, and require members of Congress to balance the budget—or see their pay terminated. Additionally, he passed the most

significant public lands bill for Montana in more than 30 years. He was ranked the most effective first-term House member in 2013 and again in 2014.
Wesley Kremer

Wesley D. Kremer

Integrated Defense Systems
Raytheon Company

Wesley D. Kremer is president of Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), a division of Raytheon Company.

Raytheon, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., specializes in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets worldwide.

IDS, is headquartered in Tewksbury, Mass., and has 28 locations around the world. Its portfolio of weapons, sensors and integration systems supports its customer base

across multiple mission areas. IDS provides integrated solutions to a broad international and domestic customer base, including the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Kremer joined Raytheon in 2003 as general manager of its Advanced Products Center in Dallas. Prior to his current role, Kremer was vice president of the Air and Missile Defense Systems product line.

Previously, Kremer was the director of the SM-3® program, where he was responsible for the development, testing and production of all variants of the SM-3 missile portfolio. He has also served as the director of Systems Design and Performance Engineering, leading an organization of more than 1,700 engineers responsible for a large variety of design aspects for Missile Systems programs.

Kremer served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force as a weapon systems officer, flying the F-111 and F-15E, with more than 1,500 hours of flight time in fighter aircraft, including more than 90 combat sorties in Iraq and Bosnia. He was the first person to be named the top graduate of both the Electronic Warfare Officer course and the Fighter/Bomber course at Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training. Kremer was ranked first of 411 graduates and named as the Air Training Command Navigator of the Year for 1989.

Kremer received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Montana State University and his MBA in Engineering Technology Management from City University of Seattle.

Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller

Senior V.P.
Southwest Region
Ames Construction Inc.

Jerry Miller is the Senior Vice President for the Southwest Region of Ames Construction Inc. (an ENR top 50 contractor providing heavy civil, mining, industrial, and transportation construction services throughout the U.S. and Canada). Jerry started with Ames in their Salt Lake office in the spring of 1996.

After a short stint in Utah, Jerry was transferred to Phoenix, where he worked as a project engineer in operations and as project manager on many of the region’s projects.

In 2009 Jerry left Ames to pursue the position of General Manager of the Arizona Region at Skanska, a large international construction company. Jerry returned to the family company he loved in 2011 to oversee Ames’ Phoenix and Los Angeles offices and operations as Vice President. In 2014 Jerry was promoted to Senior Vice President and is responsible for overseeing the entire Southwest Region.

Jerry graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering (‘96). The family-like atmosphere of the Civil Engineering Department, his time spent working as a grader and lab instructor, and the recognition and support he received from his professors are all lessons Jerry took away from his time at MSU and now puts into practice on a daily basis. Jerry is still actively involved with MSU, and, for the past five years, he has been serving on the Civil Engineering Academic Advisory Board.

Jerry and his family are originally from Libby, Mont., where he grew up with two older brothers and a younger sister. Jerry is married to his wife of 26 years (yes, right out of high school!) and he has one 15-year-old son. Jerry states “I attribute most of my success to the support of my wife, the mentorship of my father and brother, and the superior education I received at MSU.” In his spare time, Jerry enjoys restoring old cars, golfing, and boating.

Michael "Mike" C. Stears

Michael C. Stears


From humble origins in Butte, Montana, Michael C. “Mike” Stears built an international career in the data storage industry.

After earning a Mechanical Engineering degree from MSU in 1978, Mike launched his career with StorageTek. In 1996, MiniScribe recruited and ultimately promoted him to senior management. It was at MiniScribe that Mike got hooked on international manufacturing operations.

In 1990, Conner Peripherals chose him to launch their notebook product drives. By 1995, he was Senior Vice President and a member of Conner’s team that orchestrated a merger with Seagate Technology.

Based in Singapore, Mike significantly improved Seagate’s manufacturing productivity while serving as Senior Vice President of Asian Operations. As a member of Seagate’s Corporate Management Council, Mike helped define its strategy. In 2001, Mike repatriated to Boulder to work for Exabyte, where he oversaw most of its critical functions.

Since retiring, Mike has been very active in non-profit organizations. He is President of Colorado Youth Lacrosse Association, which has more than 5,000 participants. He is a charter member of mentoring programs at the University of Colorado Leed’s School of Business and at MSU. He also serves on MSU’s College of Engineering Advisory Council.

2014 Class of Distinguished Alumni

Kevin Cummings

Kevin Cummings

GKN Aerospace

Kevin Cummings,ME’85,isCEO of GKN Aerospace. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA. He has more than 20 years of experience in the advanced weapon and space systems industry. He previously worked at ATK and Hercules Aerospace Company, which ATK acquired in 1995. Kevin held leadership positions in both companies across program management, operations, engineering, strategic planning, business development, and corporate development. ATK went through several management changes, and, with each, Kevin was promoted to bring the company to new levels. Being an engineer with business acumen has served him well and he is eager to share his experience with engineering graduates from MSU.

Larry Hattery

Larry Hattery

 VP of Software Engineering
TriplePoint Inc.

Larry Hattery, CS and EE ‘84, is Vice President of Software Engineering for TriplePoint Incorporated, which he co-founded in 1990. TriplePoint works with hardware manufacturers worldwide to help develop software for their hardware.

Their primary expertise is developing software that works close to the hardware (drivers, firmware, BIOS, automation, and diagnostics). They know how to integrate these components into a wide variety of operating systems and custom platforms. TriplePoint also offers development services on an as-needed basis. According to TriplePoint’s president, Brian Colony, Larry has mentored many engineers through projects big and small while always keeping a level head and a laser focus on getting products completed with the highest quality in a timely manner.

After volunteering to read the Computer Science Department’s business plan, he provided excellent feedback to strengthen it. In addition, he identified resources that can be shared with K-12 students to help them learn about computational thinking and to increase future demand for the Computer Science major.

James Nordahl

James H. Nordahl


James (“Jim”) H. Nordahl, ChE, ’63, earned his bachelor’s degree in 1963. Despite a heavy course load, he was President of the Sigma Nu fraternity and served in the student senate and was President of Septemveri.

Upon graduation, Jim worked for General Electric for two years. From 1965 to 1972, he held an engineering management position at Atlantic Richfield Hanford. From 1972-1989, he worked for Exxon Nuclear in sales and management, and his career culminated in 2001 as President/CEO at the nuclear fuel design and manufacturing companies of Siemens/AREVA in the U.S. and Far East. While in this position, Jim was honored by Siemen Power Corporation's more than 700 employees for creating a Supportive Work Environment Program to improve communication and team effectiveness.

Jim has also served his community, focusing mainly on his church and organizations that provide activities and support for youth. At MSU, he shares his wealth of knowledge, particularly about safety and business ethics, through guest lectures, typically several times each year. He is a charter member of the MSU Mentoring Program, through which he mentors a Chem/Bioengineering student.

Mary Ann Pearce

Mary Ann Pearce


Mary Ann Pearce, ChE ’76, was among the students whom Dr. Lloyd Berg recruited to study chemical engineering at MSU. She frequently acknowledges the impact of having “Doc” Berg as a teacher and mentor. After graduating in 1976, she joined ConocoPhillips’ natural gas processing group. With the exception of a four-year stint as an independent consultant, she stayed with ConocoPhillips for more than 30 years.

Mary Ann headed projects for ConocoPhillips in six states and seven foreign countries. She was in charge of more than 300 people, 5,000 miles of natural distribution lines, seven processing facilities, and a coal-bed-methane system. Under her leadership, her department’s earnings rose in one year from $7 million to $75 million. ConocoPhillips chose Mary Ann as one of 14 employees to help it establish strategies and tactics as it entered the 2000s. In 2010, Mary Ann retired from ConocoPhillips as manager of commercial activities in the lower 48 states.

While at MSU, she started the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Mary Ann has maintained her passion for community service and mentoring through her work as a Junior Achievement instructor in the Houston-area Women’s Energy Network and as the program director of the ConocoPhillips Houston Area Retiree Association.

In support of MSU, Mary Ann helped found the Houston-area MSU Alumni Association Chartered Chapter. With her husband, she established the Olive Pearce Presidential Scholarship in honor of her mother’s 85th birthday. It is awarded to an exceptional engineering student each year and covers the full cost of tuition.

Bill Wuertz

Bill Wuertz

Storage Components Division

Bill Wuertz, EE ‘80, has worked in the semiconductor electronics field, primarily in digital computer components. He has held design, marketing, and management positions with NCR Corporation, AT&T, and Symbios Logic. He has also had several key positions with LSI Corporation, his current employer. He has served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for LSI’s Storage Components Division and is currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of its RAID Storage Division. RAID stands for redundant array of independent disks.

Bill has been involved in community service throughout his career. A proud Bobcat engineer, he has stayed in contact with MSU over the years, and he recently re-engaged formally when his son, Riley, chose to attend MSU’s College of Engineering.

2013 Class of Distinguished Alumni

The Academy of Distinguished Alumni was established in 2013 with recipients of honorary doctorates, referred to as founding members, and with the inaugural class members as listed below.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell

Vice President of Information Management
and Vice President of Technologies
American Express

Margaret Mitchell is Vice President of Information Management and of Technologies at American Express. She has worked for more than 24 years in the information technologies industry. She began her career developing operating systems software for Honeywell and Bull Information Systems. In 1994, she joined American Express as a Senior Software Engineer and has held a variety of positions within American Express Technologies, including being part of the team that launched the first American Express website. She is currently leading a global team in the migration of the 600+ mid-range databases and associated storage to American Express’ new data center. In 1999, she received a Master’s in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). In 1988, she received her bachelor’s of science degree in Computer Science from Montana State University. She holds two U.S. Patents for inventions developed at American Express. She is a member on the Arizona State University’s Department of Information Systems Professional Advisory Board, the Engineering Advisory Council for MSU, and the sponsor of the Arizona Chapter of Women in Technologies for American Express.

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker

Director of Cloud Planning for Intel's Datacenter Group

Ryan Parker is Director of Cloud Planning for Intel's Datacenter Group. In this role, he leads Intel's long-term cloud strategy and solutions roadmap. Ryan regularly guides his clients and customers to create innovative solutions in an effort to realize the flexibility and economies of scale derived from the cloud. He began his career at Intel as an industrial engineer, implementing its factory capacity planning system and managing the development of complex software projects. He quickly gained responsibility in strategically determining target market segments for business investment and managing product planning teams. Ryan joined Intel’s Ericsson account team in Sweden, and then returned to Arizona to lead the Embedded Computing Division’s marketing department, which consisted of segment marketing, product marketing, silicon design, platform architecture and application engineering. In service to MSU, Ryan has served the College of Engineering for a number of years as a member of the Engineering Advisory Council. Recently, he has been an advocate and consultant for the newly proposed bachelor’s of science degree in Financial Engineering. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Money Magazine, Business Week, and Wired, among others. He is a W.P. Carey MBA Distinguished Speaker.

Bryan Robertus

Bryan Robertus, P.E.

Advanced Electronic Designs (AED)

Bryan Robertus has distinguished himself as a successful entrepreneur, inventor, and longtime member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department’s external advisory council. Bryan founded his company, Advanced Electronic Designs (AED), here in Bozeman in 1994. Since then he has grown the business to a dozen employees, with ten being MSU EE alumni. AED is a company representing the best achievements of MSU alumni. In addition to hiring many MSU College of Engineering alumni, Bryan has been a highly influential member of the ECE Department's External Advisory Council for more than ten years. He has also volunteered as an advisor for senior design projects and has hosted many tours and talks regarding his engineering design and entrepreneurial work. In recent years Bryan has received national attention for his company's work in designing large LED display units in New York's Times Square, which is an astonishing accomplishment for a small company located in Bozeman. What's more, he and his team designed the large new LED video display screen in MSU's renovated scoreboard for Bobcat Stadium, along with the incredible audio sound system that is also part of the scoreboard.

Michael Sanderson

Michael Sanderson, P.E., PTOE, LEED Accredited Professional

President and CEO
Sanderson Stewart

Michael Sanderson is President and CEO of Sanderson Stewart, a regional engineering and planning firm with offices in Montana, North Dakota and Colorado. In this role, Michael oversees business operations for the firm and all of its offices. In addition to his executive role, Michael is actively engaged in project management on a variety of transportation and land development projects. His expertise is in planning and designing transportation facilities that promote non-motorized connections and enhance community sustainability. His past project experience includes working on complex and sometimes controversial projects with diverse constituencies. Michael is particularly recognized for his effective communication and consensus building. He is a Fellow in the Institute of Transportation Engineers and currently serves on its International Board of Direction, the first Montanan to hold this distinction. He is a licensed professional engineer (PE), a certified professional traffic operations engineer (PTOE) a LEED Accredited Professional, and a National Course Instructor certified by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Michael is an active MSU alumnus who serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Council, the Museum of the Rockies Board of Trustees, the MSU President’s Advisory Council and the MSU Planning Council.

Jean Sweeney

Jean Sweeney

Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety

In 1976, Jean Sweeney was among the first women to graduate from Montana State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering. After graduation, Jean started working for 3M as a process engineer, and her early success led to a number of promotions and new opportunities at 3M. In 1993 she was appointed the International Manufacturing Manager for Post-it Products and in 1996 she moved to 3M Australia where she was the Manufacturing Director. Today, Jean is the Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety at 3M. Jean has been very active in serving communities where she has lived. While living in Taipei, Taiwan, she volunteered as a Management Committee Member for the Community Services Center. She is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Jean has been an extraordinary contributor to Montana State University and has served on the Chemical Engineering Advisory Board from 1996 to 2004 and is currently serving on the College of Engineering Advisory Council. She also serves on the Board of Governors for the Montana State University Alumni Foundation.