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Outstanding AlumniThe Texas A&M University College of Engineering honored six alumni during the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Awards Banquet.

Receiving the Outstanding Alumni Honor Award were Fiona McCracken Allen ’82, regional manager, Trinity River Authority; Anthony Bahr ’91, president and co-founder, WildHorse Resource Development Corporation; Dennis J. Seith ’79, chief executive officer, INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA; Emina Soljanin ’94, professor, Rutgers University; and Jimmy Williams ’83, executive director and distinguished service professor, Carnegie Mellon University.

Receiving the Outstanding Early Professional Achievement Alumni Award was Isaac Wesley Ekoto ’06, principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories.


Fiona McCracken Allen ‘82
Regional Manager
Trinity River Authority

Fiona McCracken Allen is regional manager for the Trinity River Authority and responsible for wholesale water and wastewater services for 1.4 million people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and local sponsorship of three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs.

She began her career with the City of Arlington, Texas, in 1990 as a staff civil engineer. During her time there, she was promoted to field operations manager, assistant director of utilities, director of utilities, and in January 2005, was appointed interim deputy city manager.

She has received several honors during her career including the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering Distinguished Graduate Award; Texas A&M Engineer of the Year, Texas Society of Professional Engineers Mid Cities Chapter; Distinguished Service Award, Texas Municipal Utilities Association; and the American Council of Engineering Companies, chief judge, Engineering Excellence Awards. She has presented and co-authored papers at several state conferences as well as at the American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation national conventions.

Allen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1982 from Texas A&M. She and her husband Don have three children, Meredith, Mark and Elizabeth.


Anthony Bahr ‘91
President and Co-Founder
WildHorse Resource Development Corporation

Anthony Bahr is president and co-founder of WildHorse Resource Development Corporation, an independent oil and natural gas company headquartered in Houston, Texas. WildHorse is the fourth publicly traded company generated from Bahr’s private oil and gas investments in the past 10 years.

Prior to co-founding the original WildHorse private company in 2007, Bahr was employed in a variety of management and engineering roles with private and public energy companies. He also actively manages business investments in real estate private equity, polymer technology research, commercial real estate development and construction material supplies.

Bahr is a three-time Aggie 100 winner, with two of his companies receiving the awards in 2013, 2014 and 2016 for their ranking in the fastest-growing Aggie-owned companies. Bahr has founded or co-founded 31 companies since high school. He is a member of the Mays Business School Development Council and the Petroleum Ventures Advisory Board, an educational collaboration between the Mays Business School and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M, which he co-founded in 2015.

Bahr received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M, and his Master of Business Administration degree from California State University.

Bahr and his wife Gina, have three children, Audrey, Travis and Trever.


Dennis J. Seith ‘79
Chief Executive Officer
INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA

Dennis Seith is chief executive officer of INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA, and has more than 37 years of experience in the petrochemical, polymer and refining industries. Prior to joining INEOS, Seith held numerous supervisory roles for more than 25 years at Amoco/BP Amoco.

Seith received an Amoco Chairman’s Award and an Aggie 100 Summit Award. He was elected by members of the American Fuels and Petrochemical Manufacturers as a member of the executive board that governs the industry-wide advocacy association, and he was also elected treasurer. Seith was elected by industry peers into the Founders Club, an industry organization for 25-plus year contributors, and he also served as vice president for its board of governors.

He has served as a member of the chemical engineering advisory council at Texas A&M and the Texas A&M Engineering Advisory Council, and he established the “Cathy and Dennis Seith ’79 Faculty Fellowship” and the “Cathy ’79 and Dennis Seith ’79 Study Abroad Scholarship” at Texas A&M.

Seith received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M in 1979.

He and his wife, Cathy ’79, have three children, Jeremy, Melissa and Thomas ‘12.


Emina Soljanin ‘94 Professor
Rutgers University

Dr. Emina Soljanin is a professor at Rutgers University. Her research group is currently concerned with reliable, efficient and secure big data storage, as well as fast, anonymous and private data retrieval. Before joining the Rutgers faculty in January 2016, Soljanin was a distinguished member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.

Soljanin is an IEEE Fellow and recipient of the IEEE Information Theory Society Padovani Lectureship Award. She has received paper awards from technical communities and funding grants for her research from numerous government agencies. She also served as a distinguished lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society from 2015–2016. She is a member of IEEE, the American Mathematical Society and the Association for Women in Mathematics, and serves on the external advisory committee for the National Science Foundation’s Center for Science of Information. She has been intermittently serving as a member of the board of governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society since 2009, and is currently the second vice president.

Soljanin received her Master of Science and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Texas A&M in 1989 and 1994, respectively.

She is married to Andrea da Conturbia Rota ’94.


Jimmy Williams ‘83
Executive Director
Distinguished Service Professor
Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Jimmy Williams is executive director and distinguished service professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He previously served as vice president for global engineering at the Pall Corporation, senior director for technology development at Alcoa and director of research and development at The Boeing Company.

He serves as president of the Western Pennsylvania board of directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and is a visiting professor for the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. He also serves on the engineering advisory boards at Texas A&M, the University of Florida and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In 2001 he was named Black Engineer of the Year, and is chair-elect of the Association of Former Students board at Texas A&M.

Williams earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M in 1983, his Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University and his doctoral degree from Washington University.

He and his wife Valerie have two children, Danielle and Justin.


Isaac Wesley Ekoto ‘06
Principal Member of the Technical Staff
Sandia National Laboratories

Dr. Isaac Ekoto is a principal member of the technical staff in the Engine Combustion Department at Sandia National Laboratories. He serves as principal investigator of the Gasoline Combustion Fundamentals Lab, where active research of in-cylinder flow, mixing and combustion processes is performed for light-duty gasoline engines. Ekoto has worked at Sandia Labs since 2007 when he was a postdoctoral research engineer. In 2010 he became a senior member of the technical staff in the Hydrogen and Combustion Technologies Department.

He is a recipient of the Texas A&M Outstanding Young Aerospace Engineer Award; SAE Powertrain, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting Best Paper Award; and the Sandia Employee Recognition Award. He has written more than 20 refereed journal articles; several news articles; and made numerous presentations at international meetings, invited seminars and workshops.

He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers, and serves on the academic advisory board for Texas A&M’s Department of Aerospace Engineering.

Ekoto earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Fayetteville State University in 2000 and his doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M in 2006.


Pictured above from left: Jimmy Williams, Anthony Bahr, Fiona McCracken Allen, Dr. M. Katherine Banks, dean of Texas A&M Engineering, Isaac Ekoto, Emina Soljanin and Dennis J. Seith.