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Distinguished alumni Kenner and Slack
John Kenner and Michael Slack awarded Distinguished Aerospace Engineering Alumni award | Image: Jan McHarg

Six former students from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University were inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Academy during the Annual Awards Banquet held in November.

John Kenner ’87 and Michael Slack ’73 were honored with the highest distinction in the academy, the Distinguished Aerospace Engineering Alumni award. This award is presented to a former student who is retired or near retirement with outstanding career records, recognizing sustained and meritorious contributions to engineering and engineering management.

Slack focuses on the most challenging and demanding areas of civil litigation, including aviation law and products liability cases against major U.S. corporations. A licensed pilot and former NASA aerospace engineer, Slack combines his technical knowledge and skills with his extensive litigation and trial experience for the benefit of his clients.

Kenner has more than 30 years of domestic and international experience in international service and manufacturing companies with the majority being in the oil and gas industry. His experience is in the areas of executive leadership, engineering, manufacturing, operations, marketing and sales. He believes aerospace engineers can achieve great results in many disciplines from building an expansive analytical and experimental toolkit.

Wayne A. Lutz
Wayne Lutz | Image: Igor Kraguljac

Lt. Col. Wayne Lutz ’72 was honored with the Outstanding Engineer Award. This award is presented to a former student 40 years of age or older who has proven superior professional achievement, community service and service to the university, proving to be a role model for all to follow. Lutz is an associate professor of practice in the department where he shares his experience with students in the AERO 401 Capstone Design Class. He is a former United States Air Force test pilot on the B-1 Bomber program and operations officer in the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, as well as chief test pilot supporting Boeing Defense Systems Flight Operations’ 757 flying testbed aircraft for the development of the F-22 Raptor.

Cody P. Kelly ’10, Tyler P. Neale ’10 and Lesley A. Weitz, Ph.D. ’05 were all honored with the Outstanding Young Aerospace Engineer award. This award is presented to former students under the age of 40 who have shown outstanding work in their field and are promising leaders of the future. Kelly serves as the subsystem manager for astronaut postlanding survival and rescue equipment at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Neale is the executing agent for the Test Resource Management Center’s High-Speed Systems Test Program headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base. He is responsible for the development of new and improved technologies, tools and techniques for effective and timely test and evaluation of hypersonic systems. Weitz is a principal systems engineer at The MITRE Corporation where her current research is in advanced avionics for next generation air traffic systems and the integration of airborne and air traffic control automation systems.

Outstanding young aerospace engineers
Cody Kelly, Tyler Neale and Lesley Weitz | Image: Jan McHarg