Former Kentucky Transportation Secretary Calvin Grayson, Brigadier General Timothy A. Byers, one of UK’s longest serving faculty members, Bobby O. Hardin, and company executives Joseph D. Hicks Jr., and L. Stanley Pigman were the 2009 inductees into the University of Kentucky College of Engineering’s Hall of Distinction.
The induction ceremonytook place on Friday, April 17, at the Singletary Center for the Arts on UK’s campus.
“Induction into the College of Engineering Hall of Distinction is an honor bestowed upon a very select group of men and women,” said dean Thomas Lester. “Since the university conferred its first engineering degree in 1890, more than 21,000 graduates have earned a degree in engineering and computer science. Only 82 recipients have been chosen for this honor. The 2009 inductees are five outstanding individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to their profession.”
This year’s inductees were:
Brigadier General Timothy A. Byers
General Byers, a Louisville native and 1976 graduate of Valley High School earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UK in 1981. As an undergraduate, he received a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Scholarship and an Air Force ROTC Scholarship. After graduation, he worked for Brighton Engineering in Chicago before being called to active duty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He rose to his current rank of brigadier general during a career in which he planned, developed, constructed and maintained nine major bases for the Air Force in the Pacific and 16 major bases for the Air Combat Command. General Byers is currently director of installations and mission support at the headquarters of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Recently, General Byers learned he will be promoted to Major General pending Senate confirmation. In addition, he has been named Air Force Civil Engineer, the highest-ranking civil engineer in the Air Force. He will be moving in June to assume those duties at the Pentagon. He has won numerous awards from the Air Force and from various civil engineering organizations.
Mr. Grayson, a native of Pisgah in Woodford County, Ky., graduated from Lafayette High School in Lexington in 1941 and attended UK for two years before entering the Armed Forces. He completed his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at UK in January 1949, and then began his career with the old Kentucky Department of Highways. He served in a variety of posts in the department and its successor, the Department of Transportation, where he established the Division of Environmental Analysis in 1973. He was named commissioner of highways and secretary of transportation in 1977, becoming the first career professional engineer to hold these positions. While secretary, he established the Kentucky Transportation Center at UK and became its director in 1983. During his government career, Mr. Grayson was recognized as one of the Top 10 Public Works Leaders by the American Public Works Association. He has received other awards as well, including being named by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of the Top 100 Public Officials of the 20th Century. A highlight of his career is his tireless work to secure passage of the primary seat belt law for Kentucky.
Dr. Bobby O. Hardin
Dr. Hardin, a native of Lexington, earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1956 and his master’s in civil engineering in 1958, both at UK. He became an assistant professor at UK upon completing his master’s, having served as an instructor during his graduate studies. Hardin received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and earned his doctorate from the University of Florida in 1961. He returned to UK to teach, and completed 50 years of service to the university in 2006, having become UK’s longest-serving faculty member at the time of his retirement. His research into the constitutive behavior of soils led to six national awards, including the Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award and the Walter Huber Research Prize. He invented a resonant column oscillator for determining the shear modulus of soil at various confining pressures. This research gained him national renown and respect among geotechnical engineers.
Joseph D. Hicks Jr
Mr. Hicks grew up in Central City and earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UK in 1966. He was employed first by the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, where he performed research in special-purpose computers and underwater sensing systems. While there, he earned his master of business administration degree from the University of Maryland in 1970. He joined Motorola as manager of the engineering section in the company’s paging terminal and paging receiver groups. Mr. Hicks later became manager of engineering for the company’s mobile radio products group, responsible for research and product development. He also served as manager of development for the communications group in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He joined Siecor Corp. as vice president and general manager in 1979, and became senior vice president of sales and marketing in 1984. In 1988 he was named senior vice president and general manager of the cable division and became the company’s president and CEO a year later. His greatest engineering contribution to Siecor was his invention of the network interface device. The device allowed the telephone service professionals to determine the source of problems even if the homeowner was not available. He and Siecor patented the network interface device and sold over $2 billion worth to telephone companies around the world.
L. Stanley Pigman
Mr. Pigman, a native of Knott County, Ky., earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 1981. He began his career as a project engineer for Sierra Coal Co. in Eastern Kentucky, then moved in 1983 to Lexington to become a market analyst with Old Ben Coal Co. Mr. Pigman became the company’s manager of marketing in 1987 and later became director of marketing for Pyro Mining Company. In 1992, he and two partners formed Sugar Camp Coal and later partnered with Black Beauty Coal in Evansville, Ind., where he became vice president for marketing in 2000. A year later, he formed Pigman Coal Sales in High Point, N.C., which he sold to Peabody Coal Co. in 2004. Since then, Mr. Pigman has formed three companies that own and lease coal properties, Mackey Development, Buck Creek and Delaware Resources.