Alumni Awards Recognize Two from Engineering

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The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association recognized eight individuals, including Dhiaa Jamil and Brett Tempest from the Lee College of Engineering, for outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities and the university at a ceremony April 9th.

“Some of the most rewarding experiences we associate with our university actually begin at graduation, when former students enter the Alumni Association,” said Madeline Keeter (’08), president-elect of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association. “Alumni are an essential part of our university and are among UNC Charlotte’s most valued supporters. Our Alumni Association is comprised of more than 120,000 graduates who remain connected with the university through service, fellowship and loyalty.”

Jamil, executive vice president and president of Duke Nuclear Energy, was recognized with the Bonnie Cone Lifetime Achievement Award. A 1978 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Jamil was lauded for his “leadership and dedication that have helped to transform both UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte region.”

Jamil joined Duke Power in 1981 as a design engineer. He rose through the ranks and became site vice president of McGuire Nuclear Station in 2002. After a series of major leadership positions and the Duke Energy/Progress Energy merger, he was named executive vice president and chief nuclear officer before assuming his current role of executive vice president and president of regulated generation and transmission.

“Dhiaa Jamil’s leadership and dedication have helped to transform both UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte region,” said Lee College of Engineering Dean Bob Johnson. “He is constantly looking for ways to help this institution more effectively serve our students and contribute to our community and industry. Dhiaa has distinguished himself as an industry leader, a devoted alumnus and a wonderful member of the Charlotte community.”

Jamil was instrumental in leading the campaign to fund the Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. He diligently worked to bring EPIC to fruition, partnering with industry and government leaders to raise $76 million for the EPIC Building, with an additional $5 million commitment from the state to support the energy program.

“The generous financial support [was] integral to gathering momentum for the EPIC project,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. “This support reflects the depth of academic and industry collaboration in the Charlotte Region.”

In his current role as a member of the Board of Trustees of UNC Charlotte, Jamil’s passion goes far beyond engineering. He advocates on behalf of the university with local corporations in support of university initiatives including faculty development, scholarships, athletics and the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band. His family established the Hope E. Jamil EPIC Student Fellow Scholarship to provide support for students with financial need and is also a strong supporter of the Niner Food Pantry.

A short video about Jamil is here.

Triple Civil Engineering degree graduate Brett Tempest (bachelors ’04, masters ’07 and Ph.D. ’10) was named Outstanding Young Alumnus. Now a member of the Lee College of Engineering’s Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty, Tempest is an expert on reuse applications for coal fly ash derived from power generation use. His research is related to the development and performance evaluation of fly ash concrete and masonry construction materials, particularly from the standpoint of sustainability.

Says classmate Brian Zapata of Zapata Incorporated, “Brett is above all else, a humanitarian.” Whether it was working as a civil engineer helping rebuild Sumatra after the devastating 2004 tsunami; touring with AmeriCorps to help impoverished regions in the United States; working with the Charlotte office of Habitat for Humanity; or taking UNC Charlotte students to Peru to help build three pedestrian-safe bridges for farmers, Tempest has used his knowledge and passion to help those in need. In recognition of his service, the Foundation for the Carolinas awarded him the Nish Jamgotch Student Humanitarian Award in 2007.

As a UNC Charlotte assistant professor, Tempest not only successfully teaches core courses throughout the curriculum, but also developed entirely new and innovative courses including Sustainable Design, Engineering for Development Workers, and Green Building and Integrative Design. He also served as advisor to the campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Tempest is active in engineering education research related to building student diversity and integrating service learning into the engineering curriculum. “Brett is caring, practical, knowledgeable, skilled and incredibly capable,” said Zapata. “I believe the lessons imparted by a teacher are inseparable from their own character. As such, I know that Brett is one of the best teachers engineering students at UNC Charlotte will encounter. Our alumni-to-be are lucky to have him as a professor and mentor”.

Tempest is also principal investigator of the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability, which engages an international group of academics and practitioners seeking to understand how the built environment impacts social sustainability. Even in his home life, Brett shows a heart for serving those within his reach. When they are not caring for their full host of wildlife – four cats, a dog, 12 chickens, and 150,000 bees – he and his fiancé Tina have worked on establishing a hostel in southwest Virginia to serve hikers of the Appalachian Trail.

A short video about Tempest is here.

The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Awards were established in 1985 to recognize those who have made important contributions to the establishment and growth of UNC Charlotte; embody the core principles of the University; and have distinguished themselves through their outstanding service to the University, their chosen field, humanity and/or society. These awards honor alumni and friends whose careers have been distinguished by significant accomplishments or through extraordinary service to alumni, faculty, students, and communities, especially the underserved.

More information about other 2016 honorees can be found here.