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Honoring outstanding alumni from construction and civil engineering

On March 2, 2018, the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment hosted their annual Academy of Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame awards ceremony and dinner. Photo by Marco-Alexis-Chaira/ASU

April 19, 2018

On March 2, the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment hosted their annual Academy of Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame awards ceremony and dinner.

The academy honors a select group of SSEBE alumni who have had stellar careers and given back to the programs within the school.

Established in 1990, the Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who are not alumni but have contributed to the advancement of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, its educational and research mission and its preparation of the industry’s workforce.

The ceremony inducted two of the school’s outstanding contributors into the Hall of Fame and six alumni exemplars into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Entering the Hall of Fame

Bo Calbert and Charles E. O’Bannon are this year’s Hall of Fame inductees.

Calbert served as president of McCarthy Building Companies — Southwest Division from 2000 to his retirement in 2016, concluding 35 years with the company. Calbert’s contributions and leadership for the Del E. Webb School of Construction have been substantial.

“When I look at someone who really provides servant leadership, Bo [Calbert] comes to mind immediately,” said G. Edward Gibson Jr., director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “Bo has been a great leader of his company with a wonderful 35-year career.”

Calbert’s work with the Alliance for Construction Excellence and the Construction Industry Advisory Council made a significant impact on strategic direction and vision for the school, including the development of the construction engineering program. His commitment to the Block 12 Building fundraising campaign was instrumental in helping construct the College Avenue Commons building.

O’Bannon, the other 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, retired from ASU in 1997 after 33 years as a professor, including seven years serving as chair of the Civil Engineering Department.

During his tenure, he established a legacy of inspiring hundreds of leaders in civil engineering and construction. O’Bannon’s energy, intellect, humor and his quest for living in spite of physical challenges were an inspiration to his family, friends, students and all the “strangers he never met.”

Carey O’Bannon Kyler and D’Ann O’Bannon Clewis accepted the honor posthumously on behalf of their father, who passed away on July 14, 2000.

“Over and over again, when I first arrived at ASU, I heard stories from people who went through both the civil engineering and construction programs about how O’Bannon helped them make it through ASU and into their career,” Gibson said. “His career had a huge impact on the legacy we have here at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.”

These awardees join eight others who have been honored as Hall of Fame members in the past.

Joining the Academy of Distinguished Alumni

The Academy of Distinguished Alumni recognizes alumni who embody the spirit of ASU as a New American University and show excellence in their professional work as well as compassion and support for their communities.

These individual awards are granted to outstanding alumni of the Del E. Webb School of Construction and the Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering program.

This year’s awardees include:

  • George J. “Jim” Geiser, PE (’77 BS, civil engineering) is the retired principal of Prelude Engineering. Geiser was recognized for working with undergraduates through Friends of Civil Engineering and establishing a scholarship for civil engineering undergraduate students. Geiser, who retired from the United States Marine Corps, recently lead the effort to create a recognition wall outside of the Tillman Center for all of ASU’s fallen soldiers.
  • LeRoy C. Hanneman Jr. (’69 BS, construction) is a 35-year veteran of the housing industry and former president, chief operating and executive officer of Del Webb Corporation. Hanneman supported construction management for many years through the Industry Advisory Council, student competitions and establishing several undergraduate student scholarships.
  • Geza E. Kmetty, PE (’65 BS, civil engineering) has more than 40 years of civil engineering design and business management experience in transportation and urban infrastructure development. Kmetty is world renowned for value engineering, continues to teach civil engineering courses at ASU and was recently recognized with the Arizona Transportation Engineering Legacy Award.
  • Debra Larson, PE (’94 PhD, civil engineering) is provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Chico. Larson is the consummate PhD graduate, balancing experience in engineering and in academia. She has received significant recognition during her career, most notably the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Leadership Award from the American Society of Civil Engineering.
  • Valerie S. Roberts (’87 BS, construction) is the senior vice president of Global Field Services at Jacobs Engineering. Roberts has had an exemplary career in construction management. Prior to Jacobs, she was the acting principal deputy for the NIF & Photon Science Directorate at Lawrence Livermore. She joined the NIF project in 1996 as construction manager. Prior to Lawrence Livermore, Roberts worked 11 years at Sandia National Laboratory. 
  • Michael D. Roy (’79 BS, construction – office operations) is executive vice president of Bragg Companies, Inc. Roy, a continuous supporter of the Del E. Webb School of Construction, helped establish connections with alumni and professional associations in Southern California during the College Avenue Commons building campaign. 

Many of these alumni have remained affiliated with ASU since their graduation and have contributed to the success of the Fulton Schools.

These awardees join 24 other alumni who have been inducted into the academy since it began in 1995.

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