The Charger Blog

Tagliatela College of Engineering Names Four to Hall of Fame

Intro paragraph here.

May 13, 2019

By Jackie Hennessey, contributing writer

Image of MITRE

Examplary Partner Award: MITRE

When Cory Hall, MITRE’s principal cybersecurity engineer, took on his first intern from the Tagliatela College of Engineering’s Cyber Forensics Lab, he assigned him "the hardest problem I had" and the intern presented a couple of different solutions that he shared with us and some of our partners. That intern is now a full-time MITRE engineer.

The MITRE - Tagliatela College partnership has been extremely fruitful, says Hall, TCoE Dean Ronald Harichandran, and Ibrahim Baggili, Ph.D., Elder Family Chair, and associate professor of computer science. Engaged partnerships with prominent companies provide our students and faculty with outstanding opportunities," Harichandran says.

MITRE operates FFRDCs—federally funded research and development centers—organizations that assist the U.S. government with scientific research and analysis, with a focus on systems engineering and exploring new and expanded uses of technologies to solve their sponsors' problems. Hall—who is now part of the Tagliatela College’s Advisory Board—has come to the College to talk about the field. MITRE has provided paid internships to seven students and will take on more interns this summer. MITRE has funded faculty and student research, and paid conference travel expenses for student researchers.

"They’ve hired five of our graduates in the last three years and they all make six figure salaries," Dr. Baggili says. "As MITRE cybersecurity engineers, they get to work with all branches of the government on top secret projects."

"As MITRE cybersecurity engineers, they get to work with all branches of the government on top secret projects." Ibrahim Baggili, Ph.D.
Image of William J. (Bill) O’Brien
William J. (Bill) O’Brien

Distinguished Lifetime Alumni Award: William J. (Bill) O’Brien
B.S. in Industrial Engineering '64

Each day at work, William J. (Bill) O’Brien’s lived by the philosophy "we can always do it better." It began when he worked both shifts as a Schick engineer, so he could watch a product line run and make changes so the process could be more efficient.

It continued when he became president and owner of Precision Metal Products Inc. of Milford in 1977. "He valued everyone’s knowledge; that’s why he worked with people on the floor a lot," his wife Jean O’Brien says.

Sean O’Brien, ’97 BS Business Administration, recalls a time when he encouraged his father to consider moving into lean manufacturing—a new concept at the time. The changes worked so well he asked Sean when he would be suggesting the next innovation. "He always gave me the freedom to try to do things better," Sean O’Brien said. Now, as vice president of Precision Metals, he says, "I try to do that every day."

Over the course of four decades, Bill O’Brien—who died at 80 in May 2017—expanded the company from a five-employee shop to a high-performance, precision machined products company. With 140 employees, including an in-house engineering staff, Precision Metals supplies parts to the medical instrument, aerospace, and electronics industries.

O’Brien epitomized the alumni leaders of the college from the ’70s and ’80s who made strong contributions to the state’s burgeoning manufacturing industry. Dean Ron Harichandran says the family’s generous donations of engineering tools—including a computer numeric control milling machine to support engineering projects—have made a lasting impact on the College.

"He valued everyone’s knowledge; that’s why he worked with people on the floor a lot." Jean O’Brien
Image of Carolina Ramirez-Blier
Carolina Ramirez-Blier

TCoE Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Carolina Ramirez-Blier
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Tagliatela College of Engineering University of New Haven '09
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University '12

When Carolina Ramirez-Blier thinks of the message she wants her mechanical engineering students to carry with them, it’s that the field of engineering needs a rich tapestry of voices. "When people come from different backgrounds, it brings new perspectives and that can totally help make a team and a project successful."

This is what her own Taglialeta College professors told her when she studied mechanical engineering. That lesson helped shape her career in the decade since she graduated, moving from design engineer to program manager—at Sikorsky, Pratt and Whitney and Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky—to her current position as senior design quality engineer in Medtronic’s Minimally Invasive Therapies Group. She oversees a sweeping project, making sure all of the company’s legacy products meet the standards of new European regulations.

She grew up in Venezuela in a family of architects and engineers and, in 2001, after a year studying engineering in Venezuela, she moved to the United States and pursued an associate’s in graphic design. She worked in packaging design but knew "engineering was my calling." A Presidential Scholarship and the Igor Sikorsky Scholarship gave her a "priceless opportunity to pursue mechanical engineering at the University of New Haven," she says.

Today, she is both a senior design quality engineer and an Adjunct Faculty. "She makes the Project Planning class she teaches relevant, applicable, and engaging," says Maria-Isabel Carnasciali, associate professor of mechanical engineering. "She is very involved in student-faculty events organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. She is an excellent role model for all our students—setting an example of what they too can aim to achieve."

"When people come from different backgrounds, it brings new perspectives and that can totally help make a team and a project successful."Carolina Ramirez-Blier '09
Image of Nicholas Squeglia
Nicholas Squeglia

Pioneer Alumni Award: Nicholas Squeglia
A.S. Management '60
A.S. Industrial Engineering '63
B.S. Honorary Degree, University of New Haven

Engineering is about puzzling over an idea, imagining a new process, studying a situation and saying, as Nicholas Squeglia did, "Hey, something isn’t quite right here. I think I can do something better based on my knowledge."

That kind of thinking served Squeglia well when he took on the challenging job of director of quality and inspection for the Transportation Administration for New York City’s Department of Highways in the 1970’s, overseeing quality across the five boroughs for thousands of miles of roads, 2000 highway structures, and waterway bridges.

An industrial engineering and industrial management major at the University, then called New Haven College, he’d arrived at the New York position from manufacturing where he developed the "c=0 sampling plans" which changed the culture of Quality Programs by focusing on making manufacturing products 100% to specifications and eliminating the common practice of allowing a certain percent of defective items to be shipped.

At the time, Squeglia "went against a standard that every company was using, both military and commercial," but soon, his became the industry standard. His book Zero Acceptance Number (c=0) Sampling Plans is still in print 50 years later. He applied that same kind of daring to do things differently, that same emphasis on quality in New York and got results.

Over the course of his career, he’s developed and sold a start-up and directed quality for a full service, first tier automotive supplier. He urges the next generation of engineers to be original thinkers and to take on a particularly challenging job; he’s happy he did.

"Hey, something isn’t quite right here. I think I can do something better based on my knowledge."Nicholas Squeglia '60, '63