Distinguished Engineering Graduates 2004

Johnny Charles Wachel

Johnny Charles Wachel

B.S.M.E. 1957, M.S.M.E 1959
Retired President, Engineering Dynamics, Inc.

Johnny C. “Buddy” Wachel’s combination of technical prowess and entrepreneurial acumen led him to become one of the most recognized and successful figures in mechanical vibration problems.

Wachel grew up in East Texas and attended Kilgore College, graduating in 1954 with an associate’s degree. After transferring to The University of Texas at Austin, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, accepted a teaching assistantship and completed his master’s degree in the same field.

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James J. Truchard

Jmaes J. Truchard

Ph.D. E.C.E. 1974
President and CEO, National Instruments

Dr. James J. Truchard, National Instruments president and CEO, co-founded the company in 1976 while working at The University of Texas at Austin. Under Truchard's leadership, National Instruments has pioneered the development of virtual instrumentation software and hardware that has revolutionized the way engineers approach measurement and automation applications.

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Gail Chenoweth

Gail Chenoweth

B.S. P.E., 1982
Marathon Oil Co.

Gail Chenoweth’s successful career in petroleum engineering management resulted this year in her selection as The University of Texas at Austin College of Engineering’s first female Distinguished Graduate.

Her first bachelor’s degree earned in studio art from UT Austin in 1976, failed to hint of her interest in the oil industry. But Chenoweth decided to try her hand in the field and returned to earn her bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering by 1982.

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R. Richard Rothwell

R. Richard Rothwell

B.S.Ch.E. 1962
President, Horizon Resources

After an active student life at The University of Texas at Austin, Dick Rothwell went on to become a leader in the petroleum industry as head of Horizon Resources.

Upon graduating from UT Austin, he spent a year in Indonesia working for Roy Huffington, Inc., where he successfully negotiated with Japanese Utilities for the financing of a liquefied natural gas plant. His other professional experience includes five years as vice president at APCO Oil Company, where he served as chairman of the Refining/Marketing/Supply Operating Committee; four years at Northern Natural Gas/Northern Petrochemical, where he was project manager for the design and construction of an ethylene oxide/glycol plant; and four years as a plant engineer for Humble Oil and Refining Company.

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OYEG Honorees

An "Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate" (OYEG) is a graduate who is under the age of 40 at the time of selection. Learn more about OYEG honorees.