The vice president, area lead for CH2M’s South Florida offices, a global engineering firm, will kick off the Fall 2017 “Leaders Up Close” seminar series for UCF engineering and computer science students.

Civil engineering alumnus Didier Menard, ’99, will speak about his experience in small business development and community involvement, and give students advice on how to build successful careers. Menard was recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as a top 40 Under 40 executive in central Florida.

The Fall 2017 series – offered by the Engineering Leadership & Innovation Institute (eli2) at UCF – features five accomplished leaders from diverse fields and includes two UCF alumni.  

The speaker lineup includes Menard; Bill Miller, senior vice president and chief information officer at NextApp; Mike Sarpu, vice president of operations at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems; Molly Mahoney, director of strategic technology at CNL Financial Group; and Ron Foudray, vice president of business development at Northrop Grumman Technology Services.

The seminars are available to students of the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science. See past seminars and studio interviews with speakers here.

The eli2 “Leaders Up Close” Seminar Series provides practical and engaging advice to CECS juniors and seniors enrolled in the course, “Engineering Leadership I.” Tim Kotnour, professor of industrial engineering and management systems, leads the course as the director of eli2. /

Since the seminar series’ launch in Spring 2011, more than 1,000 students have learned from dynamic leaders within commercial and government organizations. The series is just one of many leadership and skills-building opportunities offered to all CECS students as part of eli2.

Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2) at UCF

Developed based on input from engineering leaders in the corporate, government and academic sectors, the mission of eli2 is to inspire students to be creative, innovative, collaborative and accountable to emerge as leaders capable of delivering world-changing solutions.

The institute strives to transform students so they can easily transition from the classroom to the workforce with sought-after proficiencies. Students will graduate fully prepared to collaborate and work effectively in teams, communicate with polished speaking and writing skills, make compelling presentations, and contribute with ethical responsibility and knowledge of global issues.

The institute offers a variety of programs including the seminar series, workshops, senior design “boot camps,” and the Maker Space Lab Complex – the Harris Gathering Lab, Idea Lab, Texas Instruments Innovation Lab, and Manufacturing Lab – that enables the transformation of ideas into working prototypes.

To fulfill the promise of lifelong engagement, eli2 provides resources to help young professionals quickly become technical and program managers. As they advance in their careers, technical managers can benefit from eli2 resources to emerge as executives who will ultimately shape and influence the next generation of engineering up-and-comers.

For more information, please visit the eli2 website.

Fall 2017 Seminar Series Schedule
Each one-hour seminar starts at 11:30 a.m.in the Engineering II building, Room 102.

  • Friday, Sept. 29 – Didier Menard, ’99, Vice President, South Florida Offices Area Manager, CH2M
  • Friday, Oct. 13 – Bill Miller, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, NetApp
  • Friday, Oct. 27 – Mike Sarpu, ’95, Vice President of Operations, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems
  • Friday, Nov. 3 – Molly Mahoney, Director of Strategic Technology, CNL Financial Group, Inc.
  • Friday, Nov. 17 – Ron Foudray, Vice President, Business Development, Northrop Grumman Technology Services

Those interested in attending a seminar or joining eli2 should email Kate Hurt, Assistant Director, Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute at UCF.

– CECS –