1. K-State home
  2. »DCM
  3. »K-State News
  4. »News
  5. »Kansas State University engineering alumni honored for career success

K-State News

K-State News
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Dr North
Manhattan, KS 66506


Kansas State University engineering alumni honored for career success

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


MANHATTAN — The Kansas State University Carl R. Ice College of Engineering will honor 10 alumni for professional career accomplishment during the first 20 years following their graduation. The honorees will be recognized at ceremonies April 13.

Recipients of the college's Professional Progress Award were nominated by their respective department heads and confirmed by Darren Dawson, dean of engineering.

The following are the 2019 Professional Progress Award honorees:

Ash Siebecker, Burr Oak, is a 1999 graduate of Kansas State University in information systems. He is chief technology officer of Ascend Learning in Leawood where he leads the technology team to develop customer-facing platforms for content delivery in addition to ensuring their internal infrastructure, corporate applications and security remain top of the line. Before serving in his current position, he had been Ascend's vice president of software engineering for the clinical health care business, helping to drive architecture, and platform strategy and design deploying platform and product enhancements. With 20 years of software engineering experience, he has a strong knowledge of both health care information technology industries and high-volume manufacturing, having also previously spent several years at Cerner Corporation where he managed software engineering organizations delivering a variety of solutions, both enterprise and client-facing.

Kevin Lewis, Lenexa, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in mechanical engineering. He has a master's degree in corporate finance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is a senior vice president and the sports and venue practice director for Henderson Engineers. For the past 18 years in moving up the ranks from professional engineer to his current posts, he has developed, managed and designed high-profile arenas, stadiums and practice facilities nationwide. With a focus on furthering sustainability in the sports industry, he has managed the design of more than a dozen LEED-certified sports projects, working on some of the premier facilities at the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA Division I levels. He joined Henderson in 2004, and since then, has led the sports practice to achieve exponential growth over the past decade. In 2015, he was instrumental in securing the largest sports project in the history of the firm to date. Lewis is a 1995 graduate of Topeka West High School in Topeka.

Joe Quint, Shawnee, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in computer engineering. He is the emerging platforms executive for Cerner Technology Services, focusing on enabling both public and private data center services through an abstraction of computer, network and storage being simply consumed as a service. He joined Cerner in 2014 and has made an impact by reducing costs, provisioning times and infrastructure operations burdens. Previously, he had held roles at Microsoft as a technology strategist and at Ericsson/Sprint as a manager over engineering and development for big data operations support systems of the national cellular radio-frequency network.

Ben Hutton, Wichita, is a 2003 graduate of Kansas State University in construction science and management. He has a master's degree in business administration from Friends University and is currently enrolled in the owner/president management program at Harvard Business School. He is the chairman and CEO of Hutton Construction, a company founded by his father. He began working at the company as a teenager. It now has 275 employees with offices in Wichita, Garden City, McPherson and Salina. He is the current president of the Associated General Contractors of Kansas, first vice chair of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Vision Team for Project Wichita, and sits on the boards of Visit Wichita, Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters and Opportunity Wichita. He is also the founder of Lead Wichita, a nonprofit organization that works year-round to bring the Global Leadership Summit to the city of Wichita.

Kyle Franklin, Valencia, California, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in industrial engineering. He has a master's degree in project management from George Washington University and recently completed an executive aerospace and defense MBA program from the University of Tennessee. He is the U-2 Dragon Lady program director at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® in Palmdale, California, where he is responsible for U-2 program financial, schedule and technical performance. Before working with U-2, he led Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' supplier performance directorate. He also led teams in F-35 aircraft assembly and workforce planning, receiving a Lockheed Martin Nova Award for team leadership. He began his career with Lockheed Martin as a continuous improvement engineer where he earned his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and is a graduate of several Lockheed Martin operations and program management leadership development programs. He serves on the advisory council of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department at Kansas State University. Franklin is a 1996 graduate of Goodland High School in Goodland, Kansas.

John Gooch, Livermore, Colorado, is a 1999 graduate of Kansas State University in civil engineering. He is the principal/owner of Aspen Engineering in Fort Collins, Colorado, a civil engineering land development consulting firm specializing in land development design and construction administration of residential and multifamily subdivisions/developments, commercial/retail developments, medical and industrial developments, and master plan design for transportation and utility infrastructure developments. He oversees, manages and has provided design services for projects in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, California and Canada. His previous experience included junior engineer, project engineer and project manager for the Sear Brown Group/Stantec Consulting. He has professional licensure in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. He serves on several local metropolitan district boards and the UCHealth design review committee, and actively promotes and supports outdoors and shooting and hunting foundations, as well as several other charities and organizations. Gooch is a 1995 graduate of Liberal High School, Liberal, Kansas.

Matt Spexarth, Austin, Texas, is a 2006 graduate of Kansas State University in electrical engineering. Since 2006, he has worked in Austin for National Instruments, a global leader in automated test and measurement systems. He is currently chief product planner for PXI radio-frequency test instrumentation, focused on vector signal transceivers. Previous roles at National Instruments include applications engineering, product marketing and project management. In 2018, he was recognized as the National Instruments Marketer of the Year for his role in managing the company's first radio-frequency test system for 76GHz automotive radar modules. He has been active in university recruiting at Kansas State University and in organizing a National Instruments scholarship funded by university alumni. He is a current member of the electrical and computer engineering department advisory council at Kansas State University.

Jessica Navarro, Dallas, Texas, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University with a master's degree in architectural engineering. She is a senior vice president of WSP USA, a global engineering professional services firm in the Dallas office of the Property and Buildings Division. She is group manager of a team of 25 engineers and designers providing design services for one of the largest health care providers in the U.S. Her responsibilities include oversight of all project management, employee engagement, mentoring, project engineering and construction administration. As a leader in the company, she is sought after for her technical expertise and knowledge of the construction industry. She is currently overseeing more than $300 million in construction projects that include managing a $42 million electrical infrastructure upgrade at a Dallas hospital. She also has been published in the Consulting-Specifying Engineer and is active on the Lake Highlands Soccer Association Youth League.

Rykki Tepe, Midland, Texas, is a 2008 graduate of Kansas State University in biological and agricultural engineering. She is an operations engineer for XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil. She began her career with ExxonMobil Development Company in Houston as an environmental and regulatory adviser supporting various projects around the world, including Africa, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. In 2011, following the ExxonMobil and XTO Energy merger, she relocated to Fort Worth to join the XTO energy team as an air engineer supporting projects across the U.S. In 2014, she relocated to Midland to support the XTO Permian Basin team as an operations engineer where her responsibilities include hydraulic fracturing and well work operations in the most active oil field in the world. She serves on the board of Family Promise of Midland, a nonprofit devoted to helping the homeless, and enjoys promoting STEM activities in the community such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Junior Achievement and other mentoring activities to promote engineering.

Brian Newcomer, Parker, Texas, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in chemical engineering. He is currently senior manager of feedstocks, intermediates and natural gas for HollyFrontier Corporation headquartered in Dallas. He began his career at the CITGO Refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he held positions in process engineering, economics and planning, operation supervision, gasoline and blendstocks marketing, and foreign crude supply and trading. In 2012, during early stages of the recent U.S. resurgence of crude production, he joined HollyFrontier as a manager of business development and quickly transitioned into a crude supply and trading role to manage multiple aspects surrounding the Cushing, Oklahoma, market trading center. He is presently serving on the advisory council of the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering at Kansas State University.


Professional Progress Award

News tip

Burr Oak, Goodland, Leawood, Lenexa, Liberal, Shawnee, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; Valencia, California; Livermore, Colorado; and Austin, Dallas, Midland and Parker, Texas.

Written by

Mary Rankin