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K-State News
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Kansas State University engineering alumni honored for career success

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021


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 March 5.

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

The following are the 2021 Professional Progress Award honorees:

Liz Heier, Kansas City, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in information systems. She is currently director of global data privacy at Garmin International in Olathe. In her 13 years at Garmin, she has held a variety of positions, including software engineer, technical lead and software engineering manager. In 2017 she created Garmin's data protection and privacy compliance program spanning the company's five product segments and 100-plus locations worldwide. Heier's responsibilities include providing analysis and guidance on privacy impacts and compliance requirements for new features, apps and products; establishing privacy policies, processes and standards; conducting training and awareness programs; and addressing inquiries and complaints. In 2020 she also served as director of technology and development, leading a team of nearly 100 engineers in both internet and enterprise applications, services, platforms and technologies.

John Anderson, Maize, is a 2001 graduate of Kansas State University in biological and agricultural engineering. He is currently an engineering director at AGCO Corporation's Hesston location. AGCO Corporation is a global manufacturer of agricultural equipment headquartered in Duluth, Georgia. Anderson began his career with AGCO as a design engineer with a focus on engine installations in combines. He has since held various roles of increasing responsibility in design and project management, as well as global responsibilities for engine installations across all AGCO products. In his current role he leads the AGCO Hesston engineering site and has been heavily involved in development of the Fendt IDEAL Combine. Anderson is a graduate of Hugoton High School, Hugoton.

Michelle Jones Schlie, Overland Park, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in industrial engineering. She also has a master's degree in engineering management from the University of Kansas. As northcentral supply chain region vice president for Frito-Lay, she is responsible for the Topeka, Kansas; Beloit, Wisconsin; and Frankfort, Indiana, plants as well as distribution facilities across 12 states. Most recently, she had been senior director of quality control and food safety, responsible for execution of quality and food safety programs for manufacturing and distribution facilities across the U.S. and Canada. She joined Frito-Lay in 2009 at the Denver plant and held several leadership roles before transitioning to manufacturing director for the Topeka plant. She is a member of the K-State Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Professional Academy, enjoys mentoring students and has served on the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Advisory Council. She is a member of the Network of Executive Women, a graduate of the Texas Women's Foundation's Women's Leadership Institute and is passionate about supporting other leaders at PepsiCo. Schlie is a graduate of Valley Center High School, Valley Center.

Travis Stryker, Topeka, is a 2004 graduate of Kansas State University with both bachelor's and master's degrees in architectural engineering. Since 2006 he has been with CAS Constructors, a leading design-build contractor in Kansas specializing in the water and wastewater industry, where he currently holds the position of president. He is a licensed professional engineer in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, and is active in the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers where as chair of the governmental relations committee he advocates for protection of the Kansas professional engineer license. He is a past president of the 20/30 Club of Topeka, an organization that has raised more than $2 million for children's charities in Shawnee County. He is also current president of the TARC Foundation board, whose mission is enhancing the lives of those with developmental and related disabilities.

Justin Horsch, Castle Rock, Colorado, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in construction science and management. He is a senior superintendent for GE Johnson Construction Company where he has worked for the past 19 years on a variety of health care, higher education, K-12, sports and recreation, and office and mixed-use projects. Notably he worked on the K-State West Stadium Center, Vanier Family Football Complex, Vanier Complex Northeast Connector, Tointon Family Stadium and Buser Family Stadium. From rural to urban undertakings, his expertise lies in managing day-to-day operations of a venture through collaboration and coordination with all project stakeholders. His construction management resume includes the completion of more than $1.64 billion in projects. Horsch is originally from Wellington, Kansas.

Kevin Day, Highland, Indiana, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in civil engineering. He has a master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Currently assistant vice president — track, eastern region, with Canadian National Railway, Homewood, Illinois, he leads the track infrastructure team performing maintenance and capital programs across U.S. and Eastern Canada portions of the network. With the company for more than 18 years, he has served in a number of positions, including senior director, reliability, leading the mechanical reliability and engineering teams that develop and advance locomotive and rail car maintenance programs; senior director, field technology and data analytics, leading an operations team to evaluate and implement new field technologies; assistant chief engineer of technology, testing and standards, leading the track technology and engineering standards groups across North America; senior manager, engineering, in charge of track maintenance from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Thunder Bay, Ontario; and senior manager, design and construction, in charge of capacity improvement and public works projects for Western Canada. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Mississippi and serves on the advisory council of the civil engineering department at K-State. He is a 1995 graduate of Manhattan High School, Manhattan, Kansas.

Monte Engelkemier, Muscatine Iowa, is a 2000 graduate of Kansas State University in mechanical engineering. He also has a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kansas, and is both a licensed professional engineer and project management professional. He has been the group engineering lead for piping for Cargill's starches, sweeteners and texturizers business unit since 2017. A member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, he serves on both the B31 and nonmetallic pressure piping systems standards committees, including as B31.1 design subgroup chair and B31 mechanical design technical committee chair. He also represents Cargill at Piping Industry Practices as the globalization chair and sponsor of the piping function team. In 2015 he was a Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine 40 Under 40 recipient. Engelkemier is a 1996 graduate of Blue Valley High School, Stilwell, Kansas.

Mark Troutfetter, Austin, Texas, is a 2006 graduate of Kansas State University in computer engineering. He began his career in Austin at National Instruments, a global leader in automated test and measurement systems. Starting out in applications engineering, he moved into research and development managing various hardware and software products. He was active in recruiting at K-State for National Instruments during his tenure with the company. In 2013 he left to help found Pristine, a company focused on building software for Smart Glasses. Pristine was acquired by Upskill in Washington, D.C., in 2017, where Troutfetter served as vice president of engineering focused on bringing augmented reality to the industrial workforce. In 2020 he moved to Welltok, a total well-being-focused consumer activation company, where he currently serves as senior vice president of product development and oversees all software engineering efforts, including architecture, prioritization, execution, quality assurance, release management and general support. He is a graduate of Southeast of Saline High School, Gypsum, Kansas.

Mackenzie DeWerff Martin, Dallas, Texas, is a 2003 graduate of Kansas State University in electrical engineering. After completing her bachelor's degree she spent time in China learning Mandarin at Nanjing University and then went to law school at Washington University in St. Louis. Currently a partner at Baker McKenzie LLP, a large multinational law firm, she helps companies protect and enforce their intellectual property, including patents and trade secrets. She also works on cross-border intellectual property disputes and licensing matters, including the China region, and leads the firm's global patent prosecution practice. She is the chair for her firm's Dallas office diversity and inclusion committee, and volunteers with a local organization called Lake Highlands Area Moms (and More) Against Racism. She is a barrister member of the Barbara M.G. Lynn Inn of Court in Dallas, was named one of the "Lawyers on the Rise" by Texas Lawyer in 2016, earned the Rising Star Award for intellectual property at Euromoney's Americas Women in Business Law Awards in 2017, and was selected as a Rising Star for intellectual property litigation in Super Lawyers in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. She has served on the electrical and computer engineering department advisory board at K-State. She is a 1999 graduate of Circle High School, Towanda, Kansas.

Katie Kennedy Clark, The Woodlands, Texas, is a 2007 graduate of Kansas State University in chemical engineering. A global polyethylene marketing manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, she began her career in process support and operations in ethylene manufacturing, before moving into the company's commercial organization holding positions in technical sales, business analysis and product management. She currently manages marketing strategy for the company's key polyethylene market segments, and kicked off and leads its professional development network where she is championing a new women's employee resource group within the company. For the past eight years she has been the K-State recruiting team lead working to develop and support the relationship between Chevron Phillips and the university through outreach, mentorship and talent recruitment. She is a 2002 graduate of Manhattan High School, Manhattan, Kansas.


Carl R. Ice College of Engineering

News Tip

Gypsum, Hesston, Hugoton, Kansas City, Maize, Manhattan, Olathe, Overland Park, Stilwell, Topeka, Towanda, Valley Center and Wellington, Kansas; Castle Rock, Colorado; Highland, Indiana; Muscatine, Iowa; and Austin, Dallas and The Woodlands, Texas.

Written by

Mary Rankin