1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today Student Edition
  4. »Engineering success: Two join University's Engineering Hall of Fame for career,...

K-State Today Student Edition

March 15, 2012

Engineering success: Two join University's Engineering Hall of Fame for career, service accomplishments

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

The Kansas State University College of Engineering Hall of Fame is gaining two new members: the president of an engineering and architecture services firm and a longtime NASA engineer.

An induction ceremony will be Saturday, March 31, at K-State. Induction to the hall is the highest honor bestowed on its alumni by the college. The honorees will be recognized for their professional success and accomplishment, involvement with and support of the College of Engineering, dedication to K-State, and professional and public service.

The honorees are:

Douglas Smith, Boulder, Colo., a 1971 graduate of K-State in civil engineering. As president of Tetra Tech Engineering and Architecture Services group, he holds executive responsibility for the firm's $330 million architectural engineering, design and construction-phase services in 56 offices around the world. He works directly with operations and program managers to plan and allocate staff resources comprising nearly 1,700 engineers, architects, planners, designers and business administrators assigned to more than 3,000 projects for Tetra Tech's public and private clients. He also leads the group's strategic planning process aligned with corporate strategic goals. He is one of four group presidents that report to the chairman and chief executive officer of Tetra Tech Inc., a $2.6 billion publicly traded company. Smith has served on the College of Engineering Advisory Council, the Kansas State University Foundation board of trustees, and has been involved with Water For People and Engineers Without Borders for many years. He has a master's in civil engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a J.D. from the University of Denver's College of Law. He is a certified professional engineer in Colorado and Florida, a board-certified environmental engineer of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and an associate member of the Company of Water Conservators, London, England.

James Jaax, Houston, Texas, is a 1965 graduate of K-State in mechanical engineering. Serving in a 45-year career with NASA, 25 of which he was a member of the engineering directorate's crew and thermal systems division, Jaax designed, developed, tested, provided and monitored environmental control and life support systems, active thermal control system and extravehicular activity hardware, including space suits, tools and support equipment. He worked on the Apollo, Skylab, Apollo Soyuz Test Project, Space Shuttle, Space Station Freedom and International Space Station flight programs. He was the first member of the U.S. and Russian life support working group for the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, where he provided technical design and analysis database for the docking module's environmental control and life support systems; established crew transfer procedures; participated in technical reviews conducted in Moscow and Houston; and, with his Russian counterpart, was a member of the technical team at the Johnson Space Center mission control during the 1975 mission. He was awarded the S.P. Korolev Medal by the USSR Aeronautical Sporting Federation in 1976. Retiring in 2002, he occasionally works as an independent consultant for NASA's Johnson Space Center and local aerospace contractors. He was appointed to the United States Senior Executive Service; is a recipient of Rotary International's National Space Achievement Stellar Award in the Senior Career Category; was awarded NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal and Exceptional Service Medal; and is a registered professional engineer in Texas.