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CBE Honors the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

2019 Distinguished Alumni
From left to right: Stacey Guard Orlandi, John W. Earnhardt Jr., Ronald B. McNeill, Quint M. Barefoot, Dr. Jeffrey R. Millman

On December 6, 2019, the department hosted a luncheon to honor four of our graduates with CBE Distinguished Alumni Awards and one graduate with the CBE Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Established in 2016, the CBE Distinguished Alumni Award and the CBE Distinguished Young Alumni Award are intended to celebrate and recognize the exemplary contributions recipients have made to their profession, their community, and our department, college or university. All graduates of the department, including deceased graduates, are eligible for consideration.

The 2019 Award recipients are:

CBE Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Mr. Quint M. Barefoot
  • Mr. John W. Earnhardt Jr
  • Mr. Ronald B. McNeill
  • Mrs. Stacey Guard Orlandi

CBE Distinguished Young Alumni Award

  • Dr. Jeffrey R. Millman

Quint M. Barefoot

Quint Barefoot, a Greensboro, NC native, received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NC State in 1985 and completed his MBA at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in 1996. His career has been highlighted by leading successful entrepreneurial entities from the start-up phase to the ultimate sale and integration into publicly traded firms.

Quint initially joined Four Seasons Environmental and proceeded to lead the company through a rapid growth phase from less than $1M in annual revenue to $42M employing over 280 personnel in six offices at the time the business was sold to Great Lakes Chemical Corporation. He continued as president and grew the business to 16 offices with over 500 employees.

After leaving Four Seasons, Quint was one of the founders of Monosep; started in 2001 as a service firm providing water treatment systems to the oil & gas sector based in Lafayette, LA.  Monosep developed and deployed proprietary systems to purify process wastewaters. Monosep systems were operating in 23 countries at the time it was sold to Siemens in 2005.

Next Quint started Zappa-Stewart; a business focused on super absorbent polymers used in telecommunication products, directional drilling, energy applications and medical devices. He received 6 patents covering the use of super absorbents in wound therapy devices. This business was acquired by Chase Corporation in 2018 and Quint continues to work as a director, involved in business and product application development.

Quint and his wife, Robin, have a daughter and two sons, and live in Greensboro, NC.

John W. Earnhardt Jr.

John Earnhardt entered NC State in 1959 after graduating from Granite Quarry High School. He was very active on campus including being elected as sophomore class president, junior class vice-president and senior class president and serving on the Engineer’s Council.  While a student, John married and his eldest daughter was born.

After earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Honors in 1963, John accepted a job with DuPont Fibers starting in R&D at Benger Lab in Waynesboro, VA.  John collaborated on the development of the flame-resistant meta-aramid fiber Nomex, which was first marketed in 1967.  He then led the globalization of DuPont’s Lycra/Spandex business, travelling around the world to assure the interchangeability of products from wherever they were sourced.  John’s career with DuPont took him to Richmond, VA and to DuPont headquarters in Wilmington, DE.

John retired in 1996 after 33 years with DuPont.  He then studied two years at the University of Delaware in Environmental Science and started an Environmental Management consulting business which he named Pro Services.  His work involved a strong focus on pollution prevention, legal and regulatory compliance and continual improvement.  John worked on the global team that drafted and implemented the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001) and also conducted some of the first certification audits in the United States.

John has three daughters:  Melany Earnhardt, Christina Earnhardt Jones and Angie Earnhardt-Metzger.

Ronald B. McNeill

Ronnie McNeill is a native of Whiteville, NC where his family members were local pharmacists for generations.   He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NC State in 1973 and started his career as an environmental engineer with the NC Department of Natural & Economic Resources in Raleigh.  He then worked on environmental regulatory issues as a consultant with WAPORA in Atlanta, GA.

Following an MBA from Georgia State in 1984 Ronnie returned to North Carolina and with his brother, Sandy, started a series of healthcare related businesses which continue to this day.  From 1988 to 1996 he was a partner with Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) in Wilmington, NC, a contract research organization serving the pharmaceutical industry with Phase 1 through Phase 5 clinical trial management, biostatistics, informatics and genomics.

Ronnie and Sandy run Liberty Healthcare Group which provides Home Care, Hospice, Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living and Senior Living across North Carolina and portions of surrounding states.  Ronnie is also a founding partner and current Chairman of the Board of Directors for AccuGenomics, a startup molecular diagnostics company based in Wilmington, NC.

Ronnie is a member of the UNC-Wilmington Cameron School of Business Executive Advisory Board and the Wilmington Investor Network, an Angle investing group.  He recently completed serving a term as Chairman of the UNC-Wilmington Board of Trustees.

Ronnie and his wife, Cyndi, have one daughter and live in Wilmington, NC.

Stacey Guard Orlandi

Stacey earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NC State in 1994 and started her career as a chemical engineer at Radian Corporation in RTP, NC.  She then took a process engineering job with Kvaerner John Brown in Greenville, SC designing PET and pharmaceutical facilities.

In 1998, Stacey joined BP in Refining Technology in Naperville, IL, then worked in strategic roles at BP’s corporate headquarters from 2002-2005 in London, UK. From 2005-2014, she moved into successive leadership positions as a Refinery Superintendent (Carson, CA), Refining Supply Manager (Naperville, IL), Refining Technology Development Manager (Naperville, IL) and Cherry Point Refinery Manager (Blaine, WA).

Stacey then moved into executive management with Shell in Houston, TX from 2014-2017 as VP R&D for Chemicals and New Energies. In 2017 Stacey was named CEO of Virent in Madison, WI, whose technology converts plant-based sugars into hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals, which are drop-in equivalents to products refined from petroleum. In late 2018, ownership of Virent changed to Marathon Petroleum where the technology is approaching final stages of commercialization.

At the beginning of 2019 Stacey returned to Shell as VP of Production Excellence for the Integrated Gas and New Energies business, based in the corporate headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.  In this role she supports a global portfolio of assets to continuously improve all aspects of their performance.

Stacey and her husband, Phil, have an 8-year-old daughter, J.J., and are enjoying the life adventure of living in Europe.

Jeffrey R. Millman

Jeff Millman earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NC State in 2005 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2011. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard University.

Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine and leads a regenerative medicine research laboratory that combines bioengineering principles with stem cell biology for the study and treatment of diabetes. In 2014, he discovered how to produce functional insulin-secreting cells from stem cells in bioreactors, and this innovation was named one of the top 10 breakthroughs of 2014 by Science magazine. He has published his advances in rigorously reviewed journals, including Cell, Nature Materials, Nature Medicine, and Diabetes.

Jeff’s scholarship was recognized most recently by the AIChE with a 35 Under 35 Award, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) with a Career Development Award, and he was previously a Harvard Stem Cell Institute Fellow and Barry Goldwater Scholar. He holds 5 issued U.S. patents, and his inventions have had a tremendous impact, including being the intellectual property basis for the formation of a company developing a cure for diabetes that was recently acquired for $950M (Semma Therapeutics).

Jeff is married to Lily Jeng, also an alumna of NC State, and they live in St. Louis with their daughter.

Previous Recipients of the CBE Distinguished Alumni Award or the College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Mr. William E. Angelo
  • Dr. Candis S. Cailborn
  • Dr. Dominic T. (Nick) Clausi
  • Dr. Norvin A. Clontz
  • Mr. S. Frank Culberson
  • Mr. Wayne T. Day
  • Vice Admiral Joseph W. Dyer, Jr., USN, Ret.
  • Mrs. Steffanie B. Easter
  • Dr. James K. Ferrell
  • Ms. Elin E. Gabriel
  • Dr. Leland E. Garrett, Jr.
  • Mr. Jeffrey R. Garwood
  • Mr. William R. Garwood
  • Mr. Carlos D. Gutierrez
  • Mr. Kent O. Hudson
  • Mr. Michael D. Killian
  • Mr. Ross W. Lampe, Sr.
  • Mr. Harry (Hal) A. Lawton III
  • Mr. Arthur P. Moss
  • Mrs. Tracy Proctor Mustin
  • Dr. Donald R. Paul
  • Dr. Richard B. Phillips
  • Mr. Fred H. Ramseur, Jr.
  • Mr. Carl S. Stutts, Jr.
  • Mr. Alan S. Weinberg
  • Mr. F. Perry Wilson
  • Dr. Ronald C. Zumstein

Previous CBE Distinguished Young Alumni Award Recipients

  • Dr. Chisa K. Brookes
  • Dr. Eric M. Paradise
  • Dr. Srinivas (Srini) Siripurapu

Congratulations to these distinguished alumni. Your accomplishments have represented yourselves and our department especially well!