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LTU awards 3 Alumni Achievement Awards at Commencement

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Alumni Achievement Award
Elizabeth Howell, Gordon Riske, and Judith Curran 

Two female executives with degrees in electrical engineering and the CEO of a prominent company in Germany received Alumni Achievement Awards at Lawrence Technological University’s commencement exercises on May 10.

LTU held indoor ceremonies at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac for its 82nd commencement. The university awarded more than 850 degrees for this academic year.

The three Alumni Achievement Award recipients were:

  • Judith Curran, BSEE’83, the vehicle line director of Global CD Vehicles at Ford Motor Company.
  • Elizabeth Howell, BSEE’92, vice president, operations, of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electric transmission company.
  • Gordon Riske, chief executive officer of KION Group AG in Germany, which is the world’s second largest manufacturer of forklift trucks and warehouse technology. He was an electrical engineering student at Lawrence Tech from 1976-81.

Curran oversees the worldwide development and launch of vehicles, including the Fusion, Edge, SMax, Galaxy, and Mondeo, which are manufactured at assembly plants in Michigan, Mexico, Spain, Russia, Canada and China.

Curran’s first job after graduation was with the Hamilton Standard division of United Technologies where she worked on the design of fully electronic turbine engine controls used in cruise missiles, helicopters and jets. When she started at Ford in 1986, she worked on the first electronic controls for fuel injection in engines, and on the first electronic control to manage the shift strategy of automatic transmissions. She worked in software and control systems for 12 years, was awarded eight U.S. patents, and received her Master of Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1988.

During 28 years at Ford, Curran has held positions of increasing responsibility, including director of vehicle evaluation and verification, responsible for overseeing vehicle testing facilities throughout North America, including the dynamometer labs, test tracks, safety facilities, and vehicle/component test rigs. Curran also spent three years as the vice president of engineering at Ford subsidiary Automotive Components Holding LLC, responsible for component design and release of instrument panels, door trims, lamps, HVAC units, driveshafts/halfshafts, and fuel tanks.

Automotive News named Curran one of the 100 Leading Women in the Automotive Industry in 2010.

Howell is responsible for the operation of the high-voltage electric transmission system of ITC’s operating subsidiaries, including more than 15,000 miles of interstate transmission lines in seven states, including Michigan. In addition, she serves as reliability compliance officer, overseeing ITC’s compliance with mandatory reliability standards under the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

She previously was the director of operations and manager of the Michigan Electric Coordinated Systems Control Area. She joined ITC during its initial startup in 2003 and led the successful operational integration of two major acquisitions. She has over 20 years’ experience in the utility industry, beginning her career as an engineer at DTE Energy and serving in various capacities in the generation, distribution, transmission, and operational policy and implementation areas.

Howell also holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and is a NERC certified system operator. She is a board member of ReliabilityFirst Corporation.

Both women have been active supporters of their alma mater, Lawrence Tech.

Curran has championed outreach to LTU’s 1,200 alumni at Ford and has helped increase the company’s recruiting on campus. As a member of LTU’s College of Engineering Advisory Board, she championed Ford’s support of LTU’s new embedded software engineering degree and also helped secure the University’s first ever Red Poling Challenge research project in the field.

Howell serves on both the College of Engineering Advisory Board and LTU’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee. She championed a recent gift of $250,000 for the ITC Endowed Scholarship fund for electrical and power engineering at Lawrence Tech and has created the Elizabeth A. Howell Endowed Scholarship Fund in Electrical Engineering.

Riske is chief executive officer of KION Group AG, which he joined as chief operating officer and a member of the management board in 2007, as well as chief executive officer of Linde Material Handling GmbH. He became CEO of KION Holding 1 GmbH and KION Material Handling GmbH in 2008.

The KION Group is the European market leader and the world’s second largest manufacturer of forklift trucks and warehouse technology, and is one of the leading international suppliers in that sector in China. The KION Group has global presence with products, services, and solutions provided by its six brand companies. Its Linde and STILL brands serve the premium segment worldwide, while Baoli focuses on the value and economy segment. Fenwick is the material handling market leader in France; OM STILL is a market leader in Italy; and Voltas is one of the two market leaders in India.

KION Group AG, which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange generated revenue of around € 4.5 billion in 2013 with a workforce of more than 22,000 people.

Prior to joining KION Group, Mr. Riske chaired the management board of Deutz AG in Cologne, Germany, from 2000 to 2007, and held senior positions at KUKA from 1982 to 2000, including CEO of KUKA Robot Division.

Riske started his career as an electrical engineer at DeVlieg Machine Company in Royal Oak. Following his electrical engineering studies at LTU, he received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Oekreal School of Business in Switzerland. He is a German and U.S. national.