Virginia Tech's College of Engineering inducted five new members into the Academy of Engineering Excellence, to be celebrated at an induction ceremony in 2021.

The academy will now consist of 161 members. The 2020 inductees were selected from among approximately 68,000 living Virginia Tech engineering alumni. Each academy member has made sustained contributions in engineering and/or leadership throughout illustrious careers.

“We welcome a group of forward-thinking and passionate inductees with impact that extends across the commonwealth and the world,” said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. “As members of the academy, they represent the heights our alumni can reach, bolstered by a Virginia Tech education.”

The 2020 academy inductees are William H. Goodwin Jr., of Richmond, Virginia; Kathleen de Paolo, of Solana Beach, California; John F. Reid, of Lake Forest, IL; Letitia A. Long, of Alexandria, Virginia; and Thomas A. Dingus, of Blacksburg, Virginia.

The College of Engineering established the Academy of Engineering Excellence in 1999 under the direction of dean emeritus William Stephenson and the college's advisory board.

2020 Academy of Engineering Excellence inductees

William Goodwin
William H. Goodwin Jr.

William H. Goodwin Jr.

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1962

William H. Goodwin Jr. received a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech in 1962 and an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in 1966. He went on to work at IBM and as a sales representative for Phillip Morris Worldwide before starting his own company, CCA Industries Inc. 

Goodwin chose to attend Virginia Tech on the advice of his father. Along with his decision to study engineering, he joined the Corps of Cadets. “He never mentioned it, but I suspect he thought the Corps of Cadets would tame me to some degree,” Goodwin said of his father. “It did, as it became something I look back upon as one of the more influential experiences of my younger years.” Goodwin’s favorite Virginia Tech memories include the corps’ disciplinary challenges, and he remains passionate about the organization and its presence on campus.

Goodwin’s directorships and participation in community activities include roles as chairman of the GO Virginia Region 4 Council, member of the board of directors of the Richmond Performing Arts Corp., and chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering Foundation. Goodwin and his wife have been long-time supporters of philanthropic projects at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, and he names support of cancer research as their greatest passion.

Kathy de Paolo
Kathleen de Paolo

Kathleen de Paolo

B.S., Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, 1987

Kathleen de Paolo was inspired by her high school math and science teachers to study engineering, and by her father, a pilot, to focus on aerospace engineering. “Virginia Tech encouraged me to work for a deep understanding of every single topic and discipline,” said de Paolo. “It wasn't enough to be able to apply a formula and solve a problem — I learned to retread the path of the great minds who had first discovered and derived the insights.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace and ocean engineering from Virginia Tech in 1987, de Paolo moved on to work on guidance and control systems at General Dynamics Convair, followed by a 22-year career with Qualcomm and her current role as vice president of engineering at the Walt Disney Company. De Paolo is passionate about the work of the Fistula Foundation, the Animal Welfare Institute, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

John Reid
John F. Reid

John F. Reid

M.S., Agricultural Engineering '82
B.S., Agricultural Engineering '80

John F. Reid discovered agricultural engineering as a discipline of study in a course catalog in the public library when he was in the seventh grade. “From that point, my decision was made,” Reid said. After graduating with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering, Reid joined the agricultural engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researching machine vision in the context of agricultural and biological applications. 

Reid transitioned to a role at John Deere in 2001 as a principal scientist and engineer, and in 2006 became the company’s director of enterprise product innovation and technology. He now serves as vice president of enterprise technologies at the Brunswick Corp. He’s passionate about the work of the Santa Fe Institute, Institute for the Future, and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Reid is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has served on the board of directors of international organizations, including the Industrial Research Institute, Fraunhofer Institute, ASABE Foundation, and ASAE.

Letitia Long
Letitia A. Long

Letitia A. Long

B.S., Electrical Engineering '82

Letitia A. Long earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Catholic University of America. Long started her career in naval intelligence and went on to serve as the deputy director of the Office of Naval Intelligence, the first deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and the first chief information officer and later the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2010, she became the fifth director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the first woman to lead a major U.S. intelligence agency. 

Long currently sits on the boards of Raytheon Company, Noblis, HyperSat, and Quadrint. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech, as the chairman of the board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, and as a member of the board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. In addition, she sits on advisory boards, including the Virginia Tech Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology and HawkEye 360.

Tom Dingus
Thomas Dingus and Andy Schaudt

Thomas A. Dingus

Ph.D., Industrial Engineering and Operations Research '87
M.S., Industrial Engineering and Operations Research '85

When applying to graduate school after receiving his bachelor's degree in systems engineering from Wright State University, Thomas A. Dingus eyed Virginia Tech’s human factors program within the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering for its reputation as the best in the U.S. at the time. Looking back at his time as an undergraduate and graduate student, he cites faculty members Walt Wierwille, Harry Snyder, Bob Williges, Dennis Price, and Eb Kroemer as people who were influential to him.

“I went from a bachelor’s to a Ph.D. in just over three years, thanks in no small part to Walt's guidance and funding,” Dingus said. “That became a motto of sorts — ‘Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.’" 

Dingus has held faculty, research, and administrative roles at the University of Idaho and Virginia Tech, including his position as the inaugural director of the latter’s Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science, in additon to roles in industry and government. Dingus now serves as the director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the Newport News Shipbuilding Professor of Engineering, and the president of university-affiliated research corporation VTT, LLC. He has also served on the board of directors for associations including the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.