Alumni Awardee Bios - 2019

Susan M. Ward ’80 ChE

Susan M. Ward ’80 ChE

Susan Ward has been a senior executive at Shell since 2007and has served as Head, M&A and Commercial Finance - Americas for Shell Oil Company since 2010.  From 2010, she has also served as trustee and vice chairman of the board of trustees of the Shell Pension Trust and chairman of its investment committee for retirement funds currently at ~$25 billion. From 2014 to 2017, Susan was vice president and chief financial officer of Shell's midstream MLP, Shell Midstream Partners and was also a director of the MLP's GP Board.  Prior to her current role, she served as vice president, Upstream Commercial Finance for Shell International Exploration & Production B.V. based in The Hague from 2007 through 2009. Since joining Shell in 1998, Susan has worked primarily in M&A and commercial finance roles across all of Shell's global businesses. From 2007 to 2016, she also served on the board of Shell's Bully deep-water drillship joint venture.

Prior to joining Shell, Susan worked as an investment banker in the energy sector for 11 years at Kidder, Peabody, PaineWebber and UBS in New York and Houston, including as a managing director in the Natural Resources and Energy investment banking group of UBS Securities. She began her career working for Exxon Company USA as a refining engineer and subsequently worked for Mobil Corporation in its finance organization at its headquarters in New York City.

In addition to her Villanova bachelor's degree, Susan earned an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1984.  In 2009, she and her husband Patrick Cunningham established an endowed engineering lecture series to offer students exposure to experts from various engineering fields and educational opportunities outside the classroom. She was appointed to Villanova's board of trustees in 2018.

Susan lives in Houston, TX, with her husband, and has two grown step-sons living in Boston, one of whom is also a graduate of Villanova.

Sherrie-Ann Martin ’09 ChE, ’15 MSChE

Sherrie-Ann Martin ’09 ChE, ’15 MSChE

After delivering Villanova's 2009 commencement speech in which she encouraged her peers to embody the University's motto of Veritas, Unitas, Caritas, Sherrie-Ann Martin volunteered at the Salvation Army before beginning her career at Merck & Co. Her thirst for knowledge coupled with her passion to seek meaningful scientific advancements in human health inspires her work in Merck's Vaccine Product Development division. Her role supports the development of novel vaccines during the clinical trial phases as well as product transfer to the manufacturing sites.

Sherrie-Ann returned to Villanova to attain her master's in Chemical Engineering and continues to contribute to the Villanova community through participation in alumni panels. She remains committed to altruistic efforts by serving on the board of Sunshine Pals Ministries, a non-profit with a mission to meet the physical, social, educational, and spiritual needs of children in Mozambique and Philadelphia. Most recently, she volunteered with a team in Haiti to serve a local orphanage and medical clinic.

Lawrence J. Scally, PhD ’83 EE, ’85 MSEE, ’06 MBA

Lawrence J. Scally, PhD ’83 EE, ’85 MSEE, ’06 MBA

Dr. Lawrence Scally earned a PhD.EE in Electromagnetics and Remote Sensing from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his MBA, master's and bachelor's degrees from Villanova University. He has served as co-founder and president/CTO of Colorado Engineering, Inc. in Colorado Springs, since its incorporation in 2003. Dr. Scally has diverse systems, hardware, firmware/FPGA and software experience in radar, electro-optics, communication, electronic warfare and signal intelligence in the areas of electromagnetics, antenna design, RF design, digital signal processing and high performance computing.

In 1990-2000, Dr. Scally was co-founder, president/CTO of a digital signal processing company, Catalina Research, Inc., which merged with DRS in 2003. After graduating Villanova, he worked at RCA Moorestown designing DSP modules for the SPY-1 radar and transferred to the Kwajalein radar site where he worked upgrading, maintaining and operating radars from 1985-1990.

Stephen Spada ’18 ChE

Stephen Spada ’18 ChE 

After graduating last spring, Stephen Spada joined Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a Downstream Assistant Scientist. An earlier chemical and environmental engineering internship with Nova Biomedical helped prepare him for his current position.

As an undergraduate, Stephen received the Dean's Academic Excellence Award and the Delaware Valley Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' 2016 Outstanding Student Award. He’s currently pursuing his master’s in Biochemical Engineering at Villanova.

Amy Fleischer, PhD, '91 ME, '96 MSME

Amy Fleischer, PhD, '91 ME, '96 MSME

Dr. Amy Fleischer is the Dean of Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, CA. Cal Poly is the country’s highest ranked state funded undergraduate-focused college of engineering and the 16th largest undergraduate engineering program in the country with over 6,000 engineering students in 10 different departments offering 14 BS degree programs. Prior to assuming the deanship at Cal Poly, Dr. Fleischer was the chair of Mechanical Engineering at Villanova, where she was a faculty member for 18 years. 

Dean Fleischer is a tireless advocate for women’s leadership and equality in engineering. She was the chair of the steering committee that launched the McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership at Villanova and has led or participated in numerous women in STEM committees and outreach programs.

Bernard Borghei ’94 EE

Bernard Borghei ’94 EE

Bernard Borghei is the co-founder and executive vice president of operations of Vertical Bridge, the largest privately-owned telecom infrastructure owner and manager in the U.S. He is responsible for the company's daily operations, regulatory compliance, vendor management, engineering services, human resources and emerging technologies.

Bernard has over 25 years of experience in wireless industries and before co-founding Vertical Bridge, he served as senior vice president and partner at Global Tower Partners, where he oversaw domestic and international market operations, including a portfolio of more than 6,500 towers and 12,000 managed properties.

Bernard has also held executive and senior management positions in operations, engineering, sales, supply chain, site development, and customer care at several wireless operators and service providers including SkyBitz, Wireless Facilities, Inc. Western Wireless International, and at Triton PCS where he successfully ran operations across 24 different countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North and South America.

In addition to his Villanova bachelor's degree, Bernard holds an MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Villanova University School of Engineering and sits on the National Wireless Safety Alliance's Board of Governors.

Marc Cammarata '98 CE

Marc Cammarata '98 CE

Marc Cammarata is a regional and national leader in sustainable stormwater management practices and water resources planning.  He is a Professional Engineer with a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a Master’s in Water Resources Engineering from Drexel University. He has spent all 21 years of his professional career with the Philadelphia Water Department where he currently serves as the Deputy Water Commissioner for Planning and Environmental Services. His responsibilities include the integration, direction and management of the department’s strategic environmental and sustainability programming, water quality and quantity modeling and wet weather compliance programs, flood mitigation efforts, both green and traditional infrastructure planning, stream and wetland restoration, laboratory services, and climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.  His team is leading the efforts for the City of Philadelphia’s “Green City, Clean Waters” program—a 25-year, multi-billion-dollar infrastructure program integrating land-based urban sustainability goals with the goals for clean, safe, attractive and accessible rivers and streams. 

David Kolesar ’76 ChE, ’78 MSChE, ’82 MBA

David Kolesar ’76 ChE, ’78 MSChE, ’82 MBA 

Dave Kolesar has over 40 years of experience in the chemical and petroleum industries with Mobil Oil, ARCO Chemical, Rohm & Haas, Dow Chemical Co and DuPont. His career experience covers early process development, manufacturing, process simulation debottleneck/troubleshooting, EH&S, finance and supply chain. He is currently a process engineer and modeling subject matter expert in the electronics and imagining business of the DowDuPont Specialty Products Division.

As an adjunct professor at Drexel University and industrial consultant at the University of Pennsylvania, and informally through intern programs, David has taught and mentored others in the application of chemical engineering principles, primarily through the application of process modeling, to the development and improvement of chemical processes. He is cited for his work 'translating process models to measurable value for products and processes from R&D to design and operations, and for teaching current and future process owners.'

David is the recipient of the 2018 AIChE Process Development in Practice Award, an AIChE Fellow, lead inventor on three patents and a recipient of multiple company achievement awards.

John Palme ’88 ME, ’91 MSME

John Palme ’88 ME, ’91 MSME 

Upon graduating in 1988, John Palme started his career in the General Electric Edison Engineering Program. He has since worked on numerous commercial, civil, government and national defense aerospace programs, designing and/or launching over 150 satellites into orbit. Since 2007, he has been with International Launch Services, using Russian launch vehicles to launch commercial satellites. He is currently the company's vice president of programs and operations and the chief operations officer.

JoAnn Garbin ’98 ME

JoAnn Garbin ’98 ME

After graduating from Villanova in 1998 with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Philosophy, JoAnn Garbin has spent her career building companies at the intersection of energy, sustainability, and technology. Most recently JoAnn was the chief innovation officer of the smart building technology company, Aircuity, in Newton, MA.

JoAnn lives in Philadelphia, where she is very involved in her neighborhood park association, the local tech community, and many outdoor activities. She currently serves on the Villanova Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board, is a member of the Villanovans for Sustainability affinity group, and often volunteers as a speaker, mentor, or judge for student events and competitions. 

JoAnn was the subject of the article “Alumna Applies Problem-Solving and Lessons in Leadership to Financial Investing,” which appeared in the College of Engineering’s 2017-18 Annual Review.

Tyler Ladd ’02 CE, ’04 MSWREE, ’15 MBA

Tyler Ladd ’02 CE, ’04 MSWREE, ’15 MBA 

Tyler C. Ladd is a Villanova University advocate through and through. As an undergraduate, he displayed his school spirit as a member of the cheerleading team and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. In 2003, he was named assistant coach for the cheerleading team, a position he held for the next 11 years. After completing his master's in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Tyler started his professional career at a private land development engineering firm specializing in residential and commercial property development.  While there, he became a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania and began work on his Villanova MBA.  In 2010, he moved to the public sector, taking a position in the Civil Engineering group at SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.  In 2013, Tyler moved to SEPTA's Power Department and two years later, after completing his MBA with specializations in Real Estate, Finance, and Strategic Management, he was promoted to Manager of Engineering, the position that he currently holds.

In the fall 2016, Tyler became an adjunct professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, teaching a graduate class in Construction Project Management.  Recently, Tyler helped create a Villanova-SEPTA Work Study Program for in-semester students to get real-world job experience.

Maria Sauer ’12 ChE

Maria Sauer ’12 ChE

After graduating from Villanova, Maria Sauer used her engineering degree as a platform to transition into the financial services industry. She began her career at Goldman Sachs in New York, following completion of the summer analyst program in 2011, and then worked in the firm’s operations division before moving into compliance in 2014. In her role as a compliance officer, Maria advises sales, trading and strategist personnel. She was promoted to vice president in 2017.

Outside of work, Maria is involved in Goldman Sachs’ recruiting efforts at Villanova University, including targeting STEM majors for finance-oriented jobs. Additionally, Maria has been a volunteer for the Marty Lyons Foundation since 2002, which is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. She helped to form the foundation’s Young Professionals Board in the fall of 2017, which aims to expand the network and fundraising efforts of the MLF by organizing events for young professionals in New York City.

Maria lives on the Upper West Side in New York City. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and watching Villanova basketball.

Robert J. Merkert, Sr. ’59 EE

Robert J. Merkert, Sr. ’59 EE

After graduating from Villanova, Bob Merkert received his MSEE from the University of Pennsylvania while working at RCA as a military computer designer. In 1972, he was one of the three founders of DANYL Corporation, where he was VP of Engineering and Marketing.  Upon selling DANYL Corporation to Schlumberger in 1995, Bob and his wife Marge set up an endowed scholarship at Villanova, named in honor of Professor Joseph Hicks. They expanded that scholarship in the University's recently completed “For the Greater Great” capital campaign.

Bob received the IEEE Computer Society Meritorious Service award for his long service to the International Test Conference. As chairman of one of the annual conferences, Bob was able to have a Logic Analyzer donated to Villanova, the first in Professor Hick's computer laboratory.

Bob is a past president of the Villanova University Engineering Alumni Society Board and is still an active board member. Last year he initiated, with board consent, the first College of Engineering Pi Day.

He is still active professionally, working for a company in the smart card industry that provides products that support the cybersecurity, payments and healthcare industries.

Bob has been active in the five-year reunions for the Class of 1959, focusing on the College of Engineering.  He is a member of the Villanova University President's Club, 1842 Heritage Society and the President's Forum.