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Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor that the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering can bestow upon any alumnus. It's given to department alumni whose contributions to their profession, community, and the department, college and/or university are notable and merit special recognition. There are very specific criteria for the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Class of 2016 Class of 2015 Class of 2014
Class of 2013 Class of 2012 Class of 2011
Class of 2010 Class of 2009 Class of 2008
Class of 2007 Class of 2006

Criteria for the Distinguished Alumnus Award

  1. The nominee must have graduated from the department with at least one of its designated degrees, which include: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (BSIE), Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Furniture Manufacturing (BSIE, FM), Bachelor of Science in Furniture Manufacturing and management (BSFMM), Master of Industrial Engineering (MIE), Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
  2. The nominee must have graduated more than 20 years prior to the award year; must not be currently employed in the department, college or university; and must possess a continuous record of exceptional integrity and sound character. Noteworthy community and/or public service should be identified as well as meritorious service to the industrial engineering profession, including service to their Alma Mater.

Nominations of an alumnus may be made at any time. Award winners will be selected by the faculty at the first faculty meeting of the school year each August. An annual event will be held recognizing the new award winners.

To nominate an alumnus, e-mail isenominations@ncsu.edu or write to:

Dr. Paul H. Cohen
Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial Engineering
400 Daniels Hall, Campus Box 7906
Raleigh, NC 27695


Current Distinguished Alumni Class of 2016

James "Jimmy" Adams, III is the President of Coach, LLC, a leading manufacturer of luxury motor coaches. He also serves as Chief Operating Officer at Amadas Industries, a specialized manufacturer of agricultural and industrial equipment.

Adams earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in 1995. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at N.C. State, and played club lacrosse.

Adams has a passion for motorsports, and competed in professional auto racing, driving Porsches, Vipers, and Le Mans Prototype cars in the IMSA, Grand Am, and SCCA Pro Racing series. He has been a winner and record holder in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and has served as a driving instructor for auto manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Land Rover, often in South America.

Adams and his wife Hannah met at NC State, they have two children, and reside in Suffolk, VA. The couple actively supports the Suffolk Humane Society, JDRF, Suffolk Art League, Suffolk Nansemond Historic Society, and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. For leisure, Jimmy enjoys travel, boating, skiing, fishing, hunting, motorhoming, and motorsports. Jimmy is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and serves as the Virginia State Chairman of the YPO Southern 7 Chapter.

Tracy Doaks joined DIT as Chief Deputy State CIO and Chief Services Officer in November of 2015. In this role, Tracy leads the Service Delivery Division (SDD), and focuses her efforts on the delivery of hosting services, network and voice connectivity and other related services to state agencies.

Prior to joining DIT, Tracy worked for Duke Medicine where she served as the Senior Director of Service Delivery. Her primary responsibilities included providing leadership and oversight in the execution and delivery of application and infrastructure for Duke Medicine. Tracy previously worked for the state of North Carolina as Assistant Secretary of IT and CIO for the North Carolina Department of Revenue, where she led all aspects of strategic IT planning, implementation, support and risk. In addition, her past work experience also includes managing clinical informatics at Blue Cross and developing applications at Accenture.

Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in 1990 and then went on to earn her CIO certification from the UNC School of Government. She is also certified as a Project Management Professional.

Ralph Edwards, Jr. is the Chairman and CEO of Glenridge Real Estate Inc., a private real estate company that invests in and provides asset management services for U.S. office, retail, and industrial properties in the Southeast. He received his B.S. Degree in Industrial Engineering in 1961 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1967.

He has served on the board of the Atlanta Commercial Board and has been a member for fifty years, earning the Silver Phoenix Award for lifetime achievement.

Edwards has served on the boards of the Atlanta Beltline Partnership since it's inception, the Trust for Public Land as well at the Grants to Green Program which enables non-profits to be more efficient. He is currently Chairman of the new building committee of a non-profit inner city youth development program known as "Moving in the Spirit".

The arts and education are among his other philanthropic interests and he and his wife Ree are excited about sponsoring a three year old international immersion program for College of Engineering students. Meeting and learning from our most motivated and bright students is a highlight of their involvement in the school.

Since joining the NC State Foundation Board as a member of the College Relations Committee he has helped sponsor a series of successful Atlanta events to highlight the College of Engineering, the Dean, the Chancellor and some of the Engineering Faculty "Super Stars".

Jiao Gu is the President, CEO and founder of FEi Systems. He founded FEi in 1999, with a focus on building behavioral health IT systems and supporting various clinical research initiatives. Prior to establishing FEi Systems, Dr. Gu served as a Senior System Specialist at Mcfadden & Associates. He was also the key system architect and designer of the FAA NASDAC project, a project focused on aviation safety. Dr. Gu also facilitated several NASDAC international collaborations concerning aviation safety. He later built a similar system for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Dr. Gu achieved an M.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from the Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xian, China, in 1981. He was an Exchange Scholar at UMUC from 1983-1984, and earned a M.S. in Industrial and Management Engineering from Montana State University in 1989. Finally, Dr. Gu earned a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at NC State in 1992.