2016 Homecoming Awards

Check back for details on the 2017 Engineers Breakfast, distinguished alumni, and other homecoming activities!



Claire Tomkins

Keynote Speaker
Claire Tomkins (BA/SIE and Public Policy 2001)
Chief Revenue Officer, HireAthena
Alumna Claire Tomkins, who has held executive positions in the public and private sectors, is all about policy, investment and support for clean energy in the United States. She believes we don’t have to sacrifice design and style to be green. As a member of the management team at Richard Branson’s cleantech accelerator, Carbon War Room, Tomkins initiated the Gigaton Awards, which recognize corporations addressing climate change. She holds a PhD in management science and engineering from Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area with her husband Marc.


John Somerhalder

Alumnus of the Year
John Somerhalder (BS/ChE 1977)
Chairman and CEO, AGL Resources

John Somerhalder rose through the ranks from engineer to president of El Paso Pipeline Group and executive vice president of El Paso Corp. before joining AGL Resources, where for 10 years as president and CEO he steered the company to a prominent place in America’s natural gas industry. Somerhalder is chairman of the board of the Atlanta Beltline Inc., which is leading development of 22 miles of historic railroad, and he serves on the boards for several industry and community organizations. He and his wife Rebecca live in Atlanta. They have four children and six grandchildren.


KD Hallman

Professional Achievement Award
KD Hallman (BS/AgE 1983)

Vice President, World Wide IT, Microsoft Corp.
KD Hallman, with more than 14 patents and patents pending, knows technology – past, present and future. She is open to new ideas and has a knack for getting the right ideas to the right people. As an engineering executive whose positions have ranged from product group general manager to corporate technology strategist, this visionary’s current responsibilities include enterprise architecture, strategy and engineering fundamentals transformation for delivery of highly reliable services. Hallman received her master’s in computer applications, summa cum laude, from National University in 1989.


Sunil Kishen

Professional Achievement Award
Sunil Kishen (MS/EE 1991)

Vice President, Sales and Product Management, Aviatrix Systems
Sunil Kishen -- a well-established expert in switching system and computer network design who is quite at home in Silicon Valley -- doesn’t shy away from tough technical challenges (or hard-fought tennis and badminton matches). In addition to his current executive role at Aviatrix, Kishen co-founded Sheer Networks, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2005, and has held senior and leadership positions at Cisco, FORE Systems and Berkeley Networks, as well as technical positions at 3Com Corp. and Intel. Kishen has a master’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from the UA.


Bala Krishnan

Young Professional Achievement Award
Bala Krishnan (MS/ECE 2003)
Founder, President and Chief Product Officer Peel, Technologies Inc

Bala Krishnan’s fearlessness has paid off.  The young professional -- who pilots paragliders in his spare time and supports the College’s programmatic emphasis on entrepreneurship -- has enjoyed tremendous success since the earliest days of his career. After a five-year stint with Synopsys optimizing switch routers, Krishnan founded a couple of startups, the latest of which is one of today’s fastest-growing companies. Peel Technologies, which Krishnan co-founded in 2009, offers an app that turns smartphones into personalized, interactive remote controls for televisions and other devices.


Sara McCoy

Bear Down Award
Sara McCoy (BS/ME 1993)

Plant Manager, Agua Fria Generating Station, Salt River Project
Sara McCoy, who made the 2015 list of Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, oversees production at one of Salt River Project’s longest-running power plants in Phoenix. Agua Fria’s first female plant manager, McCoy has led efforts to build the utility’s power grid back-up control center. She works tirelessly mentoring personnel and young female engineers and providing learning opportunities for interns. McCoy volunteers for a number of community service programs and serves as president of the Maricopa Engineering Alumni Council.


Tony Mullitan

Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award
Tony Mulligan (BS/ME 1988)

Founder and CEO, Hydronalix Inc.
Hydronalix, founded by Mulligan in 2009, produces the EMILY robotic rescue buoy. The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, which can travel 40 miles per hour and hold five people, has saved people from drowning in oceans and waterways around the world, including refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece. Popular Science and Time magazines have named the robotic lifeguard a top invention, and the U.S. Small Business Administration honored Hydronalix with a 2015 Tibbetts Award for excellence in innovation and technology.