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February 17, 2021

Three College of Engineering associates elected to National Academy of Engineering

Written By: Jason Daley

Three associates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering were elected fellows of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in February 2021. Induction into the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer and honors outstanding contributions to research, practice or education.

 Thomas F. Kelly
Thomas F. Kelly

Thomas F. Kelly was selected for the design and commercialization of the local electrode atom probe to yield 3D atomic-scale analysis of materials.

Kelly received his PhD in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1981. He was a professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison from 1983 until 2001 where he also served as director of the Materials Science Center from 1991 to 1999. In 1998, he founded the Imago Scientific Instruments Corporation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, to develop and commercialize the Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP). The LEAP is capable of zooming to the atomic-scale level, allowing for atom-by-atom analysis of materials, which is highly valuable for researchers in academia and industry.

In 2010, Imago was acquired by Cameca Instruments where Kelly served as vice president for innovation until 2018. He is currently founder and CEO of Madison-based Steam Instruments, which is developing a high-performance mass spectrometer for use in life sciences applications.

 Erroll Brown Davis, Jr.
Erroll Brown Davis, Jr.

Erroll Brown Davis, Jr. was inducted for leadership in research and development of renewable resources integration with the grid, and public education.

Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965 and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago in 1967. From 1978 to 1998, Davis worked at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, moving up the ladder to become CEO and President of the company before its transformation into Madison-based Alliant Energy, an energy holding company. He served as president and CEO of Alliant until 2005.

Davis served on the UW System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994. The Alliant Energy Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Academic Achievement Award is named after him and honors the outstanding scholarship and community service of undergraduate students from traditionally under-represented minority groups pursuing a degree in business or engineering at UW-Madison and UW-Platteville.

Joseph B. Powell was selected for contributions to process developments in energy, chemicals, and biofuels technologies.

 Joseph B. Powell
Joseph B. Powell

Powell received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 1978 and a PhD in chemical engineering from UW-Madison in 1984. After a brief stint at Exxon, he began work at Shell in 1988, where he remained for 33 years, eventually earning the title of chief scientist-chemical engineering.

During that time, he advised the company on technology strategy and advised on transitioning to a net-zero carbon economy. He also served as team lead for advanced biofuels and enhanced oil recovery projects. He is listed as co-inventor on over 60 patents and co-edited the book Sustainability in the Process Industries: Cases and Impact.

In 2021, Powell became an energy and chemicals advisor through ChemePD LLC.

A formal induction ceremony for the 106 new NAE members and 23 new international members will take place at the academy’s annual meeting on Oct. 3, 2021.