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In This Issue Green Light for BAE at the the DOT ................................ 1 Faculty News ......................... 2 Department Head’s Comments ............................. 3 Alumni Updates .................... 6 Student News ........................ 5 Poster Winners ....................... 3 Memories of Bob Bottcher .... 6 Students on the Fast Track to Learning Design Principles ... 7 Howell: 35 Years of Teaching, 85 Years of Life ...................... 9 Spring Graduate Listing ..... 10 Poster is Award Winner... This is the second year in a row that biomedical students have won an award at the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. For more details see page 3.

From left to right are M. Colleen Dodson, Margaret M. Stokes, Kristen E. White, Laura G. Nordby, and Jody R. Woods.

Visit the BAE home page at: Fax comments & questions to: BAE News 919-515-6772

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Spring/Summer 2002

Green Light for BAE at the DOT What does Biological & Agricultural Engineering have in common with the Department of Transportation (DOT)? The DOT’s Division of Highways (DOH) has been employing the engineering and technology talents of BAE graduates for several decades and utilizing BAE’s faculty research and extension expertise. The BAE-DOH connection has proven to be an ideal merge for some branches within the DOH structure. BAE graduates with BE degrees in Environmental or Agricultural Engineering concentrations as well as graduates of the Agricultural & Environmental Technology (AET) program are sought after candidates for both full and part-time job opportunities with the DOH. The changes a century can make. Just 100 years ago there were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and 144 miles of paved roadways. Today, nationally we have 2.42 million miles of paved roadways and North Carolina has 78,083 miles of it. Our American roadways bring us escapes to new places, broaden our opportunities for employment and communication, keep our vital supply line of goods and services flowing, and play a quiet but major role in homeland defense. Improvements to our roads have always brought improvements to our lives, and that's why the DOT plays such a major role in a state’s infrastructure. The North Carolina DOT employs over 14,000 people with varying skills and backgrounds across the state. It is divided into 11 main divisions with 14 local offices under the DOH located geographically throughout the state. These 14 division offices are responsible for construction, maintenance, roadside environmental programs, traffic services and the fiscal and facility operations involved in administering these functions. Additionally, the Division of Motor Vehicles operates 124 driver license offices, three mobile driver license offices, nine weigh stations and eight enforcement district offices. The realm of the Division of Highways is so expansive that the DOH is divided into three areas of focus in order to administer to the 14 division offices; these are Operations, Preconstruction, and Safety and Loss control.

Don Lee discusses computerized pesticide applicator strategies with DOT field engineers.

BAE graduates can be found at field sites in the 14 divisions and working in offices of the DOH throughout the state. We found most BAE graduates in the Operations Branch-Roadside Environmental Unit. continued on page 2

BAE Alumni & Friends – 1

Retirement-A reception for Dr. Ervin G. Humphries was held on May 2. Dr. Humphries has served the University in the BAE Department and Dr. Humphries Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering for 41 years. In his years at BAE, he worked in the areas of mechanics and machine design, and food processing equipment for cucumber and sweetpotato harvesting. Anyone wishing to celebrate his achievements are asked to contribute to the F. J. Hassler or H. D. Bowen Graduate Fellowship Endowed Fund (NC Agricultural Foundation, Box 7645, NCSU, Raleigh, NC, 276957645). Congratulations-Dr. Crowell Bowers has been named an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor. This honor places him among a select group of faculty who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions. n

Department Head Editor Graphics/Layout Writer Advisor

James Young Rhonda Sherman Carolyn Mitkowski Carolyn Mitkowski Mike Boyette

BAE Alumni&Friends is a semi-annual publication of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, North Carolina State University, Box 7625, Raleigh, NC 27695-7625. If you would like to contribute to the next issue of BAE Alumni&Friends, please send your contributions to the above address or email us at:

2 – BAE Alumni & Friends

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Faculty News

BAE at the DOT

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To understand what some of our former BAE graduates do each day at the DOH and to discover what BAE skills they have brought to their jobs, we interviewed a few DOH employees from the Roadside Environmental Unit. The unit is currently supervised by Don Lee, an environmental engineer and 1984 BAE graduate. Lee said, “The mission of this unit is to design roadside elements for a statewide highway system that is safe, environmentally sound, attractive and responsive to the public's needs. These elements involve most importantly erosion control efforts that provide protection for wetlands, streams, wildlife, and native vegetation in site plans for roadside facilities such as rest areas and visitor centers. The unit is responsible for all roadside construction and for ultimately how the roadside looks and functions after a road is in place. To meet the task of establishing new roadsides, including plans for roadside maintenance, the unit has a large Soil and Water Section, which deals with erosion and sediment control, wetlands, and vegetation. Once a roadside is up and functioning, the unit sponsors several programs to keep roadsides clean and beautiful like the well known Adopt-A-Highway effort.” Lee suggested we talk with BAE graduates Susan Cauley, Jamie Lancaster and part-time worker Jeff Walston to learn more about the Soil and Water section and to Ted Sherrod to get a feel for the large-scale field operations that are in the works every day across the state. Susan Cauley is a recent graduate in her second year of work in the Roadside Environmental Unit and Jamie Lancaster has been working at the DOH since 1995. Both are in erosion and vegetation management, dealing with soil and water engineering issues. They work in the Highway Building located in downtown Raleigh. Cauley, who recently earned her P. E., is responsible for designing erosion and sediment control plans in several divisions using MicroStation software. Lancaster, who just earned his P. E., is the supervisor for the Soil and Water Engineering Section. This section designs erosion and sedimentation control plans, making daily decisions about what types of temporary erosion control methods are to be incorporated into the main roadway plans prior to contractor bids. Temporary erosion control is needed to keep water and soil under control on slopes and in ditches while the roadway is being built. During the first stage of highway construction, land clearing and grubbing occurs. Erosion controls are added to slopes to prevent problems with sediment runoff and measures are taken to protect natural waterways and native vegetation. Problems affecting the construction area and lands and waterways surrounding new roadways from uncontrolled sediment can add costs and time to a project. Although some form of permanent erosion control is needed on most roadways, decisions about permanent controls belong to the Preconstruction Highway Design Units. Lancaster and Cauley work closely with these units coordinating their temporary erosion controls with permanent hydrologic structures and finding common and reusable elements that both can share until permanent controls are established. Each month new roadway projects that are to be funded are added to the continued on page 4

The second annual meeting of the BAE Advisory Board was held on April 11-12, 2002. Welcome to the following new members of the Board: (1) Dr. James A. DeShazer, Univ. of Idaho; (2) Dr. Sydney Seymour, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.; (3) Bharat Vedak, Cummins, Inc.; (4) Alina M. Waite, Orthofix, Inc.; and (5) Dr. James Wang, Wang Engineering Co., Inc. Continuing members are: (1) Dr. Roger C. Barr, Duke University; (2) Dr. Susan G. Capps, BENSOL; (3) Kendall Hill, Tull Hill Farms, Inc.; (4) James A. Johnson, Jr., Sea Safari, Ltd.; (5) James H. Young Caroline C. Medlin, NCDENR. Land Quality Section; and (6) Dr. James H. Ruff, John Deere Product Engineering Center. Dr. Capps will be Chair of the Board for the coming year and Dr. Seymour was elected as Vice-Chair. Seven of the eleven members were able to attend the meeting this year and we greatly appreciate the time they spent with us and the advice and support they gave. After the initial startup period, the Boards Charter calls for the addition of four new members each year for terms of three years. If you would like to recommend someone for the Board or volunteer for service on the Board, please let me know. Faculty will be inviting new members in late 2002 or early in 2003. The BAE faculty held a retreat/workshop on May 20th to discuss directions for our departmental programs in teaching, research, and extension. Although we only retreated to the building next door (Schaub Hall, Food Science), it was an opportunity to get away from the office and concentrate on departmental needs and priorities. Thanks go to Dr. Ken Swartzel, a BAE graduate and current department head in Food Science, for use of their facilities. Although one day is not enough to reach final consensus on the issues discussed, it was a start and it’s anticipated that follow-up discussions in smaller groups will help us define BAE’s future. See retreat pictures at: We mourn the deaths of Professor Emeritus Ezra L. (Zeke) Howell and Dr. Robert W. (Bob) Bottcher. They each contributed tremendously to this department over the years and they will be greatly missed by all. The family of Dr. Bottcher has taken the initiative in establishing the Robert W. Bottcher Memorial Biological & Agricultural Engineering Endowment in his honor. The income, but not the principal, of this endowment will be used to provide unrestricted annual support to an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. This is a very worthy cause and will be much appreciated by new assistant professors in the future who are struggling to find resources for their research programs in order to become tenured. Contributions in Bob’s memory are welcomed (see page 5 for details). The Biomedical Engineering degree program continues to grow. We had eighteen graduates during the spring commencement. Thirty-three new students have been approved for matriculation into the program for next Fall. This is the maximum number that can be accepted under our implementation plan until additional resources in terms of faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and laboratory renovations are provided. n

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Department Head’s Comments

Poster Winner...

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Congratulations to Laura G. Nordby, M. Colleen Dodson, Margaret M. Stokes, Kristen E. White and Jody R. Woods for their award-winning poster displayed at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. The students’ poster was titled “VLI: An Easy-to-use Vein Location Device.” The project was to design an inexpensive, easy-to-use device that can quickly and accurately locate a vein. The poster winners said, “Identifying the location of a vein underneath skin can be difficult. Devices do exist for detecting veins but often they are expensive and complicated to operate. An inexpensive, easy-to-use device was our goal.” The temperature of a vein is slightly higher than the temperature of the tissue surrounding the vein. The device uses this temperature difference of about 1% to locate the vein. The device contains a series of ten T-type thermocouples, which are placed over an area of skin. The temperature data is transmitted through a data acquisition system and into a LabVIEW program for analysis of the temperature measurements over time. The thermocouple with the highest average temperature for the time period tested indicates the location of the vein. A prototype was constructed and sent to the NCSU Student Health Services Center. Their phlebotomists are evaluating the accuracy of the device. Preliminary test results are encouraging. n

BAE Alumni & Friends – 3

A stabilized outlet treatment at a perennial stream.

An implemented temporary erosion control at a meandering channel.

A series of rock sediment dams to contain sediment at an urban bridge site. A slope drain conveys surface water runoff to a protected outlet.

A riser structure at a sediment pond.

4 – BAE Alumni & Friends

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Field Site Erosion Controls in Action...

BAE at the DOT

Transportation Improvements Program (TIP) list. About a month before the plans involving Cauley’s divisions go out to bid, she receives the main roadway project plans from the Highway Design office. Plans at the DOH are created using MicroStation, an engineering, modeling, and computer-aided design (CAD) software program with enhancements that make it ideal for sharing documents across teams and adding data from non-MicroStation CAD products. Lancaster said, “It is similar to AutoCAD and Pro-E but more in-depth.” Lancaster and Cauley look over the plans and incorporate erosion controls. Lancaster said, “Often erosion controls are the final component to be designed before they go out to bid.”

continued from page 4 Erosion control photos of the Charlotte Outer Loop I-485.

Clearing & grubbing

Knowing how a highway slope looks and functions in erosion conditions is needed when making erosion control judgments that will protect the land. Cauley can look at the MicroStation plans in cross-cut sectional views. Perimeter erosion control She has developed an eye for reading and interpreting the information in these sections. Cauley calculates sediment storage requirements using the universal soil loss equation and taking needed statistics from the main plans. Cauley said, “I first learned about the universal soil loss equation in BAE 471 Land and Resource Environmental Engineering class taught by Dr. Westerman. I use this equation just about A rock inlet protection on a every day.” Cauley added, “There are about 20 roadway field slope types of controls commonly used and each of these is represented with a symbol in MicroStation. To solve problems I can choose to add a temporary silt fence (temporary fences made of geotextile fabric running along roadway improvement projects) or a temporary rock sediment dam (constructed pit with Class-B and sediment control stone that can filter sediment from water). Lancaster said, “Our Section solves erosion problems on paper but sometimes we A roadside median swale staneed to inspect a site if the plans are not quite bilized with a temporary liner clear enough. Ultimately, DOH personnel in the field oversee the implementation of the designs. Sometimes problems occur with designs once they are applied on the job, then you have to work it out directly with DOH field site personnel who interface directly with the road building contractors.” Cauley and Lancaster agree that the biggest and toughest project they have continued on page 6

The department is mourning the loss of a dedicated researcher and a man who fostered educational selfimprovement for others. Dr. Robert W. Bottcher died unexpectedly on April 22. Bottcher grew up on a farm in Big Flats, NY, and received his B.S. degree from Cornell University in 1979. After earning M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from NC State University, he joined the BAE faculty. He quickly became an important part of research and extension program efforts, becoming world-renowned with his expertise in systems for controlling indoor environments, air quality, and Dr. Robert W. Bottcher emissions from livestock and poultry buildings. Dr. 1958-2002 Bottcher touched people at all educational levels, enjoying just the simple fact that a person had an interest to learn and improve. The following letter was sent by the Executive Vice President of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) to the BAE department sharing CAST experiences with Dr. Bottcher. We think it reflects many of Dr. Bottcher’s wonderful qualities.

I would like to share some memories of Bob, one of my very favorite members of the CAST board of directors. I know it is probably not a good thing for me to admit that I have favorites among my 46 board members, but at least no one can fault me for naming Bob as one of them. I have been privileged to know Bob only 13 months, far less time than most of his friends, and certainly far less time than I would like. My introduction to Bob was at the March 2001 meeting of the CAST board of directors. I was introduced as the soon-to-be Executive Vice President of CAST, and was meeting many of the board members for the first time. Bob, however, stands out in my memory because he was not there just to shake my hand and welcome me to CAST, but he was also CAST’s unofficial photographer. Folks who didn’t know him would have assumed that he was one of the CAST staff members... he didn’t offer to be the photographer, he just did it. I would come to learn that Bob often “just did it.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that Bob possessed a rare combination of insight, intelligence, dependability, and dedication to his profession, and devotion to his daughter, Anna. He was a thinker and a doer. Bob served on the CAST membership committee and the food sciences and technology work groups. In both of these venues, Bob was a leader. He set a new standard for involvement in membership activities by a CAST board member, not only by helping develop new initiatives, but also by taking it upon himself to personally invite others to join CAST. He didn’t just talk about it he just did it. On the food sciences and technology work group, Bob’s leadership rose to the surface. With his laptop in tow, he not only offered valuable suggestions, views, and discussions on topics for CAST projects, but was also the notetaker. He just did it. Most CAST board members will tell you that the board meetings are intense working meetings that leave little or no time for sightseeing or enjoying the swimming pool at the hotel. But not Bob. If you were up early, you might catch sight of him returning to the hotel after an early morning run around the neighborhood. He just did it. Bob’s dedication to CAST activities, to agriculture, and to nature was obvious to all who saw him in action. But also obvious was his dedication to his family. During the CAST board meetings that took Bob on the road, one could sense his eagerness to get back home. It was not unusual for Bob to talk about his daughter, and it was clear to all who knew him that Bob’s continued

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Memories of Dr. Bob Bottcher



work wasn’t the most important thing in his life, or what he was most proud of...she was. And that’s just one more reason why we all admired Bob so much. We only knew him for a short time but will greatly miss him. Several members of CAST had expressed their hope that he might run for president of our organization since his leadership and ability to get things done was so obvious to all. We can hardly imagine the loss that his family and those who knew him for years must be feeling. We are better for having known Bob even for just a short time and hopefully can try a little harder to be the people and organization that he would have wanted to be a part of. We offer our thoughts, prayers, and hope that Bob’s family knows how much he meant to the people he touched in his much too short time here on earth.

A fund has been set up in memory of Dr. Bottcher. Contributions to the fund can be made to the Robert Bottcher Memorial Fund, NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Campus Box 7645, Raleigh, NC 27695-7645. n

Student News

On the evening of May 1st the Belltower turned Wolfpack red in honor of Shelly Strickland, BAE Biomedical Engineering student in the class of 2004, who was recently awarded the national 2002 Udall Scholarship. Each year, the Morris K. Udall Foundation awards undergraduate scholarships of up to $5,000 to American juniors and seniors in fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care or tribal policy. To learn more about the Udall Scholarship visit

BAE Alumni & Friends – 5

Our special thanks to Ted Sherrod for suggesting and helping with the BAE-DOH article.

6 – BAE Alumni & Friends

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Alumni Updates

Who From BAE is at the DOH... Roadside Environmental Unit Name Cert. Degree Barney Blackburn EI BE Andy Blankenship PE BE Susan Cauley PE BAE Jason Elliott AET Amy Franklin(Lewis) EI BAE Barry Harrington TBE David Harris EI AST Alan Hinson AET Jamie Lancaster PE BAE Mark Laugisch AET Don Lee TBE Ken Pace EI TBE Donald Pearson EI TBE Keith Phillips EI BAE Ted Sherrod TBE Tim Simpson TBE Don Smith TBE Bryan Spell AST Mark Staley EI BAE Neil Trivette TBE Other units with the DOH Wilton Braswell TBE Randy Griffin EI BAE Barry Hobbs PE BAE Greg Keel PE BAE Johnny Metcalf PE BAE Byron Moore PE BAE Bill Sparrow TBE Jeff Renn EI TBE David Thomas PE TBE Jay Twisdale PE TBE Randy Wise PE SBE Recent Retirees Bill Johnson TBE Cliff McNeill TBE Frank Vernon TBE

BAE at the DOT

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worked on to date has been the Charlotte Outer Loop. There were many local government issues, land and water quality requirements to be met, and numerous wetland situations to mitigate in and around this large city. Lancaster said, “The plans went through several revisions and implementation of the plans will most likely require more feedback than usual.” Cauley said, “I have enjoyed the job so far. I have learned a lot and hope to contribute to the unit with an idea to perform soil loss equations from within MicroStation.” Cauley and Lancaster are both pleased that the DOH encourages continuing education. Ted Sherrod is the State Roadside Environmental Field Operations Engineer who is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, (CPESC). He oversees Roadside Environmental Field Operations personnel throughout the 14 divisions of the DOH. The Field Operations Section ensures that not only the temporary erosion control structures are implemented during the construction phase, but also all permanent erosion control components including vegetative establishment is completed and then maintained. Interestingly, Sherrod said, “The DOT is the largest land disturber in the state aside from the agricultural community, so the DOH places the highest priority possible on environmental issues involving erosion control. The DOH demands that its contractors share the same DOH vision for safety and erosion concerns.” To insure erosion control implementation all across the state, Sherrod supervises seven engineers and seven technicians who are teamed together, each responsible for erosion control in two of the DOH mapped divisions. Sherrod said, “My environmental field operations engineers can be found working on the larger roadways which are under construction or rehabilitation and the technicians will generally work on the secondary roads and bridge projects.” Secondary roads are either new roads that need to be paved or maintained. Sherrod said, “The DOH is near its goal of having a majority of secondary roads in the state paved and soon will be able to focus on preservation and maintenance of these roads.” All current projects are listed each month on the TIP list. Each environmental engineer is aware of what jobs need to be done and at what phase these jobs are in. They are responsible for interfacing and conveying their recommendations to construction engineers managing these roadway projects. The engineers are there to make sure the main roadway plans are followed to the job specifications, working out any plan changes, supply needs, or schedules. The contractors are responsible for performing the grading and the installation and maintenance of an erosion control structure along a stretch of roadway. It gets labor-intensive and very tactical so it is necessary for engineers to take a streamlined course of action and this means planning. Many pieces of the roadway are being developed at the same time so scheduling and coordination of equipment, manpower, and supplies is essential. It’s important for environmental engineers to coordinate with other DOH field engineers who are delivering their own expertise to the job site. Sherrod has the daunting task of keeping all of the erosion efforts moving forward. Sherrod steps in when the job needs a little extra care to avoid notices of violations (NOV’s). Protecting the waterways that are near roads and bridges requires Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) (http:// and the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act (SPCA) continued on page 8

Dr. Larry Stikeleather’s BAE 202 class is an introduction to the design process, CAD, and hands-on basic manufacturing shop skills. April’s class participated in a unique multiphase project. Students assigned two to a team were given a set of specifications for a pinewood derby car. The car was designed in Pro/ENGINEER with freedom of design as long as a 3-axis CNC mill could cut the basic shape and meet the limits of length, width, and axle locations. Car designs also had to make provision for the mounting of standardized auxiliary masses. Maximum total car mass was specified and Pro/E was used to compute the mass continued

Students designed pinewood derby cars in Pro/ ENGINEER using 3D solid modeling CAD methods.

Seeing their own designs materialize and undergo hands-on testing brings out the smiles.

Student designs had to meet specific mass and mass properties specifications so they could run a designed 2 factor, 2 level experiment (2x2) to evaluate the effects of mass and mass location and the interaction of these factors on performance.

Students follow their test matrix for randomized runs and set up the cars to one of 5 configurations for each test run. One team member sets up the car and the other collects the test data. And at the end of the track the cars break light beams which switch phototransistors … The computer reads the phototransistors via a data acquisition board and a virtual instrument (VI) timer programmed in LabVIEW. LabVIEW then computes and displays the times for tracks in large numbers to the nearest thousandth of a second so the students can enter their data on data sheets.

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Students on Design Fast Track...

Fast Track


properties including the mass moments of inertia for each car configuration based on the densities of the various materials in the assemblies. Once the designs met the requirements, the students generated the G code in Pro/E and transferred this code to a small CNC mill machining the cars from rigid sign foam stock. The light weight rigid sign foam allowed more of the total mass to be made up of steel ballast, so the effect of mass and mass location could be varied substantially. The primary objective was to conduct a 2x2 designed experiment to determine how mass and mass location affected performance. Many of the students had already experienced a Scout pinewood derby as youngsters, adding interest to the project from an engineer’s view. Teams ran tests, collected and analyzed the data, wrote a report like a technical paper and then made an oral presentation. Presentations were given to the class and evaluated by faculty and staff. Most (95% )of the teams concluded that the maximum (+1) level of rear car ballast gave the best performance. In some cases, teams found that mass made a significant difference but location did not. Most teams found a strong interaction between the mass and mass location factors. A few teams ran into stability, wheel/ axle alignment, and excess friction problems with some configurations of their prototype cars and obtained some surprising results (which were explained in engineering terms). The project experience should make them better engineers and the conclusions they reached will no doubt influence the input they give their own little Scouts some day. n

BAE Alumni & Friends – 7

leading to the development of the DOT System

n In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson signed into law the first federal highway program, the National Road, which was to connect the new State of Ohio with the Eastern seaboard. The horse and wagon were still in vogue. n In 1893, President Benjamin Harrison signed into law the Agriculture Appropriations Act of 1894, $100,000 of which was used to launch the Office of Road Inquiry, predecessor agency to the Bureau of Public Roads and Federal Highway Administration. n America’s motor vehicle development began in the mid-1890s. n Charles and Frank Duryea were recognized as the earliest American automotive manufacturers with the Duryea brothers’ thirteen “massproduced” cars produced in 1896. n A goal of American car manufacturers in the early 1900’s was to replace the horse for everyday transportation. n In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal-aid Road Act, launching the Federal-aid highway program, with grants to states for the construction of roads used to deliver the mail. n In 1924, a Ford sold for $290, making it less expensive to use and maintain than a horse. n The Department of Transportation (DOT) was established by an act of Congress, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. Unbelievably, the bill that established a cabinetlevel Department of Transportation did not pass Congress until ninety-two years after one was first introduced. Lyndon Johnson called it “the most important transportation legislation of our lifetime . . . one of the essential building blocks in our preparation for the future. . .” n

8 – BAE Alumni & Friends

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Milestones... On the road

BAE at the DOT

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( Transportation Websites publications/Soilfacts/AG-439-32/) land n North Carolina DOT: and water quality standards to be met. Each installation must be tested and n NC Division of Highways retested. The water flowing through the erosion controls must function under n ITRE: various conditions. Erosion controls must n US Dept. of Transportation: protect animal and plant life, so removing the sediment (sand, silt, clay) that collects in waters from the act of erosion is paran Pocket Guide to Transportation: mount. After a heavy rainfall, many conditions like turbidity can develop (soil n Bureau of Transportation particles mixing in the water at unacceptStatistics: able levels) which need to be addressed and Pictured is the first mass-produced car. good erosion controls do just that. Sherrod said, “I am proud that we are the only state agency unit that has been given permission by DENR to design and monitor our own erosion and sedimentation control program because we have consistently implemented them to meet or exceed standards. We are always testing and applying new technologies like polyacrlymides (PAM’s), skimmers, and baffles.” During times when manpower is on overload and schedules get tight, Sherrod’s job can get tougher. Sherrod also ensures that new engineers are trained to know who to contact in every situation. It is no small task to keep track of all the projects that are going on at the same time, in different geographical locations, and at different phases of completion. Sherrod said, “My job involves about 30% travel and I don't mind the traveling nor do any of the field engineers. We enjoy the roads... we help build them.” Sherrod said, “To become an environmental engineer, you should focus on classes dealing with soil and water resource engineering, develop working knowledge in the disciplines involving mitigation and government enforcement principles and assessment, learn about wetlands (roadways in the eastern part of the state often require wetland mitigation), stormwater, drainage, vegetation qualities, BMP’s, stream restoration, and soil types and sediment control. It's all useful. I still remember learning about Stokes Law in a BAE class and how it applies to sediment. (If density of the grain is greater than density of a fluid then the grain will accelerate in that fluid until a constant velocity is reached. This constant velocity is referred to as Fall Velocity.) All your professional knowledge comes into play when you are dealing with erosion and sedimentation control presenting a multitude of stabilization challenges.” Sherrod also noted that an important skill for a field engineer is the ability to work well with people. The job involves dealing with supervisors, landowners, municipalities, government agencies, construction workers, and with other DOH personnel, so the ability to work in a team atmosphere is important. Another essential ability is advanced planning to schedule your day, staying organized and maximizing your project time. Jeff Walston is a current BAE student who has been working part time for the DOT since January. Walston said, “I have been apprenticing, learning to design continued on page 9

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erosion control systems in the Soil and Water Engineering Section with Cauley, Lancaster, and many other BAE graduates. I plan to continue working for the DOT after graduation as a full time temporary employee. I would like the chance to join them as a permanent employee when a position opens up.” Walston continued, “The thing I like most about working for the DOH is how close the employees are, like a family.” Walston enjoys many aspects of his job, especially knowing that his work is helping to control erosion and sediment problems. He is learning to use MicroStation, a program that takes time to master, and hopes to be up to speed by the time a job opening becomes available. Walston said, “I feel that several of the courses I took in college helped prepare me for this kind of work, especially soil science and water management courses.” The BAE and DOH keep a close bond with each other, forging connections that foster and promote outreach and research partnering. The department provides extension, continuing education workshops, and tours to present emerging technologies to DOH personnel (see the pictures on this page). Over the years research faculty have worked with the DOH, sharing BAE’s environmental research strength in hydrology to solve problems. Dr. Wayne Skaggs is currently working with the DOH-Hydrology Unit. Dr. Skaggs said, “The purpose of my particular project with the DOH is to develop methods for determining the lateral effect of highway drainage ditches on the hydrology of wetlands. It is often necessary to construct highways adjacent to and through wetlands. In order to construct and maintain highways, drainage systems play a necessary part, however these drainage systems and associated structures may change the hydrology of adjacent wetlands, causing environmental problems. I am working with the DOH to address some of these problems.” The DOT is a huge entity and we have just highlighted BAE’s contributions, however, NC State works with the DOT through many different departments and continuing education efforts to provide education venues to state agencies. One of the biggest efforts is the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) hosted by NCSU and chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1978. ITRE conducts research, education, and technical assistance projects on a wide variety of surface transportation issues. These projects include extensive work with municipal and state departments of transportation throughout the nation. To learn more, check out the list of transportation websites on page 8. n

Above from top to bottom, DOT personnel take tours to see how a retention pond skimmer system works, to study different kinds of wetland plant vegetation and hear a speaker describe the different types of permeable pavements available.

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BAE at the DOT

Howell: 35 Years of

Teaching and 85 Years of Life... Ezra L. “Zeke” Howell, professor emeritus, died in March leaving a legacy of teaching and community involvement that spanned through most of the 20th century. He was born in 1916 in Mocksville, NC, graduated from Farmington High School, Edwards Military Institute, and NC State University with a B.S. and Masters Degree in Agricultural Education. Howell was a veteran of World War II, after which he started teaching in the department in 1947. He advanced to assistant professor, associate professor and retired as a full professor in 1982. He continued to teach part-time until 1990. Howell was selected to receive an “Outstanding Teacher Award” and an honorary State Farmer’s Degree; he was selected as an honorary member of the Agricultural Institute Club, Future Farmers of America, and Alpha Zeta. Throughout his time, Howell saw Agricultural Engineering grow and develop. He moved his teaching efforts on campus from one wooden building to another. He moved as often as it took to establish Weaver Labs as a brick building on Western Blvd. and lived through each of Weaver’s structural additions. He taught and participated in agricultural engineering, as the department grew rich with people who dedicated themselves to the agricultural community. Howell, in teamwork with George Blum, was instrumental in developing shop programs with a hands-onapproach for improving students’ course work. Howell’s area of interest was in the mechanization of tobacco and he worked on mechanical continued on page 10

BAE Alumni & Friends – 9


Adams, Anthony Clark ................... AET Allison, Megan Sharp ...................... BE, BME Amatya, Devesh Man ...................... BE, BME Banks, Stacy Elizabeth ................... BE, BME Barr, Brittany Irene .......................... BE, BME Bricker, JoAnn M. ............................ BE Carpenter, Jennifer Hayley ............. BE Cheng, Chin-Hung ........................ BE, BME Cook, Michael Jason ........................ Ph.D. Dodson, Margaret Colleen .............. BE, BME Duncan, Gregory Stephen ............. BE Evans, Genevieve Ann ..................... BE, BME Few, Wesley Norman ....................... BE Gaskill, Colon Ward, Jr. ................... BE Javier, Gayo ...................................... M.S.

View more graduation pictures at


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Campus Box 7625 Raleigh, NC 27695-7625

10 – BAE Alumni & Friends


Gonzalez, Delia Ann ...................... BE, BME Goodwin, Jeremy Adrian ................ BE Hardin, Robert Glen, IV ................. BE Jean, Nathan Edward ..................... BE Kossler, Daniel James ....................... AET Lizotte, Joseph Oliver ...................... BE, BME McGuire, Antonio Martrell ............. BE, BME Mummert, Craig Nevin ................... BE Nordby, Laura Guffey .................... BE, BME Ricks, Staci Nichole ......................... M.S. Riggins, Angela Anne ...................... BE, BME Robbins, Brian Todd ....................... BE, BME Russell, Jenna Marie ........................ BE, BME Sabliov, Cristina Mirela ................... Ph.D. Sheffield, Ronald Erle ..................... Ph. D. Shelby, Jennifer Duval ..................... M.S. Silverstein, Rebecca Anne ................ BE Spencer, Stuart Ray ......................... BE Stokes, Margaret Massee ................. BE, BME Walston, Jeffrey David ..................... AET Wang, Brandon Wai-Hua ............... BE, BME Williams, Miranda Anne ................. BE Womble, Thomas Matthew ............ BE, BME Wood, Jody Ross .............................. BE, BME

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Spring 2002 Graduates

E. L. Howell

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tobacco harvesters in 1976 when there were only about 2,500 such harvesters in North Carolina. He worked to perfect the abilities of the harvester and the mechanization of handling systems. Always a helpful participant, he set up the yearly Antique Farm Machinery Exhibit at the NC State Fair until 1990. Most importantly, he will be forever remembered as being among an elite group of early departmental educators to see agricultural engineering through most of the 20th century. n If you have a story idea that you think would be of interest, please feel free to write us. If you know someone who would like to receive our newsletter, send us their address. E-mail: Write: BAE Newsletter, Dept. Bio. & Ag. Eng., NCSU, 3110 Faucette Dr., Raleigh, NC 27695-7625.


Summer 2002 NCSU Bio and Ag Alumni and Friends Newsletter  
Summer 2002 NCSU Bio and Ag Alumni and Friends Newsletter  

A Newsletter about department events and NC Department of Transportation many are BAE Alumni presented by the NCSU, Department of Biologica...