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Engineering’s Distinguished Alumnus Award bestowed on business leaders, engineering dean


Vanderbilt engineering alumni Carl E. Adams Jr., George E. Cook and Charles E. Fields Jr. each received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering during an Engineering Celebration Dinner held Oct. 15 at the university’s Student Life Center.

The School of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes distinguished achievement, significant service and excellent character.

Engineering School Dean Kenneth F. Galloway surprised alumnus Ed Clark by presenting him with a Dean’s Outstanding Service Award. Clark joined the School’s Committee of Visitors in 1997 and has served as chair of the COV for the past eight years, stepping down from that role at a COV meeting Oct. 16.

Clark also recently retired as president and CEO of FedEx Trade Networks, a subsidiary of the FedEx Corp., where he held a number of leadership positions for 26 years.

Carl Adams is an international expert on industrial wastewater management in the Nashville office of ENVIRON, a global environmental consulting firm.  Adams, a principal of the firm, became global practice leader of integrated industrial wastewater management when a company he founded, The ADVENT Group, merged with ENVIRON in 2005.

Adams received his undergraduate degree in 1965 and a master’s degree in 1966 in civil and environmental engineering from Vanderbilt, and he completed a Ph.D. in environmental health engineering at the University of Texas, Austin.

He has been a consultant to more than 1,000 American and foreign industrial wastewater management projects, and has taught more than 100 technical seminars and courses around the world. He is the author of many technical publications and the co-author of four books.

Adams is a member of the School’s Lewis Society and he has endowed the Carl E. Adams Jr. Graduate Award specifically for environmental engineering.

Although George E. Cook was named Emeritus Professor in 2006, he continues to serve the School of Engineering as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, to teach, and to do research.

Cook received his undergraduate degree and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Vanderbilt in the 1960s.  He joined the faculty as an instructor in 1963 and was promoted to full professor in 1973. Through the years, Cook has served the School in a number of leadership roles as well as advising 45 Masters graduates and 30 Ph.D. graduates.

His research in the areas of robotics and industrial automation has resulted in a number of U.S. and foreign patents on welding technology. As an entrepreneur, George created several companies that specialized in robotic automated welding systems.

His work has been recognized with numerous awards, such as the James F. Lincoln Foundation’s Gold Award, the Franklin-Jefferson Award given by the Small Business High Technology Institute, the American Welding Society’s Comfort A. Adams Lecture Award, and the NASA Space Act Award for his work in development of the graphical simulation software known as ROBOSIM. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the American Welding Society.

Nashville native and Houston resident Charles Fields left Vanderbilt in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and spent the next 38 years with companies that are now the ExxonMobil Corporation.

Fields has held a range of engineering and management positions during his career.  After 20 years in the domestic petroleum industry, He became upstream director of Esso Australia Ltd., and later became chairman and managing director of Esso Australia.

He returned to the States in 1998 as senior vice president of Exxon Company International.  In 2000, following the merger of Exxon and Mobil, he was named vice president in the global production company with responsibility for the Middle East, South America and the Caspian.

At his retirement in 2006, Fields was executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company, the company responsible for planning and executing all major oil and gas developments for the Corporation. His large and diverse portfolio included over 100 projects in 20 countries with resources developed both onshore and offshore.

As an alumnus, Fields has been a member of the Lewis Society, a contributor to Featheringill Hall, and in 2004, he and his wife established the Everett and Elizabeth Fields Memorial Scholarship in the School of Engineering in honor of his parents.

As distinguished alumni, Adams, Cook and Fields become members of the School of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.