Rutgers School of Engineering Announces 2017 Alumni Achievement Honorees

Recognizing Achievement in Asset Management, Automotive Safety, Telecommunications, and Aerospace Innovation

The Rutgers University School of Engineering will recognize the achievements of five alumni honorees at the annual Medal of Excellence and Distinguished Alumni awards event on October 5, 2017. Established in 2006, the awards recognize School of Engineering graduates who have distinguished themselves since graduation through professional or societal achievement. The 2017 awardees will celebrate Rutgers engineering graduates for their accomplishments and contributions in the areas of technology and asset management, automotive safety research, telecommunications advancements, and aerospace innovation.

Awards include the Medal of Excellence for lifetime achievement, Distinguished Achievement in Industry, Distinguished Achievement in Research, and Distinguished Young Alumnus, along with the Rutgers Engineering Society’s Distinguished Engineer Award which recognizes lifetime technical achievement.

“The 2017 honorees showcase the outstanding achievements of the school’s alumni and also demonstrate the diversity of careers that encompass an engineering degree,” said Thomas N. Farris, Rutgers School of Engineering dean. “Rutgers University’s engineering graduates make an important impact, sparking innovation that strengthens our economy and enhances lives around the globe.”

The 2017 Medal of Excellence honorees include:

Medal of Excellence Award

Andrew L. Intrater (BS'85 Chemical and Biochemical Engineering)
Chief Executive Officer
Columbus Nova

Andrew Intrater has held leadership roles in the technology and asset management sector for more than 30 years. He currently serves as chief executive officer for Columbus Nova, a multi-strategy investment firm he founded in 2000, as well as managing director for Columbus Nova Technology Partners and partner of Columbus Nova MB, real estate investment management platform. In 2005, he led a $51 million equity/debt investment for a controlling stake in Moscow Cablecom, known today as AKADO, for which he subsequently served as its chairman. Intrater began his career in 1985 as the founder of ATI, the predecessor of Oryx Technology, and guided the company to become a leading manufacturer of semiconductor test equipment. In addition to his degree from Rutgers, Intrater performed graduate studies in materials science at Columbia University.

Rutgers Engineering Society Distinguished Engineer Award

John P. Cipolletti (BS'78, MS'80 Agricultural Engineering)
Space Launch System Engineering Manager and Florida Site Lead
The Boeing Company

John Cipolletti has made critical contributions to America’s space flight programs, participating in 114 space shuttle launch campaigns and several new vehicle design efforts over the course of his career. His career in space flight began in 1985 when he joined Lockheed Martin as a senior systems engineer. From 1996 to 2012, he held a range of chief engineering and technical manager positions at the United Space Alliance. Cipolletti was awarded the NASA Public Service Medal for outstanding technical leadership and management for his efforts during the Orbiter Columbia recovery. When the Space Shuttle Program ended, he received NASA’s highest award for contractor employees, the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. Cipolletti joined Boeing in 2013 and is currently the senior engineering manager and Florida site lead for Boeing’s Space Launch System Program. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the National Space Club.

Distinguished Achievement in Industry 

Roman P. Pacewicz (BS'87 Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Chief Product Officer
AT&T Business

As chief product officer for AT&T Business, Roman Pacewicz is leading product development that supports nearly 3.5 million business customers and an annual revenue stream of nearly $70 billion. His team is responsible for every element of product management from defining the strategy and developing the product portfolio to delivering the revenue performance and profitability. Since joining AT&T in 1988, he has held an array of leadership positions in product management, systems development, marketing, engineering, and operations. He most recently served as senior vice president of offer management and service integration, advancing the development of industry-leading Software Defined Networking (SDN) based offers. Pacewicz holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Distinguished Achievement in Research

Reates K. Curry (PhD'94 Biomedical Engineering)
Technical Expert
Ford Motor Company

Reates Curry is a technical expert at Ford’s VIRTTEX (VIRtual Test Track Experiment) laboratory, which houses one of the most advanced, full-motion driving simulators in the world.  With expertise in the area of human-machine interaction (HMI), she has coauthored more than 60 technical reports, conference papers, and journal articles during her 22-year tenure at Ford and prior. Curry has participated in over fifteen National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) conferences and represents Ford as a recruiter at Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conventions. She is a recipient of the Henry Ford Technology Award and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Spark Award. In February 2017, she was listed fourth among 43 women on Business Insider’s list of most powerful female engineers. In 2017, she was listed fourth among Business Insider’s most powerful female engineers. Prior to earning her doctoral degree at Rutgers, Curry received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Distinguished Young Alumnus

Emeka O. Oguh (BS'05 Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Emeka Oguh is the founder and CEO of PeopleJoy, a benefits platform company that provides employee retention solutions focused on financial wellness. He previously founded a mobile app publishing company that was acquired in 2015. Prior to that, he worked as director of product at a venture-backed financial technology startup and as a Wall Street analyst at Merrill Lynch. He is a Huffington Post contributor, providing articles related to financial wellness and managing student debt. He also volunteers with MLT Ascend, a mentoring program for first-generation, low-income college students. In addition to his Rutgers electrical engineering degree, Oguh earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The 2017 recipients will be honored at the Medal of Excellence Awards dinner on October 5, 2017 at the Palace at Somerset Park, in Somerset, New Jersey. The event begins with cocktails at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and dessert and the evening’s presentations. Each honoree will be formally recognized at the event.

Tickets are available for $150 per person. Proceeds from this event benefit the Rutgers School of Engineering Scholarship Fund. This fund supports talented engineering students by providing critical financial resources and educational opportunities. To purchase tickets or request sponsorship information, contact Diane Borowsky at 848-445-4454 or or visit the event website at