Distinguished engineers

Rainer HoffmanRainer Hoffman, M.S. '84, is the managing partner of carhs GmbH, a leading provider of educational programs and events for engineers in the global automotive industry. After graduating in Germany with a degree in automotive engineering, Hoffmann was granted a Fulbright scholarship to work with Professor Albert King at the Wayne State Bioengineering Center, earning his master's before returning to Germany to join Porsche AG as a research engineer. Hoffmann advanced automotive safety in his years at ESI Group and PARS (now Continental Safety Engineering) by introducing new computer-aided techniques such as airbag simulation, airbag folding and finite-element dummy modeling, and pioneering the development of side airbags and safety systems in ultra-small cars. In 1994, Hoffmann founded EASi Engineering GmbH, which in 2006 was renamed carhs GmbH and today is well regarded in the automotive safety community for its advanced engineering services, software tools and unique training center.

Colleen HughesColleen Hughes, B.S. '90, M.S. '93/94, Ph.D '96, is a senior vice president for CDM Smith, an employee-owned engineering and construction firm that provides solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. She has served on the board of directors for the company — which employs more than 5,000 people globally — and is currently responsible for the operational performance of the firm's Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. A licensed professional engineer in Michigan and Pennsylvania and an industry leader in Clean Water Act compliance, Hughes has authored more than 30 papers and presentations and advises public utilities and stakeholder communities on urban water resource management issues using cost optimization decision support systems. She is working with the Great Lakes Water Authority to develop a 40-year wastewater master plan for Southeast Michigan, having previously led a $3.6 billion plan in the Pittsburgh area.

Amir AzarmiAmir M. Azarmi, M.S. '82, began his career with the Circle K Corporation in Phoenix,, where he was responsible for opening 42 stores in the northeast Phoenix area. In 1990, he co-founded Fairway Constructors Inc., a development company in Fort Mohave, Arizona, responsible for designing and developing five large semi-custom communities. As the executive vice president and project manager, he led the construction of over 900 single family residential homes and several commercial projects in Arizona, Nevada and California. Azarmi was honored in 2016 as the Citizen of the Year by the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce and, in 2017, as the Individual of the Year by the Bullhead City Area Chamber of Commerce for his philanthropic work in the community. Azarmi is a past chairman of the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Mohave County Code Advisory Board.


Nestor RychtyckyjNestor Rychtyckyj, B.S. '80, M.S. '87, Ph.D. '01, is a senior analytics scientist in artificial intelligence within the Global Data Insight and Analytics organization at Ford Motor Company. He is responsible for the development and application of machine learning, natural language processing, semantic computing and machine translation for manufacturing, quality and customer interaction. In his more than 25 years at Ford, Rychtyckyj has applied AI to solve business problems in such domains as vehicle assembly process planning, plant floor ergonomics, supply chain management, language translation and cybersecurity. Rychtyckyj has published more than 50 papers and presented at conferences such as Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence and the International Conference on Semantic Computing. He is a senior member of both the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, and a member of the Association for Computer Machinery and the Shevchenko Scientific Society. Rychtyckyj has three degrees from Wayne State in computer science.

Mohamad Abdul-HakMohamad Abdul-Hak, B.S. '99, has been working in the automotive industry for more than 20 years. Since 2007, he has been with Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America Inc., where he is the senior manager of the eMobility, high-voltage systems and quality teams. Abdul-Hak is a steering committee member of CharIN North America, an organization that helps to establish global standards for charging battery-powered electric vehicles. He is a co-chair of the Society of Automotive Engineers vehicle wireless charging testing committee and chair of the Wayne State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering's Industrial Advisory Board. He is an active member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, previously serving as vice president for the Michigan chapter and currently acting as an ABET program evaluator. Abdul-Hak holds degrees in electrical engineering from Wayne State University (B.S.), the University of Michigan (M.S.) and the University of Detroit Mercy (Ph.D.).

Howard Finck, B.S. '95, was a business development and alliance management leader in the IT industry with expertise in identifying and enabling strategic, cloud, technology and OEM partner alliances that aligned with his clients' corporate roadmaps. Finck spent nearly a decade in various managerial positions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise beginning in 2010, playing key roles in sales enablement and new product introductions while achieving award-winning levels of revenue growth for the company. He was previously at Cisco for 14 years as a senior manager and technical liaison, working on defense and public safety solutions for numerous international clients and as a sales business development manager in Nevada's gaming and hospitality market. Finck earned his bachelor's from Wayne State in electrical/electronic engineering technology. He and his family established two endowed scholarships — the Howard Finck Memorial Engineering Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. Jerome and Mrs. JoAnne Finck Memorial Engineering Technology Scholarship Fund.

Donna BellDonna Bell, M.S. '97, M.S. '11, Ph.D. '19, is the director of technology and features, strategy and planning at Ford Motor Company. Bell is responsible for aligning new and emerging technologies for Ford and Lincoln vehicles globally, working closely with product development and research and advanced engineering organizations as well as vehicle program teams to understand customer needs. Bell's past roles over nearly two decades at Ford include CTO, chief of staff and director of research operations at Ford's Palo Alto innovation labs; global manager of product development quality; and manager of electric vehicle infrastructure and smart grid technologies. Her career at Ford is grounded in the electrical and electronic systems engineering organization within product development, where she has delivered numerous first-to-Ford or industry technologies. Bell holds two master's degrees and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from Wayne State University.


John ShinskaJohn Shinska, B.S. '88, M.S. '01, is the global chief engineer for body systems/CAD and integration within Ford Motor Company's product development organization. He manages more than 1,200 people globally in this department. Shinska has been with Ford for 19 years and has held numerous product development positions, including IP/console engineer, plant vehicle team supervisor, body quality supervisor, global body systems manager and global body interior architecture manager. He has received four patent awards during his time with the company. Prior to joining Ford, Shinska worked Visteon from 1998 to 2000 as a manufacturing engineer. He holds two degrees in mechanical engineering from Wayne State, has been an active recruiter at the university since 2007 and took a position as the WSU Ford executive sponsor in 2019.