College of Engineering to welcome new Hall of Fame members for 2023
The Wayne State University College of Engineering will honor 10 prominent alumni at its Hall of Fame awards dinner on Friday, April 21 at Wayne State’s Industry Innovation Center.
Ami Shah, B.S. ’91, and Mina Sooch, B.S. ’89, comprise the Hall of Fame class of 2023 and will bring membership to 154 honorees since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 1983. The College of Engineering will also recognize distinguished engineers and computer scientists from all eight departments.
Shah is a managing director in Fortress Investment Group LLC’s Intellectual Property Group based in Washington, D.C., where she focuses on a wide variety of investment opportunities in connection with intellectual property. In 2022 she founded Level Set Capital, where she focuses on unlocking university and research institutions’ intellectual property. Prior to joining Fortress in 2013, Shah worked for Intel, most recently heading the company’s global wireless patents. Before joining Intel, she was with the law firms of Dorsey & Whitney, and Fish & Richardson where she worked on patent prosecution, licensing and litigation matters. Shah was recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the world’s leading IP strategists in the IAM 300, awarded to individuals with an established track record in developing and rolling out world-class IP value creation programs.
Sooch is a co-founder and CEO of Ocuphire Pharma, a late clinical stage biotech company focused on developing and commercializing small molecule drugs for unmet medical needs in the ocular disease space. With more than 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotech experience as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and strategist, Sooch has successfully raised hundreds of millions of dollars for more than 10 biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, which included two successful IPOs. Prior to establishing Ocuphire, Sooch co-founded Gemphire Therapeutics and ProNai Therapeutics, which are publicly-traded, clinical-stage companies in the cardiovascular and oncology fields, respectively. She has received numerous awards, including being named a 2016 Deal Maker of the Year by Crain’s Detroit Business and a finalist for 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year for Michigan and Northwest Ohio.
The distinguished engineers and computer scientists include:
- Biomedical Engineering
Brian Smith, B.S. ’84, M.S. ’95, Ph.D. ‘03
Senior Engineering Specialist (retired), General Dynamics Land Systems
- Chemical Engineering and Material Science
Steve Horsch, B.S. ’02, M.S. ’04, Ph.D. ‘06
R&D Fellow, Dow Chemical Company
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
John Gruber, M.S. ’06, Ph.D. ‘12
Founder and Principal Engineer, Gruber Engineering, P.C.
- Computer Science
Kalpana Yendluri, M.S. ‘95
Managing Director and Head of Data and Analytics, Bank of Montreal
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
Larry Baranyai, B.S. ‘80
Engineering Fellow (retired), General Dynamics
- Engineering Technology
Mark Jager, B.S. ’81, M.S. ‘91
Former Chief Engineer, Tenneco
- Industrial and Systems Engineering
Julius Reeves, B.S. ‘86
Manager of Advanced Vehicle Development, General Motors
- Mechanical Engineering
Mazen Hammoud, B.S. ‘91
Global Director of Motion Tech Strategy, Ford Motor Company
Prior to the event, the honorees will have the opportunity to attend Senior Capstone Design Day from 3 to 5 p.m. in the main College of Engineering building and peruse a showcase of Wayne State students’ capstone projects, all of which present solutions to engineering challenges and commercial or social needs.
Dean Ali Abolmaali and the Engineering Alumni Association will welcome the honorees and their families — as well as colleagues, alumni and industry leaders — to the awards dinner beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets to attend the event are $50 per person, with proceeds benefiting scholarships and student programs. Reservations can be made online.
The Wayne State University College of Engineering Hall of Fame was founded in 1983 to recognize and honor distinguished alumni who, through their leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, have made significant industrial, educational and societal contributions to the engineering and computer science professions. The Hall of Fame celebrates the rich history of the College of Engineering and provides exceptional standards by which Wayne State University engineering students can measure success.