DETROIT — The Wayne State University College of Engineering will honor seven alumni and friends for their outstanding professional achievements and service at the college’s 2012 Night of the Stars Gala. This year’s event will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Gem Theatre in Detroit.

Matthew Craig, Sandeep Johri, Adriana Karaboutis and Akram Zahdeh will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award and will be inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of inductees to 130 since 1983. Derrick Kuzak will receive the Socius Collegii (Friend of the College) Award, while Darcy Salman and Paul Nahra each will receive the Outstanding Industry Achievement Award.

College of Engineering Dean Farshad Fotouhi said the honorees “have significantly impacted their organizations, their communities and this college throughout their careers, and illustrate to our students the kinds of successes that are possible in the fields of engineering and computer science.”

Night of the Stars raises money to fund student initiatives at the College of Engineering. These initiatives include scholarships for undergraduate research, study abroad and student organizations and their national and international team completions.

Current Night of the Stars sponsors include Urban Science, Ford Motor Co., Compuware, DTE Energy, Ghafari Associates, GM Corporate, GM Powertrain, Lakeshore TolTest Corp., Comau Robotic, IdeaCore, L-3 Communications, NextCAT, w3r Consulting, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Sandeep Johri, Paul Nahra, and Jeff and Tracey Hrubiak.

This year’s Night of the Stars event will feature a plated dinner, awards presentation and afterglow. RSVP at Sponsorships are still available. Contact the College of Engineering Dean’s Office at (313) 577-3776 or with questions.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Matthew (Matt) Craig is the division chief of human injury research in the Office of Vehicle Crashworthiness Research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. In this position, he is responsible for overseeing a wide range of motor vehicle crash injury-related research ranging from crash data collection and analysis to basic biomechanical research. Previously, he worked at General Motors in vehicle safety and crashworthiness where he was a team leader for small cars with responsibilities for restraint system and structural performance in FMVSS and NCAP test conditions. A native of Michigan, he earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and both a master’s in mechanical engineering in 1999 and a doctorate in biomedical engineering in 2007 from the Wayne State University College of Engineering.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Sandeep Johri, a senior technology executive with more than 20 years experience in large corporate and start-up environments, is currently chief operating officer at Appcelerator, the leading mobile company. He also serves as a venture advisor at the Mayfield Fund and as a member on the boards of Dhingana and Cenzic. His experience spans leadership roles in strategy, corporate development, product management and marketing. He most recently was vice president of industry and cloud solutions with Hewlett-Packard where he spent eight years and drove several of the largest software acquisitions. Prior to HP, Johri was CEO and founder of Oblix, a leading security company. Johri is active in Silicon Valley as a founder and seed investor in several technology startups. Johri also served as co-chair staff on President Clinton’s National Information Infrastructure Advisory council. A native of India, Johri earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Pune University, India, and a master’s in industrial engineering from Wayne State University’s College of Engineering in 1986. He earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Adriana Karaboutis is global chief information officer at Dell where she is responsible for continuing to drive Dell’s IT organization evolution, from managing an efficient and innovative global information infrastructure, to creating innovative breakthroughs that provide technology advances for the company and its customers. Karaboutis previously served as vice president of IT at Dell supporting product groups, manufacturing, procurement and supply chain operations. Prior to joining Dell in 2010, Karaboutis worked at General Motors and Ford Motor Company for a combined 21 years. She is a member of the Manufacturing Executive Leadership Board and a past president of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology. Karaboutis earned her bachelor’s in computer science from Wayne State University in 1986.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
Akram Zahdeh is a GM fellow and manager of the Advanced Engine Analysis Group within the General Motors Advanced Power Train Division. An industry pioneer and innovator, he is known for his work in dramatically impacting GM engine applications through the origination and formulation of unique path-finding meshers and preprocessors, developing and implementing for the GM Rule-Based Engineering and Full Service Engineer/Designer Engineer tools, performing cutting-edge performance research within GM’s elite Indy racing team, and designing, developing and engineering implementation of new major GM power train head developments. He is one of GM’s most successful and decorated innovators, having received more than 20 significant patents and numerous community service awareds, as well as the GM “Boss” Kettering Award. Zahdeh earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Wayne State University College of Engineering in 1990.

Socius Collegii Award Recipient (Friend of the College)
Derrick Kuzak recently retired from Ford Motor Company as its group vice president of Global Product Development. In that role he led the team of 18,000 engineers and technicians located in eight engineering centers responsible for the design and engineering of all of Ford’s vehicles globally. He began this role in 2007 after serving in a number of senior product development positions including vice president of Product Development, Americas and vice president of Product Development, Ford of Europe. His career with Ford spanned more than 33 years, beginning as a research engineer in 1978. Born in Detroit in 1951, he holds a bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering and a doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Detroit. He was honored as the Engineering Alumnus of the Year of the University of Detroit-Mercy in 2009. Kuzak was selected as an Automotive News All-Star in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He was honored with a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2009 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2010.

Outstanding Industry Achievement Award Recipient
Darcy Salman is the order fulfillment applications portfolio manager at Ford Motor Company where she manages a portfolio size of more than 70 marketing and sales applications and teams located in Michigan and India. Salman has served in various other roles at Ford over the past 22 years, including the roles of manager and dean of IT Learning, enterprise process and data strategy manager, and MIS manager. Prior to joining Ford, she worked as a senior field engineer at Amdahl. She has been the lead recruiter for Ford IT at Wayne State since 1996, is a member of the Computer Science Advisory Board at Wayne, and is an executive mentor in the Menttium program. Salman earned her bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Michigan and her master’s in electronics and computer control systems engineering from the Wayne State University College of Engineering in 1993.

Outstanding Industry Achievement Award Recipient
Paul Nahra is the enterprise resource manager at GM Powertrain Headquarters – Engineering Operations. Prior to his current position, he was a combustion engineer on several new engine programs. While at GM, he has served on several leadership committees in support of GM’s turnaround efforts. Before working at GM, he also made significant contributions through engineering innovation at Chrysler. He is a dedicated College of Engineering supporter and advocate, serving as a past president and distinguished member on the college’s Alumni Association Board and on the college’s Strategic Planning Committee. He earned his bachelor’s in 1998 and master’s in 2000 from the College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.   More at


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