Engineers Nominated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Robert J. Webster III, Ph.D.
Dr. Bob Webster, III, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, is making significant contributions to fundamental design, modeling, and practical applications of electromechanical systems, particularly novel medical devices. As a true interdisciplinary engineer, he has training in three areas of engineering (electrical, mechanical, and biomedical), as well as computer science, and works closely with surgeons and radiologists. As a graduate student and now as an independent researcher, he has developed two systems involving the design, control, and analysis of flexible robots: steerable needles and active cannulas. Both of these could have a significant impact on medicine and to potential to revolutionize many type of surgery by providing miniature tentacle-like robot manipulators that can “turn corners” inside the human body. As an assistant professor, Webster’s teaching evaluations have been consistently excellent, and he has been the academic advisor for 35 undergraduates, supervised 14 undergraduate research projects, and has advised or co-advised 7 Ph.D. candidates. He was part of a small group who initiated a major curriculum modernization to create a continuous modern design experience from freshman year through senior capstone design, which he teaches.
Webster has assisted with several high school robotics activities for students and faculty, provided laboratory tours for children and young adults, and mentored a K-12 teacher in his laboratory. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Clemson University, and both a master’s and doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Ryan Acierno, and engineer with CH2M HILL, is constantly working to improve his own engineering and safety skills so that he can better help his colleagues, clients, and employer through his position in the Manufacturing and Life Sciences business group. He has mastered engineering software-based skills that allow the firm to be more competitive on project proposals, and is the only member of his business group in the Spartanburg, South Carolina office to become a LEED Accredited Professional, allowing his office to respond positively to proposals requiring LEED accredited staff. He contributed this knowledge to the SCHOTT Solar project which was the first photovoltaic manufacturing plant the office had worked on. Acierno worked on detailed design and testing of major power distribution components, and on-site construction support where he utilized both his OSHA 10 Hour safety training and communication skills to work with a German client who had little U.S. experience.
Acierno is also involved in the community, by providing design and construction-support work on the DSM Medical project in Greenville, South Carolina, volunteering with the Boy Scouts to help scout earn their engineers’ badge, and volunteering with Relay for Life. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Carolina.