Case's All-Star Team
Introducing our 2022 award winners
By Robert Smith
At Homecoming & Reunion Weekend October 6-9, the Case Alumni Association will honor eight distinguished alumni for their accomplishments and their service to Case and to humanity.
These awards represent the highest honors bestowed by the CAA, the nation’s oldest independent alumni association of science and engineering graduates.
In a change from past years, the Meritorious Service Award for outstanding service to Case is now the Thomas P. Kicher ’59, MS ’62, PhD ’65, Meritorious Service Award. The board of directors acted to honor former Dean Kicher, who passed away in February after more than 60 years of service to Case.
The 137th awards program begins at 6:15 p.m. Friday, October 7, in Strosacker Auditorium and will be live streamed. Here are our 2022 award winners and a summary of why they are worthy of our thanks and admiration.
The peerless professor
Ken Loparo will have a Silver Bowl to reflect the memories.
It caused a sensation at the Case School of Engineering this spring when Ken Loparo, PhD ’77, retired from full-time teaching after 43 years on the faculty. His fellow alumni made sure he will leave with lasting recognition.
The beloved professor is to receive the Silver Bowl, the highest honor bestowed by the Case Alumni Association. The tribute recognizes Loparo’s long and distinguished service to Case as an educator, researcher, and champion of the Case Alumni Association.
The Silver Bowl, presented occasionally by past presidents of the CAA, was last awarded in 2018 to Loparo’s friend and mentor Dean Tom Kicher ’59, MS ‘62, PhD ’65, who passed away in February.
“It’s important to get recognition from your colleagues and your classmates and your friends,” Loparo said. “But this award is really important to me because the last recipient is Tom Kicher.”
A Cleveland native, Loparo came to the Case faculty from Cleveland State University in 1979 and dug in. He occasionally fielded other offers, he said, but he and his wife, Mary, always resolved to stay. Both of his children, Joe and Jessica, earned Case degrees. Jessie even had Dad for engineering classes.
Loparo received the university’s top teaching awards: The Carl F. Wittke Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and the Gutti Memorial Teaching Award, given by engineering students.
His loyalty and zeal reached all parts of campus. He chaired the CWRU Faculty Senate during the 1999-2000 school year. A long-time member of the board of directors of the CAA, he served as board president from 2009 to 2011.
His contacts with industry helped to equip labs, fund research and lead Case students to coveted jobs. Most recently, he held the title of Arthur L. Parker Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering and faculty director of ISSACS, the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems, which he helped found.
Loparo said he’s still weighing what his role will be as emeritus professor but that Case students made his memories lasting.
“I’ve loved teaching my whole life,” he said. “The students at Case are particularly special. They’re extremely talented, highly driven, curious. It’s a great opportunity to be with them in the classroom.”
Many of those former students say the same about Professor Loparo.
Shaped by Case, Chi-Foon Chan helped build the nation’s tech industry.
Chi-Foon Chan, MS ’74, PhD ’77, arrived at Case Institute of Technology in 1972 seeking a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. He soon had cause to question his academic direction.
In one of his first assignments, Chan was made responsible for a cow undergoing an experimental heart transplant at Cleveland Clinic.
“By responsible, I mean wiping the blood off of scopes after I did readings,” he said, laughing. “And I realized I might not be prepared for the medical field.”
Fortunately, he said, Case gave its student access to many academic programs and resources. He switched to computer engineering — and soon thanked his lucky stars. Case had one of the first computer engineering programs in the nation and professors well-regarded in an emerging industry. He found his niche, his career and his passion.
Chan, an immigrant from Hong Kong, worked for industry pioneers like Intel and NEC Corporation before bringing his design skills and outgoing personality to Synopsys. As president and co-CEO, he helped build the Silicon Valley upstart into a world leader in semiconductor design, ultimately managing 16,000 employees and $5.3 billion in annual sales. Chan retired this summer after a 45-year career in high technology.
In tribute to his contributions to the field, and the distinction he brings to the Case School of Engineering, Chan will receive the Gold Medal, the highest award bestowed annually by the CAA.
“I’ve been very blessed in my career and my journey,” said Chan, adding that he gives a lot of credit to Case and its interdisciplinary approach to learning.
“That was extremely unique, looking back,” he said. “Understanding all these different disciplines, and not being worried as you get into new things, was a very important educational journey.”
In University Circle, he met his wife, a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Rebecca Sen Chan is a concert pianist and a trustee of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The couple raised two children and enjoy two grandchildren.
“Not only did I get a degree, I got a wife and a lifelong friend,” Chan said.
Reflecting on the Gold Medal brings back memories as it adds new luster to his Case degrees.
“A recognition like this from my peers and fellow alumni is really appreciated,” he said. “I just say ‘Wow, thank you!”
Jolly good fellow
Jim Treleaven helps welcome the new generation to the school he loves.
Jim Treleaven ’69, MS ’77, PhD ’90, is the first alumnus many students meet before starting classes at Case Western Reserve. For nearly 20 years, he and his wife, Cheryl, have hosted summer sendoffs at their home outside of Chicago.
They did it again July 31, offering a welcome and guidance to more than 100 Chicago area members of the class of 2026.
“These are so much fun,” he says. “There’s a lot of interaction, a lot of questions” at gatherings that illustrate a key characteristic of Case. “The quality of the students is obvious. They are really good kids.”
The sendoffs are only one of many activities Treleaven undertakes in support of his alma mater and the Case community, which is why he’ll receive the Samuel Givelber ’23 Award. The award honors an alumnus or alumna who fosters fellowship in the Case tradition.
For the outgoing Treleaven, fellowship building comes naturally. He was president of his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, a Student Senator and a starter on both the football and wrestling teams at Case in the 1960s.
His degree in computer engineering, one of the first in the nation, lead to a wide-ranging career with leadership roles in engineering, sales and marketing and included a stint as President of DeVry University.
Today, as president and CEO of Via Strategy Group, Treleaven shares his insight with struggling companies as a turnaround specialist. As often as he can, he shares his time and his passion with Case.
“I’m very interested in giving back. I got so much out of Case,” he said. He notes he worked full time from junior year on, so his pursuit of three degrees had him enrolled at Case for a continuous 24 years.
In addition to serving as an admissions
ambassador, Treleaven is a member of the Visiting Committee of the Case School of Engineering and the board of the Case Alumni Association. He serves on the Spartan Club board, chairs the Visiting Committee for CWRU Athletics, and co-chaired the fundraising campaign for the Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center.
Samuel Givelber called the Case Alumni Association the “world’s greatest fellowship.” Jim Treleaven works hard to assure it remains so.
Lifting as he climbs
A desire to give back has always motivated Carlin Jackson.
Carlin Jackson ’15, MBA ’16, first came to campus to compete in a science Olympiad for middle school students. He still has the gold medal that judges draped around his neck. That was one of many acts of
encouragement and guidance, he says, that propelled him toward a Case degree and a rewarding career.
Today, he spends a good deal of his time paying it forward. Jackson, an entrepreneur who runs his own consulting business in Cleveland Heights, will receive the Young Alumni Leadership Award. The honor recognizes his service to his alma mater as a volunteer, a student mentor, and a member of the board of the Case Alumni Association and its committees.
“I got a lot of help,” he said. “It is a strong, fervent passion of mine to give back to all who have helped me on my journey.”
As founder and CEO of Theo. Wyes David, Ltd., Jackson helps businesses and entrepreneurs strategize and re-design systems, often involving finance and technology, his twin specialties. Scholarships and a job as a teaching assistant helped him to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the Case School of Engineering. He followed that with a degree in finance from the Weatherhead School of Management.
The twin degrees allowed him to apply computer science and data analytics to financial systems, a sought-after skill when he came out of college. Soon, he was able to launch his own consultancy.
He credits Case for giving him the confidence and resilience to take on new challenges.
“As a Case-trained engineer, to me there’s no problem that can’t be solved,” he said.
He’s eager to share that opportunity with the next generation.
Marla P rez-Davis is eager to show young people a route to the stars.
Marla Pérez- Davis, PhD ’91, has a compelling message for young people
considering a STEM career. First, she says, it’s within reach — and she should know. Her journey to the top ranks of the nation’s space agency began in a tiny coffee-growing community in the hills of Puerto Rico.
Second, she preaches, the effort is worth it. That degree in science or engineering can lead to a career filled with challenge and discovery, especially now, with a new space age underway.
“We’re going to have a space economy. Students are going to have options. It’s going to be a different world with endless possibilities,” she says. “More than anything, know that it can be done.”
Pérez-Davis will receive a Meritorious Service Award in tribute to her impact as a space engineer and her effectiveness as a role model to students, especially women and underrepresented minorities. She retired in June after nearly 40 years with NASA, the last two as director of the NASA Glenn Research Center — the first Puerto Rican to lead a NASA center.
Pérez-Davis grew up in tiny Adjuntas, where she exceled at science and math. She credits her mother for getting her
to the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez to pursue her dream of becoming a chemical engineer. A NASA job fair brought her to NASA Glenn and she began as a researcher in 1983 — one of the few women and Spanish speakers at the center. She rose through the engineering ranks to become director in late 2019.
Pérez-Davis also earned her doctorate at Case while working and raising two sons. For that, she credits mentors like Professors John Angus and Donald Feke ’76, MS ’77, her thesis advisor.
“Dr. Feke and Dr. Angus hold a very special place in my heart,” she said.
She is not sure what he future holds, but she is not ready to quit.
“It’s time for me to explore what is out there,” she said. “One thing I know, whatever I do, I want to keep giving to the community.”
Larry Enterline sped off into a rewarding career and helps today’s students to follow.
If you spend any time off-road racing, you’re familiar with FOX Racing Shox, the high-performance shock absorbers for all-terrain vehicles. And if you’ve been involved in CWRU Motorsport — aka Baja — you’ve heard of Larry Enterline ’74.
He’s the former CEO of Fox Factory Holding Corp., which manufactures Fox shox and other racing products. He’s also a fan of Baja and its student racers and designers, with whom he shares an engineering spirit.
“Anyone who is into off-road racing is definitely an enthusiast,” he observes. “We have a passion about that.”
That’s not all he’s passionate about. In tribute to his support of student groups like Baja and other worthy causes during an illustrious career, Enterline will receive a Meritorious Service Award.
The Georgia resident grew up racing trail bikes through the woods in western New York. At Case, he pledged Phi Kappa Tau and majored in electrical engineering.
“Case was tremendous preparation,” he said. “What stunned me, coming from a fairly rural high school, was the quality of the students. Case just had a great group of people to learn from.”
Engineering roles at Reliance Electric and Bailey Controls lead to leadership positions and his dream job. In 2011, Fox Factory made him CEO.
Enterline soon tripled sales and took Fox Factory public. He served as CEO until 2018 and last year stepped down as executive chairman of the board.
He remains active in the Enterline Foundation, which he founded 20 years ago to support developmentally disabled adults — and he helps Case Baja to compete with the best.
Enterline connected with the student group on a campus tour six or seven years ago, when he saw a Baja vehicle and noticed the team was using his competitor’s shock absorbers.
“So, I said right away, ‘I think we can make this better,’” he laughed.
He and his Fox colleagues have since provided Baja teams with design help, parts, project funding, internships and careers.
Enterline, happy to employ Case engineers, insists he’s gotten the better end of the deal
Meritorious Service Award
Trailblazer for STEM
Ka-Pi Hoh, a top scientist at Lubrizol, helps others find success in science and engineering.
Ka-Pi Hoh ’84, MS ’87, PhD ’89, anticipated earning a chemistry degree on her way to medical school — with a push from approving parents. But it was polymer engineering that struck her fancy at Case Institute of Technology.
She earned three degrees from the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, including her doctorate. That led to a fulfilling career as a globe-trotting scientist and shaped her message to the young people she advises and mentors.
“Follow a career you enjoy,” Hoh says. “Be true to yourself.”
Hoh will receive a Meritorious Service Award for her service to Case and to its students, who have much to learn from her experience.
She’s a top executive at Lubrizol, a specialty chemicals maker in suburban Cleveland, and a scientist with international impact. Hoh served as the first female technical manager at Lubrizol’s research center in the United Kingdom. Later, she helped build and staff Lubrizol’s testing laboratory in China during a four-year posting.
Today, Hoh serves as Lubrizol’s manager of process mining technology, which taps her skills in science and organization. She’s thankful to Case for an education that introduced her to international perspectives, and to her husband, Brian Perry, MS ’85, PhD ’88.
But much of her success comes from within. While she learned Cantonese from her parents, immigrants from Hong Kong, Hoh had to teach herself Mandarin to work effectively in mainland China.
She shares her insights as chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering and as a member of the Visiting Committee of CWRU’s Center for International Affairs. She’s also a mentor for the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable, WISER, where she gets refueled.
“I love to meet with students — the bright, young, energetic students at Case,” she said. “It always inspires me.”
Carmen Fontana thinks an inspired engineer really can change the world.
Carmen Fontana ’00, MEM ’05, did not see many role models when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in systems and control engineering. “Women engineers just weren’t a thing,” she says, and she thinks she floundered early because of that.
She also came up with a solution. While carving out a fulfilling career, Fontana resolved to be that role model she lacked.
“A lot of it is just sharing my story,” she said.
That’s the story of a long-distance runner, a cancer survivor, an IEEE influencer, and an engineer who uses technology to improve people’s lives. Fontana will receive a Meritorious Service Award at Homecoming 2022, a tribute to her work on behalf of the profession and Case and its students.
You may have read one of her essays or heard one of her podcasts. She’s an “impact creator” for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, showcasing emerging technologies.
That was also her focus at Centric Consulting, where she led its software delivery practice for many years. Recently, she jumped to a new venture, Augment Therapy, a startup that uses augmented reality to design new therapy programs for patients — often children facing dreaded diseases.
“It kind of marries my biggest interests, doing good, meaningful work through technology,” she said.
Fontana thanks Case for more than her technical skills. On campus she met her husband, Vince Fontana ’99, with whom she is raising two teenagers. She fell in love with cross country running at Squire Valleevue Farm, where she led the team over hill and dale as captain. And she developed the critical thinking skills that she says help her to take on challenging roles with optimism.
“I still remain very hopeful that technology will help solve a lot of the biggest problems of our time,” she said.