Lucases pledge additional $1.8 million for named professorship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Thomas A. and Nicki Lucas of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., have made a $1.8 million gift commitment to the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering to enhance the named professorship they created in March 2013.

The Tom and Nicki Lucas Professorship in Industrial Engineering will supplement departmental support for an outstanding faculty member and provides the holder with the resources necessary to continue and further the scholar's contributions to teaching, research and public service.

As the son of an industrial engineer, Tom Lucas always knew that industrial engineering was the field for him -- the perfect blend of business and engineering. He received his bachelor's degree from Penn State in 1976 and began working with Ford's steel and foundry division shortly thereafter. He held positions with American Hospital Supply Co. and National Oilwell Varco before joining IOLAB, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

It was at IOLAB that Tom became interested in the medical industry. He later held positions at start-up companies Horizon Medical Products and OSO Technologies before joining Bausch & Lomb in 2000.

After a year and a half at Bausch & Lomb, Tom and former IOLAB associate, Juan Valdes, started Alliance Medical Products, an Irvine, Calif.-based company that provides contract manufacturing and analytical services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. In his role at Alliance Medical Products, Tom was responsible for taking the lead in rebuilding the entire 52,000-square-foot facility and designing, building and validating seven high-grade cleanroom suites. Under Tom and Valdes's direction, the company experienced rapid growth, more than tripling in size from 30 employees to 100. Last spring, Alliance Medical Products was sold to Siegfried Holding, a Swiss pharmaceutical supplier.

In 2010, Tom was awarded the College of Engineering's Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award; he also has held a position on the department's Industrial and Professional Advisory Committee.

After a rewarding career working in the communications industry and managing medical clinics, Nicki Lucas spent 24 years doing behavioral training with dogs. Her and Tom's love for animals led them to help others by raising service dogs. They are currently caring for their 20th puppy for Canine Angels Service Teams, an Oregon-based organization that provides service dogs to children with physical disabilities.

Nicki also enjoys horses and participates in dressage with her Friesian, Tango.

The Lucases' gift will help the College of Engineering reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, a University-wide fundraising effort directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

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Last Updated November 19, 2013