Three engineers honored as Alumni Fellows

October 17, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Three engineering alumni were among 22 Penn State graduates to be honored as Alumni Fellows in a ceremony on Wednesday (Oct. 16).

Bestowed by the Penn State Alumni Association, the lifelong title of Alumni Fellow recognizes individuals for their outstanding professional accomplishments. Since the award was established in 1973, more than 700 alumni have been honored, representing one-eighth of 1 percent of all 616,000 living Penn State alumni.

The engineers honored were Peter Dal Pezzo, a 1968 industrial engineering graduate; Jean Lydon-Rodgers, a 1985 electrical engineering graduate; and Antonio Pensa, a 1967 master's and 1969 doctoral graduate in electrical engineering.

Dal Pezzo is president and CEO of Elevon, a real estate development firm in Fresno, Calif.

He began his career at Bethlehem Steel Corp., where he quickly rose to plant superintendent of the rebar fabrication shop in Albany, N.Y. In 1981, he joined Dixie-Narco Inc., a subsidiary of Maytag Corp., as general manager of manufacturing.

In 1987, Dal Pezzo assumed co-ownership of Pelco and helped transform the company from a small niche player to a global leader in the video surveillance industry with sales of $250 million. He held several leadership roles at Pelco, including vice president of corporate projects, vice president of engineering, vice president of manufacturing, and vice president of facilities. In 2007, Pelco was sold to Schneider Electric for $1.54 billion.

Dal Pezzo is a member of the Fresno Philharmonic board of directors. In 2009, he received the Citizen Award from the Fresno Arts Council. Dal Pezzo holds an master of science degree in finance from Virginia Commonwealth University.

He is a member of the College of Engineering Industrial and Professional Advisory Council, and the Service Enterprise Engineering Advisory Board. He and his wife, Angela, have generously endowed the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department Head Chair and provided support for a new Global Manufacturing and Services Laboratory in the department. They are life members of the Penn State Alumni Association and members of the Mount Nittany Society and Laurel Circle. In 2003, Dal Pezzo received the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award.

Lydon-Rodgers is vice president and general manager of General Electric Aviation's military systems.

She is responsible for the business's military operations serving the U.S. Department of Defense and numerous international military customers for aircraft, helicopter and marine engines. She manages $4 billion in annual sales and more than 500 employees worldwide.

Lydon-Rodgers joined GE on the Operations Management Leadership Program at GE's aerospace business and later transferred to GE Aviation for additional assignments. Upon completion of the program, she moved to evaluation and test engineering where she supported the development and certification of commercial engines. Following her engineering roles, she worked for GE's engine services as a Six Sigma Black Belt. She then progressed to positions of increasing responsibility in the services and military systems divisions. Prior to her current position, Lydon-Rodgers served as vice president of the F136 engine project at GE Aviation and as the first female president of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team.

She is an officer of the General Electric Co., an executive sponsor for GE's Corporate Leadership Staff and GE Women's Network, an Alzheimer's Association ambassador to a U.S. senator and has served on the board of the Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund. She received the 2010 Greater Cincinnati Career Woman of Achievement Award and the 2013 GE Chairman's award for Expertise. She holds an master of business administration from Xavier University.

Pensa is assistant director emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory.

An internationally recognized expert in space systems and information intelligence, Pensa began his distinguished career at Lincoln Laboratory in 1969 and initially worked on re-entry systems and air traffic control programs. Subsequently, he was responsible for the development and implementation of the coherent integration tracking that led to the realization of a U.S. operational deep-space radar capability.

Pensa has served on most of the Air Force Space Surveillance Architecture studies since 1972, and in 1993 served as a member of the Technical Support Group for the review of the Space Based Early Warning Systems. He also chaired a national intelligence study that examined the impact of phenomenology uncertainties on Space Based Infra-Red systems performance.

Pensa is an expert in the techniques and sensors associated with surveillance of space and from space. Currently, he is responsible for military space activities, including those in support of the National Reconnaissance Office and the laboratory's space control programs. His work has influenced initiatives pursued in academia, industry and the federal government.

Pensa is the recipient of the National Reconnaissance Office Director’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Air Force Award for Distinguished Service and the NASA Group Achievement Award.

In 2007, Pensa was recognized as an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus.

Since 2006, he has been an active member of the College of Information Sciences and Technology's advisory board.

Last Updated October 17, 2013