The University of Tennessee Tickle College of Engineering gave its most prestigious honor—the Nathan W. Dougherty Award—to industrial engineering graduate John D. Tickle at the college’s annual Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner, held on Thursday, April 4, 2013, at the Crowne Plaza.
The Dougherty Award was established by the college in 1957 to pay tribute to Dr. Nathan Washington Dougherty, dean of the Tickle College of Engineering from 1940-56. The award honors engineers whose accomplishments have brought acclaim to the university.
Tickle is the owner and chairman of Strongwell Corporation, headquartered in Bristol, Virginia. Tickle and his wife, Ann Tickle, provided considerable support for the college’s new John D. Tickle Engineering Building, which is currently under construction on Neyland Drive. The $23.1 million facility will house the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering beginning in the fall of 2013.
In his introductory remarks prior to giving the award, TCE Dean Wayne Davis said, “It has become a cliché to introduce someone by saying that they need no introduction, but to all of us in the UT community that is absolutely true about John. His amazing generosity, his continual support of and belief in the University of Tennessee, and his firm commitment to higher education in this state have led to initiatives at the university that will benefit students for many generations to come.”
Tickle received his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1965 from the University of Tennessee. He served in positions with Owens Corning Tech Center, Justin Enterprises and Krueger Metal Products before returning to his hometown of Bristol to assume the presidency of Morrison Molded Fiber Glass Company (MMFG). Tickle stayed with MMFG after its acquisition by Shell in 1985, and eventually purchased the company outright. He renamed the company Strongwell in 1997. Today, Strongwell is a world-wide operation, with the Bristol division serving as its headquarters.
Tickle has been the recipient of a host of local, regional and national business and philanthropic awards, including having The Mall at Bristol Regional Medical Center, which was dedicated in 2004, named for him; Laureate in the Junior Achievements Business Hall of Fame, 2000; Virginia Chamber of Commerce Torchbearer Award for Western Virginia in 1999; and the Bristol Regional Hospital Chairman from 1987 to 1992.
Tickle, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, received the Heroism Award from the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America in June 2012. He also recently received the 2013 ACMA Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), the composites industry’s largest trade group in the world.
Mr. Tickle and his wife, Ann Tickle, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the UT College of Education, are extensively involved in philanthropic work and are avid supporters of the university. He has been a member of the UT Athletic Board and has served on the Tickle College of Engineering’s Board of Advisors and is a member of the Campaign for Tennessee Engineering Executive Committee. Ann Tickle has been an active member of the Development Council and Alliance of Women Philanthropists. Mr. and Mrs. Tickle have been contributing to the university for over forty years.
A gift from Mr. and Mrs. Tickle established the John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital expansion within UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Their generosity allowed construction to go forward on the $10 million addition in 2007. The facility was opened in the spring of 2008.
Additional award recipients at the college’s Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner included:
Outstanding Support Staff: Kristy Walker, business manager, Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering; and Angela Miller, administrative specialist, Engineering Advising Office
Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award: Dr. Roberto Benson, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Moses E. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award: Dr. Lynne Parker, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Leon and Nancy Cole Superior Teaching Award: Dr. Hahn Choo, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Charles Edward Ferris Faculty Award: Dr. David Icove, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Tickle College of Engineering Teaching Fellow Awards: Dr. Lee Han, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Dr. Brad Vander Zanden, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Tickle College of Engineering Research Fellow Awards:
- Dr. Joshua Fu, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
- Dr. Yanfei Gao, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
- Dr. Peter Liaw, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
- Dr. Matthew Mench, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering
- Dr. Philip Rack, Department of Materials Science & Engineering
- Dr. Leon Tolbert, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
- Dr. Lawrence Townsend, Department of Nuclear Engineering
- Dr. Mingjun Zhang, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering
- Dr. Fred Wang, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
A new award, the Translational Research Award, was presented to Dr. Xueping Li in the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering.