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College of Engineering and Computer Science External Advisory Council

UT Tyler University Advancement 

2013 - 14 Council Members

Preston Smith, Chair PSI Production
James Landrum, Vice Chair Retired, Nucor-Vulcraft Group
James A. Arnold Salem Investment Company
David Buhrkuhl SPEA America, LLC
Doug Flatt    ETTL Engineers & Consultants
Allen Locklin Locklin Oil Company
Michael McNally  McNally & Patrick, L.L.P.
Louis Owen  Retired – Petrofac
Jack Phillips  Jack L. Phillips Oil Company
Harold Smotherman   Noonday Corporation
Perry Thompson, Jr.        Thompson and Associates
William (Cotton) Turner  CPT Oil and Gas
Neal Velvin     Velvin & Weeks Consulting Engineers


SPEA Test and Automation Lab

SPEA-Test and Automation has provided a wonderful gift to the College of Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Tyler. Through this gift the SPEA Center for Semiconductor Testing in the Department of Electrical Engineering will be established. The gift includes equipment for semiconductor testing that will be housed in the newly dedicated SPEA Computer Engineering Laboratory in the Ratliff Engineering and Science Complex on the UT Tyler campus as well as support for graduate students.

David Buhrkuhl, president of SPEA, who has been a strong supporter of UT Tyler and its engineering programs, has a vision to develop a long-term college-industry partnership with the College of Engineering and Computer Science, to include training programs and cutting-edge research for military and consumer electronics applications. This gift is the first step in making that vision a reality. He says the semiconductor test industry is robust, in spite of the economy. He foresees a great demand for electrical engineers who are knowledgeable in this area.

The new center will enable students to actually apply methods for semiconductor testing in a laboratory environment, which will better prepare them for careers in the semiconductor industry. The faculty and students in electrical engineering are already working very closely with SPEA engineers to make the vision a reality. Dr. David Hoe, assistant professor, and Dr. Mukul Shirvaikar, chair and professor of electrical engineering, will oversee the daily activities of the grant.

The endowment by SPEA is indicative of the maturing engineering programs at UT Tyler and this endowment could jumpstart similar industry. UT Tyler has been invited to join the Collaborative Alliance for Semiconductor Testing (CAST) including industry leaders such as Texas Instruments, IBM, Intel and major universities including Texas A&M, Auburn and Georgia Tech. This collaboration will inevitably result in high-tech research and development applications, thereby benefiting the East Texas area economy.

UT Tyler
Deanna Sims, Dr. Mukul Shirvikar, Dr. William Geiger, David Burhkuhl and Catherine Burhkuhl

Ralph Martin and Petrofac, the multibillion dollar company he founded, are known for making good investments. That is why The University of Texas at Tyler is especially proud to have them establish the Ralph Martin Engineering Scholarship and the Ralph Martin-Petrofac Engineering Enrichment Fund, both invested in the Long Term Fund.