College of Science and Engineering alumni honored with 2012 Professional Achievement Awards

Posted April 24, 2012

Two Idaho State University alumni from the College of Science and Engineering were honored with ISU Professional Achievement Awards at ISU Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 5, in Holt Arena. Award recipients are James W. Mahar, Pocatello, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Frank A. Angelo, Avon, Conn., Engineering.

Professional Achievement Award recipients are alumni who have made important contributions to their careers or profession, to the social, political or economic well-being of the world around them and have shown continued community and civic involvement in addition to their association with and contributions to Idaho State University. Individuals selected for these prestigious awards have been out of school at least 10 years and have excelled in their chosen field attaining significant success and accomplishments.

Biographies of the winners follow.


James Mahar

College of Science and Engineering, Natural and Physical Sciences - James Mahar, Pocatello: Mahar was raised in Rochester, N.Y. and graduated from Aquinas Institute. He and fellow Aquinas alumnus, Ed Aleo, boarded a train and headed for Pocatello to attend Idaho State University and play football. They checked into Dyer Hall and began their lives as student athletes.

Mahar's experiences at ISU could not have been better for him. He enjoyed playing football for Babe Caccia, who encouraged him to study hard and also hired him to tutor fellow athletes. It was Mahar's intention to obtain a degree in geological engineering, but during his sophomore year the program was discontinued. Rather than transfer to Montana State University, Mahar changed his major to geology because he respected the professors and had already made many friends in Idaho. During his junior year, he met and married his wife, Carol Bowser.He graduated from ISU with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1967.

Jim and Carol went to Colorado State University where Jim had a teaching-research assistant in hydrology and he earned his master's degree in 1972. He accepted a graduate assistantship at the University of Illinois where he earned his doctorate in 1977. At the University of Illinois he studied under the pioneers and most prominent experts in the field of engineering geology/geotechnical engineering. His doctoral research was in advanced shotcrete design and application, which was implemented for the first time in the Dupont Circle Subway Station in Washington, D.C. While working on that project, Mahar quickly gained a reputation for his expertise about geology. He was invited to consult on a number of construction projects around the world and his company, Geotechnical Engineering, Inc. evolved.

He is known as one of the world's foremost experts in tunneling and mining subsidence and he has resolved hundreds of construction challenges.

Mahar and his wife moved back to Pocatello in 2000. Jim continued his worldwide consulting and joined ISU's faculty in 2002. Teaching and sharing his expertise with students is one of Mahar's greatest pleasures. He is a contributor to his community. He currently serves on the Zoning Organization Committee, an engineering geology development committee for the City of Pocatello, and is a member of the Pocatello Rotary Club. Jim and Carol are the parents of two daughters. They greatly enjoy spending time with their two grandchildren, Megan Jackson, Pocatello, and Daniel Mahar-Sago, Champaign, Ill.


Frank Angelo

College of Science and Engineering, Engineering - Frank Angelo, Avon, Conn.: Angelo earned his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Idaho State University in 2000, a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University in 2009, and will complete a Master of Science degree in engineering management next year from the University of Michigan. Angelo's professional career includes working for Fortune 100 companies, as well as venturing out on entrepreneurial projects.

An avid automotive enthusiast, Angelo achieved his childhood dream of working for Ford Motor Company upon graduation. This alignment presented him with unique opportunities including being part of the small team tasked with releasing the world's first Hybrid SUV, spearheading new technologies such as Ford's electronic throttle control (drive-by-wire) system, and international assignments in Argentina and Venezuela.

At Ford's Volvo Cars division, he ultimately became responsible for driving North American product strategy for an unprecedented four vehicle lines. Angelo is now responsible for Pratt & Whitney's global EcoPower franchise operations, where he led his group to successfully expand operations to 20 global locations in just two years.

In his spare time, Angelo enjoys working on entrepreneurial ventures and is the founder of the Reed-Frank Group, co-founder of Audible Auto (an automotive infotainment start-up), and is also a board member at Future City Inc. where he mentors inner city youth.

Born and raised in New Jersey, he regards his time at ISU and Pocatello as a balancing influence that enhanced his professional development. He is supportive of his alma mater. Angelo currently resides in Connecticut with his wife, Becky, who is also an ISU alumna, and their two children.

Original article.