College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Three alumni to be honored with 2010 Professional Progress in Engineering Awards

Three Iowa State University alumni will receive the Professional Progress in Engineering Award (PPEA) from the College of Engineering on April 15.

Jerry Doorenbos, distinguished member of the technical staff at Texas Instruments in Tucson, Arizona; Russell Gorga, associate professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Kirk Thompson, R&D leader for Dow Chemical’s Dow Solar Solutions division in Midland, Michigan, will accept their awards at the Marston Club and Patent Dinner.

The PPEA, established in 1989, recognizes outstanding professional progress, personal development, and distinguished community service by engineering alumni under the age of 46.

Doorenbos received his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Iowa State in 1988. At Texas Instruments, he works in a design center for analog and mixed-signal integral circuits, and his ranking of distinguished member of the technical staff places him in the top two percent of the organization’s engineers. He provides the primary technical guidance for a cross-functional team solving issues with an advanced precision bipolar wafer fabrication process.

Currently holding 12 patents, Doorenbos is working toward completing more. He has led the development of products including 16-bit A/D converters, the world’s first dual high-performance instrumentation amplifier, and the world’s smallest silicon-based temperature sensor. Additionally, he developed the first product in what has become a family of chips to sense temperature and provide digital output.

Before joining Texas Instruments, Doorenbos was a test engineer for Burr Brown and Crystal Semiconductor where he developed hardware and software for laser trimming of thin film resistors and proprietary test systems.

Gorga graduated with a PhD in chemical engineering from Iowa State University in 2002. He was recently promoted to associate professor with tenure at North Carolina State University and is also program director of the textile engineering program there. He has made enormous contributions to the field of nanocomposites by using electrospinning and other techniques to develop nanofibrous composites for a variety of applications, including tissue engineering. His work has spanned both experimental and modeling aspects.

Gorga’s work has resulted in over 20 refereed articles, including a review on nanocomposites that has been cited over 100 times. He has presented more than 60 oral and poster presentations and several invited talks. He has taught more than 650 students at all levels, from freshman to graduate, has received the NC State Outstanding Teaching award, and was inducted into the NCSU Academy of Outstanding Teachers.

After completing a PhD at Iowa State University, Gorga was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT before starting at North Carolina State University as a tenure-track assistant professor. He also worked in industry for a few years at Union Carbide before pursuing his PhD.

Thompson holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from Iowa State, which he earned in 1999. While working for Dow Chemical, he has been promoted four times in the last five years and was recently selected as R&D leader for Dow Solar Solutions to lead the development of photovoltaic technology.

During his tenure, Thompson was lead author in a patent awarded for developing a new process for producing high-purity poly(ethylene glycol). Additionally, he led a team that developed a new surfactant, the first in 30 years, for Dow.

While earning his PhD at Iowa State, Thompson discovered a new hydrodesulfurization catalyst and quantified the nature of the active sites, as well as determined the effect of pretreatment on hydrodesulfurization activity. He is slated to receive his MBA this December from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan.