Professional Awards in Engineering 2023


Dr. Leo Jenkins

Dr. Leo B. Jenkins, Jr. received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1952, his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1958, and his Master of Engineering in 1972 from the University of Louisville. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1965.

Dr. Jenkins served as an Instructor and Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Speed School of Engineering for over 40 years. During that time, he also held several administrative positions at the University, including Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, Faculty Fellow, Associate Executive Vice President for Administration, Associate Dean, and Acting Dean. Dr. Jenkins focused his research on the design and analysis of feedback control systems. He published numerous papers and articles on this topic and was invited to speak at conferences and seminars. He is a registered professional engineer.

Dr. Jenkins has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Walden School, UofL’s Ecumenical Center, University Club, American Association of University Professors, Kentucky State Board of Licensure for Professional and Land Surveyors, and the Jefferson County Electrical Control Board. He acted as an advisor to the Louisville Mayor’s Office on issues regarding economic development and helped to establish the Louisville Economic Development Partnership. Dr. Jenkins is the recipient of the University of Louisville Speed School Distinguished Alumnus Award and Red Apple Award, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Third Millenniums Medal for Outstanding Achievements and Contributions, and the National Science Foundation Science Faculty Fellowship. He is also the recipient of numerous grants and contracts. He is an active member and former president of the University of Louisville Association of Retired Personnel.

In conjunction with his 90th birthday in 2017, the Leo Jenkins Endowed Scholarship Fund was launched to honor the long-standing support of Dr. Jenkins to the Speed School.

Leo resides in Louisville. He has one daughter, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

2023 Emerging Leader

Alex Frommeyer

Alex Frommeyer received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2010 and his Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering in 2011 from the University of Louisville.

As a student, Frommeyer was involved in the Student Government Association, served as a Cardinal Ambassador, and was President of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society. Currently, he is co-founder and CEO of Beam Benefits, a company that initially set out to modernize dental insurance but has now expanded to offer a full portfolio of ancillary employee benefits. Beam Benefits has raised over $200M in venture capital and has over 300 employees. Frommeyer co-founded Beam with fellow Speed School graduates Dan Dykes and Alex Curry in 2012.

Under Frommeyer’s leadership, Beam Benefits has become one of the most innovative companies in the healthcare and benefits industry. Frommeyer also has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Frommeyer and Beam Benefits also support Free to Smile, BalletMet, and Pelotonia.

Frommeyer and Beam Benefits have been recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30, Central Ohio’s Smart 50, the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, Columbus CEO Top 3 Workplaces, and the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies and Best Workplaces of 2023, among many others.

Alex lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Amelia Gandara, also a Speed School graduate.

2023 Posthumous Alumni Ambassador Award

Henry P. Conn

The late Henry P. Conn was a true Cardinal success story. He received his Master of Engineering in 1972, Master of Business Administration in 1969, and Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in 1964, all from the University of Louisville. He was active in Air Force ROTC, student government, and Tau Beta Pi (Sigma Tau).

Conn is a member of the University of Louisville’s Entrepreneurship Circle of Fame. He received the university’s Professional Award in Engineering, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering Alumni Fellow Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Conn was named the 2009 Wilson Wyatt Alumnus of the Year. He was a member of the Speed School Industrial Board of Advisors, Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research Technical Advisory Board, the Atlanta Alumni Club Steering Committee, and keynote speaker for Speed School Engineers’ Day.

Conn had a long-distinguished career as an engineer, executive, author, and consultant. His expert advice on management topics was frequently sought by senior executives in such companies as IBM, General Electric, Merck & Co., Siemens, Phillips, Coca-Cola, Ford, General Motors, Sara Lee Corporation, Bell Canada, AT&T, Rolls-Royce, Frito-Lay, and Federal Express, as well as the U.S. General Accounting Office and others.

Hank and Rebecca’s generous pledge created the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville in 2009. Their philanthropy inspired the formation of the Conn Legacy Society, which honors donors investing in the university’s future through estate gifts. They established the Rebecca L. and Henry P. Conn Graduate Fellowship and the Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy at the university in honor of their late daughter.

Hank and Rebecca have two children, Phillip Ray Conn and the late Leigh Ann Conn, and two grandchildren, Justin and Kristina.

Professional Awards in Engineering

Each year the J.B. Speed School of Engineering presents professional awards in engineering in Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering and an outstanding young engineer in Bioengineering.

Criteria may include:

  • Outstanding career performance in engineering such as a major executive, inventor, educator, in government service, medicine or the humanities.
  • Exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students.
  • Exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering.
  • Exceptional contribution by an individual to technical engineering knowledge.

Outstanding Young Engineer Award

  • Criteria may include:
  • 35 years of age or under at time the award is presented.
  • Progress achieved in industrial/governmental/educational environment since graduation from Speed School, e.g., Chief Engineer; Plant Manager, etc.
  • Number of quality of professional publications and presentations.
  • Leadership in chosen field of engineering such as offices held in professional societies, activities, conference chairmen, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship activities.
  • Leadership in community activities and/or university activities.
  • Number of patents.

Departmental Alumni Award Winners

Outstanding Corporate Award

Nominees considered for this award should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Supports educational mission of the school by providing:
    • academic scholarships for Speed students
    • cooperative education assignments for Speed students
    • participation in e-expo and career fairs
    • in-class presentations or educational materials
    • classroom or educational lab upgrades
    • access to expertise, equipment, factory tours, etc.
  • Supports the research mission of the school by providing:
    • collaboration on research contracts/grants
    • financial support of research labs/centers
    • participation in lab/center activities
    • Extends employment opportunities for Speed graduates
    • Provides significant financial contributions to Speed School

Toyota Logo

Speed School is pleased to announced that Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) has been named Outstanding Corporate Partner for 2023.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) has been named 2023 Speed School of Engineering Outstanding Corporate Partner in recognition of their unwavering commitment to fostering the growth of engineering talent. TMMK’s tireless and consistent dedication to advancing engineering education, diversity, and innovation has earned them this prestigious honor.

Through their continuous support of engineering co-op opportunities and scholarships, TMMK has empowered students to pursue their academic and career aspirations. This commitment extends beyond traditional avenues, as they also lead the charge in fostering diversity and inclusion within the engineering field. By championing initiatives that encourage underrepresented groups to explore careers in engineering, TMMK has exemplified corporate responsibility and social progress.

This accolade underscores TMMK’s vital role in shaping the engineers of tomorrow, while simultaneously championing diversity, making them a shining example of a corporate partner that prioritizes education, inclusivity, and excellence in the field of engineering.