Each year the Hawai‘i Council of Engineering Societies selects three professional engineers for the Lifetime Achievement Award, Engineer of the Year, Young Engineer of the Year and one student for the Student Engineer of the Year award. This year, all of the awardees are graduates of our College of Engineering. Congratulations to all of them!
2018 HCES Lifetime Achievement Award
RONALD N.S. HO
Ronald N.S. Ho founded Ronald N.S. Ho & Associates, Inc. in 1978 as a one-person firm and served as its President from 1978-2011. It is one of the largest electrical engineering consulting firms in State of Hawai‘i today. The company provides electrical engineering services within the State and throughout the Pacific.
Mr. Ho received his BSEE degree in 1967 and an MSEE in 1968, both from the University of Hawai‘i. He is still a licensed electrical and mechanical engineer in the State of Hawai‘i.
Prior to founding Ronald N.S. Ho & Associates, Inc., he served as a technical staff member of American Aviation in Anaheim, California from 1968 through 1972, then as an electrical engineer with ARINC Research Corporation in Honolulu, Hawai‘i from 1972-1976 and finally as vice president of C&H Engineers in Honolulu, Hawai‘i from 1976-1978.
Throughout his vast career, Mr. Ho has been involved in major electrical planning and design projects for local, state, and federal governments; land owners and developers; and commercial enterprises. Chief among his projects were: UH-West O‘ahu Campus, Phase I (planning and electrical engineering design); Case Middle School at Punahou School (electrical engineering design for new classroom buildings); Honolulu International Airport FIDS and PA Systems Upgrade (electrical engineering design for implementation of new systems); Kamehameha Schools, Maui and Hawai‘i campuses (planning and electrical design for new classrooms and building); Schofield Barracks (electrical engineering study for primary distribution system); and Kaakako Improvement District 7, 10, and 11 (electrical engineering design for utilities renovation).
Mr. Ho has been actively involved with the University of Hawai‘i over the years. He has served on the University of Hawai‘i Foundation Board for 15 years of which he was Chairman twice. He has actively served the College of Engineering for the past 25 years serving as an advisor to the Dean on his Advisory Group and his Council of Industry Experts. Mr. Ho was also responsible for helping to organize the Annual COE Dinner and the popular “Holmescoming” event which brings back alumni and friends to the College during Homecoming week. Mr. Ho has devoted countless hours in promoting the College of Engineering and supporting its students who many will become the future generation of engineers promoting the College and the industry.
2018 ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
Mr. Ron Iwamoto is the owner and principal of Iwamoto and Associates, LLC, a consulting structural engineering firm that he founded in 2002. He serves as the principal-in-charge of design and manages the the development of numerous complex structural building designs of public and private structures in diverse locations with a number of award-winning projects. During his career, Mr. Iwamoto also served as an instructor for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Architecture from 1997 thru 2001, teaching structural design in architecture to undergraduate students.
Mr. Iwamoto is a 1987 graduate of Damien Memorial High School. He attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where he received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree with Distinction in Civil Engineering in 1992 and a Master’s of Science Degree in Civil Engineering specializing in Structural Engineering in 1994.
Throughout his 25-year career, Mr. Iwamoto has been recognized in the profession by his election to notable leadership positions in professional organizations. He was recently elected as Chair of the State of Hawaiʻi Professional Licensing Board of Engineers, Architects, Surveyors, and Landscape Architects. In 2010, Mr. Iwamoto was elected as President of the Structural Engineers Association of Hawaiʻi, working closely with the membership, government officials and with leaders from other local engineering organizations to address numerous business and technical issues facing the profession. He has also served as a volunteer on the SEAOH Disaster Response Committee for many years, providing assistance to building officials on Kauaʻi in the aftermath of Hurricane ʻIniki in 1992, and to building officials on Hawaiʻi Island after the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.
In 2007, Mr. Iwamoto was elected as President of the Hawaiʻi Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and diligently worked with his executive committee to promote the Civil Engineering profession across the State. He also led the Hawaiʻi Section for many years in other key positions, including the Structural Technical committee chair and as the Structural Engineering instructor for the Younger Member P.E. Examination Review Course. Since 2011, Mr. Iwamoto has been an active member of the ASCE Leader Training Committee, a national committee that trains local and region leaders, committee chairs, and incoming officers of geographic units serving over 150,000 members across the country. He currently serves as the lead organizer for the annual ASCE Multi-Region Leadership Conference and Workshop for Section and Branch Leaders for Regions 8 and 9 which brings together over 300 Students, Younger Members, Section and Branch leaders, and Region leaders for two days of leader training sessions and networking opportunities. Mr. Iwamoto’s involvement as the Senior Group Coach with the Pearl City Aquatics competitive swim team has been an integral part of his community involvement. He has been a volunteer coach since 2010 and under his leadership, his athletes have achieved numerous individual State Age Group, Senior and High School championships, multiple regional and state swimming records, and multiple USA Swimming National Top 10 times. He has developed nationally recognized swimmers from the team including a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, an NCAA Division 1 Scholarship swimmer, and Junior National, Senior National and U.S Open qualifiers.
2018 YOUNG ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
On behalf of the Hawai‘i Council of Engineering Societies, FALEA’s selection for the 2018 Young Engineer of the Year is Mr. Norman Leong. Mr. Leong is a licensed civil engineer working as a project engineer at Wesley R. Segawa and Associates in Honolulu. His primary responsibility is to serve as civil engineer for the company’s design projects under the supervision of a Project Manager. He has particular responsibility for projects with NPDES and ADA requirements.
In addition to his engineering work, he is very active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Young Member Forum (YMF). He served in four successive officer positions, culminating as President from 2016-2017. The section was awarded the ASCE Younger Member Group award for small groups for three of the four years he was an officer. He co-chaired the 2019 Western Region Younger Member Council conference, with Younger Member groups from the western states attending. Norman has coordinated several new YMF technical and social events. He volunteers in numerous community, service and outreach events through ASCE YMF.
Outside of ASCE, Mr. Leong selflessly gives back to the community through his tireless involvement in several civic organizations. These include the Honolulu Chinese Junior Chamber of Commerce, Honolulu Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Hawai‘i Dragon Boat Association, and Hawai‘i Okinawan United Association SHINKA.
Mr. Leong earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2008 at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
2018 STUDENT ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
KEVIN J. CHO
The 2018 HCES SEOY award goes to Mr. Kevin J. Cho, who is majoring in Computer Engineering in the Electrical Engineering Department, College of Engineering (CoE), University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), and is expected to graduate with a BS CEng in the Spring semester of 2018 with a “meager” cumulative GPA of 3.85/4.00 and a major GPA of 3.94/4.00.
Kevin is a proud 2014 graduate of Hawai‘i Baptist Academy and originally started his engineering education in electrical engineering but quickly switched to computer engineering after realizing his passion for programming. As a result, he has accumulated a wide breadth and depth of engineering knowledge during his short tenure at UHM.
So, upon enrolling at UHM, Kevin quickly made a decision to get involved in research projects around campus. Thus, he has been involved in multiple projects including the UH Drone Technologies, Liquid Metal Electronics, Smart Campus Energy Lab, and UH Ambient Research group. He is particularly proud of his efforts in the Liquid Metal Electronics group as this has earned him three coauthored, peer reviewed research papers: 1) “A Liquid-Metal Polarization-Pattern Reconfigurable Dipole Antenna,” to appear in IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters; 2) “Reconfigurable Liquid-Metal Antenna With Integrated Surface-Tension Actuation,” in the 2016 IEEE 11th Annual International Conference on Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular
Systems; and 3) ”Vertically Integrated Research In Reconfigurable
Liquid-Metal RF Devices,” presented at the 2016 National Radio Science Meeting. Kevin has interned at three impressive, yet very different, companies during his college career. In the Summer of 2015, he worked as an undergraduate researcher, one of four chosen department-wide, for a study abroad program at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) in Japan. In the Summer of 2016, he interned at Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NGC) Aerospace Systems at Redondo Beach, CA in the Microelectronics department testing High Electron Mobility Transistors on III-V compounds. His most recent summer internship was at Amazon at Seattle, WA where he worked on launching Amazon’s first social media product Amazon Spark. His project was to work on a product picking feature. This feature has now been released within an application and used by 80% of users. During the academic year, he has worked as a teaching assistant for two, core-level EE classes, an organizer for the EE496 Poster Sessions, and an undergraduate research assistant.
Kevin’s professional activities include the president of the UH Mānoa chapter of IEEE-HKN. He has also held the roles of Webmaster for IEEE and the Student Advisory Board chair. He has also participated as a member of IMS 2017’s steering committee and volunteered at the previous two IMS conferences. All in all, a pretty impressive “early career” for a young man who is graduating this spring.