Mines News

Release Date Monday, September 26, 2022

Mines Honors Graduates at Homecoming Gala

Tim Doyle, who graduated in 1994 with a degree in chemical engineering and who now serves as a lieutenant in the Rapid City Police Department, received the 2022 March Medal, the highest award given to alumni for their service to the university.

South Dakota Mines honored 11 alumni at the first annual Hardrocker Heritage Gala held on M Day (Sept. 23, 2022). The university recognized the 2022 Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Recent Graduates, and the annual March Medal recipient.

March Medal

This year, the March Medal, the highest award given to alumni for their service to the university, was awarded to Tim Doyle, who graduated in 1994 with a degree in chemical engineering and who now serves as a lieutenant in the Rapid City Police Department.

The March Medal is awarded annually to a graduate who exemplifies the spirit of electrical engineering alumnus Dr. Guy March through positive interaction with students, the institution, and South Dakota Mines alumni. Dr. March was named the second head of the Department of Mathematics in 1941. His leadership was an integral part of propelling the Alumni Association (which is now part of the Center of Alumni Relations & Advancement) into the active organization it is today. March Medalists embody the caring spirit of Dr. March, which has been a hallmark of the university that has been handed down over decades.

Doyle started his career with Polarfab, a private semiconductor manufacturer based in the Twin Cities. In 2007, he and his family moved to Rapid City where he started his career with the Rapid City Police Department, which has spanned 3 years in patrol, 6 months on the initial street crimes unit, 7 years as a school liaison officer, 18 months as a patrol sergeant, 18 months as a juvenile operations sergeant, and a short stint as a patrol lieutenant. Currently, he serves as the community engagement unit lieutenant. He is a member of the peer support team, physical fitness team, and mobile response team. He is also currently vice president of the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police.

Distinguished Alumni

South Dakota Mines alumni are known for pursuing excellence in their careers. The Distinguished Alumni program was started in 1998 to recognize the outstanding contributions of South Dakota Mines graduates not only to the fields of engineering and science, but also to their communities and the university. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration for future generations and highlight the great impact South Dakota Mines alumni can make in this world.

Douglas Beck graduated from Mines in 1980 with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1996, after 16 years of serving at various companies and acquiring experience in engineering, marketing, and sales, Douglas Beck joined the family business, Harold Beck & Sons, Inc. in Newtown, PA – an electric actuator manufacturing company founded by his grandfather Harold. He has served as president and CEO since 2007, presiding over the introduction of new products, developing new markets, making substantial capital investments, and increasing international business. The company was named the 2022 Member Company of the Year by the World Trade Center of Philadelphia.

Navin Govind finished a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1993 at Mines. Govind is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and executive with several years of proven success at Intel Corporation, Tarari, and Aventyn, Inc. He currently serves as founder and CEO of innovative digital therapeutic company 8chili, founder and executive chair of the b-eCare Connected Health Initiative, a venture partner at Evidence Ventures, an angel investor, an author of several original papers in peer-reviewed journals, and holds multiple issued patents. He is also a frequent speaker and industry faculty for health technology innovation, startup advisory, and health policy for digital health standards initiatives.

Lee Solid received a degree in mechanical engineering from Mines in 1959. Solid is the retired senior executive of Rockwell’s Space Operations in Florida, after serving more than 39 years in the company’s aerospace business. He oversaw the space shuttle orbiter launch processing engineering, payloads, and flight systems integration, which included manufacturing, repairing, and testing of space shuttle hardware at Rockwell’s Shuttle Logistics Depot in Cape Canaveral. He was a member of the Atlas-Mercury and Saturn-Apollo launch teams, which put the first American (John Glenn) into Earth’s orbit in 1962 and the first man (Neil Armstrong) on the moon in 1969, as well as launching the first space shuttle in 1982.

Brian Tucholke completed a degree in geology from Mines in 1968. He spent more than 50 years conducting geological and geophysical research in the world’s ocean basins, including 29 years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and served on national and international scientific committees. His investigations have produced fundamental insights into structure and rifting mechanisms of continental margins, the morphology and tectonics of the global mid-ocean ridge system, and ocean basin stratigraphy and paleo-oceanographic evolution. As project co-leader for the Geological Society of America’s Geologic Map of North America he mapped, for the first time in the history of the geological sciences, the geology of the seafloor surrounding North America.

Audra Walsh finished her degree in mining engineering in 1995. She has nearly 30 years of experience at board, executive, and operational roles across the mining spectrum. Her impact on the field was recognized by Women in Mining UK who named her among the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining in 2020. Since 2016, she has served as CEO for Minas Aguas Teñidas, S.A.U. in Huelva, Spain, where she has led improvements in safety, finalized the expansion project in the processing plant, optimized the overall value of the operations, and directed the sale of MATSA to Sandfire in a $1.865 billion deal that closed in February 2022.

Outstanding Recent Graduates

The Outstanding Recent Graduate Award was established at South Dakota Mines in 1984 to honor graduates who have achieved exemplary career progress and recognition within 10 years of their graduation. Criteria for selection includes entrepreneurial effort, professional advancement, innovative research endeavors, technical or entrepreneurial accomplishments, community service, and industry or community recognition. Awardees serve as excellent role models who showcase the importance of continued personal growth in a rapidly changing society.

Everett Brill received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Mines in 2012 and his master’s degree in engineering management in 2017. Brill is an underground mine geologist with America’s Gold and Silver. His career started with Freeport McMoRan in New Mexico, where he learned the basics of mining geology including ore control with logging and interpreting blasthole samples, collecting ABA samples, bench face and ground mapping, data entry, planning and executing brown fields exploration drill programs, managing the geology core shed, and mentoring interns and new geologists.

Joshua Green completed his degree in mechanical engineering in 2011.  He has worked for Caterpillar for 11 years across three different states, 11 job roles, and four facilities. He is currently the operations group manager over all large diesel and natural gas engine production at the Griffin, GA, facility. Josh has been the recipient of multiple awards and recognitions, including the Large Engine General Manager Award for Quality.

Lara (Heiberger) Jasien finished her degree in math in 2011. Jasien is head of research with CPM Educational Program. Her work is grounded in collaborative relationships with educational designers both outside and inside of schools. Outside of school, she collaborates with learning environment designers to study families’ mathematical play. Inside of school, she collaborates with designers to study ways to promote teachers’ and students’ joint intellectual thriving during mathematical inquiry.

Andrew Olson finished his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Mines in 2012. He works for Thermo Fisher Scientific as the senior production scientist for their organic synthesis in Rockford, IL. Some of his work includes creating and working efficiently with multi-step organic synthesis in various scales to fulfill production goals for customers; engaging in process development for new products; and improving old processes and products that enable customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. He also oversees the training of other workers in the lab and production.

Andy Smith completed his degree in electrical engineering at Mines in 2011. His career began at Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation at the Naval Reactors Facility outside of Idaho Falls, ID, where he was responsible for troubleshooting process equipment and writing work procedures directing Naval nuclear work. He later moved to Denver, CO, where he spent eight years with URS/AECOM working in various power industries including generation, transmission, and distribution. In March 2021, he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, and accepted a job with Semco Maritime, a global leader in offshore substation design and construction.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.