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April 2019 - School of Engineering
National Alumni Society Member

Duane OglesName: Jack Duane Ogles

Degree and Graduation Year: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, 1991

Hometown: Warrior, Alabama

Current town: Huntsville, Alabama

Current employer and job: Alabama Controls/Partner

What is your favorite UAB memory? A turbomachinery class with Dr. Terry Wright.

How has UAB impacted your life? My education was tailored to fit my profession.

What made you choose your current profession? Luck. I was working and in school with a small company and never left this industry.

What lessons has your professional life taught you? Study hard. Nothing good is ever easy!

What song (if any) are you listening to?Here Without You by 3 Doors Down

If you could have a new talent, what would you want? Teaching in the technical schools.

Describe your favorite pair of shoes you own now" A pair of Ariat boots

I really wish __________ hadn’t been invented. Amazon

Describe your day in a six word sentence: Get up early, work very hard.

What do you love most about what you get to do every day? The technical side of my trade is a daily learning experience.

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? A pair of green socks!

 Student Alumni Society Member

RyanWilliamsName: Ryan Williams

Graduation Year: 2020

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Sumiton, AL

Why did you choose to attend UAB? I’ve always loved math, science, and problem solving, so I knew I wanted to pursue engineering. UAB provided the best opportunity for me to do that. I grew up around Birmingham, and I really appreciate the history of the Iron City. That, along with my interest in metals, led me to UAB and materials engineering.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far (and why)? My best experiences have been with professors of the Materials Department. They are all very personable, and they want you to learn and succeed (even if that means responding to an email at 4 am). One of the best professors I’ve had would have to be Dr. Monroe. He has a unique teaching style where he lectures but then tries to incorporate some experience through lab or a group activity, for example, to help make the new information stick with you. He describes this as giving us “hooks” that we can “hang” our new knowledge on.

What is your favorite UAB memory? It’s not one memory in particular, but I’ve really enjoyed all the time I’ve spent making friends at UAB. The Materials Department is a close-knit group; we’ve had a lot of group projects, study sessions, and meetings together. It’s really nice when we can just hang out. We even have a pretty active group chat that you have to mute when you need to get anything done.

How has UAB impacted your life? UAB has encouraged me that I have what it takes to succeed and that a career in engineering is achievable for me. I came from a small high school, and I wasn’t sure how well I would do when I came to UAB. But, despite the large campus, UAB feels like a much smaller university. Students at UAB have a chance to be noticed and to access the resources they need to succeed. Professors and tutoring have always been available to help me through my courses. Through groups like the student chapter of the American Foundry Society and engineering career services I’ve been able to develop industry connections and secure a co-op position with AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company. UAB has given me the opportunities and the tools I needed to help me realize my goals.

If you were on a plane beside your favorite celebrity, what would you do? I would probably just try to have a normal conversation with them. Most of the celebrities I would want to meet are actors I think are funny, so it would be interesting to see what they are like in real life.

What is one of your favorite song lyrics (and who is it by?) One of my favorite song lyrics is this line from All Star by Smash Mouth:

Somebody once asked could I spare some change for gas?
I need to get myself away from this place
I said yep what a concept
I could use a little fuel myself
And we could all use a little change

The store I frequent the most is __________:  Walmart. I’m not a big fan of shopping, but there’s almost always multiple trips to Walmart in a week.

Describe your day in a six word sentence:  All work, no play, no pay.

What word do you overuse most? “So.” Pretty much anytime I’m explaining something, I lead off with “so.”

The best kind of cake is __________:  Cookie cake with an unhealthy amount of frosting.

What’s the closest thing to you that is green? I’m currently using a green table in the BEC.

Who are the people who make your life better? I’ve got a great group of people in my life that treat me much better than I deserve. My parents, grandparents, friends, church group, and even my in-laws have always been there to support and encourage me no matter the circumstances. They’ve helped me become the man I am today. If I had to point out one person in particular, it would have to be my wife and best friend, Kara. She’s been incredibly supportive of me while I’m in school, and she puts up with all of my shenanigans. She helps me to stay sane and have some semblance of a social life.

What is the best advice you ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received is simply to be willing to take advice. No one has everything figured out, but just about everyone has at least one piece of knowledge you can learn from, even if you learn what not to do. I make plenty of mistakes on my own, so it’s nice to learn from other peoples’ mistakes when I can.