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Seven Engineering Alumni to Serve as Marshals for May Commencement

With every commencement, the University of Miami College of Engineering (UMCoE) welcomes new alumni to its base of more than 11,000 alumni across the globe. Commencement is a special time here at the University of Miami (UM) and some of our alumni return to campus to serve as marshals for the engineering undergraduate degree ceremony. This year, seven engineering alumni were selected to participate in the spring ceremony on May 11.

This year’s UMCoE marshals were Ana Cancio, BSEE ’84 and Ed Cancio, PE, MSIE ’89; Olga Cardet, BSEE ’84; Roberto Hernandez, BSCE and BSAE ’88; Harvey Knauer, PE, BSCE ’67; Pete Martinez, BSEE ’75; and Tom Wright, BSEE ’73.

Ana (Sevillano) Cancio graduated, in 1984, with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, Ana spent the next 18 years working at Florida Power & Light (FPL). She started her career at Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant followed by working several years in different capacities managing and leading diverse organizations in customer service, external affairs and electric distribution operations. Currently, she is vice president of Access Builders, Inc., an engineering design, general construction and electrical contracting company, which she owns with her husband Ed.

Ed Cancio graduated, in 1990, with a Master of Science degree in industrial engineering. Ed is president, owner and founder of Access Builders, Inc. He is a licensed professional engineer and a licensed general, electrical and plumbing contractor in South Florida. Prior to founding Access Builders, he served as director of development for FPL Thermal Systems, an FPL subsidiary. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida.

Currently, Ana and Ed’s daughter, Christina, is a Foote Fellow and a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “For over three decades, University of Miami has been a common thread in our life. Our roots and many of our family members’ roots are at UM. It is our university. We have seen UM evolve and today it is better than ever with a bright and exciting future ahead. We are very proud to be Canes!”

Olga Cardet graduated, in 1984, with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering with a computer option. While at UM, she was selected as a member of several honor societies, including Golden Key International Honour Society, Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, an international electrical and computer engineering honor society. Upon graduation, she joined Cordis Corporation as a software engineer in the pacemaker instrumentation division for three years. After Cordis, she began working at Benefit Technology, Inc., a Miami-based company that develops marketing software for top 10 life insurance companies, and has been there for 31 years.

Cardet has donated to UM each year since graduating. “I am extremely grateful for the education and student experiences I enjoyed while at UM. Supporting the university each year is my way of thanking my school and helping provide a great educational experience for current and future students.”

Roberto Hernandez graduated, in 1988, with two Bachelor of Science degrees in civil engineering and architectural engineering. While at UM, he worked in the mail room of the Otto G. Richter Library and regularly participated in intramural sports, namely flag football and basketball. He also pledged Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. After graduating, he worked for Hershell Gill Consulting Engineers, Inc., a structural engineering firm, for 21 years. Currently, Hernandez is the owner and founder of RH Engineering Group, Inc., a structural and architectural engineering firm.

“It was always a lifelong dream to attend the University and be a Miami Hurricane. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities offered to me and feel it’s a responsibility to give back to my alma mater and our community.”

Harvey Knauer graduated, in 1967, with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. He is the Senior Noise Engineer for Environmental Acoustics, a business unit of Gannett Fleming, Inc., an American-based engineering firm specializing in international planning, design, and construction management. Prior to joining EA in 1997, he was employed with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for 30 years in various positions. He is a licensed professional engineer and has co-authored both the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highway Noise Barrier Design Handbook and the FHWA Highway Construction Noise Handbook. He currently works remotely from his home in Sebastian, Florida, is a long-time Hurricane Club member, and a Canes’ football season ticket holder.

“When I attended UM, Dr. Murray Mantell was chair of Civil Engineering and my favorite professor was Dr. John Stevens.  I was a member of the student chapter of the American Society for Civil Engineers.  I give back to CoE because I got so much out of it while I was a student.”

Pete Martinez graduated, in 1975, with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1998, he was named Distinguished Alumnus and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Iron Arrow, the highest honor that can be bestowed at UM.

“I am forever indebted to the U for providing me with the skills and a challenging environment to succeed in my professional career. From IBM to technology start-ups, innovation is in my blood. The opportunity to give back and prepare the next generation with life lessons is mandatory. Therefore, I commit time, talent and treasure to UMCoE by serving on boards and mentoring students and faculty members. One of the most gratifying programs was creating a scholarship fund for high-performing engineering students at the College.”

Tom Wright graduated, in 1973, with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. During his time at UM, he enjoyed attending football and basketball games as well as the many incredible concerts hosted on campus. After graduation, Wright worked for Motorola, Bendix Avionics, Racal Milgo and Harris Corporation. In 2011, he retired after 27 years with Harris Corporation. During his tenure, he received multiple leadership and patent awards, served as an engineering manager and made several recruiting trips to UM. One of his visits was featured in the November 1994 College of Engineering Newsletter (see image below). As a legacy graduate (his mother graduated from UM in 1945), he feels it is especially important to support his alma mater and is proud to do so annually.

Alumni marshals are invited to wear academic regalia and march in the academic procession at the Spring ceremony. The marshals are selected and invited from current members of the James W. McLamore Society (annual gifts of $1,000 or more). The invitation is a token of our appreciation for their annual support and devotion to the College of Engineering and University. Alumni marshals also are invited to a reception prior to the ceremony and receive an honorary medallion.

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