Gene Fraser (B.S., ChE ’76), is a Gator Engineer who understands the critical role well-trained engineering leaders play in today’s economy and in the society of the future. As part of his commitment to the importance of leadership education, Fraser has endowed two teaching professorships in the Engineering Leadership Institute at the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.
The Engineering Leadership Institute (ELI) prepares a diverse engineering student body with the mindset, knowledge and key competencies to become emerging engineering leaders. The institute’s curriculum focuses on delivering the skill sets needed to distinguish and prepare UF students for leadership roles wherever their careers take them. The ELI also provides opportunities for student engagement with top engineering leaders in academe, government and industry.
Fraser has a long personal history of leadership in engineering. A graduate of the Naval Test Pilot School, he served more than 27 years in key leadership positions on government programs in the U.S. Marine Corps, including command of an F/A-18 Fighter Strike Squadron. His final duty assignment was focused on developmental test and evaluation of air systems as the commanding officer of the U.S. Navy’s Test Wing Atlantic, Patuxent River, MD.
Prior to his retirement in December 2019, Fraser worked for the Northrop Grumman Corporation for 17 years, where he served as Vice President of Programs, Quality and Engineering. Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company, providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR*, logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Fraser earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida and is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology Program for Strategic Marketing of Technology. He is a life member of both the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and Society of Women Engineers. Fraser is a former board member of the Defense Acquisition Board of Visitors, and he also served on the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International board of directors. He is the current board president for RoboNation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on STEM and workforce development through robotics. Fraser is additionally a recipient of the Society of Women Engineers’ Rodney D. Chipp National Award, which recognizes men who have made significant contributions to the acceptance and advancement of women in engineering.
The two professorships made possible by Fraser’s endowment will be held by faculty of the Institute: Dr. Claudio Spiguel and ELI Associate Director Bill McElroy.
The engineering college at UF was one of the pioneers in teaching leadership as part of its engineering programs. The ELI curriculum also includes a course on engineering ethics and professionalism, as engineers are increasingly called forth to tackle thorny societal issues in addition to providing technical know-how and solutions. This endowment helps ensure that these courses continue to be available to UF engineering students.
“Gene's gift underscores the importance of teaching our students how to be leaders in the practice of engineering in an increasingly complex and interconnected global economy. Today’s New Engineers need more than the technical skills essential to solving the intricate problems we face as a society,” said Cammy R. Abernathy, Ph.D., Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “We offer Gene our deepest thanks for partnering with us toward fulfilling this critical mission of the college.”
*Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
“Gene’s gift underscores the importance of teaching our students how to be leaders in the practice of engineering in an increasingly complex and interconnected global economy. Today’s New Engineers need more than the technical skills essential to solving the intricate problems we face as a society.”Cammy R. Abernathy, Ph.D., Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
Holders of the Gene Fraser Endowed Teaching Professorships at the Engineering Leadership Institute
Claudio Spiguel, Ph.D., is the holder of the first of the Gene Fraser Teaching Professorships in the Engineering Leadership Institute. He is a Professor of Practice at the ELI, where he teaches courses on ethics and professionalism.
Dr. Spiguel brings a wealth of industry and government experience to the Institute and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, having retired as Corporate Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Board Member of Zeneca, Inc. (then AstraZeneca), a global pharmaceutical company, and having been the industry’s Information Management Liaison to the Federal Government through the Food and Drug Administration.
In addition to a prior adjunct assignment with the ELI, Spiguel has held previous academic appointments with the University of Delaware, the University of Michigan, and the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil).
Dr. Spiguel holds a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. in Computer & Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan and two B.S. degrees, in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil).
William J. “Bill” McElroy
Bill McElroy is the Associate Director of the Engineering Leadership Institute. In addition to administrative duties for the Institute, he develops and teaches courses in engineering leadership, advanced engineering leadership, and engineering ethics and professionalism.
McElroy is a licensed professional engineer (Florida) with a 42-year history of private and public sector engineering experiences throughout a wide variety of water resources and environmental engineering disciplines. His career included serving as Vice-President and Area Manager for CH2M HILL’s (now Jacobs Engineering Group) Gainesville, Florida office, where he oversaw operations for a staff of approximately 200 multi-disciplined engineers, scientists, and technicians during the last 9 years of his consulting engineering career.
McElroy holds a Master’s degree from the University of Florida, with an undergraduate background in earth sciences and environmental engineering.