Coastal Bend Community Members Celebrated at Annual Friends of Engineering Event

By Michelle Villarreal Leschper | Published: April 05, 2019

Coastal Bend Community Members Celebrated at Annual Friends of Engineering Event

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — During this year’s Friends of Engineering Luncheon on April 5, the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation and H-E-B were recognized for their contributions to the Island University’s engineering program and its students.

Alumna Anne Crago ’13 was one of those students. Crago, a Corpus Christi native, shared how her love for math started in middle school and through many teachers and advisors along the way, she eventually found her path to A&M-Corpus Christi’s Engineering Program.

“The Engineering program at TAMU-CC is more than just a program, it’s a community,” Crago said. “A close-knit community led by faculty members who truly care about the well-being of their students.”

Crago currently works as a mechanical engineer for Torch Technologies, a federal government top defense company, and credits her success to her middle school math teacher Mr. Hay, the University’s career services team, the Engineering program, and all its supporters.

“As a professional and an adult, I look back at the memories of my educational journey and I see one thing, a gift disguised as opportunity. To Mr. Hay, the engineering faculty, the Island University, and everyone in this room, thank you for your life changing gifts.”

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Science and Engineering (COSE) recognizes individuals and organizations that share the University’s vision and passion for an engineering program that meets the needs of the Coastal Bend’s workforce.

The Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation (CCREDC) is a public-private partnership supported by the region’s governmental agencies and the private sector business community. For the past eight years, the CCREDC has been involved in more than $50 billion private investment projects, which created more than 3,500 jobs within the community. The economic development organization has dedicated partners that work together towards improving the economic climate of the community and region.

A&M University-Corpus Christi has worked closely with CCREDC for many years to ensure that its degree programs closely align with the needs of our local industry. This was most notable in 2017 as the University was awarded funding by the Type A Fund, administered by CCREDC on behalf of the City of Corpus Christi, to expand the engineering program by adding degrees in civil and industrial engineering.

“We are very excited to be honored because this is a reflection on our many partners throughout the region,” said Ian Vasey, President of the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation. “It’s important to build the local engineering community and foster home-grown engineers.”

With 400 stores and more than 110,000 employees throughout Texas and Mexico, H-E-B understands community needs and demonstrates a deep commitment through public service and charitable giving efforts. Each year, H-E-B donates five percent of pre-tax annual earnings to charitable organizations focused on hunger relief, education, health, environmental sustainability and diversity initiatives.

As a supporter of public education, H-E-B contributes more than $10 million annually to education-related programs, which includes an endowed scholarship in mechanical engineering at the Island University.

“To be a part of the university and its growing education programs is tremendous,” said Rob Hall, H-E-B Group Vice President/General Manager for the Gulf Coast Region. “We’ve had students graduate from TAMU-CC that have come to H-E-B and did great things for us. This university has blessed us time and time again and for that we’re extremely grateful.”

During the recognition ceremony, the honorees were presented with a plaque, which will be placed on the Friends of Engineering wall located in the Dr. Robert R. Furgason Engineering Building.

The Island University first began offering a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2009 and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2015. Since then, more than 300 students have graduated from the engineering programs.

To meet the needs of the program’s growing enrollment, COSE has continued to expand research and teaching areas across campus including a recent engineering lab featuring the latest in state-of-the-art electrical engineering technology, which opened December 2017.