Kenneth Means, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Heebink Award for Distinguished Service to West Virginia.
The Heebink award is given to a faculty or staff member who has “used the unique resources of the university” and their own professional expertise to provide an educational or public service activity to the citizens of the state.
Means began his career at West Virginia University in 1981, the same year he began his service to the state on the West Virginia Board of Registration for Professional Engineers, to which he has been appointed by three different governors. He has administered registration exams for engineers in West Virginia and served on both the National Committee for Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and the Governor’s Energy Task Force.
Since his appointment to the Task Force in 2001, Means has worked on the Projects With Industry program, leading teams of WVU mechanical engineering students tasked with evaluating state industries, schools and other entities to assess and improve efficiency and productivity. Student participants provide a free service and gain practical experience in engineering design.
Through the PWI program, Means has mentored countless young engineers and exposed them to a diverse range of institutions, where they are often able to secure employment that keeps them working in-state. Nationally, the program has been recognized by the US Department of Energy and the National Academy of Engineering as one the best programs nationwide for infusing real-world training into a college engineering curriculum.
“In his work with the Projects With Industry and other programs, Dr. Means serves our state’s current needs while also mentoring the professionals who will serve West Virginia’s needs in the future,” said Associate Provost for Academic Personnel C. B. Wilson, whose office administers the Heebink award. “This is service that goes beyond answering an immediate call. Dr. Means demonstrates thoughtful intention and tremendous foresight in his commitment to the state and the university.”
Means has been recognized internally for outstanding teaching nine times at WVU and has also served as the faculty adviser to multiple WVU student chapters of national engineering societies, further promoting student leadership. Outside of the classroom, he has also taught seminars on the current West Virginia building energy code and on energy-use best practices to state architects and engineers across the state.
The Heebink Award was established in 1982 in memory of Ethel and Gerry Heebink, two former employees ( English and extension) of the university, by their son David Heebink. An award for beginning service, given biennially, was established in 1992.
Means will receive a $3,000 honorarium in professional development support and be recognized by President Gordon Gee and Provost McConnell at the April 25 faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House.