Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board

The Mechanical Engineering Program has a Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board (MEAB) formed by representatives from local industry, academia, parents, and alumni. This MEAB will assist the Mechanical Engineering program by providing input regarding overall program objectives, evaluation of senior elective topics, and support for and evaluation of students senior project activities. Its membership includes:

Dave Padgett (Asymtek)

David Padgett is the Director of Engineering, New Product Development for Asymtek (a Nordson Company), based in Carlsbad, CA. He is responsible for the development of new, integrated mechanical, electrical, and software solutions for Asymtek's automated fluid dispenser product line. For six years he was the Business Unit Manager for the Asymtek Fabrication Factory, which supplies sheet metal, machined and welded frame parts and assemblies to Asymtek and other Nordson companies.

He previously served as Engineering Manager at Asymtek and other companies, and has received seven patents for mechanical and system designs completed as a Mechanical Engineer and Project Manager. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and has served as Treasurer and Chair of the San Diego Section of the ASME. Mr. Padgett received his BSME from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Phillip Young

Phillip Young is a retired California Registered Professional Mechanical Engineer having worked in the gas turbine and aerospace industries in San Diego. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis. The first part of his career Phillip worked on industrial gas turbine development at Solar Turbines a division of Caterpillar and then aerospace gas turbine development at Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems a division of United Technologies Corporation. The last decade of his career Phillip developed electrically driven cooling fans at Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems for commercial and military aircraft to cool both passengers and airborne electronics.

He is member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for over 35 years. He has been active on both ASME's national and local boards for over 25 years. He is currently serving on ASME's San Diego Section Executive Board and ASME's Representative to the National Engineers Week San Diego Planning Committee. Phillip has been a member of the University of San Diego's Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board since its inception.

Mohammad Akhavain (Hewlett-Packard)

Dr. Mohammad Akhavain is the Inkjet High Speed Production Press Finishing Equipment Project Manager for Hewlett Packard Corp. in Rancho Bernardo, CA. He is responsible for development of finishing equipment, enabling roll to sheet printing at higher speed printing using industrial inkjet printers. He previously managed Print-Head Research and Development team as well as Silicon and Fluidic Integration Team for ten years. Dr. Akhavain started his career with Guyer Santin Corporation (La Mesa) as a junior engineer responsible for mechanical design for US Navy projects (1982-1985). He worked for Kyocera Corp (San Diego) as IC Packaging Design Engineer (1985-1987). Then he accepted a management position with Unisys Corp managing IC packaging group (1987-1994). Mohammad joined HP in 1994 as a R&D engineer designing inkjet print heads.

He received his BSME from California State University Fresno in 1981, MSME from SDSU with emphasis in mechanical design and vibration, and PhD in Mechanical engineering with emphasis on Micro Fluidic Ejection Devices from AWU in 2004. He also has been a PE in Mechanical engineering since 1984 and has received over 25 US patents as well as several European patents in the areas of electronics packaging, print-head (micro fluidic ejection devices), IC chip assembly, and laser TAB bonding. Mohammad has published and presented several articles in US conferences. Dr. Akhavain has also been teaching at higher education institutes since 1981. Teaching is Mohammad's hobby. He has been teaching in several colleges such as Mesa College, SDSU, USD, and Chapman University, as well as a volunteer teaching position at Bear Valley Middle School (Escondido) as Science Olympiad Mentor.

Subramanian (Venkat) Shastri (PCN Technology, Inc.) 

Venkat Shastri currently serves as Chief Industry Advisor of PCN Technology, Inc., a position he assumed in December 2013 to strengthen the company’s strategic positioning in the market. In the preceding eight years, as President and CEO, he grew PCN into a market leader in communication, industrial networking and energy management solutions. Venkat was VP of Engineering at Palomar Technologies, a packaging equipment and process solutions company serving the semiconductor, telecom and medical industry. At Palomar, he led engineering, and was responsible for all product releases and product roadmaps. Before this, he was Senior Director of Engineering and Product Development at KLA-Tencor, where he managed its automation products and solutions, and was a key customer interface to Intel. From 1988 - 2000, at JPL and then at SRI International, Venkat conducted research in robotic manipulation, legged locomotion, adaptive control and nonlinear systems. He grew the latter into a center of excellence in bio-automation. At JPL, he worked in the Space Telerobotics, Mars Pathfinder and Sample Return programs.

Venkat received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in 1988. He is the author of a book entitled, “Dexterous Robot Hands,'' (Springer-Verlag, 1990), and has published over 30 scientific articles in journals, magazines and conferences. He was Research Scientist at Yale University (1994 – 1996) and Consulting Professor at Stanford (1998 – 2000). He has served on the Editorial Boards of IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Control Society, and led the publication of two special issues, in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Transactions and International Journal of Robotics Research. He holds patents in controls, robotics, Bio-MEMS, and electro-active polymers, and has served as Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on large multi-center research grants and contracts. His passion and current research and commercial endeavors are focused on Sustainability.  Venkat is a San Diego resident, and enjoys hiking trails all over the State of California.

Paul Howie (Solar Turbines)

Paul Howie is a Mechanical Design Engineer at Solar Turbines in San Diego. He is responsible for designing the enclosures and frames for 'Generator Set' packages used in the Oil, Gas and Power Generation industries. Since joining Solar in 2008, he has worked in several domestic and international projects spanning across the globe, from Fredericktown, Pennsylvania to Rybinsk, Russia to Papua New Guinea.

His work involves nearly all aspects of the business, such as direct support for manufacturing and test, coordination with purchasing and vendors, direct assistance to project management and customers, and help with resolving field technical issues identified by commissioning and customer services. He received his B.S./B.A. degree in Mechanical Engineering from USD in 2008. Mr. Howie is EIT certified and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Logan Johnston (General Atomics Aeronautical)

Logan Johnston is an Electrical Integration Engineer for General Atomics Aeronautical, specializing in cable harnesses and assembly. He has helped design and manufacture cable harnesses for multiple versions of unmanned aircraft models using 3D CAD tools. He also acts as an engineering liaison to the manufacturing facility and performs testing for new materials and equipment.

He began his career at General Atomics Aeronautical as a manufacturing engineer utilizing LEAN methods to increase productivity for the Line Replaceable Units (LRU’s) and printed circuit cards. He later became part of the cable manufacturing engineering group due to his previous experience designing and manufacturing cables to be used for aerospace, subsea exploration, and military use. He received his B.S./B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from USD in 2009.