fbpx Pigman College of Engineering inducts 2024 class into Hall of Distinction | University of Kentucky College of Engineering

Pigman College of Engineering inducts 2024 class into Hall of Distinction

April 05, 2024

J. Chris Adkins, Ollie James Akel, Charles 'Rusty' Justice, Maj. Gen. Trey Rawls, David B. Servis and Anna C. Workman were inducted into the Pigman College of Engineering Hall of Distinction on April 18, 2024.

L to R: J. Chris Adkins, Maj. Gen. Trey Rawls, Anna Workman, Rusty Justice, David Servis and Ollie Akel.

L to R: J. Chris Adkins, Maj. Gen. Trey Rawls, Anna Workman, Rusty Justice, David Servis and Ollie Akel.

Initiated in 1992, the Hall of Distinction recognizes and honors UK College of Engineering alumni for exemplary professional accomplishments, outstanding character and an ongoing commitment to community service. Every member of the Hall of Distinction is honored with a plaque in the lobby of the Ralph G. Anderson Mechanical Engineering Building. All members and extended bios are listed here.

J. Chris Adkins, B.S. in Mining Engineering, 1993

Adkins began his over 27-year career with Massey Coal in 1985. By 2003, Adkins had worked his way through Massey, from an underground general laborer to chief operating officer and senior vice president. Adkins held this pivotal role overseeing all aspects of Massey's extensive operations, including underground and longwall operations, surface mining, preparation plants and high wall miners until 2011. He was part of a team that took Massey from a privately held and family-owned company to a publicly held Forbes 200 company, employing over 10,000 people. His leadership lead to several groundbreaking safety advancements, including the development of reflective safety stripes, which revolutionized worker visibility and saved countless lives across mining and construction industries globally. After Massey’s $7.6 billion sale in 2011, Adkins utilized his expertise as a consultant within the mining and rock industry. He also designed, constructed, operated, and sold a family amusement complex in the Smokey Mountains and successfully restructured operations in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In his current role as CEO and partner at Clintwood JOD, Adkins is expanding and rebuilding the mining company with his storied commitment to site safety, resulting in zero lost time accidents on the property over a two-year span. 

Ollie James Akel, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 1954

Akel, who earned the rank of Second Lieutenant in the United States Army during service from 1956 to 1958, spent the early years of his career in the aviation industry. He took his first job in 1958 in Columbus, Ohio, as a thermodynamic engineer at North American Aviation, a former air and spacecraft manufacturer. This job led him to Beirut, Lebanon, the following year to work as an engineer for Middle East Airlines, where he remained for over five years. 1967 marked the beginning of Akel’s career with Exxon Corporation. From this year through 1980, Akel worked as an engineer in New York, London and Saudi Arabia. Between 1981 and 1988, Akel served as president of the Exxon Chemical, Belgium, Africa and Middle East, headquartered in Brussels. In 1988, he was appointed director of corporate communications at Exxon Chemical International. In 1989, Akel was named president of Exxon Saudi Arabia, headquartered in Riyadh. He made his final move within the multinational corporation in 1993, when he became the president at Exxon Mexicana, in Mexico City. In 1996, he retired. In acknowledgement of his industry successes, Akel was listed as a noteworthy oil company executive by Marquis Who’s Who.

Charles 'Rusty' Justice, B.S. in Mining Engineering, 1983, B.S. in Civil Engineering, 1985

Since 1994, Justice has served as a managing member of Jigsaw Enterprises, a mid-sized applied engineering company. Jigsaw provides innovative, sustainable solutions for its clients, maintaining a deep commitment to strengthening the communities it serves. Notable projects from Jigsaw have included Walters Nissan Toyota, East Kentucky Network Tier III Data Center, Pikeville Medical Center pedestrian tunnel and the restoration of the historic basketball gym in Wayland, Kentucky. In 2014, Justice co-founded Bit Source, a pioneering software development and digital services company. Justice, alongside his co-founder, planted the seeds of Bit Source in Pikeville, a place Justice called the center of Central Appalachia. Bit Source was Justice and co-founder's response to the economic shift they were witnessing due to the downturn in the coal industry. Their mission was clear: to empower former coal miners with the skills needed to thrive in the digital economy. Bit Source’s workforce of coal miners turned programmers remotely serves clients from across the globe. Over the last 10 years, Bit Source has demonstrated the skills and ingenuity of the local workforce, ushering in a new era of career possibilities for Central Appalachia.

Maj. Gen. Trey Rawls, B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1992

Major General Trey Rawls is culminating a distinguished 32-year career with the United States Air Force as one of the preeminent strategic experts in operational capabilities for 5th generation warfare. As the Commander of the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Maj. Gen. Rawls is responsible for the operational test and evaluation of more than 98 major acquisition programs valued at more than $1 trillion. As a key leader of the test and evaluation community, he coordinates directly with the offices of the Secretary of Defense and Department of the Air Force while executing realistic, objective, and impartial operational testing and evaluation of Air Force, Space Force, coalition, and joint warfighting capabilities. Throughout his military career, Maj. Gen. Rawls has been instrumental in shaping the functionality of some of the most advanced aircraft and associated weaponry ever developed. Prior to his current assignment, Maj. Gen. Rawls served as the Commandant for the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He has commanded at the Squadron, Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Ground Operations Wing levels, and is a four-time member of the U.S. Military Pentathlon Team. 

David B. Servis, B.S. in Civil Engineering, 1974, M.S. in Civil Engineering, 1976

Servis has spent his nearly five decades-long career with Tetra Tech offices across the United States. Since his semi-retirement in 2015, Servis has been reporting to the Senior Vice President of the Water Division in Seattle, with his primary responsibilities being merger and acquisition support carried forward from 2013. He joined Tetra Tech in 1976 through the acquisition of its predecessor firm, PDR Engineers. Over the years, Servis showcased his versatility, working across multiple locations including Washington, Arizona, Kentucky and Alabama. Throughout his tenure, he has undertaken various roles, from design to program management. His responsibilities have also included staffing, administration and contract compliance, with a portfolio spanning projects for municipal, federal government, industrial and private sector clients. Servis was a founding member of the Oldham County Economic Development Authority, which created the Oldham Reserve Business Park and led him to facilitate critical conversations that resulted in the building of the Louie Dampier Bridge over I-71.

Anna C. Workman, B.S. in Computer Science, 2004

Over the last 20 years, Workman has climbed the ranks in applications development at UPS, working in Customs Brokerage, Ground Transportation, Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering and Gateway Systems, gaining a wide range of exposure to diverse technologies including legacy, cloud and integration systems, as well as mobile implementations. During this time, Workman was the application development manager responsible for Mobile Mechanic, the platform that moved mechanics onto tablets, and is currently used by 1,800 mechanics worldwide. Since 2020, she has served as vice president of Airline Systems, where she is responsible for collaborating with stakeholders to define strategic direction, providing guidance on project efforts throughout the software development lifecycle and performing business planning, to most effectively innovate and support the technology behind UPS Airlines. Airline Systems includes twenty-five mission-critical applications in the crew, flight, maintenance and engineering, data analytics, fuel and flight forward business domains.