2023 Awardees
Alumni, Class of

 Alumni Spotlight - June 2023

2023 Distinguished Alumni Awardees

Each year we award several Oregon Tech alumni awards during Commencement weekend. The alumni are nominated by their peers and then voted on by the members of the Alumni Advisory Board. Here is a brief introduction to each of this year’s awardees. Be on the lookout throughout the year for more in-depth profiles of these owl-mazing alumni.

Distinguished Alumna: Dianne Appell ‘92

Dianne Appell (sm)

Dianne is the Chief Manufacturing Engineer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, responsible for the technical excellence of more than 2400 professionals in North America, Ukraine, Poland, and India. Over her over 30-year career, Dianne has led multiple cross-functional teams with responsibility for production system design, manufacturing execution system design, business process development and functional skill development. She views her role mentoring future leaders as an essential investment.

Dianne is also the Boeing Executive Focal to Oregon Tech, partnering with academia to develop curricula for graduates that meet emerging industry needs as well as relevant continuing education opportunities for current Boeing employees. She has been a commencement speaker for the Oregon Tech Portland Metro and Seattle ceremonies and has served on the Industry Advisory Council for the MMET department and on the President’s Advisory Council throughout the years. Dianne was also voted into the WACE Hall of Fame, the only international professional organization dedicated to cooperative and work-integrated education programs within industry and educational institutions.

Distinguished Alumnus: Stan Carr ‘88

Stan Carr (sm)

Stan graduated in 1988 with a degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. He worked at Tektronix as a manager and director from March 2001 to December 2008. After leaving Tektronix, he was hired by Boeing where he has worked ever since (over 30 years).

At Boeing, Stan has held many management positions, from Engineering Manager to Systems Integration Design Engineering Manager for the 747 and 767, to his most recent position as a BCA PE Global Strategy and International Engineering Design Center Manager.

He has been instrumental in bringing Boeing to the Klamath Falls campus by creating a Collaboration Lab, in which students will work on Boeing projects as paid interns. Stan has also led the efforts to have Oregon Tech as a Boeing preferred partner and works with the Seattle Boeing/Oregon Tech partnership for Boeing employees who earn degrees through OIT.

Recent Alumni Achievement: Daniel Helmricks ‘13

Daniel Helmricks (sm)

Daniel was heavily involved in ASOIT as a student, serving three consecutive terms as president. During the past 10 years, Daniel has made a name for himself in his profession, serving in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps. For the NOAA, Daniel uses his geomatics and surveying background to do coastal mapping, works with satellites to predict where disasters such as fires and floods may occur, and has served in various leadership roles.

Previous awards include unit citations, medals for his work forecasting, responding to and assessing damage from hurricanes, and a national response deployment medal for his dynamic and operational response to the COVID-19 national pandemic.

Scientific Achievement: Larkin Carey ‘04

Larkin Carey (sm)

Larkin is a Principle Optical Engineer at Ball Aerospace in Colorado. He graduated from Oregon Tech in 2004 as part of the final Laser Engineering class, and has spent the last 19 years working with NASA on the James Webb Space Telescope. From the concept phase, technology development through every phase of optical testing, to Webb's launch to space in 2021, and on-orbit commissioning and science operations, Larkin has been integral with the Webb Telescope every step of the way.

Larkin also formed Falkor Aerials, a multicopter cinematography company. Over the past 12 years, filming with drones has brought him to six continents working on incredible and meaningful projects. He recently won an Emmy for Cinematography on Chasing Coral, a nature and planet documentary on Netflix. 

Outstanding Alumni Veteran: Brandon Wright ‘21

Brandon Wright (sm)

Brandon is a recent graduate from the communications program. As a student, he worked as a Student Veteran Support Liaison and was active in the Student Veteran Program, Student Involvement & Belonging, PAVE (Peer Advising for Veteran Education), a team leader for the Vets Helping Vets program, and on the Veteran Action Committee. Brandon did all this while maintaining a 3.5 GPA, working as a testing coordinator on campus, being a full-time student, and being a husband and father.

Brandon is currently serving as an employment specialist with Easterseals Oregon where he assists homeless and nearly homeless veterans in pursuing gainful employment. He also serves on Klamath County’s Veteran Advisory Council.

Serving in the US Army infantry from 2014 to 2021, Brandon received the Army Achievement Medal in 2015 from his command for his dedication to supporting the unit on Rear Detachment when he first arrived at the unit while they were deployed. Later, he earned the Good Conduct Medal in 2016 for having a clean record without getting into trouble or receiving disciplinary actions.

Alumni Spirit: Ken Vandehey ’90 and Roger Patteson ‘91

Ken and Roger

Ken and Roger, friends while at Oregon Tech, joined the Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) in 2016 where they were both very active on the Golden Owls Reunion committee, then served as president (Ken) and vice president (Roger) of the AAB for four consecutive years from 2018-2022. They have given endlessly of their time, talent and treasure to furthering the university. Both have led committees, attended regional events, and delivered speeches at commencement ceremonies. These two valuable alumni are being recognized for their numerous contributions and dedication to their alma mater. 

Honorary Alumnus: Jim Owens

Jim Owens (sm)

Jim Owens has always had a tender spot in his heart for Oregon Tech and has shared that spirit through personal and financial support. He is a strong public advocate for the type of practical education offered to Oregon Tech students. He believes that educating "work ready" young people is one of the highest public priorities for Oregon.

Throughout the years, Jim has contributed his time through public awareness presentations, in service organizations, as a railway docent (program discontinued) and as an active Oregon Tech Scholarship reader. He has also attended many Oregon Tech events to show his support. He has contributed a portion of his estate through the donation of his Klamath Falls home to the Oregon Tech Foundation and has also allocated an additional amount of his estate to further fund scholarships. Jim's contributions are of enormous value and set a unique example of service and dedication for others in the Klamath Basin.

Jim’s great pride in Oregon Tech radiates whenever he speaks of the University, and though he attended college elsewhere, he will tell you that in his heart, Oregon Tech is his school.



~Becky Burkeen, Director of Alumni Relations