Alumni Council

Mission Statement

The Lee College of Engineering Alumni Council is a group of alumni who work together to support the vision and goals of The William States Lee College of Engineering. Council members are active and valued partners of the Lee College of Engineering family. The Alumni Council strengthens the sense of community between alumni and current students and helps raise the visibility of the Lee College in the Charlotte region and beyond. Areas of focus will be communications, development, leadership and alumni programs and services.

Christopher Bailey, 2012


Christopher Bailey photo

Chris attended UNC Charlotte (2008-2012) and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineer and a Math minor. While a UNCC Chris did research in Optics with Dr. Matt Davies. He was also his TA. Chris was the Mechanical Lead on his Senior Design Project team with NASA. Chris is currently attending NC State online Master's program for a MS in Mechanical Engineering in the studies of design and manufacturing. Chris joined Boeing in 2013 with the C-17 Program in St Louis. Before joining Boeing, he interned with Lockheed Martin for three summers in the Missiles and Fire Control division. Chris was a part of the F-15 Silent Eagle CWB development program . After CWB, Chris lead many efforts for build integration of the F-15 program and supported foreign suppliers (IAI, KAI, AAC) on a PST. Now currently working as the STL Engineering/Production Affordability Lead for Center and Aft Fuselage. Also manages the F-15 Tooling Board. Chris enjoys golf, running, fishing, kayaking and being on the water.

Paula June Canter, 2015

Paula June Canter photo


At 19 years old, Paula joined the United States Navy as an Aviation Machinist Mate (Aircraft Mechanic) with nothing more than a high school diploma from Davie High School in Mocksville, NC and a year at Mitchell Community College in Statesville, NC. In the Navy she spent four years as a mechanic, quality inspector and crew leader on Rolls-Royce T56-A-425/427 turbo prop engines. After her service was complete, she was hired at Lockheed Martin as a Quality Analyst and instrumental in the contract receiving ISO9001 certification. Dedicated to serving her country, Paula enlisted in the NC Army National Guard where she was appointed as an Active Guard Reserve Recruiter. In her thirst for knowledge she pursued and achieved a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Minor in Mathematics from UNC Charlotte in December 2014. While in college, she was Vice President of Society of Women Engineers, active in Alpha Omega Epsilon and a Student Ambassador for the College of Engineering. She was the 2014 recipient of COE MEES Outstanding Student Leadership and inducted into Order of Engineer in May 2014 and worked a co-op at USAirways. Upon graduation she moved to Connecticut to work for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation as an Engineer providing technical support for Customers, Engineers and Executives. She also completed the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship program from the Institute of Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

Paula is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts, is a member of Rotary International and the current Vice President of her club. She is active in the community with STEM outreach, Sikorsky Heliventures, Connecticut Pre Engineering Program and schools. She is an Advisory Committee Member for Homes for the Brave and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) mentor. She is passionate about STEM outreach and Veteran Issues. She is a single mother of two teenage sons and loves to mountain bike in her spare time with them.

Derek Karpovich, 2012

Darek Karpovoich photo

Derek attended UNC Charlotte and graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology degree and minor in Mathematics in 2012. He was highly active in the Lee College of Engineering during his undergraduate career, serving as a Teaching Assistant and Supplemental Instructor for Professor Hoch, Dr. Schmidt, Dr. Nicholas, Dr. Chen, and Dr. Brizendine. In addition to structured tutoring, Derek also began freelance tutoring for UNC Charlotte and other university students. He proudly still offers these services today as a way to give back and help students succeed.
Aside from dedicating time to his tutoring services in school, Derek completed an internship at Husqvarna during his junior year. After gaining valuable work experience and preparing for a successful career in Engineering, he  took the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to help propel his upcoming career and set himself apart as a mechanical engineer, he succeeded on the first attempt. Derek was planning to attend graduate school when he secured a unique opportunity with Caterpillar that propelled his career in manufacturing engineering. He went on to complete three years of Caterpillar’s Leadership and Technical Development Program where he received hands-on training and access to a wide variety of network contacts across the country. He completed projects in North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, and Minnesota during his time at Caterpillar Inc. While he enjoyed the travel associated with this role, he was happy to start looking for opportunities back in Charlotte after getting married.
In April of 2015, Derek accepted the role of Production Engineer for Bosch Rexroth. He now works in the Charlotte facility and is happy to be close to his alma mater once again. His work consists of automating and standardizing new and existing manufacturing processes of industrial automation equipment. He has already had the opportunity to visit the company headquarters in Germany, and hopes to continue taking advantage of all the opportunities this global company has to offer.
As Derek is settling in his new role and establishing roots in Charlotte, he plans to be continuously involved in UNC Charlotte and the College of Engineering for many years to come



Ryan Kennedy, 2004

Ryan Kennedy photo

Ryan is founder and CEO of Atom Power and is founder and advisor to Atom Engineering, PLLC. He has been in the electrical design, project leadership, and engineering industries for over 21 years. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Ryan began his career as an electrician's helper after finishing high school and walked onto his first of many high-rise construction projects in 1994. After 5 years of electrical construction under his belt, and working as a jobsite foreman on a 30-story high-rise, he had a yearning to understand the motive and decision processes made by Engineers within his business. So without delay, Ryan began a dedication to the study of electrical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte while continuing to work full-time within the electrical engineering and construction industry. Once Ryan received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Magna Cum Laude from UNCC in 2004, he continued full-time in his career as a Project Manager for a large electrical contracting and engineering firm. As Project Manager, Ryan negotiated and built some of the most high profile projects in the southeast for several large corporations. Having managed and built over $90-million in construction projects and built over 4-million square-feet of building space, his connections within the industry reach across the world to many building owners and property developers that he has successfully built powerful relationships with. He is an NCEES record holder and a Professional Engineer in five US states and is an active member in IEEE, CLT Joules, UNCC ECE, and Tau Beta Pi. Ryan’s creative design process, negotiating skills, empathy, and the ability to anticipate what his clients don’t yet know they need, has created some of the most professional, sustainable projects and developed some of the most commanding relationships within his industry.

Key Highlights:

• Founder and CEO of Atom Power

• Professional Engineer

• 21-years in the electrical engineering and contracting industries

• BSEE Magna Cum Laude from UNCC

• UNCC College of Engineering ECE Board Member


Justin Marsh, 2011, 2015


Justin Marsh photo



Justin Marsh completed an MBA at UNC Charlotte with a concentration in Engineering Management in 2015.  Prior to receiving his MBA he was one of the first undergraduates to complete the Systems Engineering program in 2011.  He began his technical career while serving in the United States Navy as a nuclear trained Machinist’s Mate from 2001 – 2007.

After completing his undergraduate studies at UNC Charlotte, Justin was employed by Chicago Bridge & Iron as a Mechanical Engineer designing mechanical power systems for the Westinghouse AP1000 light water reactor.  He has several years of onsite design experience at two major new nuclear construction sites in South Carolina and Georgia.

Justin has served on the board of several professional organizations as the Southeast Regional Director for the American Society for Engineering Management, Executive Board Member for the American Nuclear Society – Savannah River Section, and Board Member for the North Carolina Public Access Foundation.

Justin recently relocated to Charlotte, NC for Duke Energy’s Coal Combustion Products clean up and recovery team.  He is currently a Project Manager and Planner for this important project.

Jose Paniagua, 2011

Jose Paniagua photo

Jose Paniagua graduated from the University of North Carolina At Charlotte in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering. During his last year in college he started an internship as a Process Engineer with RSI Home Products where he was later hired full-time. Soon thereafter, Jose became a supervisor and promoted to a Production Manager for RSI. During Jose’s childhood he lived in El Salvador for 3 years where he became fluent in Spanish and learned the culture. Jose enjoys playing soccer, watching football and spending time outdoors with his wife and pet dog.