Three Thomasian Chemical Engineers of different persuasions, an entrepreneur, a priest, and a company president, were inducted into the illustrious Engineering Hall of Fame for 2019 coinciding with the celebration of the one hundred and twelfth founding anniversary of the oldest Engineering school in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Engineering.
Inducted were Elizabeth P. Romualdo, for Entrepreneurship; Msgr. Daniel B. Sta. Maria for Community Service; and Mario K. Surio, for Industry Leadership. The awarding ceremonies were held on February 16, 2019 at the UST Paredes Building.
The award, given by Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof. Philipina A. Marcelo, Ph.D., and Regent Rev. Fr. Roberto L. Luanzon, Jr., O.P., consisted of a plaque and a golden name plate with the awardee’s name and award inscribed on it. The name plates are found in the Hall of Fame wall at the lobby of the Roque Ruaño, O.P. building, where the Faculty of Engineering is housed.
The induction into the Hall of Fame serves as recognition of the remarkable efforts of deserving Engineering alumni who do not only succeed in their individual careers but also manifest leadership in the community.
Elizabeth P. Romualdo earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1969, and an associate degree in programming technology at the Control Data Institute-Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in 1971. She was awarded for Entrepreneurship having steered her company, CRL Environmental Corporation, where she sits as its President and Chief Executive Officer, into the vast corporation that it is now. She likewise holds the same position in Analytical Support Services for Environment Technologies (ASSET PH), CRL Calabarquez Corporation, and CRL Analytics Corporation.
CRL Environmental Corporation made history by being the first and only laboratory outside the USA to have been granted recognition by the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) of the Department of Health Services (DOHS), State of California, in 1999. Romualdo’s companies are also strong in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) role. One of its CSR projects is the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement as a partner of DENR Region III to adopt and protect the Estero of Sapang Balen in Mabalacat, Pampanga. The CRL Group of Companies extends scholarship grants, in various forms, to several students in the Faculty of Engineering, and in schools in Romualdo’s hometown in Atimonan, Quezon.
Awarded for Community Service was the Bahay Pari Credit Cooperative Co-founder and General Manager, Solidaritas Funds Company Co-founder and President and Diocese of Cubao Vicar General Msgr. Daniel B. Sta. Maria. He studied Chemical Engineering under full scholarship at the UST Faculty of Engineering and graduated Summa cum Laude in 1964. Msgr. Sta. Maria has served the Archdiocese of Manila and the Diocese of Cubao in various capacities, such as Finance Officer of the Catechetical Ministry, Trustee of the Archdiocesan Trust Fund, Oeconomous of the Diocese of Cubao, and General Manager of the Bahay Pari Cooperative.
Msgr. Dan has put into good use his Chemical Engineering background by teaching skills such as soap making to his unemployed parishioners – they do not only make themselves economically viable, they also give dignity to themselves. He left a lucrative industry practice to enter the priesthood at age 36. He was ordained in 1986 by His Eminence Jaime L. Cardinal Sin. Msgr. Dan is the author of the books “The Mystery of The Trinity in Christian Life” and “A Day in the Life of a Parish Priest.”
Awarded for Industry Leadership was the President of Dagumo Agro Minerals Inc., Sultan Energy Corp., and Bonanza Energy Resources Inc. Engr. Mario K. Surio, who obtained his degree in 1967. He is also the concurrent director of Eagle Cement Corporation, Private Infra Dev. Corp., South Luzon Tollways Corporation/SLEX, Ginebra San Miguel, and San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corp. He is the chief technical adviser to the Office of the President and COO of San Miguel Corporation.
Engr. Surio supports scholarship programs through the San Miguel Foundation such as the 1 plus 1 Scholarship program of UST in partnership with the Curtin University of Western Australia. Currently, 10 Chemical Engineering graduates are studying under a Master’s program in Metallurgical Engineering.
Proud of his Thomasian education, Engr. Surio is a true-blue Tomasino having been educated in UST from grade school to college. He played baseball for UST at the UAAP from 1962 to 1967. The Engineering Hall of Fame was first awarded in 1996, and has inducted 28 alumni to date.
The first recipient was Rev. Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P., for Engineering Design. The award was given posthumously in 1996 in recognition of his numerous works as Civil Engineer, the most famous of which is the UST Main Building, now a National Cultural Treasure. The Main Building, inaugurated in 1927, is the first earthquake-resistant building in the Philippines in its modern-day history.
The other awardees include Jollibee founder Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong, who received his award in 2000 for Entrepreneurship. Engr. Fortunato Leynes, the first Filipino Chief Executive of the largest of the 11 privatized distribution utilities in Nigeria, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company received the award in 2018 for Industry Leadership. Deep Space Antenna Engineer Benjamin P. Saldua, who was recognized in 2015, was the Principal Structural Engineer of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, until his retirement in 2018. For Global Corporate Management, Engr. James Velasquez, former president and country manager of IBM Philippines and currently CEO of PT&T was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
Outstanding Thomasian Engineer Award
In the same gathering, a new award was presented: The Outstanding Thomasian Engineer Award. This is given to graduates who have shown exemplary achievements in their area of practice in the field of Engineering.
The first recipients were: Pterra, LLC Founder Engr. Ricardo D. Austria (BS Electrical Engineering, 1979); former President and Chief Operating Officer of Aboitiz Power Corporation – Oil Business Unit of Therma Mobile Inc. Engr Celso C. Caballero,III (BS Electrical Engineering, 1996), and Enerplus Inc. President Engr. Mario R. Pangilinan (BS Electrical Engineering, 1981).
Austria has over 35 years of experience in electric power transmission planning, operations, voltage simulation and analysis and design and engineering. As a renowned expert in these specialized fields, he has given testimony in these areas in filings with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, state and local public commissions.
Caballero was President and Chief Operating Officer of Aboitiz Power Corporation – Oil Business Unit of Therma Mobile, Inc. and was responsible for the successful execution of the company’s business mission through the development and deployment of the latest power plant technologies to enhance the efficiencies of the power plants.
Pangilinan was president and CEO of FDC Utilities, Inc., the power generation subsidiary of Filinvest Development Corporation. Among his achievements was the development of the FDC Misamis 405-MW Coal-Fired Power Plant in 2016, the largest coal thermal power plant in the Mindanao grid which helped alleviate the perennial power shortages in the region due to high dependence on hydro power. He pioneered works to implement the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which includes the drafting of the Philippine Grid Code and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market Rules.
The new award, according to Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof. Philipina Marcelo, Ph.D., is intended to recognize the professional achievements of Thomasian engineers that also mirror the Thomasian values of competence, commitment and compassion, as well as good moral character and conduct with the highest standards of ethics. It is envisioned that there will be an awardee for each Engineering program. There are six programs in the Faculty of Engineering: Civil, Chemical, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics, and Industrial Engineering.