CORVALLIS - A pioneer in the California wine industry and two engineers will be honored as Alumni Fellows at Oregon State University's Homecoming celebration Oct. 25-27.
The Alumni Fellows program, designed and sponsored by OSU's Alumni Association, brings back to campus prominent alumni who share their experiences with the university's students, staff, faculty and the public. The OSU Alumni Association is sponsoring a free public awards ceremony and reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, at the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center to honor this year's fellows.
Three alumni will be honored this year. They include: Zelma Long, owner of Long Vineyards and Zelphi Wines and one of the leaders in the growth of the California wine industry in the '70s and '80s; Greg Merten, vice president and general manager of Hewlett Packard's Corvallis site; and Pete Johnson, founder and owner of Tekmax, Inc., of Tangent, a worldwide leader in battery plate enveloping and automated transfer equipment.
Long received a bachelor's degree in general science with a minor in nutrition from OSU in 1965. In 1989, Long was honored by the American Institute of Wine and Food with its first Wine and Food Achievement Award. She was named a California Wine Pioneer in 1993 by the Wine Spectator Foundation. Long has served as chair of the Wine Industry Advisory Board and president of the American Vineyard Association.
Long was named to the James Beard Hall of Fame in 1996 and the James Beard Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year in 1997. She is a former winemaker at Mondavi and Simi and was a leader in the growth of the California wine industry as CEO of Simi Winery.
Merten received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1968. He has risen through the ranks of Hewlett Packard to lead a major division of the company and manage sites in Corvallis, San Diego, Boise, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Ireland. He is actively involved in an advisory capacity with the College of Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
In 1999, Merten was inducted into the College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Engineers. That ranks him in the top 200 graduates among the college's total of 24,000. He has also played a significant role in helping the College of Engineering secure the recently announced $2.2 million partnership grant from Hewlett Packard.
Johnson received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1955. After spending 15 years in various chemical engineering positions in California, he went to work for Evans Products in Corvallis, and managed the production unit and designed new battery separator manufacturing plants. In 1980, he started a venture with his own new, patented idea for making battery separators. He is the founder and owner of Tekmax, Inc., a worldwide leader in battery plate enveloping and automated transfer equipment.
He holds 12 patents on various machine components, and every battery maker in the U.S. uses his patented method.
Johnson and his wife, Rosalie Johnson, recently established the $1.5 million Linus Pauling Chair in Chemical Engineering. In 1998, he was inducted into the College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Engineers.
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Steve Smith, 541-737-7848