Distinguished Mechanical Engineering Alumni
Frank E. Pickering
1992 Recipient of the College of Engineering Edward T. Bryand Distinguished Engineering Award
A native of Deer Isle, Maine, Frank E. Pickering received the Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine in 1953. He immediately accepted a position with the General Electric Company and while working full time he earned and received a Master of Science degree from Northeastern University in 1958. During a long and distinguished career, Frank made significant contributions to the United States’ pre-eminence in aircraft gas turbine technology. He led the design and development of the compressor for the T58 engine – the first high performance axial flow unit for a turbine powered helicopter. He also directed the complete design and development of three other advanced technology aircraft engines, the T64 which is an extraordinary turboshaft/turboprop engine that is still in serial production thirty years after its original development; the TF34 in which the application of high bypass technology was first applied to small engines; and, the F404 which powers the F-18, the Navy’s most advanced carrier attack aircraft.
In 1980, Frank was elected a Vice President of the General Electric Company, while serving as the General Manager of the GE Aircraft Engine Engineering Division. He served four of those years as the Vice President and General Manager of Engineering and Manufacturing for the Lynn product line, and eight years as the Vice-president and General Manager of Engineering where he directed the activities of approximately 8000 people, including 4000 engineers and scientists, in the development of GE’s entries to the military and commercial engine market. Later he was appointed to the position of Chief Engineer of GE Aircraft Engines, in which role he assumed direct responsibility for the technical quality and the effectiveness of the total engineering activity in the group.
Frank also initiated and led advances in engineering technology, materials engineering and manufacturing and quality technology which have greatly advanced the global competitiveness of the U. S. gas turbine industry. These advances included new computerized engineering workstations which increased the productivity of engines via tie-ins to mainframe computing power; the design and implementation of major computer integrated manufacturing cells; and the successful application of new materials technology.
This award was presented at the College Of Engineering Edward T. Bryand Recognition Banquet on October 17, 1992.
At the University of Maine’s Crosby Laboratory every year, seniors pursuing degrees in Mechanical Engineering are required to participate in a Capstone Design project. The Capstone Design project exemplifies UMaine Engineering’s commitment to ensure that undergraduate education includes extensive “hands-on” experience. Seniors are required to participate and use the engineering principles learned in the first three years of the curriculum. The Capstone Design project not only focuses on designing and building projects, but also on testing, critiquing and comparing the results of the efforts with other students from the top engineering programs in North America.
Tom Hosmer, a mechanical engineer from the Class of 1958, has been intimately aware of the needs of the Capstone Design project for many years. Every fall he drives to the campus from his home in Concord, Massachusetts to speak with first-year students as well as the members of the senior design class. He imparts the perspective of someone who was, until very recently, an active mechanical engineer, and the students, in turn, share with Tom their plans, goals and questions, as they relate to careers in mechanical engineering. In addition to his trip to campus to visit with students, Tom also regularly comes to campus to attend meetings as a member of the University of Maine Mechanical Engineering Department’s External Advisory Committee.
Having worked as a consulting engineer for Arthur D. Little, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1965 to 2000, and as a senior Mechanical Engineer for Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 2004, Tom knows how important it is for engineering students to gain hands-on experience using modern equipment to construct real projects. According to Tom, “It’s essential that a mechanical design engineer have a working knowledge of manufacturing processes and equipment. If it cannot reasonably be made, the most ingenious design in the world is useless.”
Tom’s extensive work experience, combined with his strong awareness of the needs of the fourth year Mechanical Engineering students at the University of Maine, led him to establish the Thomas P. Hosmer ’58 Design Engineering Center Fund in the fall of 2004. This endowed fund will provide annual financial support to the Department of Mechanical Engineering so that it can:
The connection that Tom made and continues to develop with current students at the University of Maine is invaluable to those students. Likewise, Tom admits to getting a charge from hearing student questions and learning about their projects.
Image Description: Frank Pickering
Image Description: Thomas Hosmer