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Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

South Dakota Mines alumni are known for pursuing excellence in their careers. The Distinguished Alumni program was started in 1998 to recognize the outstanding contributions South Dakota Mines graduates not only to the fields of engineering and science, but also to their communities and the university. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration for future generations and highlight the great impact South Dakota Mines alumni can make in this world.

Meet the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 


Douglas Beck (EE 80)

Douglas Beck graduated from Mines in 1980 with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1996, after 16 years of serving at various companies and acquiring experience in engineering, marketing, and sales, Douglas Beck joined the family business, Harold Beck & Sons, Inc. in Newtown, PA – an electric actuator manufacturing company founded by his grandfather Harold. He has served as president and CEO since 2007, presiding over the introduction of new products, developing new markets, making substantial capital investments, and increasing international business. The company was named the 2022 Member Company of the Year by the World Trade Center of Philadelphia. On December 30, 2021, after 85 years of Beck family ownership, Doug sold 100% of the company to his employees. The goal is to provide even better opportunities for a secure retirement for all employees and to keep the company culture and success moving forward to serve domestic and international customers. Doug continues to serve as President & CEO.


Navin Govind (MS EE 93) 

Navin Govind is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and executive with several years of proven success at Intel Corporation, Tarari, and Aventyn, Inc. He currently serves as founder and CEO of innovative digital therapeutic company 8chili, founder and executive chair of the b-eCare Connected Health Initiative, a venture partner at Evidence Ventures, an angel investor, an author of several original papers in peerreviewed journals, and holds multiple issued patents. He is also a frequent speaker and industry faculty for health technology innovation, startup advisory, and health policy for digital health standards initiatives.


Lee Solid (ME 59) 

Lee Solid is the retired senior executive of Rockwell’s Space Operations in Florida, after serving more than 39 years in the company’s aerospace business. He oversaw the space shuttle orbiter launch processing engineering, payloads, and flight systems integration, which included manufacturing, repairing, and testing of space shuttle hardware at Rockwell’s Shuttle Logistics Depot in Cape Canaveral.

He was a member of the Atlas-Mercury and Saturn-Apollo launch teams, which put the first American (John Glenn) into Earth’s orbit in 1962 and the first man (Neil Armstrong) on the moon in 1969, as well as launching the first space shuttle in 1982.


Brian Tucholke (GEO 68) 

Brian Tucholke spent more than 50 years conducting geological and geophysical research in the world’s ocean basins, including 29 years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and served on national and international scientific
committees. His investigations have produced fundamental insights into structure and rifting mechanisms of continental margins, the morphology and tectonics of the global mid-ocean ridge system, and ocean basin stratigraphy and paleooceanographic evolution.

As project co-leader for the Geological Society of America’s Geologic Map of North America he mapped, for the first time in the history of the geological sciences, the geology of the seafloor surrounding North America.


Audra Walsh (MinE 95)

Audra Walsh has nearly 30 years of experience at board, executive, and operational roles across the mining spectrum. Her impact on the field was recognized by Women in Mining UK who named her among the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining in 2020.

Since 2016, she has served as CEO for Minas Aguas Teñidas, S.A.U. in Huelva, Spain, where she has led improvements in safety, finalized the expansion project in the processing plant, optimized the overall value of the operations, and directed the sale of MATSA to Sandfire in a $1.865 billion deal that closed in February 2022.

Mines Advancement Fund

The Mines Advancement Fund supports the greatest needs of our students and faculty, including scholarships, department resources, facilities updates, industry partnerships, and more. With every dollar gifted to the Mines Advancement Fund, the Center for Alumni Relations & Advancement raises an average of $9 more to support departments, scholarships, and programs. 
Consider designating your gift to the Mines Advancement Fund to maximize your influence at South Dakota Mines.