College of Engineering Inducts Three Alumni to Wall of Honor 

College of Engineering Alumni Wall of HonorThe College of Engineering recently inducted three alumni into the Wall of Honor. Honorees selected for their advancements to the engineering profession and strong support of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette were:

        James (Jim) Poché, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 1970

        Richard C. Sealy, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 1943

        Rod E. Vargas, M.S. Engineering, 1990; B.S. Civil Engineering, 1983

To date, the wall displays 17 of the college’s most outstanding alumni. The College of Engineering graciously thanks Delmar Systems, Inc. and the Scott Family for their gifts benefiting the construction of the Wall of Honor.

Friends, alumni and supporters, and administration and students gathered for a formal plaque unveiling ceremony followed by a reception. UL Lafayette President Dr. E. Joseph Savoie and College of Engineering Dean Dr. Mark Zappi congratulated honorees and presented each with a ceremonial plaque bearing their name, photograph and brief biography. Honorees returned to campus to experience a tour and the opportunity to dine with engineering students, discussing their pathway to success and future opportunities. The day concluded with a state of the college address presented by Dean Zappi.

The Wall of Honor inspires over 2,500 engineering students and demonstrates potential career opportunities available with a UL Lafayette engineering degree, while recognizing the accomplishments of distinguished alumni. To qualify for the Wall of Honor, alumni must have made significant contributions to the field of engineering and technology and serve as strong ambassadors to the College of Engineering. The selection committee is comprised of the dean for the College of Engineering, vice president for University Advancement, executive director of development, a faculty member from the college, development director for the college, president/CEO for the UL Lafayette Foundation, and a current inductee of the Wall of Honor.

James (Jim) Poché, a licensed engineer in mechanical, control and environmental engineering, is CEO, founder and chairman of Southwest Group of Companies,  including Poche’ Prouet Associates, LLC – Engineers & Architects; Southwest Contractors, LLC; Southwest Mechanical, LLC; Southwest Development, LLC; and Southwest Real Estate, LLC. He is a member and past president of the American Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana and the UL Lafayette Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board.

Richard C. Sealy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from UL Lafayette and later attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. A licensed professional engineer, Richard served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II as a commissioned officer. He worked as an assistant chief engineer, began a wholesale company, and served the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Wholesalers Region 12 for several years before his election to the National Board of Directors, where he served until his retirement.

Rod E. Vargas is the president and CEO of Apex Environmental Engineering & Compliance, which made the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing firms in the U.S. in 2006 and Inc. 5000 in 2007 and 2008. The firm also made the list of Hispanic Business 100 fastest growing firms in the U.S. In 2007, he was chosen as the Small Business Association's Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Florida. A native of Venezuela, Rod has worked as a civil and environmental engineer for both private companies and the federal government.

Previous inductees to the Wall of Honor include: 

Harold Callais, EECE, 1959

Carrie Castille, ITEC, 1998

Luke E. Fontenot, CHEE, 1961

Greg Guidry, MCHE, 1982

Steven P. Guidry, PETE, 1980

Jay F. Honeycutt, EECE, 1960

Terry Huval, EECE, 1978

A.J.P. “Sonny” Launey, M.S. CIVE, 1969; CIVE, 1968

Gary P. Luquette, CIVE, 1978

Max Merrick, CIVE, 1965

Donald Mosing, MCHE, 1950

Kam K. Movassaghi, CIVE, 1963

Nick Pugh, EECE, 1968

Ali Saberioon, PETE, 1981

For more information about the College of Engineering, visit 

Photo:University President Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, Honoree Rod E. Vargas, Honoree Richard C. Sealy, Honoree James (Jim) Poché, College of Engineering Dean Dr. Mark Zappi at the Alumni Wall of Honor ceremony on December 12, 2017. Photo: Lucius Fontenot

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