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Oklahoma State University

Two members of OSU's Industrial Assessment Center receive awards

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Left to right: Akshaya Satpute Naik, Dr. Hitesh Vora and Pragya Niraula display their awards from U.S. Department of Energy for their outstanding accomplishments in promoting practices, principles and procedures with the Industrial Assessment Center.

One current and one former member of Oklahoma State University’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) are being recognized by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the 2019 IAC Student and Alumni awards.

The IAC student award is presented to an individual student (undergraduate or graduate) for outstanding accomplishments in promoting practices, principles and procedures which increase a company’s efficiency and productivity. The alumni award is given to an individual for continuing to promote these ideals after their IAC experience. 

The OSU IAC opened in 1982 and recently was recognized as the only IAC in the country that has completed over 1,000 assessments. According to the DOE’s IAC database, the OSU IAC has contributed over $300 million in energy cost saving implementations since its inception. 

The mission of OSU’s IAC, one of the 28 IACs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is to provide small- and medium-sized manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments. These assessments help to reduce energy and waste, and increase their productivity and efficiency. The assessments are also used to provide students with hands-on education and training which will help them prepare to become the next energy, waste and productivity professionals. 

Pragya Niraula, a master’s student in school of Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM), and Akshaya Satpute Naik, an IEM alumnus, are being recognized as an Outstanding Student and Distinguished Alumni of the IAC program, respectively. 

Niraula received a master’s degree in energy engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, and is working toward her master’s in industrial engineering at Oklahoma State. She is the lead student at the OSU IAC and has been for the last two semesters.

During her time with the IAC, she has performed 16 assessments and has helped the IAC expand its assessment repertoire to include a quality control improvement assessment. 

Dr. Hitesh Vora, the director of the OSU IAC, praises Niraula for her attention to detail as “she notices site conditions that other IAC employees sometimes miss, such as compressed air leaks, abnormal control settings and contradictions between two different measuring methods.” 

Akshaya Satpute Naik graduated from OSU in 2013 with a Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management, and has worked at Nexant, Inc. for over five years, the last two as the lead engineer for their energy assessment group.

She has completed over 60 assessments and is part of the largest and award winning Small Business Energy Savings Program in the country. Naik has implemented several innovative ideas while at Nexant, one being an online tool that can process a project from the application stage to payment. 

“We are delighted that the IAC, which was launched several decades ago under the leadership of IEM Emeritus Professor, Dr. Wayne Turner, is still going strong under the leadership of Dr. Kolarik until recently, and now Dr. Vora”, said Dr. Sunderesh Heragu, department head for IEM.  “Kudos to Pragya and Akshaya who have helped more than a thousand companies utilize energy efficiently, while saving financial resources and helping the environment.” 

These representatives of Oklahoma State University are two of just six IAC affiliated engineers to receive awards in 2019 for their contributions. 

“Working at the IAC at Oklahoma State University is and will always be the best education I could have ever received to be a successful professional in the energy efficiency industry,” Naik said. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Hopper | CEAT Marketing | 405-744-2745 | jeff.hopper@okstate.edu

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