Mechanical engineering alumni society honors Alan Thrift with Early Career Award


Alan Thrift, a 2011 mechanical engineering alumnus received the Penn State Mechanical Engineering Alumni Society (PSMES) 2016 Outstanding Early Career Engineering Award. This award, in its second year, recognizes a high achieving mechanical engineering alumnus who is within 10 years of his or her terminal degree.

“I’m both honored and humbled to receive this early career engineering award,” Thrift said. “No one succeeds in life without the help and support of others. Receiving this award reminds me of that. I’m very grateful to all those who have helped me reach this point in my career.”

Thrift received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his master’s degree from Virginia Tech. He received his doctoral degree from Penn State.

Thrift is an integrated product team lead at Siemens Energy, Inc. His responsibilities include redesigning turbine blades and vanes, leading turbine design programs, leading turbine test campaigns, implementing cost saving measures and supporting and resolving manufacturing issues. His most recent accomplishment was leading a turbine redesign project, which was completed in an unprecedented amount of time.

Thrift is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He is on the ASME K-14 Heat Transfer Committee. He is a reviewer for the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) Turbo Expo conferences and has served as a session chair and co-chair for IGTI Turbo Expo conferences. Thrift also contributes to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program through the Siemens outreach program.

PSMES intended the early career award as a complement to the Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumni Awards, bestowed by the College of Engineering. The goal of the award is to celebrate the exceptional career accomplishments of recent graduates, especially technical or research advancements, leadership contributions, academic achievements, community involvement and humanitarian contributions.

The PSMES Outstanding Early Career Engineering Award recipient is invited to attend the PSMES senior recognition banquet and give the guest presentation. At the March 23 event, Thrift spoke to a room full of faculty, staff, students and alumni about his work.

Thrift’s talk, aimed at the students in the room, focused on the four things that have helped him succeed in his career: maintaining a strong understanding of engineering fundamentals, taking ownership of your task, being open with others and collaborating well.


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Shea Bracken

Alan Thrift

Alan Thrift, a 2011 mechanical engineering alumnus received the Penn State Mechanical Engineering Alumni Society (PSMES) 2016 Outstanding Early Career Engineering Award.



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