Andrew Bieniawski named 2017 Outstanding Engineering Alumnus

March 27, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. ­– Andrew Bieniawski ('89 NucE), has been named a 2017 Outstanding Engineering Alumnus by the Penn State College of Engineering.

Bieniawski is vce president, Material Security and Minimization at Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner that works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with weapons of mass destruction and disruption – nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cyber. NTI develops, shapes, and implements nuclear security projects and builds global awareness of these threats.

Established in 1966, the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by the college and recognizes graduates who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement. 

Bieniawski, along with the college’s other 11 recipients, will receive his award at a ceremony April 20 at the Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus of Penn State.

At NTI, he leads key projects related to nuclear materials security and minimization, including the Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities, the IAEA/NTI Nuclear Fuel Bank and NTI’s International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.  He is also an expert in radiological threat reduction.

Prior to joining NTI in July 2014, Bieniawski spent 25 years serving in senior-level positions with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

From 2012 to 2014, he was the acting principal assistant deputy administrator for NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. In that position, he oversaw a staff of more than 240 employees and an annual budget in excess of $2 billion.

From 2004 to 2012, Bieniawski led the U.S. government’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). Under his leadership, GTRI significantly accelerated efforts and removed more than 5,070 pounds of dangerous highly enriched uranium and plutonium from vulnerable locations around the world – enough material for terrorists to make more than 80 nuclear weapons. During this time, he provided direct oversight to ensure the safe and successful completion of 21 highly complex operations to remove vulnerable nuclear material in more than 15 countries, including Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Mexico and Hungary.  As a result of his efforts, Bieniawski received the Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Award in 2009 from President Obama.

From 2001 to 2004, Bieniawski served simultaneously as the executive director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office in Moscow and as the senior U.S. Department of Energy official in Russia.

Upon his retirement from government service in June 2014, he received the DOE Distinguished Career Service Award and NNSA Gold Medal.

Bieniawski holds a master of arts in international relations from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

He lives in Virginia with his wife, Ann, a Penn State graduate with a degree in architectural engineering. Their son, Austin, is a junior in mechanical engineering at Penn State, a Schreyer Honors Scholar and a member of the Naval ROTC program. Their daughter, Lauren, is a junior in high school and plans to study nursing at Penn State.


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Chris Hennessey

Andrew Bieniawski

Andrew Bieniawski is vce president, Material Security and Minimization at Nuclear Threat Initiative.



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519