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WVU Tech announces Golden Bear Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award and Presidential Award winners

Ahead of its upcoming homecoming celebration, West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) has announced the inaugural Golden Bear Alumni Association (TGBAA) Outstanding Alumni Award and Presidential Award winners.  Paul Mattox and James “Jim” Piercy are the TGBAA Outstanding Alumni Award recipients and the Presidential Award winner is Edward L. “Ed” Robinson.

  A photo with three headshots side by side; Paul Mattox, Jim Piercy and Ed Robinson are pictured.

Pictured left to right: Paul Mattox, Jim Piercy and Ed Robinson

Paul Mattox graduated from WVU Tech in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in engineering from Marshall University.

He began his career at the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) as a co-op student in 1979 and worked with the DOH until 1987. He’s also worked with numerous engineering firms before being appointed the West Virginia Commissioner of Highways in 2005, and as acting Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WV DOT) in 2006. He served dual roles as Cabinet Secretary of the WV DOT and Commissioner of Highways until his retirement in 2017. He is the longest-serving Transportation Secretary and Highways Commissioner in West Virginia history. Mattox has held many leadership roles and is a registered professional engineer in six states.

Mattox has won numerous accolades and awards, including being recognized as a Marshall University Distinguished Alumni award recipient and being recognized by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin as a Distinguished West Virginian.

He currently chairs the Institutional Board of Visitors for WVU Tech and represents WVU Tech on the West Virginia University Board of Governors. Mattox serves on the Tech Golden Bear Alumni Association Board of Directors as a member of the executive committee and past president. In 2013, he was honored as the commencement speaker at WVU Tech’s commencement ceremonies.

James “Jim” Piercy was born in Clintonville, Greenbrier County. He won the Golden Horseshoe in eighth grade and graduated from Lewisburg High School where he played football. In 1955, he met his wife, Leona, at WVU Tech where they were both students. Piercy served as Student Body President in 1956. Piercy graduated from Tech in 1957 with his bachelor’s degree in engineering. Shortly after graduation, he married Leona and they moved to Charleston, where he worked for Union Carbide as an electrical engineer for 29 years. In 1975, he received his master’s degree in engineering from the College of Graduate Studies in Institute, West Virginia. Piercy was a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard from 1958 to 1987. He received the Commander’s Trophy for being the top graduate in his 1960 Pilot Training Class and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 5,200 flying hours in the C-130 aircraft. 

In 1986, Piercy returned to his alma mater as a faculty member in electrical engineering and technology. He also taught math to those who wanted to pursue their general education development (GED) until 2019. Over the years, Piercy attended many sporting and other school-related events and served as a mentor to many students who came through WVU Tech. He loved being a Golden Bear. 

Jim Piercy passed away at the age of 89 on November 3, 2022. The award will be presented to his family at the awards ceremony in February.

“On behalf of the Piercy family, we would like to thank WVU Tech, its alumni and supporters for this wonderful recognition of our father, James Piercy. He truly loved WVU Tech and being a Golden Bear as a student and alumnus, and later returning as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology. His school was truly special to him. We are so grateful that his legacy can live on through this wonderful honor given to him by the WVU Tech community,” says Jennifer Piercy, Jim’s daughter.

The inaugural Presidential Awardee is Edward L. “Ed” Robinson. Robinson, a Putnam County native, earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from WVU Tech in 1969. After ten years of working for the West Virginia Division of Highways, he founded E.L. Robinson Engineering (ELR) with three other employees in 1978. Robinson obtained a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1981 from West Virginia University and was awarded an honorary Doctorate from WVU Tech in 2002.

Under Robinson’s leadership, ELR has grown into a highly diversified engineering and surveying firm with hundreds of full-time employees and support personnel with offices in six states. Their corporate office is still in Cross Lanes, where he began the business. A small surveying firm at its inception, ELR now offers a complete range of services, including construction management, transportation, utility, geotechnical, bridge and structural engineering, surveying, land planning, landscape architecture and site development.

Robinson is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where he’s served in state and national leadership roles. He was named Engineer of the Year for ASCE (1998) and the WVSPE (1997). He received the Tech Alumni of the Year Award for the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering in 1992. He was recently recognized with a Distinguished West Virginian Award by WV Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston on behalf of Governor Jim Justice.

After 45 years at the helm of his business, Robinson retired in 2023 and now enjoys his time at home in Lewisburg with his wife April, golfing and working with their horses. He also has two daughters.

Piercy, Mattox and Robinson will be honored at the alumni award reception along with the winners of the Nelson Distinguished Young Alumni, Alumni of the Year and Golden Bear Empowerment Faculty awardees on February 9, 2024, at The Resort at Glade Springs. These winners will also be honored at the basketball games on February 10, 2024, at the Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center. For more WVU Tech homecoming information and to buy tickets to the Alumni Awards event, visit