McKelvey Engineering Awards


The McKelvey Engineering Awards honor the professional accomplishments and service of distinguished alumni and friends.

2022 McKelvey Engineering Awardees. From left: Marcia Brown-Rayford, Rajesh Bhat, Mary Jane King, Verneta Simon and Randy Bateman.

Randall J. Bateman
Alumni Achievement Award

Randall Bateman, MD, is the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology, director of the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) and director of the Knight Family DIAN Trials Unit. His research focuses on the pathophysiology and development of improved diagnostics and treatments of Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2011, Dr. Bateman launched the DIAN-TU Pharma Consortium with major pharmaceutical companies to support and assist in developing trials for autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease. The DIAN-TU trial
is an advanced worldwide adaptive platform that tests therapeutics targeting the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease with the goal to slow, stop or reverse the disease.

As a productive innovator, Dr. Bateman has 47 active or pending patents and is co-founder of C2N Diagnostics, which provides the first high-accuracy blood test for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Bateman has established multiple research consortiums, including the DIAN-TU Pharma Consortium, Tau SILK Consortium, and the NfL Consortium, which are joint academic and industry collaborations to develop biomarkers useful for tracking and staging disease.

Dr. Bateman has received numerous awards, including the Beeson Award for Aging Research, Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Fellows Award, Scientific American top innovator, the Washington University Chancellor’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Potamkin Prize. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Inventors.

He received a scholarship to attend WashU as an undergraduate and remains a dedicated supporter of the university as a Life Eliot Society member.

Dr. Bateman earned bachelor of science degrees in electrical engineering and biology from Washington University in 1996. He earned a doctor of medicine from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 2000 and completed a residency in neurology with Barnes- Jewish Hospital and a clinical fellowship in dementia with the Washington University School of Medicine.


Marcia Brown-Rayford
Alumni Achievement Award

With over two decades of experience, Marcia Brown-Rayford is an expert on research and development transformation, clinical trials optimization and process excellence.

Marcia is the vice president of the Global Life Sciences R&D practice at RGP, a global consulting firm that enables rapid business outcomes by bringing together the right people to create transformative change. In her role, she supports clinical research phases, scale-up, technology transfer and commercial launch of drugs, medical devices and diagnostics.

Prior to RGP, she made significant pharma industry contributions during her 13-year tenure at Merck, leading clinical drug development efforts in various roles, including co-inventing Singulair for asthma, Crixivan for HIV/AIDS, Proscar for prostate cancer, and Heartgard and Ivermectin for animals. She also brings experience from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Life Sciences practice, where she was an executive management consultant for Fortune 100 global pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies. She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Project and Change Management Expert, and an Enterprise Process Professional Master, impacting nearly a half-billion dollars in efficiencies.

In 2019, Marcia launched BrightPath STEAM Academy, a nonprofit organization purposed to bridge the gap for marginalized African American/Black youth and expose them to possibilities in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The academy partners with highly skilled STEAM educators, corporations, universities and the faith-based community to advance the cause.

Marcia serves on the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Council at RGP and the McKelvey School of Engineering EDI committee. Additionally, Marcia has served as an adjunct instructor for Georgia Institute of Technology’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department and as a mentor for its minority students.

Marcia earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Washington University in 1991. She also earned three master of business administration degrees in strategic management, entrepreneurial management and finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Verneta Simon
Alumni Achievement Award

Verneta Simon has been an on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for almost 35 years. In this role, she coordinates all federal efforts with and provides support and information to local, state, and regional response communities. Verneta provides expert leadership to teams responding to environmental emergencies in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota. She has primary responsibility for spills and releases to inland areas and waters. Once a release or spill has been identified, she determines whether federal assistance will be necessary to help control and contain it, and coordinates all aspects of the emergency response.

A passionate leader, Verneta has managed teams responsible for responding to a variety of serious and potentially dangerous environmental issues, including mercury spills, contaminated drinking water, tire fires, chemical plant explosions, train derailments and multi-million-dollar radioactive cleanup. Her career has included work on significant environmental incidents, including Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon and the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster.

Verneta is a trustee of the Western Society of Engineers, and a registered member of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers. She is a former director of the Junior League of Chicago and a former member of the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society.

Since 1985, she has served on Washington University’s Black Alumni Council. She regularly participates in the Alumni Association’s Travel Program, is an Eliot Society Patron member and supports the annual Verneta H. and William D. Simon Jr. Scholarship named in honor and memory of her parents.

Verneta earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Washington University in 1982. She also earned a master of science degree in environmental health engineering and a certificate in executive management for design and construction from Northwestern University.


Rajesh Bhat
Engineering Entrepreneurship Award

Rajesh Bhat is an innovator and entrepreneur who saw a need to transform technology that empowers lenders to open doors for more people. His experience and challenges as a first-time home buyer instilled a passion to increase the transparency and simplicity of the consumer lending journey.

Rajesh co-founded Roostify to provide consumers with an accelerated and streamlined home-lending process. The single, intuitive point-of-sale platform helps lending teams close loans faster, improve margins and deliver a personalized borrower experience. As the chief executive officer of Roostify, Rajesh is responsible for establishing and executing the vision and deliver on the brand promise of “Reinvent Lending. Realize Dreams.”

Rajesh has scaled the company from three employees to over 150 and has crossed major industry milestones. Roostify is one of the top digital lending platforms in the home lending industry and processes over $50 billion a month in loan volume across 200 financial institutions.

Under his leadership, Roostify has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Google Cloud Technology Partner of the Year Award for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the Forbes Cloud 100 Rising Stars Award and is a six-time HousingWire’s Tech100 Award recipient. Rajesh has been recognized twice as a Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneur, a HousingWire Vanguard Award winner and a Mortgage Bankers Association Tech All-Star.

Prior to starting Roostify, Rajesh spent 14 years in management consulting, most recently at Pace Harmon, a boutique transaction advisory firm, where he helped to establish its West Coast practice while working with Fortune 500 companies to define technology strategy. He began his career at Ernst & Young LLP.

As an undergraduate, Rajesh worked in the Alumni Association, the Center for Engineering, and the Engineering Computing Lab. He is a loyal Eliot Society member. He earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Washington University in 1998.



Herman T. & Phenie R. Pott Foundation
Dean's Award

In 1963, Herman T. Pott (1895-1982) and his wife, Phenie R. Pott (1898-1993), established The Pott Foundation. Herman was one of the 20th century's best known and most distinguished river transportation executives and pioneer river industry entrepreneurs. The son of German immigrants, he was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin as a civil engineer in 1916. Beginning in 1933, he developed the St. Louis Shipbuilding & Steel Co. into a thriving enterprise. During World War II, his company constructed ships for the United States and Russia, and by the 1950s, the company was the world's largest designer and builder of inland river towboats. In 1953, Herman purchased the Federal Barge Lines from the government and built the M.V. America and the M.V. United States, the two most powerful towboats in the world. Herman steadily expanded the company and changed its name to Pott Industries Inc. in 1967.

Phenie Hope Ryals Pott was born in Fort Deposit, Alabama. She moved to St. Louis in 1923 where she met and married Herman Pott. Phenie was a long-time volunteer and philanthropist, devoting countless hours of her time to the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary, the Missouri Botanical Garden and Missouri Girls Town, among other organizations.

The Pott Foundation is dedicated to supporting children, education and health and human services in the St. Louis region. Today, the foundation’s grantmaking is managed by an advisory committee comprised of seven members, four of whom are descendants of Herman and Phenie Pott. The foundation distributes impactful grants to more than 100 charities each year. Mary Jane King, a niece of the Potts who earned a master’s degree in social work from Washington University in 1983, is the executive director.

The Pott Foundation has been a generous donor to Washington University and the McKelvey School of Engineering. The foundation has funded annual engineering scholarships since 1994, which have benefited 111 Pott Foundation Scholars to date.