Honored Alumni


Kim Clower, MSCS 1987

was named the Distinguished Engineering Alumni for CSCE in April 2012 and also a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni for 2012. Kim worked in the field of special education before deciding to return to pursue a master's degree in computer science. After graduating, she started her career at DataTronics as a senior systems analyst and programmer. In 2000, she joined Dell's IT organization as director of Application Development and Account Management. In this position, she was responsible for project management and solutions delivery for Dell's Logistics and Distribution function and for software development staff and application development in support of Dell manufacturing facilities. In 2005, Kim joined Hewlett-Packard as the Vice President for Business Operations, Security in Infrastructure. In this position, she has was responsible for over 1200 members of the IT organization and 180 projects in the Imaging and Print Group. Currently, Kim has global responsibility for all applications used by HP's consumer call centers. She is HP's Executive Sponsor for the U of A. In this role, she visits campus at least once a semester with an HP team to recruit, meet with the faculty, and build collaborations. This year, Kim was HP's representative to the Information Technology Research Institute Executive Forum, an industrial advisory board that meets on campus twice yearly to give advice to ITRI.

Charles Jeffers, CENG 2002

was named the Young Engineering Alumni for CSCE in April 2011 and also a College of Engineering Young Alumni for 2011. As Hershey’s technical lead for the Wal-Mart account, he has built a very successful career applying technology to business. His professional accomplishments have led to measurable improvements in Hershey’s sales volume and efficiency. In addition to his professional success, Charles is dedicated to life-long learning. Since graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, Charles has earned three graduate degrees (two from Walton College and one from the College of Engineering).

Rex Eads, CSEG 1987

was named the Distinguished Engineering Alumni for CSCE in April 2011 and also a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni for 2012. He founded his own company, Cascade Consulting, in 1989. While acting as the founder, president, and CEO, Cascade Consulting grew steadily, receiving recognition from Deloitte and Touche as one of the fastest growing high-tech companies in the state of Washington and also one of the fastest growing private companies in Portland, Oregon. Ultimately, Cascade became the second largest IT staffing company in Portland, Oregon and was acquired by Cascade ROI in 2002. Since selling his company in 2002, Rex has used his entrepreneurial expertise to help foster a series of small, startup companies in market segments ranging from folding kayaks to wood finishing products to social media.

Gary Dowdy, CSEG 1988

was given the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award for CSCE in April 2010. Gary Dowdy is a world-leading expert in the use of information technology for business development. Upon graduation from the University of Arkansas with a Computer Science Engineering degree in 1988, Gary co-founded two high-tech startups in Arkansas. The first, Intelec Systems, a systems integration firm, grew from $1,000 in startup money in 1988 to over $1 million in sales within a decade. The second, Apiary, Inc., created software and development tools for Windows and Internet applications. It expanded to provide software and support to corporate customers in over 40 countries.

More recently, Gary Dowdy has been a groundbreaker in the eHealth field, developing solutions for the healthcare industry to enable them to use the Internet effectively for marketing, communications, and healthcare delivery. While at Cardinal Health, he grew their Internet marketing presence to $12 billion in online sales for 2007. Currently with Attevo, he provides consulting expertise around the world to help companies become more productive and sustainable by facilitating the use of technology in business process optimization and enterprise solutions.

Ben Hood, CENG 2002

was given a College of Engineering Young Alumni Award in April 2012. After graduating from the University of Arkansas with degrees in Computer Engineering and Physics in 2002, Ben received a Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. While working with Dr. Kenny Wood and Prof. Andrew Collier Cameron, Ben completed a Ph.D. in astrophysics covering the search for and simulation of extrasolar planets. During this time he published academic papers on the search for planets in galactic cluster NGC 6940 and a simulation of the atmosphere of HD 209458b. At St. Andrews he also met and proposed to fellow Marshall Scholar, now Courtney Mills Hood. They both moved to Washington DC at the end of 2005, and were married there in 2006. Ben then worked with Sara Seager at the Carnegie Institution of Washington to further develop code to simulate extrasolar planetary atmospheres, before taking a position at AOL in 2007. There he has worked as a product manager for Uncut Video, AOL Video, and most recently Winamp, where he was the senior product manager in charge of the music client used by over 80 million people worldwide.

Gaven Smith, CSEG 2000

was given a College of Engineering Young Alumni Award in April 2012. He has almost 13 years of experience as a technical manager and developer. He was promoted to Product Manager after only 2 years as a software developer at Acxiom Corporation. In that position, he was responsible for product support for over $150 million of business revenues. After just one year in that position, he was promoted to Team Leader in 2004, leading a team of 23 developers and testers. His team was responsible for releasing software used by six different units within Acxiom, spread across seven different companies. As recognition of his contributions, one year later he was promoted again, becoming a Technical Unit Leader in 2005, leading 25 - 50 associates in four locations. In this role, he provided oversight two product suites as well as Acxiom's Research and Development unit. His technical expertise and attention to detail lead to a 20% improvement in Acxiom's key matching algorithm and the marketing solution he created has grown to over $2 million in revenue. His management skills were recognized by his peers and employees, and he received an 88% leadership approval rating over each of the last four years at Acxiom.

In 2008, Gaven joined J.B. Hunt Transport Services as an Information Services Manager, leading a rapid response team supporting J.B. Hunt's dedicated clients. In record time, even for Gaven, he was promoted to Director of Information Services after just one month. In his current position, Gaven leads an application development group consisting of three teams, all of whom support J.B. Hunt's brokerage and marketing divisions.

In addition to his professional achievements, Gaven actively contributes to his community. His wide-ranging volunteer activities include youth, the economically disadvantaged, and medical charities. Gaven also maintains his ties to the University of Arkansas. Throughout his career, he has promoted the CSCE department, helping to place many of our graduates at Acxiom or J.B. Hunt. He also is on the statistics team for the U of A sports team and, most recently, has joined the CSCE Industrial Advisory Board.