Beech Grove High School has named Dr. Richard E. Stamper as its Alumnus of the Year, and if all of his honors, professional affiliations and accomplishments were to be published, several more pages would be needed.
From his current position as interim vice president of academic affairs and professor of mechanical engineering and engineering management at Rose-Hulman Institute Technology to his stint as a design engineer at General Electric, Richard has been viewed as a leader in the engineering world.
But before making a name for himself, he was a member of the first swim team at Beech Grove High.
“Swimming had several significant impacts on my life,” he said. “The first was when I snapped my tibia and fibula on a diving board one night in July between my sophomore and junior year after an evening of life guarding at the pool. I’m not sure if Oskar Vuskalns still teaches at Beech Grove, but I believe I was reaching back for a ball that he threw when I broke my leg. I was in a hip-to-toe cast from July until December.
“Swimming provided one of the best moments of my life in 1991. I was swimming laps late one evening at the YMCA in Bloomington when there was a cute woman in the lane next to me. It became apparent that we each had a competitive streak as we swam faster when we were near each other. Well ... that lady (Anne) and I were married nine months later, and we moved to Japan, where I had a one-year job assignment with General Electric.
She took a leave of absence from law school, which she finished when we returned,” Stamper said. The couple have two children, Grant, 17, and Matt, 15.
“My freshman roommate at Rose-Hulman was Mike Buccieri, another Beech Grove alum. “He’s a great engineer who designs medical equipment for Hill-Rom. He returns to Rose-Hulman to recruit for Hill-Rom. His son, Bryan, also attended Rose-Hulman, and he helped me coach a First Lego League robotics team.”
After graduating cum laude from Rose Hulman in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Stamper earned his master’s and Ph.D in mechanical engineering from Purdue and the University of Maryland in 1988 and 1997, respectively.
His research interests include design methodologies, product design and kinematics of mechanisms and parallel manipulators. As a testament to his outstanding research work, he was qualified for nearly $2.7 million in grants.
He has taught such classes as advanced graphical communications and kinematics, design for manufacturing and methodologies, engineering failures, statics and systems design, intellectual property for engineers and scientists and machine design and dynamics.
Stamper was first introduced to the engineering world when serving as an electronics technician for Wavetek in Beech Grove during the summer of 1982. The following summer he was a design assistant for Dresselaar Manufacturing, a small machine shop in Bargersville.
He served as a resident assistant at Rose-Hulman his junior and senior years.
After graduating he accepted as position as general manager of Proctor & Gamble in Green Bay, Wis.
He was employed by GE from May 1988 to November 1994 and held such positions as a research assistant, manufacturing management program trainee, design engineer in Yohohama, Japan, where he studied the design methodologies of the Toshiba Appliance Engineering Laboratory and conducted experiments on home refrigeration condenser and defrost system performance, and design team leader in Louisville, Ky., which included leading a team of engineers and technicians in the design and introduction of home refrigeration products for the Japanese market. He also worked in Bloomington, Ind., and Fort Wayne.
Stamper was employed by the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland from January 1995 to August 1997 and developed models for the kinematics, dynamics, control and design of a novel parallel manipulator.
He taught and conducted research at the Auburn University Mechanical Engineering Department from September 1997 to August 1998.
He has been president of Stamper Medical Technologies Inc. in Terre Haute since 2002. The company has developed an adaptive halo orthosis and other medical devices.
Stamper was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia for one semester in 2009 and taught two engineering courses aboard the M.V. Explorer while stopping at ports like Halifax, Canada; Cadiz, Spain; Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Piraeus, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; Alexandria, Egypt; and Casablanca, Morocco.
He joined Rose-Hulman as an associate professor in 1998 and became a full professor in 2010.
A widely published author, Stamper has joined forces with various scholars to pen noteworthy works and to conduct presentations.
His professional training includes numerous workshops with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
He has two patents and has been named Rose-Hulman’s Teacher of the Year once and Professor of the Year three times. Other honors include being featured in “Princeton Review’s” “Best 300 Professors” in 2012; winning Purdue’s Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award in 2011; and being named Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award by the American Society for Engineering Education in 2001.