Sheldon Parent
Presidential Award of Excellence, 2014

Information Technologist II

When our mechanical engineering students are racing toward the finish line with a major project, they can count on having a seasoned professional in pit row with all the tools and technical expertise they need to succeed.

In the case of Sheldon Parent, we mean that literally.  Sheldon provides technical support to the UNH Precision Racing team, which designs and builds a Formula 1-style race car each year for international competition. He also goes on the road with the team to help with equipment challenges. And he provides similar support to the UNH AeroCats, which builds a large scale model airplane for collegiate competitions.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Sheldon’s contributions is that so many of them are beyond his job description. Officially, he maintains equipment and computers, oversees the mechanical engineering machine shop and manages the department’s software library.

But when students desperately need parts fabricated for a race car, Sheldon runs the sophisticated machinery to create them. This is no small task. It requires him to program computerized machinery which takes 8 to 12 hours to make a single part. Often, this means Sheldon works long hours and weekends. And race cars have many components.  His selfless dedication sets a tremendous example that these students take into the workforce.

Likewise, our faculty researchers count on Sheldon’s expertise in countless ways. For example, when UNH received highly sensitive, complex equipment to measure how structures deform under strains, Sheldon agreed to be the point person. Today, his expertise in this area continues to inform research across the college.

Not surprisingly, Sheldon also supports the state’s youngest engineers at the UNH Tech Camp, a summer program for students in grades 6 through 10.

Finally, day-to-day in our machine shop throughout each semester, you can find Sheldon staying late to instruct our students on the proper and safe use of tools, large machinery and testing equipment. As he knows - and they learn - safety comes first.

About This Award

All members of the university community, including leadership, supervisors & managers, peers, colleagues and students may nominate any qualified staff member by completing the Presidential Award of Excellence nomination form online or by requesting a paper application from Human Resources and forwarding it to the Presidential Award of Excellence Peer Review Committee, c/o Human Resources, Nesmith Hall each year by the deadline.