Joe Fakult chats with students at the Junior Senior Scholarship Reception in 2018.
New leader for new times
Joe Fakult assumes the presidency of an alumni association on the rise.
Joe Fakult’s long record of service to the Case Alumni Association hit its zenith July 1, when he assumed the presidency of the Board of Directors. Fakult ’90, a mechanical engineer and Product Line Lead for Safran Electrical & Power, will lead the CAA into the post-pandemic era.
He’s a former vice president of the board and a recognizable figure to the many young alumni who have received scholarships from the Case Alumni Foundation. Fakult, who embarks upon a two-year term, chaired the scholarship committee for nearly a decade.
He succeeds Sunniva Collins, MS ’91, PhD ’95, an Associate Dean of the Case School of Engineering and an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She steps into the role of President Emeritus.
Fakult said Collins and other officers left a strong organization that is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic with momentum. The endowment, which has grown steadily in recent years, reached $84 million at the end of the fiscal year in June. Board members are active on key committees, Fakult observed, and generous donors continue to support the organization. The CAA, in turn, has increased its support of the school and its students.
“The Case Alumni Association seems to be in a very good place, with a skilled staff, and well-governed by a qualified board,” he said. “Coming in as president, it’s really a matter of preserving the best things that we do and continuing to improve.”
Fakult said he’s looking forward to meeting and supporting the new CWRU president Eric Kaler, an engineer, and to seeing fellow alumni at Homecoming in October—the first live event for the CAA in more than a year.
CAA is the oldest independent alumni association of engineering and applied science graduates in America. Fakult became active in the association upon its 125th anniversary—in 2009. He joined the scholarship committee and soon became its chair. Across a decade, he personally interviewed and helped to award scholarships to an estimated 1,400 students.
A resident of the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby Hills, Fakult has deep roots at Case. His sister, Jennifer Fakult ’96, earned her degree in chemical engineering, was active in the CAA and invited him to the organization. His wife, Sandra, graduated from CWRU in 1990 and from the CWRU School of Medicine in 1994. His son, Luke, followed his path to Case, earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 2018. Another son, Nathan, is now following his mom’s path to the School of Medicine.
A new slate of officers also started two-year terms June 30. They are:
- 1st Vice President: Brian Casselberry ’95, Senior Lead Engineer, Swagelok
- 2nd Vice President: Matt Crowley ’08, Chief Executive Officer, Signal Cortex
- 3rd Vice President: Curtis Grant ’11, MEM ’12, Product Manager, Progressive Insurance
- Treasurer: Frank Merat ’72, MS ’75, PhD ’78, Emeritus Associate Professor Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Case School of Engineering
- Assistant Treasurer: Hillary Emer ’07, MSE ’07, Principal, Slalom Consulting
- Secretary: Steve Simmons ’79, MS ’82, PhD ’86, Senior Manager of Solutions Engineering, the Stefanini Group