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Statler College professors receive Distinguished Mountaineer Awards

Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan and Kenneth Means

Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan and Kenneth Means received the Distinguished Mountaineer Award.

Two professors from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources were selected as recipients of the Distinguished Mountaineer Award from the office of Governor Jim Justice. 

Story by Brittany Furbee, Communications Specialist
Photos by Paige Nesbit, Director of Marketing


Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, professor of industrial and management systems engineering, was selected for his contributions to the West Virginia University Industrial Assessment Center, for which he has served as the assistant director and director for the last 30 years. Through WVU IAC, Gopalakrishnan has conducted numerous assessments on energy, water, waste, manufacturing and more for commercial facilities throughout the State and beyond. His assessments have produced significant energy and cost savings for numerous organizations.  

Under his leadership, the WVU IAC has won two Center of Excellence Awards from the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, he has played a role in helping countless energy efficiency and manufacturing engineers graduate from the Statler College, many who have assumed key leadership positions in their professions.   

“I am happy to receive this award and honor from the Governor and the West Virginia Office of Energy,” Gopalakrishnan said. “My passion is to continue to generate energy, water and waste reduction savings and productivity improvement for WV businesses, thus helping to increase workforce and economic development within the State, resulting in jobs and growth of the business sector.”  

Kenneth Means, professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was selected for his teaching and research contributions to the WV Office of Energy. As a professor for over 40 years, Means helped save millions of kilowatt hours and cubic feet of natural gas through innovative projects produced in conjunction with his students for industry and state agencies.  

For 22 years, Means has also served as the primary investigator for Projects for Industry, a grant sponsored by the WV Office of Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy. This grant allows senior engineering students to work on projects related to energy saving solutions and manufacturing improvements for schools and industry as part of their capstone project, allowing students to gain real world experience while also saving money for various organizations. The program was recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as one of the top programs in the nation to bring real world engineering into the classroom. 

“The Projects with Industry program has been a major part of my academic career,” Means said. “It has been a pleasure working with the students and the companies and institutions in West Virginia. There are a wide variety of industries in our state that send products worldwide. To be able to help these companies be more competitive in the world market is very rewarding.”  

Gopalakrishnan and Means were both honored during the 2022 West Virginia Governor’s Energy Summit, on October 24, in Roanoke.  



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135