Dr. Terri Helmlinger Ratcliff, the first woman to receive an “Engineer of the Year” award from the National Society of Professional Engineers, is an NC State alumna and assistant vice chancellor.
For Ratcliff, who accepted the NSPE’s highest award last month at the national conference in Las Vegas, it’s the latest in a series of firsts. She is the first female executive director of NC State’s Industrial Extension Service and the first woman to be elected NSPE president, serving in 2003-04.
Ratcliff was nominated by the Professional Engineers of North Carolina (PENC) for outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and service at the state and national levels.
The award was first presented in 1949 to President Herbert Hoover, a former mining engineer. Previous recipients have been part of milestones such as the Manhattan Project and the space program from Mercury to Apollo missions.
Ratcliff is the third North Carolinian to receive the award, joining Larry Nixon of Raleigh and William States Lee III of Charlotte.
A registered professional engineer, Ratcliff is president of the PENC Educational Foundation. She was recently elected as the southern zone assistant vice president for the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
Ratcliff is a former vice chairwoman of the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board and past chairwoman of the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Land Surveyors. She joined the board of directors of Mulkey Engineers and Consultants last year.
She serves on the steering committee for the Manufacturers’ Council of the North Carolina Chamber and on the boards of the Southern Technology Council and National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute Education Council.
She earned a B.S. in engineering operations from NC State, an M.B.A. from Duke University and a Ph.D. in public administration from NC State.