The Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association will honor Chris Napoleon '86-'88, owner and chief engineer of Napoleon Engineering Services in Olean, N.Y., with its Alumni Award of Distinction.
Lawrence Feick, interim president, will present the award during Commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28.
Napoleon attended Pitt-Bradford for two years before transferring to the Pittsburgh campus to complete a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1990. In 1994, he earned a Master of Science in manufacturing management from Kettering University in Flint, Mich.
“Pitt-Bradford enabled my educational success by providing a nurturing educational experience that prepared me for a challenging and rewarding professional career,” Napoleon said. “I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the Pitt-Bradford community, and I'm honored to receive this prestigious award.”
He started his company in his garage in 1997. Today the company employs 50 people who service the global aerospace, agriculture, renewable energy, drive train and racing industries. NES specializes in manufacturing custom bearings and inspecting and testing bearings. NES is a premier supplier in the commercial space market, where its bearings are used in critical propulsion systems.
Napoleon has paired his commitment to education and his engineering expertise to assist regional manufacturers' workforce challenges. He is a member of the board and is executive director of Dream It, Do It of Western New York, an arm of a national organization that helps to supply a skilled labor force to manufacturers.
Feick said, “Chris has passionately supported his alma mater for many year. We are grateful for all he has done to encourage and inspire our engineering students and are proud of all that Chris has accomplished in his career.”
At Pitt-Bradford, he is a member of the university's Advisory Board. Before that, he served two consecutive terms on the PBAA Board, two years as president, and led the PBAA's strategic planning process in 2012.
Napoleon has consistently supported various fundraising initiatives at his alma mater. Most recently, he has generously supported the Dean Evans Legacy Fund, which provides grants to some students who have an unpaid balance at the end of a term so they can continue their studies.
Besides providing financial support to students, Napoleon enjoys mentoring them. He visits campus annually to talk with engineering students. Additionally, he provides unique opportunities for Pitt-Bradford students as well as other students in the region by offering internships and job shadowing as well as tours of the company. He often represents Pitt-Bradford throughout the Southern Tier of New York by giving presentations.
Napoleon also spreads his volunteer spirit through other aspects of his community. He is a member of the Workforce Development Board, chairman of the Olean General Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, member of the Executive Board of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, president of the Cattaraugus/Olean Airport Support Group, and a participating member of the Olean Executive Alliance.
He and his wife, Melanie, live in Allegany, N.Y.