Brian McKeeEvery year at spring commencement, the Cockrell School of Engineering honors its alumni with the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards. The Distinguished Engineering Graduate and the Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate awards are the highest honors that the Cockrell School bestows on its alumni.

Established in 1957, the Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award (DEG) recognizes honorees as highly respected professionals, dedicated engineers and supporters of higher education. Including this year's honorees, 260 alumni have been selected for this award.

Alumnus Brian M. McKee, BS ASE 1980, is one of six alumni selected to receive a 2014 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

Brian M. McKee is co-founder and chairman of Millennium Engineering and Integration Company (MEI), a high-end engineering contractor providing expertise to the Army, Air Force, Navy, Missile Defense Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Secretary of Defense and NASA.

McKee received his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in 1980.

McKee provides the company's long-range vision and growth strategy, relying on his extensive technical experience in flight test planning analysis, modeling, simulation and testing of new technologies for launch vehicles, spacecraft and missile defense weapons systems. MEI has multiple offices around the country and dozens of government contracts.

Prior to founding MEI in 1995, McKee managed and directed the testing of eight prototypical kinetic energy weapon projectiles at Edwards Air Force Base, in Lancaster, California. He participated in the design and development of several test facilities and programs.

Brian McKee with students
Above: Brian McKee (far right back row) is shown here with members of the Women in Aerospace for Leadership Development student organization.

He is passionate about encouraging underrepresented students to pursue aerospace engineering. Personally and through MEI, McKee has provided more than 40 scholarships over four years to recruit and retain female students in the Cockrell School's Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. He has supported undergraduate research positions in the department's Texas Spacecraft and Air Systems Design labs. Additionally, MEI is the biggest benefactor for the Women in Aerospace for Leadership and Development (WIALD) student group, providing technical and financial support to enable the students to build and launch satellites and rocket payloads.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, McKee started Operation Enduring Respect, a nonprofit that brings disabled and injured veterans to sporting events, including UT Austin football games.