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Sanford Oda

Publish Date: August 21, 2018
Group Photo

Left to right: Karla Zarate-Ramirez, University of Hawai‘i Foundation, Executive Director of Development, College of Engineering and College of Natural Sciences; Wendell Oda, Sanford Oda’s brother; Alison Bowman, Sanford Oda Memorial Scholarship Recipient 2017; Kris Allegood, Pond

When Sanford M. Oda started his career at the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) he probably never realized how his every day approach to tackling issues and creating innovative engineering solutions would affect and motivate others. One of those individuals influenced by Sanford is Pond’s Vice President of Military Fueling, Kris Allegood.

Sanford M. Oda, graduated from the University of Hawai‘i with a degree in mechanical engineering, and was highly respected in the tight-knit Air Force and fuels community. Arguably, he was a legend in the Department of Defense Fuels world, and was known for his tenacity and passion about delivering systems that satisfied the needs of the war fighter.

One of Kris’s early experiences with Sanford came during a project in South Korea. He was tasked with a repair for two systems at Kunsan Air Base. The systems didn’t match the current Air Force standards and the client project manager was hoping for a quick and simple fix. Standing on principal and the safety of the war fighter, Oda would not accept this “band-aid” approach. Instead, he challenged the engineering team for better solutions, a repair that would match fueling and operating standards.

“That night I had a lightning flash of an idea, removing a section of pipe and reversing the flow direction in a secondary piece of pipe would result in a traditional loop arrangement,” said Allegood. “I won’t forget that moment when Sanford smiled and said, ‘YES, that is what I am looking for!’”

Kris was not the only engineer fortunate enough to work with Sanford: “He was very knowledgeable about the field of fueling engineering and he would always put the mission first, making sure each project had the materials needed to accomplish the required performance.” said Jimmy Brasch, a Pond fueling engineer.

Sadly, Sanford would pass away at the age of 52, leaving generations of young engineers without the opportunity to receive his advice and mentorship. Disappointed that he didn’t get to spend more time with his mentor, Allegood looked for a way to honor Sanford, and provide opportunities for future engineers. Thus the Sanford M. Oda Scholarship Fund was created at the University of Hawai‘i. Each recipient is a reflection of the Scholarship’s namesake, and stands as a testament to the College of Engineering for their excellence in teaching and research which spans over a century.

“Scholarships such as the Sanford Oda Scholarship both rewards students for excelling as well as help students struggling to pay for tuition and living costs. Named scholarships also highlight for the students and the community the positive impact engineers can have on those they mentor.” Dean H. Ronald Riggs – University of Hawai‘i. Today, Kris donates his time to the university and keeps in touch with Sanford’s brother Wendell Oda, the local scholarship sponsor. Recently he also had the opportunity to meet with the newest scholarship recipient, Alison Paige Bowman. “I am always was happy to spend time at the University, and really enjoyed meeting Alison and to hear about her studies. Our meeting served as a reminder of the mentorship Sanford had given to so many others in our profession.”

“This scholarship has allowed me to continue my studies in Mechanical Engineering. Kris has been an amazing mentor and I cannot thank him enough for this opportunity.”

– Alison Paige Bowman

Story by Erik Grandowski, CPSM | Vice President

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