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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > 2004 Executive fo the Year

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

Vance D. Coffman named Technology & Management Executive of the Year

Technology & Management Awards Luncheon is Thursday, December 9, at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona..

TUCSON, Ariz. – December 3, 2004 – Vance D. Coffman has been named the 2004 Technology & Management Executive of the Year by The University of Arizona's Eller College of Management and College of Engineering. Coffman was chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. ( until his retirement in August.

He will be honored at the annual Technology & Management Awards Luncheon (TMAL) on Thursday, Dec. 9. The luncheon begins at noon in The Arizona Biltmore (Phoenix, Ariz.) and celebrates the contributions of high-tech enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures to the economic development of Arizona and the nation.

Coffman joined Lockheed's Space Systems Division as a guidance and control systems analyst in 1967. He led the development of several major space programs and data processing systems and was named president of the Space Systems Division in 1988, where he directed several of the corporation's large projects including the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1998 he was named chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin and in 2002 was appointed chairman of the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. He also was the chairman of the Aerospace Industries Assoc. for the year of 2003.

Coffman earned his bachelor's degree at Iowa State University and master's and Ph.D. degrees at Stanford.

He was selected to receive the Technology & Management Executive of the Year Award because of his leadership role in the aerospace industry, particularly as it relates to space systems.

UA's business and engineering colleges also will honor four other executives at TMAL. All are UA alumni.

  • Peter W. Salter, Lifetime Achievement Award, Eller College — Peter W. Salter is chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Salter Labs in Arvin, Calif. ( He founded Slater Labs in 1975. Since that time, the company has introduced more than 150 medical-care products and expanded operations from California to Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas, Wisconsin, and Juarez, Mexico. Under Salter's leadership, Salter Labs has risen to become a leader in several medical product categories, including respiratory care, anesthesia, and oral drug delivery. The company's products are used daily in acute care, extended care, rehabilitation, and home care worldwide. Salter graduated from UA in 1964 with a degree in history.
  • George Sarlo, Lifetime Achievement Award, College of Engineering — Since 1974, George Sarlo has played a key role in building the Walden Group (, a major, worldwide venture-capital organization. In addition to his current duties as a director of several public and private corporations, he also contributes extensive financial and technical knowledge to WaldenVC's investment portfolio. Sarlo also is chairman of Ashfield & Co., Inc., an investment management company in San Francisco that has approximately $2 billion under management. Sarlo is president of the Sarlo Family Foundation, a trustee of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a member of the University of California San Francisco Foundation, and chairman emeritus of KQED, Inc. He also is a director of Interplast, The International Rescue Committee, and the Joint Distribution Committee. Sarlo earned a bachelor's degree from UA in electrical engineering in 1960. He also has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School.
  • Brian D. Lesk, Distinguished Service Award, Eller College — In 1996, Brian D. Lesk founded Diversified Human Resources, Inc. (DHR) (, which is based in Phoenix, Ariz. DHR is a professional outsource provider to small- and medium-sized businesses and handles much of the administrative paperwork associated with employees. This includes things such as payroll, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation and employee benefit packages. The company also assists clients with risk management and human resource administration. Prior to founding DHR, Lesk succeeded in several entrepreneurial ventures in the restaurant, real estate, and investment industries. With his success in DHR, Ernst and Young named Lesk Arizona's Emerging Entrepreneur for 1999. As an active supporter of philanthropic causes, Lesk was recognized in 1999 as "One of Arizona's Finest" by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Lesk graduated from UA in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
  • John J. Marietti, Distinguished Service Award, College of Engineering — Since 1993, John J. Marietti has served as chairman of the board of Cleaves-Bessmer-Marietti, Inc. (, a major electrical manufacturer's representative based in Kansas City, Mo. From 1983 to 2001, he also was the company's CEO. Marietti has served as president of the Electric League of Kansas and Missouri and as president of the Electrical Equipment Representatives Assoc. In 1997, he received the GEM Award from "Electrical Wholesale" magazine as the person contributing the most to the leadership, integrity, character and development of the electrical industry throughout the United States. Marietti graduated from UA in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.

TMAL Background

TMAL emphasizes the competitive advantage that results from close ties between engineering and business. The event also highlights the collaborative courses and other endeavors being pursued by the engineering and business colleges at UA. These efforts address the need to rapidly move knowledge and ideas from universities to corporations.

Those presenting the awards at the luncheon include Betsey Bayless, director of the Arizona Department of Administration; UA President Peter Likins; Kenneth R. Smith, interim dean of the Eller College of Management; and Thomas Peterson, dean of the College of Engineering.

Past Technology & Management Executives of the Year

The first TMAL awards were presented in 1999. Past winners of the Technology & Management Executive of the Year Award include:

  • 1999 — Craig Barrett, president and chief executive officer of Intel Corp.
  • 2000 — Michael R. Bonsignore, chairman and CEO of Honeywell International.
  • 2001 — Tom Brown, founder and chairman emeritus of Burr-Brown Corp.
  • 2002 — Louise Francesconi, president of Raytheon Missile Systems and Raytheon Co. vice president.
  • 2003 — Nicholas M. Donofrio, IBM's senior vice president for technology and manufacturing.


TMAL sponsors include:

  • Salter Labs
  • Arizona Public Service
  • Diversified Human Resources, Inc.
  • Fluor Corp.
  • Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Mattel, Inc.
  • Raytheon

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #48 in the U.S. The College is among the leaders of business schools generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the 25th ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 750 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and a satellite campus in Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

For additional information, please contact us.