AME Alumni Highlights: Dr. Ozgur Pulat and Victor Tran

AME is delighted to have such talented Alumni who continue to make us proud after graduation. This month, we’re highlighting Dr. Ozgur Pulat, who graduated with his Ph.D. from OU in 2007, and Victor Tran, who received his undergraduate and graduate degree from OU.

Ozgur Pulat, PhD

Current Position:  Engineering Manager, Projects
Business Line:  Subsea Production Systems
Group:  Control Systems
Company:  Schlumberger
Location:  Celle, Germany

I manage a team of Lead Engineers who deliver subsea production control systems to oil companies like BP, Chevron, Total, etc.  My career began in February of 2007 after I graduated from OU with my Ph.D.  I started as a design engineer in new product development, then led an emerging technology project to develop a production reservoir power generation device for completion systems.  I earned two US patents from this work and moved on to become a team leader, then a project manager, and now an engineering manager.  During my career, I have always emphasized proficiency in both technical skills and maintaining strong people skills.  I believe this is what has allowed me to grow in my career and find success in the various positions I have held. During my undergraduate years at OU, I became very fond of learning and research.  I spent 2 years as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Sutton working on the OU supergas product researching alternative fuels.  My love for Fluid Mechanics was found during my first course with Dr. Parthasarathy and grew into my research focus for my Ph.D.  Along the way, I made many friends with whom I still speak today.  I was also involved in the Engineering Club and the Formula Team.

During graduate school, I graciously accepted a GAANN fellowship working on research topics in the area of energy.  My fellowship led me to teach multiple courses like Engineering Dynamics, Fluid Thermal Lab, Fluid Mechanics Lab, and Solid Mechanics Lab.  I believe this is where my passion for teaching and leading first began.  This experience gave me the confidence to know that I could lead and teach people.  This confidence has brought me to where I am today.

One of my favorite memories as an OU student was attending the football games and the Engineers weeks that we used to celebrate.  All the fun culminated in the “Fluid Mechanics Lab” where we would celebrate with our fellow students and teachers.  It really was a great experience.

My graduate degree has really helped me in my career progression.  Working on a graduate research topic required me to learn how to take a complex problem, break it down into smaller problems, and educate myself on the topic.  Additionally, it taught me how to regularly communicate progress to my stakeholders, and communicate confidence in my progress and results.  All of these key lessons have served me very well in my career where I am constantly challenged with new topics that I may not know anything about technology.  Additionally, my graduate degree has given me a profile within my company where people know that I have these skills as I have been able to conduct independent research during my graduate education.  This gives people the confidence in knowing I have the right profile to be trusted with complex problems that are of high priority to my organization.

Victor Tran
Current Position: ISS Flight Controller

Undergraduate and Graduate Experience: BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering.

I started out as an engineer in Flight Test for Boeing. After a couple of years, I transitioned to my current job here at NASA at the Johnson Space Center, where I’ve been for the last six years. In my current role, I support real-time operations in the Mission Control Center (MCC) and mission planning for the International Space Station (ISS) program.

There are a lot of people that can be an expert in something, but not many can clearly and efficiently communicate their thoughts and ideas. My experiences in obtaining my master’s degree allowed me to further develop my critical thinking and communication skills. This has helped me throughout my career, as I’ve built upon these skills, to ensure mission success for any projects I’ve worked on or lead. This has provided me with more opportunities for growth professionally and personally.

One of my favorite memories at OU is getting Sam Bradford’s autograph my freshman year in the South Oval.

Learning doesn’t end when you are done with school. Always be driven to continue to learn and apply that knowledge to the improvement of your team and yourself. And no matter what task you’re given, give it your best effort and be open to feedback.

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