People under 40 rarely receive lifetime achievement awards, but University of Arizona systems engineer Ricardo Valerdi is a heavy hitter when it comes to scoring accolades.
The associate professor has received the 2015 Frank Freiman Award from the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association, or ICEAA.
“This is easily the highest honor I have ever received,” Valerdi said.
Named for the father of parametrics and founder of the International Society of Parametric Analysts -- which later became ICEAA -- the Freiman award is the association’s most prestigious honor. It is presented to individuals who have over a lifetime made exceptional contributions to parametric cost estimation. Parametric cost estimation involves developing predictive models for government and private industry to more accurately determine the costs of equipment and service needs.
Valerdi received the award at the ICEAA annual conference on June 12 in San Diego. At 37, he is the youngest-ever recipient of the award since it was first presented in 1982.
“Both personally and professionally, Ricardo Valerdi’s contributions have made him the ideal recipient of the 2015 Frank Freiman award,” ICEAA president Brian Glauser said at the conference awards ceremony. “We are honored to have such an outstanding member of the cost community in our membership.”
The Freiman award caps a string of distinctions in the past year for Valerdi.
In late 2014 he became the first U.S. researcher to receive the international Estimator of the Year Award from Galorath Inc. and the first University of Arizona recipient of a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering.
Game-Changing Software and STEM Programs
Valerdi created the Constructive Systems Engineering Cost Model, or COSYSMO, a systems engineering software program developed using data from defense industry manufacturers including BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. These and other military contractors and multinational corporations such as IBM have since adopted the model.
“Ricardo Valerdi built the original COSYSMO systems and has helped many PhD students in refining it,” said Dan Galorath, president and CEO of Galorath and a longtime Valerdi collaborator. “COSYSMO has benefited the entire defense industry and boosted the visibility and respect for parametric models.”
Engineering colleges at universities around the world have incorporated COSYMO into their curricula. As 2014-2015 U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Valerdi worked with systems engineering faculty and students at the University of Bath to develop COSYSMO for the British military and National Grid public utility.
Valerdi holds visiting faculty posts at several universities and has served on the board of directors of the International Council on Systems Engineering. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics.
Valerdi is also known for creating the Arizona Science of Baseball program, since expanded to the Science of Sport, which turns youngsters onto science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
Working with middle school teachers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Valerdi developed a unique curriculum including classroom lessons and hands-on demonstrations at baseball camps. More than 2,000 sixth- and seventh-graders and their teachers in public schools throughout Arizona have participated in the program, now being expanded to include other MLB teams such as the Anaheim Angels, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Washington Nationals, and other sports such as soccer.
Top picture: UA associate professor Ricardo Valerdi, right, with Galorath Inc. president and CEO Dan Galorath, who nominated him for the ICEAA Frank Freiman Award, at the June 2015 ICEAA annual conference in San Diego.