UNM Department of Mechanical Engineering Mourns Tragic Loss of Class of 2008 Alumnus
1-6-2012. The University of New Mexico Department of Mechanical Engineering mourns the tragic loss of David Reis, who graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2008. David and his sister Karen were killed near San Diego, California on January 1, 2012. David was a Navy pilot who had recently taken his first flight aboard an F-18 fighter jet. The Mechanical Engineering faculty and staff offer their heartfelt condolences to the Reis family for their loss.
In 2007 and 2008, David participated in the three-semester LOBOMotorSports program where students design and build a formula-style race car, then race in the Formula SAE, an international competition encompassing all aspects of the automotive industry. David worked on the design for the brakes and helped with the design for the engine. He also did most of the test driving on the vehicles before competition.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering John Russell, who heads the Formula SAE program, said, "This is such tragic news for the School of Engineering, the Mechanical Engineering Department, and especially for the FSAE team. David loved the thrill of driving and pushing the FSAE cars to their limits. It's easy to see how this laid the groundwork for him flying F-18's in the Navy. David was the ultimate team player."
Michael P. Hullihan was on the FSAE team with David. Now an engineer for Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Michael was very close to David and remembers David as being the best driver on the team as well as many of his other contributions. "David was part of the 'elite 8' who stayed when something had to be done, worked just about every weekend, ate at Wendy's way too much, and just devoted himself fully to making a great car." He continues, "The truly remarkable thing is that he did all that on top of Navy ROTC, an internship at Sandia, and just always being a guy everyone loved to be around. In short, if not for his contribution to the 2008 car, I seriously doubt we would have made it to the competition, much less place so well (24th overall) with one of UNM's smallest ever teams. I hope that through this he can be remembered well by those who may not have heard about the tragedy of this past weekend."
Read more about the team's recollections of David.
According to Lieutenant Patrick McLernon, Nuclear Programs Officer and Instructor in the Naval ROTC Detachment at UNM, Midshipman David Reis was a top performer in the Naval ROTC program, which led to his assignments as Platoon Commander, Logistics Officer, and second in command as the Battalion Executive Officer. He graduated first in his Naval ROTC class in Fall of 2008 and was commissioned as Ensign David Reis, United States Naval Officer in December of 2008. His aptitude and academic success led to his assignment to become a Naval Pilot upon commissioning. All of David's fellow midshipmen and officers within the Naval ROTC unit describe David as a dedicated and compassionate student, professional, and friend. They are proud to have had the opportunity to serve with David in the United States Navy. David was cared for by all members of the University of New Mexico Naval ROTC unit and will be missed.