Gonzalez, who has been a faculty member since 1998, when the engineering program was still just a department, was named dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science (COECS) earlier this month.
"It makes a lot of things come together from when I first set foot on this campus," he said. "I love the work that we do, that everybody does here. It's a tremendous opportunity to make a difference, and to me, this is another echelon in the ability to make a difference, to help not only the students, but also the faculty."
Gonzalez has held several leadership positions on campus. He has served as associate dean first of the College of Science and Engineering since 2004, and the COECS since it formed in 2010, as well as interim director of the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center and interim vice provost for Research and Sponsored Projects.
He has received the annual Provost’s Awards in International Issues and Latin American Studies and was appointed in 2012 as the Louis A. Beecherl Jr. Endowed Professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Gonzalez has been instrumental in many manufacturing and educational programs, including the formation of the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center, the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative (NAAMREI) and educational partnerships with universities in China and South Korea.
Gonzalez earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Houston.
"Dr. Gonzalez has significant and relevant administrative experience to excel in his new role as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science," said Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTPA provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. "He has an excellent professional record, as measured by his publications, externally funded projects, and service to the community; and he is deeply committed to our students, the college, UT Pan American, and The Rio Grande Valley."
The new dean said he is honored the University gave him this appointment and he plans to help the college grow in prestige in academics and industry.
"We want our college to be a college of choice for engineering students, and we're going to work very hard for that, and by doing that we need to work with the region and lead the region in their needs for technology and innovation," Gonzalez said. “I feel this college will play a major role in generating jobs and generating opportunities for the region to have new technology-based economic development. We'll be able to establish a level of stature that will help us grow both in the technical sense and in the educational sense, the ability to educate more students, and make a greater impact on the region, because it's not just about graduating a whole bunch of engineers, it's providing opportunities for them once they graduate.”