Every once in a while, if we are fortunate enough and are paying attention, we run across a special individual who makes such an impact, they literally change the course of our career or entire life . . . sometimes without even knowing it. Less frequently still, individuals who are thus inspired carry forward the tradition by giving to others in turn.

When Sanford M. Oda started his career at the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), he probably never realized how his everyday approach to tackling issues and creating innovative engineering solutions would motivate others. One of those individuals influenced by Sanford is Pond’s Vice President Kris Allegood.

Sanford M. Oda graduated from the University of Hawai’i with a degree in mechanical engineering and was highly respected in the tight-knit Air Force and fuels community. He was considered a legend in the Department of Defense fuels world, known for his tenacity and passion for delivering systems that satisfied the needs of the warfighter.

One of Kris’s early experiences with Sanford came during a project in South Korea when he was tasked with a repair for two systems at Kunsan Air Base. Although the systems didn’t match the current Air Force standards, the client project manager was hoping for a quick and simple fix. Standing on principal and the safety of the warfighter, Sanford would not accept a shortcut approach. Instead, he challenged the engineering team for better solutions, a repair that would match fueling and operating standards.

“That night I had a lightning flash of an idea:  removing a section of pipe and reversing the flow direction in a secondary piece of pipe would result in a traditional loop arrangement,” said Kris. “I won’t forget that moment when Sanford smiled and said, ‘YES, that’s what I’m looking for!’”

Kris was not the only engineer fortunate enough to work with Sanford: “He was very knowledgeable about the field of fueling engineering and he would always put the mission first, making sure each project had the materials needed to accomplish the required performance,” said Jimmy Brasch, retired US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District.

Sadly, Sanford would pass away at the age of 52, leaving a generation of young engineers without the opportunity to receive his advice and mentorship.

Disappointed that he didn’t get to spend more time with his mentor, Kris looked for a way to honor Sanford by providing opportunities for future engineers. Thus the Sanford M. Oda Scholarship Fund was created at the University of Hawai’i. Each recipient is a reflection of the scholarship’s namesake and stands as a testament to the College of Engineering for their excellence in teaching and research spanning more than a century.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai’i
Left to right: Brennon Morioka, University of Hawai’i | Dean of College of Engineering; Kris Allegood, Pond; Nagahiro Ohashi, Sanford Oda Memorial Scholarship Recipient 2021; Wendell Oda, Sanford Oda’s brother; Song K Choi, University of Hawai’i | Assistant Dean of College of Engineering

Today, Kris donates his time to the University and keeps in touch with Sanford’s brother Wendell Oda, the local scholarship sponsor. In naming the newest scholarship recipient, Nagahiro Ohashi, the University also recognized Kris for playing it forward: “This is all due to the unrelenting efforts of Kris Allegood, a longtime friend of Sanford. He worked tirelessly to get this scholarship established.”

This year, Kris got an opportunity to meet with the scholarship recipient. “I am always happy to spend time at the University and really enjoyed meeting Nagahiro and hearing about his studies. Our meeting served as a reminder of the mentorship Sanford had given to so many others in our profession,” he said.
To donate to the Sanford M. Oda Memorial Scholarship Endowment, visit: https://giving.uhfoundation.org/funds/20492903.

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