TechAlum News

March 1, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 39)

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An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Director of News and Information Services.

In this issue:

  • Husky Tales
  • At da Tech
  • Around Town
  • From the E-mailbag
  • E-mail Updates/Welcome to new subscribers
  • Alumni Chapter Events
  • Job Opportunities
  • Electronic Services for Alumni

Husqi Tales

A number of features of UP winters escaped me when I was a student at Tech. My wife will tell you that is no surprise at all--then or now.

As an example, I remember seeing the Sno-Go, but didn't realize how loud it can be, particularly at 3 a.m., when Hancock likes to do its residential street widening.

But I can't get over the need to shovel the roof. When we first moved back here, a co-worker intimated that the rule of thumb is to shovel the roof every 100 inches. I was up there three times that first winter, doing something I never realized needed to be done--and I hated it. I had visions of my feet missing the top rung of the extension ladder and me taking the express route to the ground.

When we built a house 12 years ago, the builder said there was no need to shovel--the house is built to stand the load. In fact, shoveling would void the warranty on the shingles. Sounded good--real good--to me.

Still, all that roof snow must go somewhere when it melts, like the driveway, where it then freezes overnight. So, until recent years, up on the roof I still would go. Now, I just lay in a supply of ice-melting chemicals.

If you drove by yesterday, though you would have seen me out with the snowblower in 36 degrees and it hasn't snowed for days.

You would also have seen my son on the roof, which would explain everything. He was surprised when given permission to head for the heights. With shovel and snow scoop in hand, he had stern admonitions not to fall off or dig so deep as to hit the shingles. Turns out, there was plenty of snow to move without digging so deep. He had his fun, pushing tons of snow from roof to driveway and even building a snowman on the roof.

Unfortunately, he missed part two of my instructions: that snow removed from the roof must then be removed from the driveway. Because the temperatures soared into the 40s over the weekend, it was some wet, heavy snow. While gravity assisted the first phase of the operation, the second phase would include two guys with shovels and some internal combustion mechanical help.

It was great to be out there in just a sweatshirt, although we came inside wearing eau du Husqvarna, a rare combination of gasoline, exhaust and sweat. While distinctive, the scent is not appreciated by the women in the family. The clothes (and their wearers) were banished to the basement washer and shower, respectively.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of February 28, 2004 

This week Last week Last year
Snowfall to date 207" 201.5 184.5"
On the ground 24" 32" 26"
See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

ENDOWMENT SHOWS GROWTH: In the year ending Dec. 31, the Michgian Tech Fund's endowment portfolio posted an overall return of 26.9 percent. The portfolio, now valued at $48.8 million, serves as a large portion of the university's endowment. Income is used for scholarships, fellowships, faculty support and campus enrichment programs. More:

ADMINISTRATION RECOMMEND PAY RESTORATION: Michigan Tech's administration plans to ask the Board of Control to restore the salaries and wages of those affected by the recent pay cuts, CFO Dan Greenlee told the University Senate Feb. 25. The recommendation comes after a periodic review of general fund revenues and expenditures. Based on the latest figures, the administration has determined that the general fund can be increased by approximately $4 million through transfers between other funds without compromising the university's overall financial condition. More:

GUPTA'S RESEARCH NABS NSF GRANT: Mahesh Gupta's fledgling enterprise has just received a $100,000 vote of confidence in the form of a Small Business Innovative Research Grant from the National Science Foundation. Gupta, an associate professor in ME-EM, started Plastic Flow, LLC, in 2002 to provide consulting services to plastics manufacturers. The firm, located in the Michigan Tech SmartZone, markets Gupta's PELDOM software, which helps take the guesswork out of making extruded plastic products. More:

THREE NOMINATED FOR FEDERAL AWARD: Three undergraduate students have been nominated for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for sophomores and juniors in science, math and engineering. The federal award provides up to $7,500 per year and is intended to encourage undergraduate students to deepen their knowledge of their fields. Each nominee has begun to develop a research agenda and works closely with faculty at Michigan Tech. Winners of the nationwide competition will be announced in April. More:

FOR MORE INFORMATION from Tech, see the weekly newsletter
Tech Topics:

Around Town

SMARTZONE TO RENOVATE FACILITY: The Michigan Tech SmartZone has awarded DP Construction of Chassell the contract to renovate the fourth floor of the old Portage Hospital for use as a business incubator, including wet and dry labs. Officials hope for an early summer completion date or the 12,750 square-foot project.

BizNET LAUNCHED: Keith Johnson, president of ThermoAnalytics, was the featured speaker in the first BizNet meeting Thursday, sponsored by the SmartZone. The monthly networking event will showcase business developments and technological breakthroughs. Johnson discussed some of the technological advances the company is pursuing. The company creates software which details the effects of temperature changes on products.

Development at the White Pine copper refinery's power plant will generate 90 to 100 jobs in coming years, a company official said Tuesday.
White Pine Electric Power, LLC, will open in May and be fully operational in June, general manager Mike Reid told the Ontonagon Chamber of Commerce/ A new biomass generator will be operational in two years, he said. The plant was originally used to power operations at the old Copper Range Mine and surrounding White Pine.

JURY TO HEAR HIT-AND-RUN CASE: A jury will hear the case of a Michigan Tech student charged with five counts in the fatal hit-and-run death of another student. The trial of Christopher Lee Haddix of Midland, Mich., will begin June 14. Haddix is charged with four felonies in connection with the death of Jeremy Larsen, of Scottville, Mich. Charges include operating under the influence of liquor causing death, operating under the influence causing serious injury and two counts of failing to stop at an accident scene that resulted in serious impairment or death.

Sports Results

Hockey (8-21-5 Overall, 6-17-3 WCHA)
2/27 -- at Michigan Tech 4, MSU-Mankato 3
2/28 -- MSU-Mankato 3, at Michigan Tech 2

Men's Basketball (19-6 Overall, 13-5 GLIAC)
2/26 -- at Grand Valley State 83, #13 Michigan Tech 63
2/28 -- at Ferris State 70, #13 Michigan Tech 61

Women's Basketball (16-10 Overall, 11-7 GLIAC)
2/26 -- Michigan Tech 71, at Grand Valley State 57
2/28 -- Michigan Tech 67, at Ferris State 64 OT

Men's Tennis (1-5 Overall, 0-0 GLIAC)
2/29 -- at Palm Beach Atlantic 8, Michigan Tech 1

Women's Tennis (8-6 Overall, 6-4 GLIAC)
2/29 -- Michigan Tech 5, at Palm Beach Atlantic 4


From the E-mailbag

Dean sez: Two typos brought mail this week. In one headline,
I used the word "monty" instead of "money." I also moved
Ironwood to some undisclosed location west of Hayward.

OK. Let's see how we can get by the spam filters, which
certainly won't like the word nu**, another term for unclothed.

E-mail from Richard Fosgitt (rfosgitt(at)


Couldn't resist a response to your headline: POLICE

When I read the headline, it conjured up images from
The movie "The Full Monty." I was picturing a nu**
yooper doing a "stickup" at a bank in Dollar
Bay (a phrase close to violating the decency
regulations). It could have been the boys from a few
years back that were caught playing the accordion and
dancing a jig nu** during a late night escapade
at a laundromat in Hancock.

Anyway, congrats on your skiing adventure and thanks
for newsletter. It is the bright spot on otherwise
dreary Mondays.

Dean sez: For those unfamiliar with "The Full Monty," see The movie is about six
unemployed steel workers who form a male clothing-optional act.
They are encouraged to go "the full monty," which means
completely unclothed.

E-mail from Doug Davies '69 (Doug.Davies(at)

Hi Dean

Regarding this headline in the Newsletter:
Police didn't get the "FULL MONTY", eh?

E-mail from Randy Burt '89 (Randy.Burt(at)

Dean, I read your testament to stamina, strength and
courage. Like, I always wondered, what kind of person
would subject themselves to that kind of self-
inflicted abuse. As if it wasn't hard enough to do it
to yourself, you had to listen to the crowd abuse you
too? Congratulations and atta boy for getting the job
done. I will be in your predicament this July when I
try tackling Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National
Park with my 13 year old Boy Scout. (What am I

As for the Woodbecking, last time I checked Ironwood
was northeast of Cable/Hayward, not west.

E-mail from Tom Johnson (thomasj(at)

Hey Dean,

You gave us your random thoughts about your ski race.
Were you driving randomly afterwards? It seems like
you should drive east to get home instead of west.

Did the race go to your head that much?

Dean sez: Fortunately, my wife was driving and she knows east from west. Me, I'm Dean the Dyslexic Directions machine.

E-mail from Rob Plumley (rplumley(at)


Congratulations and nice job! It took me a second
reading to get the biathlon joke - pretty good.

E-mail from Dean Waldenmaier '86 (madisonisr(at)

Congratulations on finishing the Birkebeiner! Right
after I turn 40 in a few months, I'm planning on
trying my first triathlon! Not that you alone inspired
me, but your account of the race sure doesn't hurt my
mental preparation. :-)

You'll never guess what restaurant just opened 5
minutes from our house in the 'burbs of Madison, WI...

If you look at the map on their site
it almost looks like the Middleton restaurant is in

E-mail from Greg Borzick '98 (gborzick(at)

Hi Dean,

I heard your name called off on Main Street Saturday.
I'd rolled in about a half-hour before you from Wave
8. The announcers reported you were "from Hancock, MI
where they have 11 months of winter and one month of
bad skiing".

While on the trail, I talked to one of the "ding-a-
lings" you described and asked him if the bell was so
people new where he was. He said it was so he
knew where he was (???) and that it made him think of
the finish line. I was a little puzzled about the
first part of the remark, but figured to each his own.

Congrats on finishing. I know I had a tough go of it.

From: Ross Hubbard '99 (hubbs76(at)

Congrats on finishing the Birkie. I can sympathize
with your struggles. I completed the Birkie in
February of 1995, after my freshman winter term at
Tech. Needless to say, working on statue will NOT
prepare you for a cross country ski marathon. Of
course, only practicing 3 days does not help either.
I am proud to say I completed that first Birkie in 3
hours and 50 minutes, with no hunger pains but some
serious quadriceps cramps. Thank God we nailed the
ski wax selection that day.

E-mail from Brian Brown (bcbrown(at)


I love the newsletter, been reading it since 1995.
Your comments about the Birkie are right on the
button. I can remember the hunger, and the bananas
just didn't cut it. So my second year, I packed two
PBJ's (peanut butter and jelly) for the ski. Now I
know the elite skiers don't stop for a lunch break,
but about 35 km into the race I would wolf down
those sandwiches with some body temperature sport
drink. That always did the trick. Congratulations on
finishing the Birkie.

E-mail from Heather Penzenstadler

While I don't recall ever seeing the "gator" performed
at a Tech party, it was played at just about every
high school dance in Ontonagon (must be a U.P. thing).
So naturally, when this song was played during my
wedding reception, my friends and I got down on the
floor and rolled around in all the beer sludge, much
to the amazement of my in-laws who couldn't believe I
would do such a thing in my white wedding dress! I
was even asked to do a repeat performance at the next
family wedding. :)

E-mail from Troy Moore '96 (taebek(at)

Hi Dean,

I just wanted to let your faithful reader know that,
while I'm not sure if the 'gator is still done in
Houghton, the "dance" lives on (if you can call Tech
students moving to music "dancing"). Both my best
friend (Todd McQuiston '95) and I performed the 'gator
(tux and all) at both of our weddings. Unfortunately
Todd's shiny new wedding band did not survive the
experience at his wedding.

E-mail from Bill Ellerthorpe (marbil(at)

Hi Dean

Thanks for the weekly news, really enjoy reading about
you and the other alumni. Brings back a lot of
memories of the "ancient" past. Am I the oldest
reading this every week? Class of 1945? Who is older
and still on the 'net?

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,960 subscribers.

Here are the new e-mail addresses from the past week. Please note, we are
using the word "at" instead of the at sign to guard against spambots.

1968 Gautam Shah gautampshah(at)
1977 George Ehlert ehlerts(at)
1978 William Schmid Wmfschmid(at)
1982 Robert Eck bob.eck(at)
1984 Amiee Modic (Larchar) amieelmodic(at)
1989 David Perry dkperry(at)
1990 Scott Yergin sdyergin(at)
1991 David Peters dave.peters(at)
1991 Vickie Hilden vhilden(at)
1993 Paul Nygaard p.nygaard(at)
1994 William Angerman wkajha(at)
1996 Lee Best lwbest(at)
2001 Roberto Crescencio roberto(at)

You can update your information at:

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

25 -- Chicago Alumni Event


5 -- Washington DC Presidential reception
19 -- Dallas Presidential Reception
20 -- Austin Presidential Reception
21 -- San Antonio Presidential Reception
22 -- Houston Presidential Reception

Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions for these positions are available by e-mailing jobs at

  • No new postings

OFF CAMPUS: For complete descriptions, jump to our jobs web site.

  • Product Engineer
  • Dir. of Mechanical Division
  • Project Engineer (civil)
  • Civil Engineer Area Manager
  • Office Manager--Engineering
  • Senior Estimator (Houghton)

See you next week

TechAlum is a weekly electronic newsletter published by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association. For more information, contact Dean Woodbeck at techalum at