TechAlum News

March 22, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 41)

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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

Despite the two feet of snow on the ground, there are those who believe that spring is just around the corner. Heck, the calendar says spring arrived on Saturday. Let's see, on Saturday young Mr. Woodbeck was out skiing 20-some kilometers and picnicking in the snow. The other three Woodbecks could be found in repose with various types of respiratory ailments. Yep, sounds like spring to me.

When I contemplate spring, I feel driven to make a list. I am not a list-maker. In fact, I am a list-avoider. My wife? Now *there's* a list-maker. She makes a list daily. She checks things off on her list. She notices when someone else adds something to her list :-)

I make a list and it gets buried under catalogs, book reviews, pads of paper, credit card bills, and whatever else I, or someone else, throws on my desk.

Friends, I present to you the anti-list. Or, put another way, a list-loser. No comments from the peanut gallery.

My spring list includes the things I plan to do when the weather warms up. Typically, it includes items like "mountain bike at Maasto," "play golf weekly," and "make sure out-of-town friend's boat still works." Summer brings important responsibilities.

Fortunately, I married a list-maker (see above), who not only ensures that my list overfloweth, but that it is re-sorted to proper priority order.

That's why the list will include words like "paint," "repair," "dig," and "fix." Sometimes, it even includes multiword instructions, like "shelves you've been promising to build for three years" and "please don't Woodbeck yourself when you finally cut down those dead trees before they fall on the house."

Those tend to find their way to the top of the list.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of March 22, 2004 
This week Last week Last year
Snowfall to date 228.5 218.5" 194.0"
On the ground 28" 26" 20"

See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

TOMPKINS ASKS BOARD TO CONSIDER TRANSITION: Michigan Tech president Curt Tompkins has asked the university's Board of Control to meet to discuss the process and timing of the transition to a new president. The board will meet this Friday in Chicago to take up the President's request.

TECH SECOND AT CLEAN SNOWMOBILE: A broken weld on a gas tank likely kept the Michigan Tech team from winning this year's SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge. The problem forced the team out of the endurance run early in the week. The Huskies rallied to take second place, along with awards for "quietest" and "best performing" machine. More:

TEACHING AWARD FINALISTS: Alumni are invited to comment on the finalists for the 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award. Send any comment to Nancy Seely (nsseely(at) by April 16. The finalists are:

Associate Professor/Professor Category
Dennis Lynch (Associate Professor) - Humanities
Terry Reynolds (Professor) - Social Sciences
John Sandell (Associate Professor) - School of Technology
John Sutherland (Professor) - ME/EM
Douglas Swenson (Associate Professor) - Materials Sci/Eng

Assistant Professor/Lecturer Category
Michael Clancey (Lecturer) - Chemical Engineering
Ann Humes (Lecturer) - School of Technology
Chandrashekhar Joshi (Assistant Professor) - Forest
Resources & Environmental Science
Josh Loukus (Lecturer) - ME/EM
David Pray (Lecturer) - Mathematical Sciences

CONNER EARNS ALL-LEAGUE HONOR: Sophomore forward Chris Conner (Westland, Mich.) of the Michigan Tech hockey team has been named one of three forwards to the All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association Second Team. He is the first Tech player to gain All-WCHA honors since Andre Savage was an All-WCHA First Team choice in 1998.

Tech also placed a league-high 11 players on the All-Academic team. For details, see

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

Around Town

M-DOT OUTLINES AREA PROJECTS: The Michigan Department of Transportation plans $11.75 million worth of work in Houghton and Keweenaw counties this summer. MDOT will reconfigure the southern end of the lift bridge, including adding a third lane between the bridge and M-26, add a lane to M-26 eastbound near the bridge, and complete a pedestrian tunnel under M-26 to the Houghton waterfront. We will suffer a number of detours as the bridge work takes place.

Also on tap is construction of a second southbound lane on US-41 at the top of Quincy Hill, resurfacing of almost 20 miles of M-26 from the Ontonagon County line east, straightening out M-26 near Northern Hardwoods past Atlantic Mine. Six miles of US-41 from Calumet to Mohawk will also be resurfaced.

LOWER WATER LEVEL TO EASE REDRIDGE SITUATION: The Stanton Township board has asked engineer Thomas Prehoda to submit a plan to lower the pond at Redridge to ease pressure on the failing timber dam. A failure would jeopardize the large steel dam familiar to many alumni. Prehoda, a Lake Linden native and Michigan Tech grad who works for an Ypsilanti engineering firm, presented the township with five long-term solutions to repair, breach or submerge the wooden dam. Costs range from $311,000 to $1 million. The total township annual general fund budget is only $160,000.

From the E-mailbag

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


I've decided that they need to name this phenomenon of
double mailings the Woodbeck Worm. A mysterious virus
that infects the host computer and produces mass
distribution from the host's email list.

E-mail from John Flynn (john.m.flynn(at)

This is just TWO good TWO be True! ; )

E-mail from Dan Batten (dan.batten(at)

Hi Dean,

This is the first 'Woodbecked' edition for 2004 for
me! Enjoyed reading it for the first time this
morning and yet again this afternoon :)

E-mail from Jeffrey Seppanen

Nice double dip Dean!! Even better the 2nd time

E-mail from Jim Acre (james.a.acre(at)

Ditto... Keep up the great (woodbecking) work!!! I
enjoy it twice as much!

E-mail from Nancy Mannikko (historian_nan(at)

You're getting better. This time the duplicate
newsletters were spaced several hours apart.

E-mail from Johan Aasen (aasen(at)

Dear Dean,

I (Johan F. Aasen, BSME, foreign student 1976-1978)
just have to tell you my story regarding the snow (or
lack of) in Houghton.

I arrived the US with my wife during the summer of
1976. We stopped in Kalamazoo visiting some friends of
my family, where we also met a former student of
Michigan Tech. I was just about to brag about how much snow we
had back home in Norway. Last winter, not too far away
from where we live, they had, actually, around 200 cm
(79 inch). Instead of me bragging, I got very quiet
when he told us that up in the Copper Country we could
expect more than 100 inches of snow.

Well, we moved to Houghton in August and settled down
in Daniell Heights. October came and it started
snowing. It kept on snowing through November and
December, but there were hardly any more than 10-15
inch of snow. Listening to the radio, where they
indicated far more snow that what I could see, I
started asking around: Where is the snow?

I had been tricked by the American way of seeing
things: You count every inch of snow coming through
the winter and add up -- that is cheating! The
Norwegian way: We only measure what is actually on
the ground at any given time! So when we say 79 inches
of snow, you better start digging to find your main

Thanks a lot for all your very interesting e-mails
with an up-date from "good old Houghton".

E-mail from Pat Kilroy '83 (Patrick.L.Kilroy(at)

Hi Dean,

Although Seger is indeed a king, I could defend
Randy Bachman's music (e.g., on how he played simple
stuff really well), including his work in earlier
bands. But I will keep my request on focus with
something else I've been wondering about for a lot
longer time.

WHAT EVER HAPPENED to the original members of
the "Salt & Light Company" band, mostly made up
of Michigan Tech students around 1980?

Over a year ago, with all their names and proper
spellings in hand, my search of the alumni database
came up dry. I suppose they transferred to other
schools before graduation. I'd love to hear if
Dave Jahn and Dwyane "Bro" Oyer continued writing,
recording or performing and how to catch up with
them today.

Can the magic of TechAlum News help?

E-mail from Aubrey Freeman (aubrey.freeman(at)


I guess you came to Tech too late to see the Bob Seger
System play the Dee! It happened some time between '70
and '72. (My memory of those years is fading. What's
the second thing to go? I can't remember that either.)
It was organized by a student entertainment
organization. Bob sang "Ivory" and other early hits.
It was spring time. We danced on the concrete floor,
had the big doors open on one end. A good time was had
by all!

E-mail from Kerry Irons '72


Talk about being in the right place at the right time,
I was on the Concert-Lecture Board in about 1971-72,
and we booked the Bob Seger System to play at the Dee
(after the ice was out). I got to meet him, the band
(before the Silver Bullet), and road crew. He and his
outfit were a class act all the way, arriving hours
before the concert for set up and sound check. It
turned out that the opening act pulled the old
"Houghton Lake vs. Houghton" fumble, and so showed up
very late. Seger very graciously agreed to open the
concert rather than delay proceedings while the other
band got their stuff together. We got to hear
Ramblin' Gamblin' man, East Side Story, and many other
early hits in the Dee's sterling acoustic environment.
An evening to remember. I've even managed to obtain a
CD of the original Bob Seger System album, which
unfortunately does not contain East Side Story.

E-mail from Cass Andary '71 (candary(at)


To the best of my recollection, Bob Seger actually
played the Tech in the spring of '70 or '71 [not sure
which]. He was the warmup to a group called Suite
Charity. The venue was Dee Stadium. Suite Charity was
late [the Houghton Lake mistake] so Seger took the
forefront and played for about 2 1/2 hours to dancing
toots and their dates.

E-mail from John Gierke (jsgierke(at)

Hi Dean,

Was this a Freudian slip or semantics? This excerpt
implies that Marquette was (in 1974) outside of
Michigan. Troll roots are hard to exterminate, eh.
"In October 1974, I heard via the grapevine that Bob
Seger would be playing at Hedgecock Fieldhouse in
Marquette. What amazed me was that he would be the
warm-up act. This was my first clue that Seger was not
a household name very far outside of Michigan."

E-mail from Jim D'Amour '78 (jsdamour(at)


I was also a freshman in '74 and went to that BTO
concert in Marquette. I recall standing in the rain
for about an hour waiting to get into the field
house. Being from Escanaba lacking for an FM station
at the time, I had not yet heard of Bob Seger, and
when he opened we all thought..."who is this
guy?" the warm-up and feature acts had been
reversed. BTO was then a disappointment. I've
told this story to many friends over the years; some
younger ones have to ask what BTO was.

E-mail from Tom Paschetto '77 (tom(at)

Whoa, Dean -

You are really taking me back with your reminiscence
of weekend trips to Marquette and nights spent on the
blinking-light dance floor of the Alibi. I had
completely forgotten about that! A few buddies and I
would now & then hitchhike from Tech to Marquette, eat
at McDonald's (of course), hang out at the Alibi
trying (in vain) to pick up women, and sleep on the
floor in the lounge area in one of the dorms at
Northern. Then we'd hitch back to Tech the next
morning. Some fun! Ah, the Good Old Days, indeed.

E-mail from Eric Showalter '84 (wes(at)


Sometimes the warm up act is better than the
headliner. I saw Head East (one hit wonder) play in
the SDC, and the opening act was Trooper (another
Canadian band). Trooper was good. When Head East came
on, the singer was so wasted someone had to put an arm
around him and guide him out to the microphone, and
prop him up. I left before the concert was over.
Trooper was worth the ticket price anyway.

E-mail from Les Reid '51 (lreid(at)


In full recognition that there are many older Tech
alums out there than I am, I'll pass on a few tales
from the later 40's.

The fun of playing unlighted night hockey on the
neighborhood rink up in west Houghton (near the dump
where we shot rats on warm summer nights).

Dressup Lumberjack Balls in the big ballroom at Dee
Stadium - where in one game 2 of our players collided
at full speed behind our net and one left 3 teeth
imbedded in his partner's forehead.

Also the hockey game when I took my fiancee and future
mother-in-law on a bitterly cold night (with the
windows open). After 10 minutes of shivering while
watching both teams circling and shooting at their own
goalie to warm up mother-in-law turned to me and
inquired, "Is this all there is to it?"

As an update, I left the Michigan State faculty in
1965 to come to Texas A&M to head up a brand new
academic department- from which I retired in 1994.

With time on my hands and still a love for hockey,
I've been involved in bringing artificial ice to
College Station. Texas A&M has an ice hockey team - as
a club sport - playing in a collegiate league with
Texas Tech, Texas University, Southern Methodist,
Baylor U, North Texas U, and Tulane. - all of which
have local ice. But with no local ice here, the
A&M team for years practices and plays all home games
in Houston -- 90 miles away. NO longer. Last month we
had an "icebreaking" ceremony for a brand new ice
arena to be built and in operation by September 2004.

E-mail from Jon Wennerberg '70 (jonw(at)

Sure, I remember lots of folks using the phrase
"Hangcock Irish" (spelled here as it was pronounced)
to refer to those of the Finnish persuasion. The
phrase is probably still in use in the Copper Country.
I heard it used 'way down here in Marquette at a
gathering of Yooper-type folks within the past few

As long as we're exploring etymology, will someone be
so kind as to explain the origins of the phrase that
denotes two (or more) things that are right next to
one another -- that phrase being "side-by-each"?

And I'll wear purple tomorrow for St. Urho's Day as
well as green on the following day.

Email from Art Jarvela

Tom Williamson's explanation of the origin of "toot"
brought to mind that Paul Jackson used the term when
we started Tech in '46. Paul's father was a Tech grad
who, I think, was the Keweenaw County Engineer. He
must have been a student in the MCM days. I also
remember a song from those days which went like this:
Rootely toot, rootely toot we are the boys from the
institute. We don't drink and we don't chew and we
don't go with girls that do. Our Class won a Bible!
Your newsletter is the highlight of my Mondays Dean.

E-mail from Thomas Sadler '78 (sadler_thomas(at)


One of my roommates and I used to go duck and goose
hunting around Redridge and after we were done
hunting, we would stay for the sun set and have
a few beers before going back to the dorm. The area
around Redridge was beautiful in the fall. The colors
were great and the smell of the woods was
intoxicating. We also used to fish at the river mouth,
too. When I visited Tech in the summer of 1996, we
visited there. I told her how much I loved the area
and I would not have traded my experiences at Tech for
anything. Please keep us informed about the dam!

E-mail from Don Greiner '70

I also was saddened to hear of Fr. McGee's passing. I
recall with fondness the first mass I attended at St
Al's in September of 1965. Fr. McGee started his
sermon (homily was not the term used in those days) by
talking about the student parish finances. He was
careful to describe for us the funding sources, and
the part that student donations played in the overall
picture. He concluded his very brief presentation
with two comments: this is the only sermon on funding
that would be given during the year and if students
that visit the local watering holes will drop the
price of a drink in the plate on Sunday morning, he
would be happy. While I don't know about the latter,
I do know he never mentioned money again for the rest
of the year.

As the treasurer of a church for 18 years, I recalled
his money pitch and realized how truly effective it
was. In the span of only a few minutes, he said
everything that needed to be said. If only our
finance committee could come up with something as
effective as Fr McGee's pitch.

E-mail from Douglass Seeber '54 (douglasss(at)


I was born in Hancock and raised in East Houghton.
If memory serves me there was a chant of sorts that
Youngsters shouted that went something like "Roodily-
toot, roodily toot. There are the boys from the
institute." Generally from a safe distance since we
were much smaller than great big Tech students. That
is where the term came from.

E-mail from Brian Holfelner

Hey Dean,

Greetings again from Shioya Japan where it is about 50
degrees at 10 pm.

Thanks for the "Double Blast from the Distance Past".
I got to think about the Seger/BTO concert twice. But
hey I'm not complaining; it was a great trip and great
concert. I was in Knight House that freshman year and
8 other guys and I piled into a station wagon to go to
the concert. A bit of beer (or was that a lot of
beer) made the drive go fast. We stayed for both
shows and what I remember is Seger was so much better
than BTO. Part of it was BTO had the volume cranked
up so much that we'd get multiple echoes off the steel
sheeting hitting us from all sides. But hey, we'd had
enough beer by then that we really didn't care.

The weekend you were off trying to survive the
Birkebeiner, I was with a group taking students skiing
in the "Japan Alps". The weather was really warm and
the snow was like Spring skiing in the Midwest. And
even though two of the students got hurt (one tore a
tendon and another ran into a tree) everyone still had
fun. And thinking of snow, for many weeks it has been
unseasonably warm here (mid-50's to mid-60'), that is
until two weekends ago. On Friday a cold front came
in and on Saturday it started to snow. Some flurries
is not too unusual but on Sunday it really started to
come down and we actually had an inch on the grass.
In the three years that I've been living here in Japan
it's the first time we've had an accumulation. The
Japanese were a bit shocked (also a bit depressed
because they couldn't play tennis). Of course, with
the warm ground, it didn't last long, but before it
melted I was able to make a, albeit small, snowman.

E-mail from Larry Doyle '64 (larry.j.doyle(at)

Hi Dean,

Tuesday evening I sat with a freshly brewed pot of
coffee reading the TechAlum News that I had printed
off earlier in the day. (Approaching geezerhood, I
still find it much easier to read hard copy print,
than on the screen.)

The combination of caffeine and Michigan Tech news was pure
pleasure. So many priceless memories: Good Old Time
Rock & Roll, toots, Gino's, Fr. Bill McGee, snowball
fights, Redridge. I laughed out loud at the picture
of St. Urho driving the grasshoppers out of Finland,
and of folks shoveling their roofs.

To many students from the 60's and to his adopted
friends in California, losing Fr. McGee is a tragedy.
Hearing his name brings to mind "the twinkle in his
eyes", a common tread to me, the letter writers, and
to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat news stories. May
his memory be blessed with a continuation of his many

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,965 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.

1963 Michael Miller mfginfo(at)

1974 Thomas Verbeek thomasverbeek(at)

1980 Joseph Nezwek Jnezwek(at)
1980 Jeffrey Wells Wellsmatt58(at)
1980 David Lanigan dlanigan(at)
1980 Stephen Mathe steve(at)
1980 Luanne Skrenes (Kallungi) tlskrenes(at)
1981 Joe Vizanko Joe.Vizanko(at)
1982 George Hills ghills(at)

1991 Todd List tlist(at)
1991 Timm Appleton timm(at)
1992 Gerald Bocci geraldboccijr(at)
1992 Andrew Brandt golumbits666(at)
1994 Paxton Hunt paxnkim(at)
1994 James Allison kj_allison(at)
1995 Anthony Sleath tonysleath(at)
1995 Michael Martin michael_and_michelle(at)
1997 Robert Larsen larsenrl(at)
1997 Jeffrey Zeman jjzeman(at)
1997 Michael Miller mmiller(at)
1997 Kathie Kruizenga kruizenga_kathie(at)

2001 Michael Cooney Jr Mike.Cooney(at)
2001 Justin Kusterer justin.kusterer(at)
2002 Shawn Roy seroy1(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

12 -- Detroit Chapter Golf Outing, Fox Creek, Livonia

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • No postings this week

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

  • Thermal Modeling Manager (Houghton County company)
  • C++ Programmer (Houghton County company)
  • Estimator/Project Manager
  • Welding Technology Faculty, Ferris State
  • Medical Equipment Supply/Sales
  • Manufacturing Manager
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Entry Level Analyst
  • Civil Engineer

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