TechAlum News

May 3, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 47)

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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

Jay and I took our first mountain bike trail ride of the season yesterday. He loves this time of year because the trails have 1) mud, 2) water, and 3) mud. We went out as clean as a new freshman and came back as muddy as a fifth year senior.

It didn't take long for me to notice that something would be different this year. As we headed up the first hill, just a minute from our house, I was pedaling hard and Mr. Almost Thirteen pulled away. When we eventually got to the DNR trail, which connects with the single track, I was sucking some serious wind . . . and he kept pulling away.

As we got onto the single track, it became a story of caution, speed and fear (with those last two items intimately related). He blasted through the mud; I was more tentative. He was Dale Earnhardt, Jr., on the uphills; I was Dale the Third on his tricycle (or is it try-cycle?).

There is one section of the trail called Iron Ring (built by some sadistic Tech grads and their friends and spouses) that is narrow, with just a handlebar's width between some trees (or less than that, it sometimes seemed), switchbacks and some great downhills.

He soon was out of sight, taking it all with the confidence and fearlessness that comes with youth. Meanwhile, Dad rode the brakes, stopping for those tight fits and wondering if the new helmet is really as good as it says on the box.

I expected these rites of passage; just not so soon. I wonder how long before the taunting begins (and I don't mean from all of you!).

NEW ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Today, we're unveiling a new alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else. Take a test drive at

You have to register and will receive a password back by e-mail. You can then change the password to something you can remember after you log-in the first time. Anyone can start a thread. I've anticipated some categories, but let me know if you would like to see others.

At Da Tech

HYDROGEN PROJECT NABS $1.7 MILLION: A team led by Michigan Tech researcher Jim Hwang, director of the Institute of Materials Processing, is slated to receive a $1.7 million grant from the US Department of Energy's Hydrogen Research Initiative. Hwang and his co-investigators Steve Hackney and Shangzhao Shi will focus a novel class of materials known as metal perhydrides. More:

ESTATE ADDS $2.8 MILLION TO SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Michigan Tech has received a $2.8 million gift from the estate of Robert M. Anderson, bringing an endowed scholarship fund's total to $4 million. Anderson, who died in 2002, earned a degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech in 1943 and had a distinguished career in research and development with General Electric. More:

TREE STUDY FOCUSES ON STONGER PRODUCTS: Stronger paper and wood products could be the result of tree growth and modification studies being conducted by Victor Busov, assistant professor of forest resources and environmental science. Busov has received a grant from the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research to look at increasing the fiber length in trees. More:

STUDENT RECEIVES ENVIRONMENT-RELATED AWARD: Environmental engineering junior Aaron Tice has become the first Michigan Tech student to receive a national scholarship from the Morris K. Udall Foundation. Each year, the foundation gives scholarships to juniors and seniors in fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care or tribal policy. More:

The end of the Michigan Tech Fund's fiscal year (June) is rapidly approaching. If you plan to make a gift to the Michigan Tech Fund, please consider doing so before that time. Credit card gifts can be phoned in or made through the web site (

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

Around Town

GUNDLACH FIRE LOOKS LIKE ARSON: A state fire marshal has concluded that the April 23 blaze that destroyed the Herman Gundlach Inc. building in Houghton resulted from arson. The fire began around 6:30 am a week ago Saturday, continued through most of the morning, then restarted about 5 pm the same day.

LOG RECOVERY ON HOLD: A plan to recover century-old logs from the bottom of Keweenaw, Munising and Grand Traverse bays remains before the Michigan Court of Appeals, where it was sent last year after the permit to recover the logs was upheld in Baraga County Circuit Court. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga and L'Anse village councils and the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club all oppose the project. They believe it would disrupt fish habitat. The logs, which have been preserved by the cold Lake Superior waters, are more valuable today than when they were harvested from virgin forests in the region.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Gary Tunstall (garyt(at)

Greetings Dean,

Just wanted to pass along the info about summer alumni
gigs coming up.

I'm going to be in Schofield WI on May 15th and in
lower MI in Midland at the Holiday Inn, June 18th,
Gator Jakes in Sterling Heights June 19th, Putters in
New Hudson June 24, the Red Rooster in Muskegon June
25 and 26, and perhaps Cadillac as well.

Looking forward to seeing old and new friends every
night. All the info can of course be found at my
website at

E-mail from Matt Bierschbach '00 (MBierschbach(at)


I just wanted to drop you a note after I read your
note that the Sundew was making her last visit to the
area. I am a Tech grad from 2000, still here at my
first job out of that fine institution at Marinette
Marine Corporation in Marinette Wisconsin. We are
proud to have built the replacement for the Sundew.
She is a highly evolved, and highly capable buoy
tender. Her main mission is aid to navigation, ice
breaking, environmental protection and search and
rescue. Her homeport will again be Duluth, Minnesota
and she will sail under the name USCGC Alder (WLB
216). Here are a few technical characteristics to
whet any engineer's appetite:

Length 225 Feet
Beam 46 Feet
Draft (Full Load) 13 Feet
Displacement: (Full Load) 2,000 Long Tons
Main Engines: 2 Caterpillar 3608, 3100 BHP at 900 RPM
Crane: 20 Ton Hydraulic, 60 Foot Telescoping Beam

I hope you receive this picture of the Alder just
prior to launch, I know how virus protection software
is these days. We side launch all of our vessels, and
Alder is the last of 16 such Coast Guard cutters built
at our facility. I appreciate Michigan Tech's
involvement in my career as I interviewed for this
position in the Harold Meese Center back in 2000.
There are many Techies here, both in fabrication and
engineering and we're all proud of the product we

Dean sez: To see the photo, go to

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,984 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.

1948 Frederick Gieseking fggking(at)
1955 Rodney Mattson rod(at)
1970 James Gruette jgruette1(at)
1972 Donald Schnotala dbarrys(at)
1975 Peter Radakovich pete.radakovich(at)
1975 Lennart Wendel len.wendel(at)
1978 Randy Alpin drlee56(at)
1979 Lawrence Berg lberg(at)
1979 Nancy Trierweiler (Schwaiger) ntree(at)
1984 Timothy Limer tlimer(at)
1990 Rick Czaja rick(at)
1992 Kevin Hatter hatfish069(at)
1992 Joseph Ammond joe(at)
1994 Ann Green (Pavlat) amrgreen(at)
2000 Ying Wang ywcn(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.


8 -- The Ontario Chapter will have dinner at Science North
Landings restaurant in Sudbury, followed by a movie
at the Imax Theatre. Dinner is at 5 pm, movie at 7pm,
followed by coffee, dessert, and conversation at 9pm.
Contact Balf Thomas (jbaltom(at)

26 -- Green Bay Chapter Golf Outing Contact Suzanne
Berkovitz (sberkovitz(at)

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

31 -- West Michigan Chapter -- Whitecaps Baseball Outing
and BBQ Picnic, Fifth Third Park

5 -7 -- Alumni Reunion--Houghton

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • User support specialist--East Engineering Computing Network
  • Assistant hockey coach--Athletics

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

  • Cost estimating analyst
  • Forester/forest technician
  • Sr. network engineer
  • Lake management communication spec.
  • Urban forestry partnership coordinator
  • Mechanical 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