TechAlum News

September 7, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 17)

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

     It isn't often that you find a win-win situation that involves kids and work (or, more specifically, kids doing work).

     That was the case Sunday. We had a convergence of an unused tree house and boys yearning to disassemble. When my son and a friend discovered that destruction was involved -- indeed encouraged -- they volunteered faster than you can say "falling two-by-four." As a side benefit, this would be a chance to see if Woodbecking is genetic.

     I put the structure up a few years ago, using a triad  of trees for support. Unfortunately, the trees have grown at different rates, giving the whole thing a Mystery Spot look.

     The youthful inspectors also found that the railing had completely pulled away from one tree. That couldn't have had anything to do with the original design and construction; it was certainly a remnant of the long-forgotten and little-known Hurricane Toivo, which swept across Lake Superior.

     Armed with drills, extension cords, ropes and sledgehammers, the demolition duo spent part of the afternoon tugging and unscrewing and bashing. Unlike many of my construction/destruction projects, there were no emergency room trips required.

TechAlum COLOROLOGIST: Our cantankerous color-hunting comrade has arrived in the Keweenaw, fresh off his stint designing and developing the maps for the National Hurricane Center. He managed to get a seat on one of the last flights out of Miami before the weekend.

     The first step in building his colorological database involves sampling trips to Copper Harbor, Eagle River, Delaware and Jacobsville. Using weighted averages, multiple regression and string theory, he plugs the variables into his formula to come up with his estimate of color progression and proposed peak.

     Following this, and exhaustive research at the Dog House, he indicates color is at 5.6 percent with an earlier-than-normal peak (last week in September) anticipated because of the cool summer.

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else:

At Da Tech

OPIE PROVIDES HOCKEY GIFT: John Opie '61 has committed $250,000 towards Michigan Tech's $3 million Hockey Enrichment Campaign. Opie is the retired vice chairman and executive officer of General Electric Company in Fairfield, Connecticut. He graduated from Michigan Tech in 1961 with a B.S. in metallurgical engineering. In 1999, he and his wife Ruanne donated $5 million to the University's Leaders for Innovation campaign, which is helping to fund an addition to the library. More:

CAMPAIGN REACHES GOAL: The $3 million Hockey Enrichment Campaign at Michigan Tech has successfully raised the funds necessary to complete phase two of a $900,000 matching challenge by an anonymous donor.  To obtain the full match, the program will need to raise an additional $200,000 by the end of December. More:

CROSS NAMED ASSOCIATE DEAN: James S. Cross has been named associate dean of the School of Technology. He has served as the university's vice provost for information technology since 1994. Cross will be responsible for administration of undergraduate degree programs and undergraduate and graduate assessment and accreditation. He will also work with the computer committee to implement the school's computing policies and have responsibility for staff, annual planning and budget for instructional computing facilities. More:

TECH FUND PROVIDES MORE THAN $8 MILLION: The Michigan Tech Fund gave university programs over $8.3 million during the last fiscal year, according to Gail Mroz, interim executive director of the Michigan Tech Fund. The Fund provided $1.1 million in scholarships and fellowships, $4.3 million to academic departments and $2.9 million for capital projects and equipment.

ASSOCIATION ELECTS NEW BOARD MEMBERS: Six alumni have joined the Michigan Tech Alumni Association board of Directors. The six-year terms begin in February 2005. The board sets policy for the alumni association. The new members include Linda Kennedy '91, Paul J. Ninefeldt '96, Jane L. Nordberg '00/'04, Derhun D. Sanders '97, Lori Ann Sherman '01, and  Karin J. VanDyke '78.

BASH AT THE BIG HOUSE UPDATE: Michigan Tech and Grand Valley State, the teams matched up to battle in the Bash at the Big House on November 6, both remain undefeated with victories on Saturday. Ticket sales for the Bash continue to go well, with nearly 20,000 sold for the event. Fans are encouraged to go to to purchase tickets and to get more information.

Michigan Tech is also hosting the Michigan YES (Youth Engineering Science) Expo for high school students in Crisler Arena that Saturday. For information on the Expo, and how you can help, see

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

Around Town

WALLEYE TOURNEY COMING NEXT WEEK: For the second year in a row, the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Mercury Marine Championship will be held in the Keweenaw. The event will take place on the Portage Canal, Portage Lake and Torch Lake, with a top prize of $109,000.

HOUGHTON, PORTAGE TWP GO TO COURT: A lawsuit over water meter readings is set to start September 8 in Houghton County Circuit Court. Portage Township says a faulty meter is causing the city of Houghton to levy excess charges. The township pays a flat fee for the treatment of 100,000 gallons a day of sanitary sewage. The rate goes up exponentially when the $100,000 is exceeded.

LOCAL LABOR DAY BRIDGE WALK: About 100 people participated in the first annual Labor Day Community Bridge Walk on Monday. Portage Health System and the cities of Houghton and Hancock sponsored the event, which took walkers from the Rozsa Center, across the bridge, to the M-203 intersection in Hancock and back

ROWING CLUBS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN: Area rowing clubs plan to launch a $500,000 campaign to build a community boat house near the Isle Royale National Park headquarters. The building would house equipment and provide a meeting place for community members involved in non-motorized sports.

From the E-mailbag

Dean sez: I fat-fingered the address for the Bash at the Big House alumni pep band information last week. The correct address is

E-mail from Sverre Sandberg (sverre.sandberg(at)


 The Norwegian gold medal in the women mountain bike competition in the Olympics in Athens last Friday,  reminded me on your earlier reference to Birken. The  reason was that about 11000 were competing in the  Birken yearly mountain bike competition last Saturday  (89 K) from Rena to Lillehammer (the city responsible  for the Winter Olympics in 1994). Since you both  practice cross country skiing and mountain biking, I  thought it was a good idea to send you the address to  the "Birkebeineren" home page:

 The home page is in Norwegian, but since it has a  English flag in the upper right corner, I hope the  English version soon will be available. The Birken as you call it, comes from the Norwegian "Birkebeiner  rennet". This was originally only the cross country  ski race (54 K) between Lillehammer and Rena in Norway  in March every year. If you have problems with the  Norwegian text, you could probably contact a Norwegian  student at Tech. Bruce Mork at the EE-Dept. might also  help you.

 If you plan to go to Norway to participate in the real  Birken, please let me know.

E-mail from Pat Waara (waara(at)

 I feel I must clarify this.  Much of Anatomy of a  Murder was filmed in my hometown of Ishpeming 15 miles  from Marquette and the home of John Volker.  A good  portion a block from my house. (Other locations  included Big Bay and Michigamme.)   Several of  the scenes that were supposed to have taken place in  the courthouse were actually filmed in the Carnegie  Library on Barnum St. in Ishpeming.  One scene in  particular where Jimmy Stewart walks into the court  room, he is actually walking into the janitor's  closet in the library.  Many of the extras in the film  were locals from Ishpeming.  (My friend's mom was in  the jury.)  The stars all stayed at the Mather Inn and  my mother-in-law did Lee Remick's nails.  The word in  town was that all the stars were very friendly and  approachable.  It's fun to rent the movie and pick out  local scenes.

E-mail from Dan Gunderson '01 (suick680(at)


 I was just at the Minnesota State Fair yesterday and was more than pleased to see the Future Truck and Snowmobile Teams had their work on display in the "Wonders of Technology" Building.  The throngs of passer-bys were thoroughly enthralled with the displays, located next to the rather empty U of M (MN)  area of the building.    

 Just proves what I have observed: the Tech Grads that work in the Twin Cities area, though outnumbered, consistently outperform the U of M Engineering graduates. Its great to see Tech getting some well-deserved exposure. Also, kudos to those who participate on the teams and their displays.

E-mail from Bob Smith '77 (rsmith4(at)


 This is in the "It's a small world category."  On a  recent project I was working on in Santa Cruz, Bolivia  my colleagues and I decided to take a weekend to go to  the forest and relax and go hiking in a fern forest  near Samaipata, Bolivia, about 100 miles northwest of  Santa Cruz.

 Upon completion of this endeavor, we had worked up an  appetite and thirst.  So we found a German restaurant  in this small town for some further relaxation.  Upon  arriving we noticed a large group of individuals in a  private room, evidently celebrating something.

 We just ordered our dinners and refreshments, when the  door opened and two young adults came out speaking  English.  So we asked them where they were from and to  my surprise, they were a group of Michigan Tech civil  engineering students conducting their summer senior  project in Santa Cruz. The group of about 15 students  was with faculty from the civil engineering and other  associated adults.  Once they found that I was a 1977  alumnus, they immediately made us join their party and  we had a great evening in the middle of Bolivia.  One  never knows where you will run into Tech alumni.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,003 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.

1966  Gerald Davison       judger48193(at)

1967  Randall Roman        rjroman(at)

1974  Fredrick Kruger      fkruger(at)

1977  Mark Noel            mwnoel(at)

1984  Michael Larson       mblarson(at)

1989  Edward Swanson       ts.swanson(at)

1991  Timothy Daniels      tdaniels(at)

1992  John Nielsen         jenielsen(at)

1992  David Doyle          ddoyle7(at)

1997  Jonathon Colman      burkinaboy(at)

1998  Ian Crancer          icrancer(at)

2001  Shin-Jen Lin         shlin(at)

2001  Wendy Chapman (Nyuli)  r2wln(at)

2001  Mark Nyholm          markcnyholm(at)

2002  Andre LaRouche       indianadre(at)

2003  Kathryn Bachand      kathrynbachand(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.


14 -- Keweenaw Chapter presents "Guatemala's active volcanoes," a presentation by Gregg Bluth, associate professor of geology. Contact Mike Drewyor (482-0535)


 9 -- Michigan Tech Homecoming vs. Wayne State


 6 -- Bash at the Big House, football vs. Grand Valley at Michigan stadium (

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.

  • Civil/Municipal Engineer

  • Process Engineer

  • Wastewater Engineer

  • CAD Operator/Designer

  • Civil/Municipal Project Manager

  • Transportation Project Manager

  • Park Ranger

  • Project Engineer (computer eng.)

  • Software Developer

  • Project Manager (geo/geo eng)

  • Geologist

  • Machine Design Engineer

  • Systems Engineer, Controls

  • Survey Crew Chief

See you next week