TechAlum News

June 27, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 5)

An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Senior Director of University Communications. For past issues, see our archives.

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

Coming back from vacation always is a bit of a culture shock. After two weeks of relaxation and no schedules, it is back to alarm clocks and deadlines.

Speaking of vacations, if you want to spend summer in the Keweenaw, you'd better come today. The prognosticators predict a record-breaking high of 91 today, then 70 tomorrow and 68 by Thursday.

Those of you fortunate enough to have spent a summer at Tech know that it is a delightful time of year. While the lake provides so much snow to play in, it also moderates temperatures most of the time, so things don't tend to get real hot and, as shown by this week's forecast, the heat doesn't tend to stay for long. Kind of like San Diego without the traffic.

And speaking of traffic, we spent part of our vacation below the Cheddar Curtain, with Laura looking at a couple of colleges in Wisconsin. The trip included a drive around Milwaukee where, through the miracle of the Internet, my daughter had found that we would drive right past--well, almost--the Brookfield Mall.

My negative attitude toward this event changed when we walked into the mall and right smack-dab into the huge Sears tool section. After reveling in the sheer number of table saws (10 different models--who knew?), I managed to control the testosterone rush and walked out with only a new set of drill bits and a pair of needle-nose pliers. Between that and Barnes and Noble, it was more fun than one person should be allowed.

After years of a five-minute commute through Hancock and Houghton, I'm never quite prepared for the level of traffic when we travel--the number of trucks, and the speed at which the vehicles move. Navigating spaghetti junction in Minneapolis, for example (the convergence of I-35W and I-94), is a little more complicated than Covington Junction (the confluence of US-41 and US-141 somewhere south of Alberta). The big concern at Covington is whether that slow moving RV will turn and continue to block your way, or if it will lumber on to Michigamme.

A final note--next week's newsletter will appear on Tuesday, since Monday is the 4th (July already!).

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

BOARD APPROVES BALANCED BUDGET: Michigan Tech's Board of Control has approved a balanced general fund budget of $111.5 million for the 2005-06 fiscal year. The budget includes a 7.7 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees and a 3.7 percent increase over the current wage base. It will be the first pay raise at the university in over two years. The budget assumes a state appropriation of $48.0 million, a decrease of about $2.0 million from the year ending June 30. The state has not yet passed its higher education budget. More:

NEW DEGREES APPROVED: During its June 24 meeting, the board also gave final approval to new bachelor of science programs in construction management, mechanical engineering technology and electrical engineering technology; and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

TECH OPENS HONORS INSTITUTE: Michigan Tech has established an honors institute, with the program based on activities designed by students. Institute director Mary Durfee said students will negotiate with professors in three existing courses to do additional research or specialized independent study. "There aren't special classes," Durfee said. "We're not trying to segregate honors students from others." More:

TECH SPIN-OFF RECEIVES STATE AWARD: Governor Jennifer Granholm has presented one of the first University Commercialization Excellence Awards to Michigan Tech alumnus Glen Barna. The award was created to celebrate the successful commercialization of technology developed at Michigan's public universities. Barna, president of IR Telemetrics, received a $25,000 prize. Barna was a graduate student at Michigan Tech when his research led to the formation of IR Telemetrics Inc. The Hancock firm has since become a worldwide technology leader in wireless data transfer from reciprocating and rotating components.

GEOLOGIST RECEIVES ENERGY GRANT: Research professor Roger Turpening (geological and mining engineering and science) has received a $144,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to enhance seismic data used by companies searching for oil. "Our overall goal is to make images of the permeability of the earth," he says. "In our business, that's a big deal. It's the Holy Grail . . . a grand challenge, it's so hard to do."

SUBHASH RECEIVES RESEARCH AWARD: ME-EM Professor Ghatu Subhash, who has gained an international reputation for his research in mechanical engineering and materials science, is the recipient of Michigan Tech's 2005 Research Award. This makes him one of a handful of Michigan Tech faculty to be honored with both the Research Award and the Distinguished Teaching Award, which he received in 1994. More:

PHYSICS PROF WEB FEATURED IN SCIENCE: Science magazine featured associate professor John Jaszczak's (Physics) website, The Graphite Page, in its June 10 NetWatch column. According to the column, this website helps it viewers gain an appreciation for graphite's intricate structure and even its beauty. See the NetWatch column.

TECH FUND NAMES MERIT WINNERS: Recent Michigan Tech graduates Jennifer Bzura and Jason Gillespie are the recipients of the 2005 Michigan Tech Fund Merit Award. Six additional students were named nominees of distinction. Merit Awards honor two seniors, a man and a woman, for their academic achievements and service. Each recipient is given $1,000 and a framed photo of the Michigan Tech campus.

NELSON, DAVIS RECEIVE TEACHING AWARDS: Professor Charles Nelson (Humanities) and Assistant Professor Brian Davis (Electrical and Computer Engineering) are the 2005 recipients of Michigan Tech's Distinguished Teaching Award. Nelson receives the award in the professor/associate professor category, while Davis will be honored in the assistant professor/lecturer category. More:

PRESIDENTS COUNCIL SITE FEATURES MROZ COMMENTARY: The June commentary on the Presidents Council web site is written by Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. In the article, "Fostering entrepreneurialism for Michigan's new economy," Mroz shares some perspective on the need for Michigan to provide more entrepreneurial education opportunities in the undergraduate experience. The Presidents Council is an organization of the 15 state universities in Michigan. See the article:

GLIME TO LEAD INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION: Janice Glime has been elected to a four-year term as president of the International Association of Bryologists. The approximately 500 members of the IAB are experts in mosses and liverworts. Glime, a professor of biological sciences, assumes the presidency in July.

STUDENTS RECEIVE SUSTAINABILITY AWARD: Students in the Sustainable Futures Institute have received the prestigious International Mondialogo Award, sponsored by DaimlerChrysler and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They were honored for their research on the use of sustainable construction materials in the developing world. More:

Around Town

QUINCY SHOWS OFF PRESERVATION: The public got a look at the stabilization methods being used at the Quincy Mine ruins during a Keweenaw National Historical Park presentation last week. Crews are doing masonry work at buildings atop Quincy Hill in Hancock, including the Quincy Mine's pay office, dry house and workers' quarters.

KEWEENAW COUNTY LOOKS AT BALANCE: Representatives from conversation groups, government units and universities met at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge to discuss how best to protect natural resources while still encouraging economic development. The workshop was put together by the National Wildlife Federation in conjunction with Eagle Harbor Township, the Keweenaw Land Trust and the Houghton-Keweenaw Conservation District.

HOUGHTON LOOKS AT DOWNTOWN: After months of collecting statistics and opinions regarding Houghton's downtown, representatives of a consulting firm visited for a first-hand look. HyettPalma specializes in historic downtowns and was hired to help Houghton assess improvements, including pedestrian safety, parking, and providing a wider variety of goods and services.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Arden White (ardenw(at)

Hi Dean,

I immediately thought of you when I saw this. Check
out the snow blower on this site:

E-mail from Gary Tunstall (garyt(at)

Hi Dean,

I'm heading down to Appleton, Wisconsin to play at
the 10th Frame on Saturday July 2nd. 9:00 Showtime.
Alums can access info and maplinks at

E-mail from Nancy Rabe '81 (Narbe(at)


I can't tell you how much I look forward to your
newsletter every Monday--Time magazine and your
newsletter are the 2 best parts of my Mondays.

Anyway, Jerry and I built a cottage on 5 Mile Point Rd
near Eagle River. We would like you to announce in the
newsletter that it is available to rent during the
summer (and maybe even year-round if any one is
interested). It is a two-bedroom, one bath cottage on
Lake Superior. Incredible views of the water, sunsets
and the frequent ore boat. The master bedroom facing
north so you can see the Northern Lights when they are
out. This year we are willing to rent for a week or
for weekends. Call (920) 738-7713 if you are

E-mail from Jacquie Klimsza (jklimsza(at)

Hello Dean,

Every week, I look forward to reading your e-
newsletters, sent to my husband, John (Michigan Tech 1995). My
contacting you was his idea, and I'm hoping you may be
able to assist.

Wayne Knoth was a 1972 graduate of Michigan Tech in
the Civil Engineering program. He was our Executive
Vice President of Engineering here at Universal Forest
Products until his retirement in 1998. In 2000, he
passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. To
honor his memory, we have a golf outing in Wayne's
name, with proceeds going to the Wayne M. Knoth
Memorial Scholarship at Michigan Tech. Is it possible
for you to post something about our outing in your
newsletter? It is being held on Saturday, August 6 at
Quail Ridge Golf Club here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dean sez: Please e-mail Jacquie for details, if you are

E-mail from Bob Carnahan '53 (partec(at)

Hi Dean,

Enjoyed this weeks alumni notes immensely. For
several years I owned a property at the mouth of the
Little Iron River on Lake Superior just about 2 miles
from Crystal Bay and the Porkies. I have great
memories of the area both winters and summers in the
70's, particularly in the Presque Isle River. One of
my sons and his friends would ride the water down
steep slick rocks, disappearing into tubes
geologically drilled into the rocks and pop up in
pools below. I also spent several hours one day in a
wet suit, with mask, flippers etc chasing crawfish
around some of the 12 to 15 diameter pools. Actually
caught enough for a tasty meal. These pools have flat
bottoms and look as though they were drilled by a
vertical version of a flat tipped tunnel boring
machine. This was probably long before Michigan Tech's Dick
Robbins dreamed that his equipment would drill the
English Channel tunnel

E-mail from Mike Benson (mike_benson(at)

Dean, I'm glad Kate found that book of Clyde Work's.
I took that class and was allowed an extension into
the next quarter to finish it. It was a lot more
difficult that the self-paced Statics class, I recall.
Being an EE I loathed that class, especially when I
had to study for the final after starting the class
18 weeks ago (we were on quarters back then so that
was a long time). I did get an 'A' in the class and
to celebrate finishing it I procured a six back
of Old Milwaukee and enjoyed a nice little fire in the
backyard of 2112B Woodmar drive. It was short lived
though as Clyde's beautiful book only burned for a few
minutes. Now I wish I still had it!

E-mail from John Gonser '58 (ofg(at)

I have to jump in here on the World's Worst Beer
contest and respond to the email from E-mail from
David Elack describing Russian beer. I have not had
Russian beer and I will have to trust those experts
who have judged it's character, but I have another
candidate for this trophy: Nesher Beer.

Several years ago my job caused me to move my family
to Israel for a period of time. We enjoyed much of
this land and explored as much as time would permit.
However, very soon I began to experience Decent Beer
Withdrawal Syndrome (DBWS), a severe malady that
affects many, many Tech students during some periods
of their lives.

I soon was guided by an Israeli friend in the location
of shops where one could purchase any of several
European beers, some of German origin, some from
Hungary, and one quite good one from France (yes,
France!). However I was discouraged from trying the
best selling local brew, Nesher. Arguing that I
really wanted to experience as much of the local
flavor as I could, I purchased a case of this stuff
and proceeded to taste it.

I don't really know how to describe this stuff, but it
had no relationship to any known flavor in my lexicon
of sipping and slurping. After heroically completing
just six of these beers, I donated the remainder to
other unsuspecting new arrivals from my company,
thereby earning myself a rather poor reputation for

E-mail form Rick Stevens '87 (Rick.Stevens(at)


I have to add to David's statement about the local
beer in Okinawa, Japan. Called Orion, it, like some
other beers, has some amount of formaldehyde in it. I
don't know if it's a by-product or is added on
purpose, but I felt it was only drinkable after one
had consumed a sufficient amount of palatable beer.
The only good thing about it was that you could buy it
in large oil-can sized (about 1.5 liter) cans with
a screw top and plastic handle.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,136 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.

1960 Herbert Little herblittle(at)
1962 Matthew Ekdahl mmhmekdahl(at)
1970 Gary Kent fabriconinc(at)
1972 Michael Turnquist mike.turnquist(at)
1973 Thomas Narva tom.narva(at)
1976 Mary Jones (Ouellette) maryjones(at)
1977 Michael Kolodziej mkolodziej810(at)
1978 Robert Harvey bobh(at)

1980 Donald Ireland mmireland(at)
1981 Kathy Cramer (Hayton) khcramer(at)
1982 Kathy Ward (Meunier) kathyelizabeth(at)
1982 Marcia Ireland (Malloy) mmireland(at)
1985 Peter Loomis pjloomis(at)
1986 Michael Blanchard mblanchard(at)
1987 Dale Marion dkmarion(at)
1987 Paul Anderson ghost(at)

1990 Eric Pedersen erictred99(at)
1990 Richard Kipke richkip(at)
1991 Jason Lucking sigrho_1364(at)
1991 Anthony Seccia tseccia(at)
1992 Eric Olson eolson_harbor(at)
1993 Richard Dunnebacke rrdunnebacke(at)
1993 Jeff Read jrread07(at)
1995 Scott Blouw sblouw(at)110-pct.COM
1995 Michelle Baker (Schwerha) geochick(at)
1997 Amy Vogel (LaFleur) amy.vogel(at)
1998 Ian Crancer Ian_Crancer(at)
1998 Troy Garland troy(at)
1998 Shane Ringle stringle27(at)
1999 Lucas Curd lucas.curd(at)
1999 Robert Proudfit rwproudfit(at)

2000 Zakir Hossain zakh_eecs(at)
2000 Meagan Demmin (Roe) meaganroe(at)
2001 Janelle Meyer meyer.janelle(at)
2001 Jason Serafinski j_serafinski(at)
2002 Hiromi Suenaga hiromis(at)
2004 Andrew Knitt andyknitt(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.

15 Mid-Michigan (Saginaw, Midland, Bay City) Annual Golf Outing
30 West Michigan Chapter at Whitecaps baseball

GREEK REUNION INFORMATION has been moved to the web. For the link, go here:

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Senior Research Engineer II--College of Engineering
  • Research Associate--Department of ME-EM

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site (