TechAlum News

August 8, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 11)

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

My daughter and I had the opportunity to make a quick
trip to Minneapolis last week. We went over to Duluth, then
took I-35 south, giving her the chance to drive on an
expressway (something not available in 95 percent of the
UP). With a birthday fast approaching, she will soon turn
her learner's permit into a real Michigan driver's license.

When you live in the Keweenaw, the variety of driving
experiences are, shall we say, somewhat limited. For
example, where do you learn to merge?

Her instructor took the car east on US-41 in Hancock,
then under the bridge to connect to M-26 heading toward
Dollar Bay. There is a merge lane on the east side of the
bridge, but that doesn't guarantee that there will be any
actual traffic with which to merge. With multiple drivers
in the car, they spent some time just driving back and
forth on that stretch of road to give everyone a chance.

Of course, you do have the advantage here of learning
to parallel park on both sides of the road. You also learn
how to pass on a two-lane highway (although the driver's ed
car is generally the slowest vehicle around, making for few
passing opportunities).

As the dad, I had the assignment of teaching parallel
parking. The road test uses cones to simulate a vehicle, as
opposed to testing her parking skills on the real thing. I
suppose it is cheaper that way, and I will already have to
take out a home equity loan for the auto insurance upgrade
next month.

Like many other area high school students (and many
Tech international students), we trundled up to one of the
parking lots at the Student Development Complex (SDC) for
some practice. Using our old soccer practice cones, I set
up the test area.

At her request, I stood right beside the cone
representing a car's front bumper. I briefly thought that
steel-toed boots might be more appropriate footwear than my
New Balance running shoes. But I counted on my reflexes,
and those New Balances being quicker than the speed of the
car, should something go awry. I was tested just once, and
managed to step aside in a quick, yet graceful, move.

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

has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to help
spearhead a multi-million-dollar, national research program
on global climate change and its effects on ecosystems and
the atmosphere. Over the next five years, the DOE's Office
of Science plans to allocate over $38 million to be
distributed by four regional centers of the National
Institute for Climatic Change Research (NICCR). In addition
to the Midwest Regional Center at Michigan Tech, centers
will be located at Pennsylvania State University, Duke
University and Northern Arizona University. More:

TECH ENDS YEAR IN BLACK: Michigan Tech ended the 2004-05
fiscal year $1.9 million to the good in the $109-million
general fund. CFO Dan Greenlee told the Board of Control
that lower than anticipated expenses (including supplies,
equipment, and utilities) helped improve the bottom line.
In addition, the university received $1 million more in
tuition and $300,000 more in revenue from research
contracts than anticipated.

11 percent increase in the freshman class this fall,
compared to 2004. To date, 1,581 new freshmen and transfer
students have submitted enrollment deposits, an increase of
155, or 11 percent, over last year. In addition, the number
of ethnic diversity applicants submitting deposits is up 29
percent, with the number of international students up 63

TECH A BLAST FOR PRE-ENGINEERS: You don't have to go 600
miles to build a rocket, but for students in the Detroit
Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), the journey
north has been a blast. "For a lot of the students, this
trip to Michigan Tech is their first time outside an urban
environment," said DAPCEP executive director Jason Lee. "A
lot of them say, 'It's cool, I like it.'" More:

ecology, a new field pioneered by Professor W. Charles
Kerfoot (Biological Sciences), is featured in last Friday's
Wall Street Journal. The article outlines Kerfoot's work
recovering water flea eggs from Portage Lake that date back
300 years and then hatching them in an incubator. More:

Board of Control has approved two new merit-based
scholarship programs. The Presidential Scholars Program
replaces the Board of Control Scholarship and will benefit
Michigan residents. The new National Scholars Program
replaces the Academic Excellence Award and will support
non-Michigan residents. Award levels will vary, with
scholarships up to $48,000 ($12,000 annually). More:

Tech's library and archives is developing an "Interior
Ellis Island" web site to focus on the "peopling of
Michigan's Copper Country." The site will include 2,000
images from the archives and library and has received
funding from the Michigan Humanities Council. This group
effort involves Tech, the Keweenaw National Historical
Park, the Quincy Mine Hoist Association, and Central
Michigan University.

Around Town

CITY HOPES TO SLOW 'EM DOWN: The Hancock City Council is
asking the Michigan Department of Transportation to study
the speed limit on M-203 near the city's beach. That
stretch of highway has been under discussion for several
months regarding speeding vehicle traffic in a high
pedestrian area. The speed limit there is currently 50 mph.
Council members would prefer a 35 mph limit.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail form Mark Schreiner '90 (vze3v8dt(at)

Hi Dean,

As always it is a pleasure to get your weekly
newsletter. Just had to comment on the honey-do list
items as well.

I've done a pretty good job of filtering the list for
the jobs I can do and the ones that I "could" do but
don't really "want" to do. The latter category ends
up being the ones that get contracted out. Based on
the cost for doing some of those projects in labor
hours I wonder if I shouldn't have actually decided to
do them myself.

The next problem is finding contractors that are
competent enough to meet the quality I would expect
(that is if I were to do the job myself, they should
do at least as good as I could, and for the price it
should be much better). Some of the things that get
contracted out actually free up my time to work on
projects that I want to work on rather than those that
I have to work on.

For instance, this weekend on Saturday afternoon I
started building a magnetic loop antenna as a ham
radio experiment. This was met with great disapproval
from my wife (what the heck is *that* and where are
you going to put *that*, but most importantly when are
you going to finish Project X were typical comments/
questions with a certain tone that I'm sure you may
know as well).

Turned out that Sunday morning I looked at Project X
and visited the big orange home center for supplies,
including a few more items for the antenna project
(which at this stage is really a plumbing project
using lots of copper pipe, elbows and a couple of
copper to PVC adapter thingies -- whatever they are
called, I hate plumbing but only do it myself to avoid
paying somebody who has all the right fittings so they
don't have to run back and forth to "Big Orange" as
often as I do).

Anyway, I got sort of milked the project for the whole
day so she thought it was lots more effort than it
really was, the project is now done and meets if not
exceeds her expectations, and I spent another 1 hour
on Sunday night working on the antenna project, so we
were all happy. However, I think she is still worried
about where I'm going to mount the antenna, but that
is an issue for another day.

I hope everyone loves their visit for the alumni
reunion events. We were fortunate enough to be able
to visit for Winter Carnival this past year. It had
been 15 years since I was there last and it was very
nice to be back for a quick weekend. Funny how I
remember it being much colder, though! This was
fortunate as my wife doesn't like the cold but we had
a great time snowmobiling and checking out the snow
statues that did survive the tropical temperatures.

I'd love to come back up sometime in the summertime,
but I think it may be another many years until that

E-mail from Phil Martorana '85 (Phil.Martorana(at)


Remember, the most powerful tool in the tool box is
the 'Check Book'.

E-mail from Dave Bezesky (davebezesky(at)


I'm just curious what you're replacing the vinyl with?
I live in South Dakota and they do put up vinyl here
but steel is really popular because of the way vinyl
cracks easily in the cold. Yes winter is actually is
colder here than it is in Houghton, but we are still
<sarcasm> blessed </sarcasm> with really hot summer

Anyhow, when I built our house here I compared the
cost of vinyl vs. steel, and the steel was only $600
more. I love it, it's held up much better than the
vinyl on my last house in Cincinnati.

Anyhow, enjoy having the work done for you. My wife
has still never dared to hire anything out that I
could do. She wanted to have someone come in to
repair our water softener recently. I am happy to
report that I successfully repaired it yesterday and
the soft water shower this morning was terrific...
Piece of cake!

E-mail from Justin Schaub '01 (justin.m.schaub(at)


Reading your weekly newsletter gives me the chance to
relax at work on Monday mornings here in Eagan MN.

My job is 6 1/2 hours from my house in Baraga, MI, so
when I read the news or weather descriptions in your
newsletter it helps me keep in touch with my family
whose back at the house while I work out here.
Reading through the Husqi Tales is also nice as I can
see the similarities in some of the things you put to
paper in my adventures at home, when I get a chance to
be there for 3-4 days every other week.

That being said, one thing I wanted to discuss with
your readers is the lack of visible effort by Tech
Alumni in pushing for more jobs in the UP, closer to
the University than in the bigger cities below the

What sparked this inquiry is reading the email from
Kurt Person at Bosch Automotive Division in Farmington
Hills, MI. While I understand there is thriving
auto support industries, even with the challenges that
automobiles made in America are facing, why are these
companies solely located in the Lower Peninsula? Why
can't the thriving auto industry support companies
(and others) share their work centers with the UP and
directly tap the resources of co-op, intern students
and graduates without having them relocate to the
Lower Peninsula? Consulting offices, engineering
centers and research centers can be easily located in
the UP.

Too many companies in Michigan are located below the
bridge, and while its admirable that they want to hire
Michigan Tech grads and bring them down state, it would be even
more admirable if they would support the local
economies here in the UP that are in DESPERATE need
for having high caliber technical jobs that require
degrees provided by Michigan Tech. Too many of the talented
individuals coming from Michigan Tech (be it graduates or
intern/co-op) are being pulled to other states such as
WI, MN, IL, NY and Lower Michigan instead of staying
in the UP.

I'd like to see more actions by Michigan Tech alumni and current
Michigan Tech staff in lobbying companies and the government
(state and federal) in bringing more jobs to the UP.

I understand the financial implications for companies
to make this move, and that are a whole host of other
issues not brought up here, but it would be nice to
see a more active movement to bolster the UP with
industry to keep our talent employed closer to home.

Dean sez: Michigan Tech has been very active in such
activities, with the most prominent being the Michigan Tech
Enterprise SmartZone. The SmartZone is an effort to take
advantage of Tech's strengths in engineering, science, and
research, while creating jobs in the area. For more
information, see

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,125 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 Russell Betts far1163(at)
1968 Gary Kanner sailor(at)
1978 Jeffrey Dickman emdtech1(at)
1978 Paula LaCasse (Hamilton) lacasse(at)
1992 John Engel engel45(at)
1997 Christyn Carlton ccarlton(at)
2001 Jayson Welihan jayson_welihan(at)
2002 Joshua Bennett joshuatbennett(at)
2003 Nicole Altomaro Nicole.Altomaro(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.


24 Norway Chapter annual meeting at Kjeller, just east of
Oslo. Contact Sverre Sandberg: sverre.sandberg(at)

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Assistant Professor - School of Technology

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