April 10, 2006 (Vol. 12, No. 42)

A weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University

Edited by Dennis Walikainen (MS ’92), Director, Web Development, University Marketing and Communications

For past issues, see our archives.

NOTE: No Techalum next week--I am taking a "spring" break. See you in two weeks.

In this issue:

Opening Day(s)

It happens every spring, after the St. Paddy's day storm. We get a couple of warm days, and a young or not-so-young man's or woman's thoughts turn to, take your pick: baseball, golf, or fishing. The first two are great loves of mine; the third is okay, too, but frankly I am awful at it.

I played little league baseball in Detroit and was fortunate enough to live there when the 1968 Tigers all but erased the scars of the previous summer. Later, when we moved up north, my baseball talents weren't quite enough, and fouling balls of my hands in 40-degree practices didn't make me too sad when I didn't make the team. (The other two guys who were cut that day remain my close friends.)

My son played little league for several seasons and survived a couple of black eyes, batting-practice pitching from me (some behind his back), and retrieving wild throws in the remaining snow banks-a different sort of "spring training."

The Masters Tournament on television has every duffer salivating for four days. We see the beauty of that course and wonder when ours will open. Portage Lake Golf Course normally opens around the 20th of April, so we aren't too far off. As usual, rumors abound: "Next weekend!"

I've misspent many hours chasing and losing golf balls on that course. It's where I taught both my children to play. He stuck with it, but she had the great swing (and would more often than not miss the ball entirely).

And, I can report that the last couple of years have seen many improvements at Portage: better fairways, new tee boxes, greens in good shape, and some new, strategically placed hazards. I've yet to see a similar major improvement in my game, however. It's worth a stop, if you bring your clubs on your next visit.

As for fishing (the opener is April 15), the Keweenaw has many great places to drown some worms. We are even part of the professional walleye circuit, having hosted a couple of tournaments. The first year they were here, my step-dad and I went to watch them take off: boats flying out of the marina in many directions one after another, actually making the Portage choppy.

We followed one boat east until the Portage turns, just beyond campus, and looked on in amazement. The pros had stopped and fished at the exact same spot, next to a channel marker, where my step-dad and I had been skunked numerous times. We must have gotten some bad bait . . .

Snowfall Update
(Last one of the year, as we will all be playing baseball, golfing, or fishing)

(Website http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/snowfall/)
As of April 5, 2006

Snowfall to Date, On the Ground

This Week: 219.5"        8"
Last Week: 219.5"      16"
Last Year: 164.7"    none*

*Final reported for April 11, 2005

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/pps-cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl>

At Tech

U.S. NEWS GIVES GOOD MARKS TO FIVE GRAD PROGRAMS: U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools 2007" has ranked five Tech graduate programs among the best in the country. The programs include Earth Sciences (77th), Environmental Engineering (23rd), Mechanical Engineering (50th), Civil Engineering (58th) and Materials Science and Engineering (40th). The university's graduate program has been growing steadily, with the number of on-campus graduate students standing at 873 in fall 2005, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year. Research expenditures have also risen significantly, to over $41 million in 2005. "This recognition by U.S. News underscores the strength of Michigan Tech's graduate education and the university's commitment to both its research and its graduate programs," said Jacqueline Huntoon, dean of the graduate school.


DEAN OF ENGINEERING SEARCH BEGINNING: Tech is initiating a search for a new dean of engineering, Provost David Reed has announced. Robert Warrington will be stepping down in August, at the end of his current appointment. Warrington, who has served as dean since 1996, will continue to provide leadership in cross-disciplinary research and educational programs as the College searches for his replacement.  "I thoroughly appreciate Bob's suggestion that we begin the process this spring, which will allow us to have the search well under way by next fall," Reed said. "He truly has the interest of the College and university at heart as we move into this important transition period."

Tech Sports

RICHARDSON NAMED NABC ALL-REGION: Radayl Richardson (Detroit, Mich./De Porres) of the Tech men's basketball team is one of 11 players in the Great Lakes Region to earn postseason honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The junior guard has been named to the All-Great Lakes Region Second Team. Richardson led the Huskies in scoring (15.9 points per game), steals (34) and blocks (18) and was second in rebounding (4.7 per game). The All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team selection finished sixth in the league in scoring, bolstered by an impressive average of 21.9 in the final month of the season. Richardson finished his junior season with 908 career points -- needing less than 100 more to become the 20th player in Michigan Tech history to score 1,000.This year marks the fifth consecutive that a Michigan Tech player has earned postseason recognition from the NABC. The other players were Josh Buettner (2003-04 & 2004-05), Matt Cameron (2001-02 & 2002-03), and J.T. Luginski (2002-03).


#10 NORTHWOOD TOPS HUSKIES, 8-1, IN TENNIS: The Tech men's tennis team concluded its 2005-06 regular season schedule with an 8-1 loss at nationally-ranked Northwood Sunday. Number six singles player Alan Parenteau secured Michigan Tech's only point with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over the Timberwolves' Alex Fontaine. Parenteau is now 4-5 at number six this season. All other singles matches were straight set decisions for the hosts. In doubles, the Tech duo of Yassine Borkadi and Chris Calder at number two fared the best before falling, 8-2.


WAYNE STATE DOWNS HUSKIES, 8-1, IN MEN'S TENNIS: Wayne State defended its home courts Saturday by a score of 8-1 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's tennis match. The Huskies scored their lone point with a number three doubles win. Justin Foley and Brandon Ellefson combined to defeat Adam Williams and R.J. Rodgerson by a pro-set score of 9-7. In singles, Yassine Borkadi pushed his number three opponent Arthur Carrilho to three sets before falling, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Tech's top player, Brett Girard, was knocked off, 6-2, 6-0 at number one singles.


ANDERSON COMPETES FOR WEST TEAM IN NCAA FROZEN FOUR SKILLS CHALLENGE: Senior Nick Anderson of the Michigan Tech hockey team participated in the inaugural NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge held in conjunction with the 2006 NCAA Men's Frozen Four tonight at the Bradley Center. The East Team won the challenge by an 11-10 count over the West Team. "This was a great event to be a part of," said Anderson. "It was really fun to play with some people from across the country I hadn't met before. Hopefully this becomes an annual event because its a good way to give more college players a chance to experience the Frozen Four." Wisconsin won the championship game, 2-1, over Boston College.



Sunday, April 9

Men's Tennis at #10 Northwood 8, Michigan Tech 1

Saturday, April 8

Men's Tennis at Wayne State 8, Michigan Tech 1


Friday, April 14

Men's Tennis at GLIAC Championships (Opponents and Times TBA)

Saturday, April 15

Women's Track & Field at Saginaw Valley State Invitational, 11 a.m.

Men's Track & Field at Saginaw Valley State Invitational, 11 a.m.

Men's Tennis at GLIAC Championships (Opponents and Times TBA)

Saturday, April 22

Football hosts Annual Spring Intrasquad Game, 1 p.m.

All Times are Eastern

Around Town
(Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette)

GINO BECIA DIES: Former Portage Township Supervisor Gino Becia had a strong love of both politics and his family, friends and relatives said. Becia died of a heart attack recently. He was 70. His death came as he and his wife, Ruth, were pulling away from their winter home in Yuma, Ariz., to head back to Michigan. "We spent our four months there and we were looking forward to coming back (to Arizona) next year," she said. Becia spent 24 years as Portage Township's supervisor, and enjoyed every minute of it, Ruth Becia said. "He thought the world of politics," she said. "He just loved it. He didn't want to retire ... he just loved helping people, and helping the community that we live in."

He would also spend 30 years working for Michigan Tech, eventually becoming supervisor of maintenance. Bill Blumhardt, the longtime director of Facilities Management at Tech, said Becia had been fun to work with. Becia had organized the annual picnics for plant operations at the Hancock Beach. And he was usually the life of the party. "Gino was dedicated to Michigan Tech," he said. "He loved Michigan Tech. Gino had a passion for everything he was committed to." Becia was also one of the area's "true characters," Blumhardt said, engaging in bouts with the City of Houghton over sewers and the annexation of township property. He had the same zest when it came to family, relatives said. Becia had five children; Mike, Susan, Thomas, Luann, and Daniel, as well as numerous grandchildren.


INTERNATIONAL PAPER SELLS ACREAGE: International Paper's announcement of 440,000 acres of Michigan timberland is a "mixed bag of news," according to one spokesman for a local conservation organization. The Stamford, Conn.-based IP announced its intent to sign agreements with two investor groups under which it will sell a total of approximately 5.1 million acres of forestlands for aggregate proceeds of approximately $6.1 billion. Under one of the agreements, International Paper will sell 440,000 acres in Michigan to an investor group led by Birmingham, Ala.-based Resource Management Service LLC for approximately $5 billion in cash and notes. The Michigan sale includes 125,000 acres in Keweenaw county, 60,000 acres in Houghton county, 60,000 acres in Ontonagon county and 46,000 acres in Baraga county. Keweenaw Land Trust Executive Director Evan McDonald said the sale had its pros and cons. "We had heard rumors that the lands were going to be divided up," he said. "It could have been trickier from our standpoint to work with many companies rather than just one."


CALL CENTER SLATED FOR HOUGHTON: After receiving almost 200 responses from area residents, Virginia-based market research firm Issues and Answers has decided to make Houghton home for its latest call center. Company President Peter McGuinness said the company received just fewer than 200 calls in response to an advertisement in The Daily Mining Gazette. Houghton beat out Gaylord and Menominee, Mich., for the coveted call center. Negotiations ended Wednesday and it is confirmed that the call center will take over 4,500 square feet in the new Red Ridge Plaza on Sharon Avenue. McGuinness said the target date for a grand opening is May 15 and the company will be looking to fill between 100 and 120 positions before then.

From the E-mailbag

Dear Dennis,
I just received the weekly TechAlum newsletter and I wanted to express my appreciation to you for recognizing the ROTC programs at Tech. As a career military professional, I was always proud to tell others I was a graduate of Michigan Tech and earned a commission through the ROTC program there (1968).

The ROTC programs at Tech, both Army and Air Force, have a long heritage of producing outstanding military officers, who have served their country with pride and distinction. It's a heritage in which all Tech alumni can be justifiably proud.   

Yes, while other graduates head off to that "... great, exciting first job ...," Tech-commissioned officers do indeed head off to "... someplace entirely different..." They head off to a profession founded on absolute integrity; an uncompromising commitment to excellence; and, above all, service before self.

Thanks again for recognizing Tech's ROTC programs.

Major General, United States Air Force (Retired)


When I saw this piece in the newsletter a few minutes ago, I read no further, but immediately forwarded it to my friends all over the world.

Thank you,
Frank Shoffner '62


Thank you for recognizing the ROTC cadets.  There have been so many stories about schools (particularly law schools) fighting to keep military recruiters off campus, it was encouraging to see them actually appreciated at a university.  Our military deserves to be valued by all of us who enjoy the freedoms that they dedicate their lives to protecting.

Darryl Johnson


Thanks for your comments on the ROTC. It is hard to understand why someone would defend our nation at such a young age, when so many have whatever they want. Freedom is taken for granted, especially at a younger age for me, it is not until recently that I have began to understand how much suffering has gone into our freedom. A heartfelt thanks to all our soldiers and veterans that defend our freedom as well as others.

Jay Heffelbower


I second your accolades to the ROTC program. After 9/11 I had the distinct pleasure to work as a civilian contractor in Qatar, assisting the USAF with the work they were doing at the time. Most of the officers I worked with were ROTC graduates from various schools around the country. All were serious professionals with a job to do, putting up with tent living, confinement, and being away from home, part of the deal they accepted when they signed up. My hat is off to all of them.

Ray Lehmer - 74' BSCE, 76' BSMG


Well I guess it just goes to show the different military presences around the country.  At the previous hospital I worked at we designed a new helipad specifically to accept landing a black hawk helicopter and a medical airlift helicopter SIMULTANEOUSLY.  If you thought the Black Hawk created a stir in Houghton, Imagine one landing (fairly routinely) in downtown Seattle.

Duane Mariotti '80
Bellevue, Washington


I guess sometimes I forget how long winter lasts in the Keweenaw, your snow report of 16" on the ground sure brought it back.  I remember downhill skiing at Mt. Ripley in April, and have pictures from my freshman year of spring skiing in shorts the last weekend of April.

Down here in Chicagoland (Crystal Lake), I put my dock in two weeks ago, pulled out my ski boat this weekend to get it ready to do some water skiing (in a wet suit, of course) and I am waiting for my new pontoon to be delivered.  Thoughts of 16" of snow and shoveling ended weeks ago and we are in full spring/summer preparation mode down here.

Of course my co-workers in Texas don't understand the concept of having to take the dock out because of ice heave either.

Keep up the good work,
Richard Passavant - STC '93


Alumni Association Programs

Michigan Tech Alumni Relations and Admissions are proud to present the following Michigan Tech SPOTLIGHT NIGHTS, as part of the STARnet volunteer program.

* See the dates listed below.

Know bright, motivated, and adventurous students in these areas? Encourage them to come out! Pass it on. Michigan Tech Spotlight Night is a great place to check out Tech.

The purpose of the Spotlight Night programs is to introduce prospective students to Michigan Tech. The event will showcase the seven interest areas of study:  Arts and Human Sciences, Business, Computing, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Sciences, and Technology, along with showcasing various Enterprise and Senior Design projects. Prospective students and guests including parents, teachers and counselors are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For the Spotlight Night schedule, posters and more information, www.mtu.edu.

Information is also available on the Alumni & Friends and Admissions homepage, or contact: Kim Klender at ksklende(at)mtu.edu  (906.487.3674)

RSVP:  <www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/volunteer/spotlight.htm>


ALL CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events, e-mail mtu_alumni(at)mtu.edu or see the alumni chapter site on the web:


11 - Denver Presidential Reception
12 - Student Expo - Alumni Night
18 - Ontario/Inland Empire National College Fair
19 - Honolulu National College Fair
20 - San Diego National College Fair
22 - Orange County National College Fair
23-24 - Greater LA National College Fair
25 - Ventura National College Fair
27 - San Francisco National College Fair
29 - Spring Commencement

3 - Grand Rapids Spring Dinner/Presidential Reception
8 - Boston Presidential Reception
9 - Philadelphia Presidential Reception
10 - Duluth Spotlight Night*
11 - Minneapolis Spotlight Night*
16 - Saginaw/Bay City/Midland Spotlight Night
17-18 - Detroit Spotlight Night*
22 - Marquette Spotlight Night*
23 - Traverse City Spotlight Night*
24 - Grand Rapids Spotlight Night*
24 - Green Bay Golf Outing
24-26 - Washington DC (MTF Board Meeting), Presidential Reception
25 - Kalamazoo Spotlight Night*


Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions are available by e-mailing jobs at mtu.edu

Assistant Director, Corporate Development--Advancement

Director, Foundation Relations--Advancement

Research Scientist--School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (Position duration dependent upon external funding)

Technology Licensing Associate (Revised and Reposted)--Corporate Services, Intellectual Property/Technology Commercialization

(Position duration dependent upon external funding)

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site ( http://www.career.mtu.edu/alumni.php)