February 25, 2008
Vol. 14, No. 20

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Only the Beginning

When does a parent know that the beginning of the end is here? When his youngest has him proofread his résumé.

After emailing it to me, he burst into my office early in the morning in sport coat, tie, and dress pants. He had trimmed his beard, and his hair looked nice. Must be the girlfriend.

But it was also the Job Fair 2008 held on campus this week. More than 200 companies packed the SDC Varsity Gym and Gates Tennis Center as Tech students worked the floor, shook hands, and pitched themselves, including our Junior, who is actually a junior this year.

Or “third-year student” as they call themselves now. Which is smart, since it often takes more than a four-year sequence to get out of Houghton with a degree.

And all the students I talked to on this day were not seniors. Greg Petty, a second-year electrical engineering major, had already talked to Johnson Controls in the morning and was “looking for Gamin and IBM” this afternoon. (Greg emailed me later: "I just got back from my interview with Rosemount/Emerson Process Management, and i believe it went pretty well.") Ryan Boersema, a computer network and system administration major in his second year, was looking forward to talking with Stryker Medical.

He wasn’t alone. There was a lineup to the Stryker booth in the Gates Tennis Center, and Sarah Erdman, a third-year business management major was waiting her turn in long line. All the students were seeking the interviews set up for the next day, and Sarah interviewed with Skanska, which “went quite well, if I do say so myself.”

Sean Brewer, recruiting for Archer Daniels Midland, was looking for mechanical and electrical engineering majors, as well as construction management graduates to fill their entry-level positions. “Production assistant is what they start out at,” he says. Only six months with the company, he was working with Karl Kemnitz ’00. Brewer liked hiring engineers because they “think logically and are good at problem solving. They can manage people and other things under pressure and apply their skills.”

CSX Transportation, “the largest railroad system east of the Mississippi,” was looking for civil and mechanical engineers and business majors. Leslie Chek says they “start out their people with a lot of responsibility and look for students who have done a lot: school projects, working through school, who are not afraid of hard work. This is not a Monday through Friday desk job.” She was working with alums Ben Biesterveld and Eric Peterson.

Janis Conklin of JELD-WEN was recruiting here because of the reputation of those Tech graduates who were already working there. “We want to see more Michigan Tech students in our facility,” she says. She also had a suggestion for my son: “Have him read the little company write-ups in the booklet before he goes up there.”

It seems obvious, but . . .

I finally caught up to him, surreptitiously, as he worked the Benham Companies booth. There he was talking, nodding, shaking hands. This was a first.

He thought it went well and had talked to one UP firm and was quickly off looking for a company in Madison.

Well, I told his mother later on the phone, at least he’s looking at the Midwest. . .

Dennis Walikainen '92


Snowfall Totals from the Keweenaw Research Center, Houghton County Airport

Season total to date: 143"
On the ground: 36 "

Total last week: 131.5 "
On the ground: 33 "

Total last year: 106.75 "
On the ground: 33 "

Snowfall Totals from Allouez Township, Keweenaw County

Season total to date: 205.5"
On the ground: 39"

TechAlum Archives

At Tech

Tech Faculty Votes Down Union

Tenured and tenure-track faculty at Michigan Technological University have voted not to continue being represented by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in collective bargaining negotiations with Michigan Tech.

The faculty vote was 143 against the union and 136 in favor of it, with six challenged ballots and three spoiled ballots. A majority of those voting was required to recertify the AAUP. More

Frozen car artists say thanks, eh!

The artists behind the Frozen Car project at Michigan Technological University thanked the City of Houghton Wednesday for helping them out when their project was on the rocks. Artists Sue Wrbican and Mary Carothers intended to freeze a 1978 Chevrolet Nova inside a giant block of ice, in a project examining global warming and American’s relationship with automobiles. The Chevy Nova is there. However, in a struggle well-chronicled on their blog (http://frozencar.blogspot.com), the ice wouldn’t cooperate. More

Tech Trails: New, Improved, and, Soon, for Many More

By Dennis Walikainen, senior editor, University Marketing and Communications

cross-country ski

The Michigan Tech cross-county trails have seen many recent improvements: lights for night usage, expanded trails with beautiful views and, soon, accessibility for many more users, with a Tech touch.

Thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association Foundation (MRPAF), skiers with varying levels of disability will also be able to enjoy the nearly 700 acres of the recreational forest that is home to the trails. More

A Fresh Look inside Mount St. Helens

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

Volcanoes are notoriously hard to study. All the action takes place deep inside, at enormous temperatures. So geophysicists make models, using what they know to develop theories about what they don’t know.

Research led by Gregory P. Waite, an assistant professor of geophysics, has produced a new seismic model for figuring out what’s going on inside Mount St. Helens, North America’s most active volcano. Waite hopes his research into the causes of the earthquakes that accompany the eruption of a volcano will help scientists better assess the hazard of a violent explosion at Mount St. Helens and similar volcanoes. More

View more sports >

Tech Sports

GLIAC Champs!


Hang another banner in the Student Development Complex Gymnasium! With a Northwood loss, the Michigan Tech women's basketball team clinched at least a share of its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division title since 2000-01. More

Tech Men Rally from 14 Behind to Beat Northern

BasketballDon Fowler

The Michigan Tech men's basketball team battled back from a 27-18 halftime deficit to upend arch rival Northern Michigan, 48-46, at the SDC Gym tonight. The Huskies shot just 24.5 percent from the field but used an 18-of-20 mark at the free throw line and intense defensive pressure to earn the season split with the Wildcats. More

Huskies Raise $1,100 to Fight Breast Cancer

Michigan Tech athletics raised over $1,100 last week participating in a nationwide Think Pink initiative, which was aimed at raising funds and awareness for breast cancer. More than 1,000 universities across the country took part in Think Pink week and have raised over $200,000 towards the cause. More

Hockey Huskies Swept by St. Cloud

Michigan Tech outshot No. 16 St. Cloud State, 37-33, but was unable to score as it fell 3-0 in the WCHA road contest on Feb. 23."We played really well tonight. We just couldn't get a break," said head coach Jamie Russell. More

Sports Events View Composite Schedule
Lake Superior State Women's & Men's Basketball, 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Denver Hockey, 7:07 p.m.
GLIAC Tournament Women's & Men's Basketball, TBA
Denver Hockey, 7:07 p.m.
NCAA Championships Women's & Men's Nordic Skiing
GLIAC Semifinals Men's and Women's Basketball, TBA
At Minnesota State-Mankato Hockey, 8:37 p.m.
NCAA Championships Women's & Men's Nordic Skiing
At Vincennes & Moravain Men's Tennis
At Minnesota State-Mankato Hockey, 8:07 p.m.

Around the Keweenaw adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

ESPN on Hotseat in Exhumation Case

ESPN will have to provide the relatives of George Gipp with any material relating to his October exhumation, and also answer a set of questions, according to a Houghton County Circuit Court ruling Wednesday. However, no depositions will be given until after a March hearing to consider dismissing the case. The famed Notre Dame football star, who died in 1920 of pnuemonia, was exhumed on Oct. 4 for DNA testing to determine if he had fathered his girlfriend’s child. The tests came back negative. ESPN crews filmed the exhumation. More

Conviction in Red Cross Case Upheld

A federal appeals court upheld the six-year sentence of the former Houghton Red Cross executive director who stole thousands of dollars in post-9/11 donations from the agency. Kimberly Sue Smith started at the Red Cross’s Western U.P. chapter the day before 9/11. Over the next year, she embezzled more than $100,000 from the “Liberty Fund,” which went to the victims of 9/11. The money was used to support Smith’s drug and alcohol habits, a vacation and other purchases, including furniture, jewelry, electronics and a tractor/snowblower. More

Less Ice on Lake Superior

Charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show less ice cover on Lake Superior than was present at this time last year, despite colder average surface water temperatures. George Leshkevich, a research physical scientist at the NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, said the latest ice charts released Thursday indicate only a small proportion of Lake Superior’s surface covered with ice. More

From the Email Bag

On Alumni Stories

Good Afternoon,
I am a writer for the MTU Lode and recently I have began covering stories about how Tech Alumni remember Michigan Tech when they attended. I found the Tech Alumni newsletter a great resource in my research and was wondering if you could connect me to some people who have stories to share - adventures around the area, traditions they remember, crazy snow storms, summers in the Keweenaw, etc.

Please have anyone interested send me their stories. Besides the story, I research how things have changed and compare the 'old' to the 'new'.

Elise Herren


On Subscribing, etc.

I’m an alum of Tech from ’74. Many moons ago, I used to regularly receive and much enjoyed Tech Alum news e-mailed to me weekly. Since I got a new address a few years back, I’ve been unable to get back on the distribution list.

Is it possible for you to add my e-mail address to your list?

If not, thanks anyway. I’ll bookmark your web site and tune in weekly.

Thanks for the news from Tech and the Copper Country. I miss them both. (But not the snow.)

Tech is one of the country’s finest schools. May it always be that way. Thanks much for your newsletters. They take a lot of time, but deliver a lot of interesting news.

Rey Tonelli


Hi Dennis,
Thanks for keeping me in touch with Tech. I still rememer with the fond memory of my first winter carnival at Tech around 50 years ago and the ice hockey games which there're none in Bangkok except on cable and sattellite tv.

I had been backed at Tech on the eve before thanksgiving of Nov'99 and stayed overnight at Prof Arthur Weaver and his wife, Phyllis' home over the Blue Top Cabin Road. I managed to have dinner with Prof Joe Kirkish and rushed down to Ann Arbor next morning which was unfortunate that I didn't have a chance to talk with the people at the school because it's a holiday.

I would love to contact some of my friends, Robert B. Plater CE'59 of Saginaw , Sunder C. Mehta ME'59 of Bombey and Easie Khazaie ME' 60. Wondernif they're still around and have their email adds at the Tech alumni directory ?

Thanks once again in keep me inform on the activities at Tech.

My best,
Wera Wongcruawal

Editor's Note: We got Ray subscribed, and it's easy to do: http://www.huskylink.mtu.edu

We also helped Wera get in touch with some of his friends, and we'd be glad to help you, too.

On the Frozen Car Project and Winter Carnival

What is the deal with the frozen car? Are we trying to prove something? Thanks for the great pictures.

Robert Davis


What is the background and purpose?

Tim Browning

Editor's Note: The Frozen Car Project wrapped up this weekend. More

Visiting Tech, Snow Days

I received the following note on my desk, just after Carnival:

Came to check out what the "wimps" are up to!

Frank Shoffner

Editor's Note: I can assure Frank that I was, indeed, at work that day!


I agree with Frank. Wimps.

I spent from ‘85-’91 in the U.P. 3 years at LSSU and 3 Years at Da Tech. During that time the total number of times the schools closed (that I am aware of) was ONE. That was the infamous “Thanksgiving Drive of ‘85”, and ½ of the school was stuck below the bridge! I don’t think the school was ever closed during my time there during 88~91. I remember frequently walking “sliding” down Garnet and Prospect to campus in 6, 8 and even 12” of snow, and school not being called off. Jenn Ridley, your mind seems to hold onto this information better than mine. Is my count accurate during this time frame?

At LSSU temps frequently dropped to -40F with wind chill in January. I distinctly remember an entire week in 1985 where we had -10 (and below) and 20~40mph winds. You do the math on the wind chill. During that time NO schools were closed (college, High School, or even Grade Schools). My Calc Professor even stated that they “bundled up their 12 year old, and sent her off to the school bus stop”. Funny how times change!

Just think if our places of employ worked like the school districts. We had a “forecast” of 6~10 down here to START in the PM of one school day. Almost all the districts in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and St. Claire counties had school closures for that day (and it wasn’t supposed to start until the afternoon). How much snow did we get? I think it was 1”.

Karl Loeffler ’91 EEE


Hello Dennis,

As you had with your family, I thoroughly enjoyed the Stage Revue.

Just to let you know, I graduated in 1988 with a BS in EE. I wrote the play that my fraternity, Sigma Pi, performed back in 1988. We took 5th place. I saw all the performances that day, and was sure that we should have placed in the top 3. Oh well. :)

I drove to Tech last Wednesday and was met by a nasty storm all the way from Grand Rapids to Grayling. Fortunately it was clear the rest of the way. I drove back on Saturday, and was met by a nasty storm all the way from L'Anse to Grayling, with a brief clearing at the Mackinac Bridge.
Fortunately, since the weather was fine at the bridge, we didn't have to worry as drivers on Sunday had to wait until 4 pm for the bridge to re-open. The visibility was great past Grayling. But, the roads were still quite snow ridden and icy. But, I made it home safe and sound, in almost 10 hours.

I had a great time at Winter Carnival. I hadn't gone to Winter Carnival since 1994. Other than the storms we had to drive through, and a speeding ticket in Chocolay on Wednesday, the only downside of my visit was a trip to the Emergency Room on Friday night. Without going into details, I'm ok. Just a virus that should clear up in a month, Thank God.

Hope you're enjoying the 6 degree weather your having right now. I know that it was sub-zero there yesterday and this morning. It's been only a few degrees warmer here in Grand Rapids, close to zero. I'm glad that during Winter Carnival, the temps were milder.

Thanks. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Take care,
Paul Kam

Featured Alumni Benefits

NEW Michigan Tech Email Service for Alumni

alumni email

Alumni can now take advantage of a new email service provided by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association in cooperation with Michigan Tech's Information Technology Services.

Alumni email accounts include:
• Comprehensive virus protection and anti-spam software tools
• 100 MB of message storage space
• Message forwarding to another email address

Sign up for your alumni email account today through the HuskyLink online community www.huskylink.mtu.edu. If you are not already a member, visit www.huskylink.mtu.edu/join for details on how to join.

Once you have set up your “@mtu.edu” email account, you can access your email on the web from anywhere by visiting huskymail.mtu.edu or set up your favorite email program (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc) to use Michigan Tech's email server.


More Alumni Benefits & Services information <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/products/>

Class Rings
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License Plates
University Images Michigan Tech Clothing & Giftware

Job Opportunities


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

Facilities and Events Coordinator
Memorial Union
Regular, nine-month full-time, three-month half-time position

Application Programmer
Auxiliary Technologies

Executive Assistant to the Dean
School of Technology

Facilities and Events Coordinator
Memorial Union
Regular, nine-month full-time, three-month half-time position

For off-campus jobs, go to the alumni section of the Career Center website for alumni jobs.

Also, there is a new local job board.