June 1, 2010
Vol. 16, No. 20
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That First Job

Central Transport
The CT trucks: dispatchers tell drivers where to go.

With my freshly minted degree, I set out to find a new job, any job, in the UP. I had no luck, so I moved to Detroit, like so many people have done in the past. There, I worked for most of a year with Central Transport. (Coincidently, I missed the worst winter ever up here: 380 inches of snow.)

You've probably seen their trucks on the highways: red "C"; black "T"; hauling freight around much of North America. This first job, as a dispatcher, was a true education. I learned communication skills: how to tell truck drivers where to go in their language. I learned management skills: the supervisors would help us organize all the loads to begin our shift. I learned patience: sometimes I had to sit and wait for loads to arrive before plotting more courses of action.

I also learned to have a sense of humor on the job. One truck driver said, "I'm hauling a load of dispatcher brains." And he was answered by another trucker, "Oh, you mean it's empty?"

The drivers were routinely hard working, dedicated people who made their living in a very hard fashion: away from their families for long periods of time.

And they taught me one other great lesson: if you treated them well and with respect, they responded in kind, sometimes with Christmas presents!

About a year later, I was back in the UP, and married, and I was on my way home. But, I'll never forget the lessons learned.

Dennis '92, '09


Tell us your first job. You can do so via the Tech Life section of the 125th anniversary website or the Alumni Association Facebook page. Be a historian! You can send me your memories, too.

At Tech

Shiliang Wu Receives National Faculty Enhancement Award

Shiliang Wu, whose research focuses on atmospheric chemistry, air quality and global environmental change, has been named a winner of the 2010 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. Wu is an assistant professor of geological and mining engineering and sciences with a joint appointment in civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University. More

Nanotubes that Heal: Engineering Better Orthopedic Implants

Titanium and its alloys have a leg up on all other materials used to make the orthopedic implants used by surgeons to repair damaged bones and joints. They are light, super-strong, and virtually inert inside the body. But whether the implants are destined for your knee, your hip, your spine or your jaw, the silvery metal has one big drawback. More

A Sweet Solution to Michigan's Economic Problems

Dave Kossak, a third-year forestry student at Michigan Technological University, has a sweet solution to Michigan’s economic woes: maple syrup. He’d like to see Michigan become the maple syrup capital of the world, and his proposal for accomplishing that goal has won him a $5,000 scholarship as the fourth-place winner of a college student competition called Motivate Michigan. More

It's Much More Than a Walk in the Park

Mike Link and Kate Crowley are walking around Lake Superior this summer. All the way around. Some say that’s 1,600 miles. Others estimate as high as 2,900. “But it’s not just a walk,” said Link at a program he and his wife presented at Michigan Tech Thursday evening. The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative of the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education sponsored the program at Tech. More

Alumni Around the World

31st Annual Green Bay Golf Outing

Green Bay alums
Generations of Michigan Tech Football Alumni show their support (Don Boldt '58, Rob Scheel '00, Jerry Hintz '79, Alex Kowalski '01)

Alumni from northern Wisconsin gathered at the Mid Vallee golf course in De Pere, for another year of golf, prizes, and dinner. Longtime Chapter Leaders, Suzanne Berkowitz '85 and Jerry Hintz '79, organized the annual event whose proceeds from raffle tickets go to support Michigan Tech Athletics.

Bay Area National Park and Vineyard Tour Planned

bay areaJoin Glenn and Gail Mroz on this exciting trip to visit several of our National Parks and two Vineyards in the Bay Area, July 21-25, 2010. You've never experienced our nation's National Parks like this before. During the first two days of the trip, Tech Alumna, Debbie Campbell '76, National Park Service Pacific West Region Facility Manager, will guide our exploration behind the scenes to learn about the unique features of four of the nation's treasured national parks: San Francisco Maritime Museum / Golden Gate National Park, Alcatraz Island, The Presidio of San Francisco, and Muir Woods National Monument. More

Fill in the Blanks

mallOut on the mall in May 2005. Recognize anyone?. Email me.

Houghton in the 1970s

downtown Houghton
Remember when downtown Houghton was full of signs, in the 1970s? Email me.
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Tech Sports

Gilkerson Finishes 10th at NCAA Championships

Senior Ken Gilkerson concluded his career at Michigan Tech with a 10th place finish in the 800 at the 2010 Div. II Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday (May 29). He set a new school record in the event with a time of 1:51.08. Senior Mark Husted of Colorado Mines won the race in a time of 1:48.65. "Earning a trip to nationals was always a goal of mine," said Gilkerson. "I have no regrets about the way I raced today. I ended my career with my fastest time ever." More

Vlaisavljevich Earns Academic All-District Honors

Michigan Tech hockey player Eli Vlaisavljevich recently earned ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District accolades. He will also be eligible for Academic All-America status. Vlaisavljevich, who was named the WCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist, was also named to the All-District Team last year. The defenseman finished his career with three goals and seven assists in 111 games. More

Hockey Team Announces 2010-11 Schedule

Michigan Tech has released its 2010-11 hockey schedule that features 37 games, 18 of which will be played at the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena. “After playing the No. 1 toughest schedule in the nation last year, we will once again have a very challenging journey in 2010-11,” said head coach Jamie Russell. “We are excited to welcome in both Nebraska Omaha and Bemidji State to the WCHA and we look forward to both the conference and non conference opponents we will face.” More

Around the Keweenaw

Jon Davis Left Legacy

Jon Davis was known for his gusto for life and kind heart, and with it, he left a legacy. Friends and family of the Jon Davis gathered this weekend to remember the late paragon. Davis, a well-known local businessman, passed away last January and a memorial was held in his honor Saturday evening. "He added such enthusiasm to any organization or any group that he was a part of," friend Janet Fredrickson said. "He was almost bigger than life." More

Maasto Hiihto Trail Closed

The Maasto Hiihto trails are heavily used in winter by cross country skiers and snowshoers, and bicycle riders and hikers use them in warm weather, but for the time being, a portion of the trails are closed due to safety concerns. More

Bike 2 Work Day Inspires Copper Country Cyclists, Others

Millie Pekkala was volunteering at Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly when she heard about Bike 2 Work Day. "I said, 'I'm going in my wheelchair,'" she said. The 87-year-old Pekkala lived up to her word. Friday morning, she tied balloons to her chair and wheeled from her home to Little Brothers, flanked by two helpers. "I think it's wonderful," she said. More

Calling All Cell Phones . . .

The Department of Public Safety and Police Services at Michigan Tech has collected about 60 unused cell phones in the six weeks it has been participating in the 911 Cell Phone Bank Program and the department hopes to come across many more. More

From the Email Bag

WIE Photo

I participated in WIE the summer of 1983 and then was a counselor for both that and the Summer Youth Program the summer of 1987. The WIE program cemented in my mind that I wanted to be an engineer and that MTU was my first choice of schools. Great memories!!

Kym (Adams) Ware

MEEM 1989


I partook of WIE, in 1984 even. But that’s not me in the picture. I have a clipping of myself in that exact same pose from my local paper, though. I really enjoyed my week at WIE. It was fun staying in the dorms and trying out each of the different engineering disciplines. We got to break stuff in the ME lab, drill holes in the mine and wire up a circuit board. I had heard about all the men at MTU, but the only males I saw when I was there were a bunch of sweaty boys attending hockey camp. My son has been one of those sweaty boys, and will be again this summer – his ninth year attending.

Lori (Rytkonen) Hardin BSEE 1989



I participated in WIE the summer of 1978. My Advanced Biology teacher at Midland HS encouraged me to apply. Dow Chemical was my sponsor.

Mary J. Miller, 83’

The Mystery Commencement: Solved?

I think that I can see myself in the photograph provided by Barb Matz. It would help if you could send me a higher resolution image and I could be more positive, but if I am correct the photo is from June 16, 1973 (my graduation for an MS in Geology) or August 29, 1969 (my graduation with a BS in Applied Geophysics). I agree with Barb that it would be really interesting to see a graph of the male – female ratio over the years. My recollection is that in 1965 there were 40 women in a freshman class of 1600. I was so desperate for feminine companionship that I married one of the 40! In the fall my daughter Tanya will be starting her senior year at Tech in the Chemistry Department and she lives at the Delta Zeta sorority. I can’t even remember that there was a sorority house back in ‘65!

Best regards,
William J. Johnson
Class of ‘69


In the mystery graduation photo, I see a total of 3 women, one at extreme lower left, and one behind the one noted by Ms Matz.

Bill Locher, '62


Hi Dennis.....I sent your mystery graduation picture to my mom (Betty (Fentz) Mueller) because I thought the blonde in it might be her. My mom told me I was close but the blonde graduate in the picture was actually her sorority sister Susan O'Neill - they were both Theta Chi's. She thought Susan had graduated in June of 1970 but you could probably date the photo by looking up Susan's commencement date.

Our family also has a pretty long list of Tech grads....

Myself Heidi Mueller BSME 1993
Sister - Heather (Mueller) Christenson BS - EEN 1997
Dad - David Mueller BSEE 1970
Mom - Betty (Fentz) Mueller BS - BBA 1970
Uncle - Robert Fentz BSME 1965


Dennis: I believe the 'Mystery Graduation' picture in the last TechAlum Newsletter is the class of 1968. The one woman pointed out in the back left is actually one of 3 (the other 2 have short hair...). I believe they are Math majors Linda Bliss Horton, Kathy Abbott and Sue Miner Kreeger. It was a good theory to use statistics to determine the year... I believe when we started as freshman the men to women ratio was in the range of 13 to 1. Not sure what it was when we graduated.

Joanne Schirm
Class of 1968, Mathematics

"The Quote"

Dennis, I heard Dean Meese give the Quote " Look at the person in front of you, the person on your left, and the person on your right. If you graduate they will not be there in four years." This was the freshman orientation for the class of "72" let me tell you it sure got my attention.

Dr. Thom Shoens B.S. Chemistry 1972.


Dennis, if I remember correctly he was not that far off in His prediction. Classes thinned out quite a bit by the end of sophomore year.

Thomas Schoens

Lambda Chi in the House

Thanks for the newsletter. As you may know I am a LCA from MTU (PP261, Class of 1996). My wife & I will be up for 30th Reunion. See ya then & keep up the good work.


Martin E. Gamble, Project Manager
Hardman Construction, Inc.

ASM Students Rock Phoenix

Hi Dennis:
I attended the ACSM-NSPS student surveying competition this year in Phoenix, AZ. The MTU students won the 3rd place trophy. Please contact their advisor for photo’s and additional information. This is a tough independent study that the students complete with students from other universities from all over. MTU did a great job in this competition.

Marv Meyers

The Old Campus


Sperr Hall

Dennis, I think the photo in "The Old Campus" item is Hubbell Hall (below) where math and physics were taught among other subjects. In 51-55 while I was attending Tech, civil engineering was taught in McNair Hall, but it was 4 buildings east of Hubbell Hall.

Mining and metallurgy was taught in Sperr Hall and it was 3 building east of Hubbell and set back a little.

I seem to remember the buildings on campus from east to west on the north side of College Ave. were:

Admin Bldg., ROTC Bldg., Hubbell Hall, Koenig Hall, Shops Bldg., Sperr Hall, McNair Hall, Hotchkiss Hall, the female residence (can't remember the name of the house), Douglas Houghton Hall and Sherman Gym.

Art Brookman '55 EE





Hubbell Hall

Looks like Hubbell Hall to me! Sperr Hall the mining building was I think only 2 floors tall. See attached photos from




Gary Rhoney


Alumni in Norway

Mr. and Mrs. Sverre Sandberg, Oslo, Norway.

Hi, Dennis,
I had the pleasure of attending Norway chapter of MTU recently in Oslo. I am sending you a few photos taken at the event. I am here for a research assignment for two months. It was indeed great to see slides of Houghton (I have spent 30 years at Tech) in 60's when the highway passed through the campus. It was an exciting evening.

Prof. Anand Kulkarni
ECE Dept.

Alumni Reunion

(1) Wanted to let you know that I enjoy your news reports on Tech. events / happenings.

(2) Also, since this is the 60th year "anniversary" of the 1950 students, I wondered if there is any special reunion (such as a luncheon ) planned in that context ? I presume there will be a Tech alumni event this coming August there in Houghton. Looking forward to your response.

Keep up the good informative work.

All the Best,
Robert C. Liimatainen, Ph.D.

Editor's Note: I put Bob in touch with our Alumni Relations folks and the Reunion website.

Hancock Fire and Another Steep Hill

"My wife at the top of the Brockway Mountain Drive.

Dennis - Im not sure yet how you want to get photos from the 50's? but her are a couple from 1958-59. please let me know if this is the way you want photos sent to you.






hancock fire
Fire in Hancock, Implement agency just west of the bridge where the park is now located, mid winter 1958/9

Don Barkel

Kerredge Theater, Carnival Skits

Hi Dennis,
I checked Facebook today & saw the picture of the Kerredge Theater. I uploaded these 3 photos from 1959 Winter Carnival of Phi Lambda Beta's skit at the Kerredge to the Tech page. It seemed to have "taken" them, but they don't show up anyplace. PLB became Alpha Gamma Delta. The title of the skit was When Grandma Was a Coed. The scenes, several"photos", were narrated by Gemma Lou Guidotti, and we got a first place in our class. We did have a token male, Bob Bondi in the By The Sea song, in the skit who had no lines. He was just window dressing. ;-)

Gail Richter '61

Featured Alumni Benefits

Michigan Tech’s Cash Course

cash course

Being financially savvy in today's world is critical to your success. Your Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Financial Aid Office, provides CashCourse, an online financial literacy tool to assist you in making sound financial decisions.  Visit here.


More Alumni Benefits and Services information http://www.mtu.edu/alumni/products/gear/

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Job Opportunities

On Campus

Research Engineer--Reposted, Mechanical Engineering--Engineering Mechanics

Assistant Coach Nordic Skiing, Cross Country, and Track & Field Athletics. Athletic Department

Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Science & Arts Social Sciences, Non-tenure Track

Laboratory/Demonstration Coordinator--Reposted, Biomedical Engineering

Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

Key Account Manager
Pewaukee, WI

White Lake Partners
1711 Pearl Street, Suite 203
Boulder, CO 80302
303.247.1177 [main]
303.443.3147 [fax]

Esmina Perdiew
Vice President
773.481.9660 [direct]