March 13, 2012
Vol. 18, No. 15
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Clean and Green Snowmobiles

Michigan Tech Sled
Tech's IC sled goes through the course for the handling event.

Michigan Tech’s Clean Snowmobile Challenge teams were taking a break from the action last week, showing off their sleds to the public. It was a good competition so far, especially for their internal combustion (IC) entry.

It was one of only four out of twelve to complete the endurance run of forty miles at the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC), then a Copper Harbor run. This boded well for overall points in the international competition. (The other schools were UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, and Clarkson.)

Warm weather this night and over the weekend is not a good thing, according to IC team leader Dylan Truskolaski, a third-year ME from Rush City, Minnesota.

“It hurts the cooling,” he said. “We have to work to keep it cool, which is important.”

Truskolaski got to drive the machine to Copper Harbor and said they had worked out many of the bugs in the sled, which was a holdover from last year.

The team had taken a base Polaris 750 CC two-stroke, made is lighter with better ergonomics and aerodynamics, he said. The team of twenty-five had spent many hours (“working every night”) on custom exhaust and intake mechanisms, among many other modifications, including one major change. (They would hit a few bumps in the road and not finish in the money Saturday.)

“They took a four-stroke engine and put it into the two-stroke chassis,” said advisor Jason Blough, ME-EM associate professor. “It was a really good effort.”

The four-stroke would make it quieter, and their result, and the zero emission (ZE) sled, both were impressive to Blough, and the judges, he hoped.

“They are really first prototypes, raised to the production standards of the companies,” he said. “And the rules were changed substantially this year.”

Not surprising, then, that all the ZE sleds had to be retooled to pass muster for the judges after the technical inspection. Four schools were cleared to continue, including Tech’s entry.

Greg Smiarowski, a fifth-year ME from Lapeer, Michigan, was the ZE team leader and one of four ME’s and four EE’s who teamed up on the machine. They worked out the bugs by working late into the night.

“We want to show them what we can do, instead of just talking about what we can do,” he said.

Greg emailed me after the competition was completed.

"We made it through two events Saturday morning but then broke down for the last," he said. "We ended up getting third place overall."

"We have a lot of work to get done for next year's competition," he added. "We want to show up with a very competitive snowmobile next year that may place in the top two. We do have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are a very hard-working group that doesn't give up and will strive to do the best we can."

I'm not surprised, and I wouldn't bet against them.


Snowfall Totals UPDATE
Total to date: 130.5"
On the ground: 25"
In the last week: 3"

Total last year: 150"
On the ground: 14"

At Tech

Clarkson, Alaska Fairbanks Win Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Clarkson University captured first place in the 2012 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which drew to a close March 10 at Michigan Tech. “This is our second year in a row, and it’s a crazy feeling,” said team captain Ben Edwards. “We knew it was close. But the team was awesome. We came prepared, and I can’t say enough about our sponsors who made it all possible.” Their winning four-stroke sled revolved around a 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z chassis. More

Mel Pearson Named WCHA Coach of the Year

Mel Pearson
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association has named Michigan Tech hockey head coach Mel Pearson Coach of the Year. Now in his first season in Houghton, he has led his squad to a major turnaround in 2011-12. The Huskies are 16-18-4 overall and 13-13-4 in the WCHA heading into the postseason. More

Turning off Small RNA: Scientist Helps Break the Epigenetic Code

For the last dozen years, scientists have known that minuscule strings of genetic material called small RNA are critically important to our genetic makeup. But finding out what they do hasn’t been easy. Now a scientist from Michigan Technological University and his team have developed a way to turn off small RNAs and find out just how important they can be. More

New Mineral Named for Seaman Museum Curator

A new mineral discovered in the Mammoth-St. Anthony mine in Arizona has been named georgerobinsonite. The mineral is named after George W. Robinson, professor of mineralogy and curator of Michigan Tech's A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. It is a lead chromate—a salt of chromic acid—that occurs as minute, transparent, orange-red crystals on cerussite, another lead carbonate and secondary lead mineral. More

Alumni Around the World

Silicon Valley Alternative Spring Break

Dave House
Brocade board chairman Dave House '65 addresses students in Brocade's executive briefing room in their San Jose headquarters. Also the trip's exclusive sponsor, Brocade wrapped up the students' week-long Silicon Valley Spring Break Experience with an executive panel discussion, data center tour, and hosted a networking social where students were able to interact with Brocade employees, including reps from human resources, some with immediate opportunities for these top students.


Students also had the opportunity to tour winemaker and alum Tom Porter's Porter Family Vineyard' in Napa. The 17,000 square foot underground wine cave is unusually sophisticated with an environment completely controllable by iPad. Son Tim Porter toured the students through the technological complex and hosted a social gathering in the cave itself on day two of the week-long adventure organized by the School of Business and Economics and the Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement.

Alums Gather in Colorado

More than eighty Michigan Tech alumni and friends gathered in Colorado Springs on March 3 for a pre-hockey-game gathering featuring pasties flown in from the UP (ketchup seemed to be the preferred condiment for the pasties).

Some alumni drove over three hours for the chance to connect with their classmates. President Glenn Mroz and Head Coach Mel Pearson attended the event as well and each briefly addressed the crowd. After the pre-game dinner, the group watched the action in the last game of the regular season for the Huskies. The Huskies stayed in Colorado Springs for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs!

Special thanks to Nick Milicia '75 and Kurt Eckert '76 for organizing this great event!

Florida Alumni and Friends Get-together

Starting in Fort Myers on Tuesday, February 28, with events in Tampa, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale for the rest of the week, alumni and friends gathered to share their Tech experiences and hear about what is happening on campus. President Glenn Mroz, Gail Mroz and VP for Advancement Shea McGrew dropped in on some of the events with Alumni Relations director Brenda Rudiger to say hello.

Celebrate! Forty-five Years of Jazz at Michigan Tech

Jazz band
A forty-fifth anniversary is a great reason to celebrate, and the jazz program at Michigan Tech is not going to miss it. In fact, it’s so big, they’re using a couple of venues and several bands to do it right.

It all stars on Friday, March 23, at 8:00 p.m. with the Off ‘Dem Jam Session at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Hancock.

“It’ll be an informal jam session,” says Mike Irish, director of jazz studies and head of all the festivities. “A local band, Captain Woody Bopper and the Pirates of Groove, will begin the night, and after a couple of sets, we’ll be having Tech jazz alums and others joining in.”

Alumni fit large into the plans.

“We got alums from all over coming back,” Irish says. “So far, the oldest alum will be Tim Nielsen ’76 and the youngest will be Andy Kurzeniewski ’10.” They are both trombone players.

Don KeranenThe Saturday night forty-fifth anniversary concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Rozsa Center and will also be the twelfth annual Don Keranen Memorial Concert. Keranen (left) started the jazz program at Tech in 1967 and is fondly recalled by all, including Irish, for his innovations, in addition to dedication.

“Many people don’t know that Don put the Pep Band in striped bibs,” Irish recalls. “He established so much of what we still do in the music programs at Tech today.” Keranen retired in 1991, and Irish replaced him.

Saturday night features three bands. The Jazz Lab Band will perform with guest artists—saxophonist/flautist Gus Sandberg and trombonist Scott Agster.

The Research and Development Big Band will also perform before the return of the Alumni Jazz Band.

Irish said they’ve been recruiting alums for a while, sending them music to practice beforehand.

“Then, we’ll rehearse Saturday and perform that night,” he says.

The Saturday night event will cover “classics,” Irish says. “’Sing, Sing, Sing,’ ‘Easy Living,’ ‘Sister Sadie’ and we have to close with MacArthur Park. Everyone loves it.”

He says the Rozsa Lobby will be full of old photos, memorabilia, banners, and posters. Irish is looking for alumni to contribute more memories (his email is

“There a dedicated bunch,” Irish says of the nearly 600 alumni. “They stay in touch.”

MindTrekkers in DC

Friday through Sunday, April 27-29, Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers will be attending the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival. With 8 booths run by 20 university students and personnel, thousands of people will have the chance to get their geek on. Additionally, we're excited to note that USASEF has approved the last minute inclusion of the Michigan Tech Mobile Hybrid Electric Vehicle Lab. Huskies will be rocking the house!

For more on Mind Trekkers: For more on the HEV lab:

As a Titanium Level sponsor of the festival, Mind Trekkers wants to help spread the word. Please consider passing this along to any colleagues you may have around the Washington, DC area, along with any STEM education advocates who might also be interested. In 2010 the USASEF saw upwards of 1,000,000 visitors over two days, and we'd love to push that number even higher.

Finally, when you get a moment, check out this article on the status of domestic STEM education:

Dramatic change might not come over night, but events like the USASEF can inspire students to look at the world differently. We're excited to play a part in that inspiration.

Fill in the Blanks


The R&D Big Band in 2005.


Email me.

2007 Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Clean Snomo 07

Another warm year, 2007, found a lot of mud around the track.

Where you on this team?

Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Tech to Play Denver in WCHA Final Five!

Michigan Tech will play Denver in the quarterfinal round of the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday (Mar. 15) at 3:07 p.m. ET/2:07 p.m. CT. The Huskies, the only road team to win a WCHA first-round playoff series, will be making their first WCHA Final Five appearance since 2007. More

Video here.

Special Notice: The Alumni Association will be hosting a postgame event to celebrate the Huskies’ great season and head coach Mel Pearson’s WCHA Coach of the Year recognition on Thursday, March 15, immediately following Michigan Tech’s quarterfinal game in John's Bar at 317 on Rice Park Event Center.

Flanders Wins National Championship in Relay

Alice Flanders
Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders won a national championship as a member of the winning 3x3-kilometer freestyle relay at the USSA Marriott Junior National Championships Saturday (March 10). The relay, which included members Sharmila Ahmed and Elizabeth Simak, finished in a time of 20:00. “This is awesome for Alice,” said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. “it is great way to end her career at the junior national championships.” More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

Daily Mining Gazette | WLUC TV-6 | Marquette Mining Journal

From the Email Bag

School Closing in 1972

1972 snowstorm
The closing of Tech yesterday because of snow sparked an interest to dig up information about a closing when I was there. I did remember a picture of students in snowshoes finding Tech closed. I found the proof in the January / February Michigan Tech Alumnus which I located going through some old information I had kept from a long time ago. January 25, 1972, was the date Tech was closed due to snow. In the note on the school being closed, a reference is mentioned about the storm of January, 1938, as the last time Tech was closed due to snow.

Also found was an article from The Daily Mining Gazette from February 1, 1978, recalling this blizzard. This blizzard was on January 24 to 26, 1938. A quote from the article, “Drifts were piled up 20 feet high in business and residential areas by the 50 mile per hour gale winds.” I have scanned the page from the Alumnus that you can pass on.

The page also has an article on “Doc” Berry named distinguished teacher. Other articles in the issue were on the first hockey game at the Student Ice Arena on January 14, 1972 (this was the cover picture), Winter Carnival, and the 300th victory for John MacInnes. These all brought back very fond but cold memories.

David Di Pietro
BS Chem, 1975

Thanks, David. I made it clickable, so you can read about it and Doc Berry, too. I also heard that this photo was staged for the camera. Anyone out there recall? This also gets into the "we never closed when I was there" discussion!

The Blue House

snow shoveling
At times in the past I have mentioned living on Hubbell Street in a Duplex. Don Sherman and his wife and kids lived on one side and we lived on the other. It is the blue looking building in the immediate background of the picture in the Gazette yesterday (March 1) showing the football players digging a station wagon out of the snow. That was over 70 years ago and the house looks the same. The porch was not closed in.

Out of the back door of the blue duplex and across the alley facing Blanche St. was the Ruhl house...home of Warney and Fremont (and Mary Jane). There was an orchard on the lot on the up side of the hill and the next house was the old KD house that was sold to Delta Sigs after the war. Down from the Ruhl house was the famous Julius Nachazel '26. His oldest daughter, Catherine attended Tech and entered the service in WWII, don't remember the details.

The white house with the big porch where the car is-was Wenberg's. Ben Wenberg bought a surplus T-6 trainer (about the same time that Gil Boyd bought the PT-17) and built a hanger at the Sands. He used to rent the T-6 to post war students who were military pilots and every now and then they would do a lot of aerobatics over the Sands, Vet's village, and Tech itself.

The Sands were a great aviation place. It was here that Nancy Harkness got her pilot license. Nancy went on to become famous as one of the leaders in the women's air force in WWII as Nancy Harkness Love. Cesar Lucchessi also housed his Staggerwing Beech in a corrugated metal hanger at the Sands at one time.

We used to ride the launders when the Isle Royale mill was operating. The stamp sand would make the inside of the wooden troughs very smooth. The only part that was tricky was being careful when you reached the end and were sent plunging into the pool under the discharge. It was very muddy with the very fine tailings and you tended to get stuck. Contrary to many ideas about the development of the launder system. It was done in a very systematic fashion to get maximum use of the fill space and to build it up by rotating the deposit areas of the system. There was a launder building and repair crew that did the actual construction and rerouting.

I am sure that folks like Erik Nordberg are fully conversant with this technology which must be archived in great detail in Tech records since it was such a vital part of the total copper recovery process.

You do good work on your looking back column.

50-51 hockey teamI did hear from Bob Monahan about the pictures. I had sent them to him and he could not open them, but emailed me about them after seeing them in the alumni newsletter. Bob had a broken leg that year (50-51) but came back and went on to be named to the All-American Hockey team in the 52-53 season. George Durfee '51 who was the student manager also sent me an e-mail saying he had seen them. He took the pictures in front of the Broadmoor.

Bob Brown

Bob: The original Gazette caption: Since their truck was buried after Wednesday’s storm, Michigan Technological University football players, from left to right, Austin Roy, Chris Combs and Nick Shaum, had to walk to their conditioning at 5:30 this morning at the Student Development Complex. The sophomore roommates, living on Hubbell Street near campus, were digging their way out after their work-out.

King Kong Secret Revealed

snow statue
The tree ran from King Kong shoulder over the ME-EM Building out to the forearm before the Yo-Yo. I know because I was the person that cut the tree down out behind the

Student Ice Arena. That and the Tennis Center were the only things up the hill at that time. If I remember correctly we carried the tree down the hill and lifted it on to the top of the snow pile at the time.

That was a lot of work building that statue but a lot of fun. Some great memories of a great time in my life.

Thank You.

Peter M. Baker, Forester 1980

Peter: I'm glad they had a forester involved!

Pat Paulsen's Wine: We Need New Bids!

Pat Paulsen wine
Bob Carnahan has offered up this bottle of vintage Pat Paulsen Wine from 1982 (yes, that Pat Paulsen).

The Bid History

Tom Arbuckle '75 $82.00
Jeff Paulson '93 $99.00
Jim Blevins '72 $200
Jeff Paulson '80 $225


Anyone can bid. Just send an email to, and they'll record your amount.You can let TechAlum know, too, so our alumni can follow along.

Sauna Beer

Sauna beer
Seems I recall that Bosch brewed a third beer, Sauna Beer. I believe it was their bargain beer, cheaper and with less taste than either Gilt Edge or Bosch. Light beer before there was Light beer!

A few of us were renting cabins on the Canal Road in the late 60's and early 70's and the place had a nice sauna right on the canal. We would fire up the sauna and on occasion head up to Schmidt's Corners and get a 6 pack or 2 to keep us hydrated. Sometimes we chose the Sauna Beer, maybe for the novelty, but mainly for the price. And if I remember correctly, one of the bar keeps at Schmidt's Corners was either deaf or deaf and dumb. Always an interesting crowd there.

Bob Knapp '71

Bob: I found an old label on the web! That was Eppie Ruohonen you are referring to. He was deaf, but definitely not dumb.

Cross Country Nationals

Hey Dennis:
Did any Techies make the national finals for Nordic and alpine skiing? The finals are here in Bozeman, MT and sponsored by Montana State Univ.

Alice J. Jones ‘75

Alice: As you probably know, yes they did, and they did well. Read all about them here.

Cutting-Edge Technology

If you find you have some time ( 10+ minutes), this is quite interesting. As an engineer, I find myself trying to figure out more details than we're being told about what is actually happening. Certainly makes one amazed as to what the human mind can come up with.

Check this fantastic it's almost scary: link.

Frank Shoffner

Frank: Wow!

'87 Alum has an Installation in Houston

Photos from my recent permanent installation in Houston at a large Global Energy Investment company's new offices. I'm the main featured artist in most of their public spaces as well as in the CEO's office. Here

In addition to the 11 existing paintings they've purchased, I'm also working on a large 3 piece commission for their main conference room.

Leanne Venier

Alum Hits Thirty Years in Business

From Petoskey News:
Dave McBride recalls being a young Michigan Tech graduate and dreaming of starting his own construction company. That was 30 years ago, when Michigan was hard-hit by a major recession. During those tough economic times, McBride worked as a handyman and painter, figuring he'd have to take jobs with other construction companies before he could make his own name in the business. More

Featured Alumni Benefits

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Members may review information about the rates, fees, other costs and benefits and apply by clicking here or calling1-800-932-2775. TTY users, please call 1-800-833-6262.
Bank of America provides funds to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association as part of this collaboration. Agreements like this help support a wide range of programs and services for alumni and students.

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Looking for job searching tips? Check out these straight forward, compelling videos that clearly illustrate what job seekers and career changers need to know before, during and after the job interview. Each CareerSpots video is under four minutes in length and features a genuine recruiter, career director, student or recent graduate.

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Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative: Positions in Water and Transportation

Health and Wellness Coordinator, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Counseling and Wellness Services

Apply using new online system at

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

Dear Ladies & Gentlemen,
We are a full service HVAC, commercial / industrial contractor, in SE Michigan. We wish to interview candidates that are interested in a good opportunity with a small, privately held firm, that has been doing this for 70+ years. Estimating, project management, design & direct assistance to me, will be the scope of work.

Please refer to our attachments, for more details. Please forward any information for those interested to our email or they may fax what they have to 313-535-4403.

Thank You!

Michael L. Cain
Michigan Engineered Comfort Corporation (MECC)
Facility Engineers, Contractors & Consultants

313-535-4403 Fax
810-488-2915 Mobile


Keweenaw opportunities:

Other employment opportunities: Check out the Linked in group exclusively for Michigan Tech Alumni.

Also, visit the Career Tools webpage for more options.