April 10, 2012
Vol. 18, No. 17
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Great Ideas Get Rewarded

Tech Goalie
Nice payday: Wade Aitken-Palmer (far left) and Ben Mitchell (second from right) show their winnings at the New Venture Competition. Also pictured are Charles T. Crespy, dean of the College of Business Administration at CMU; and Debra Zellner, executive director of the Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship at CMU.

Some ideas just stick in your mind. At the Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition last November, Ben Mitchell presented his idea for fixing bicycle tires in Africa, so villagers could make a living. It was simple and meaningful, and we were floored.

Six months later, so was everyone else.

He and Wade Aitken-Palmer first-place in the New Venture Competition held recently at Central Michigan University. Their idea, called Baisikeli Ugunduzi (Swahili for “modern bicycle”), captured $30,000 for first prize and another $10,000 for Best Social Venture, for sustainability and social impact, among other reasons. Their invention is a tube that eliminates flat tires.

Mitchell, a PhD student in mechanical engineering, and Aitken-Palmer, a student in the Peace Corps Master's International program, have been working on the business idea since last year, and Mitchell said the inspiration began with his stint in the Peace Corps a couple of years before that.

Thanks to the big win, he is planning a trip to Kenya in May to begin with more market testing.

“We are working with bicycle taxi drivers, who can go through many tubes in a month,” Mitchell said. “The tubes will have to be produced in Taiwan, as there are no production facilities in Kenya.”

Assembling will take place in Africa, however, and that will create some jobs.

“Our first hire will be a mechanic,” he said. “And he could do some modifications as well.”

When they began, Mitchell said he had some catching up to do on the business side of things, but they did have a more thought-out design and a more developed prototype than most, thanks to their engineering backgrounds.

And he has high hopes for the future.

“Some 50 million sub-Saharan Africans depend on bicycles,” he said. “As our mission says, we work with mechanics and bicycle taxi unions to design, produce and distribute products that add value to working bicycles and improve the livelihoods of bicycle taxi drivers, messengers and those who earn a living on their bicycles.”

Mitchell also pointed out Central Michigan’s role in hosting the event.

“They did a tremendous job coordinating the whole event, with all the judges and student teams,” he said. “It was very well orchestrated.”

Central has also invited Baisikeli Ugunduzi back to talk about how it all develops in the future.

Runner-up was MVMT Media Products by CMU students. Their business would manage high-quality online video content. They took home $10,000.

Winning third place and $5,000 was Picket Books, the brainchild of Michigan Tech students Kyle Johnston, biomedical engineering, and David Shull, computer engineering. In their business, students rent textbooks from each other online, streamlining the process and reducing the costs.

“The prize money will be re-invested in the Houghton area,” Shull said. “We are hoping to find students looking to be a part of a startup to assist in our development work over the summer. We are looking to launch Picket Books by spring 2013.”

Shull talked about the overall experience.

“Over the weekend, I began to realize that this is what made Michigan Tech so special,” he said. “Most of our CMU competitors were majors in entrepreneurship or business. While many of the students competing for Tech were engineers or majors other than business. I think Tech's emphasis on entrepreneurship while educating a generation of engineers proves Tech students can build businesses that will lead the world in innovation and creativity. The investment in competitions like the NVC are creating Tech's future in the world of business, one student at a time.”

What more can you say?


At Tech

Biomed/EE Student Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Hal Holmes
Hal Holmes, a third-year student in biomedical and electrical engineering, has won a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, awarded by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. More

Worek Named Michigan Tech Dean of Engineering

William Worek
Michigan Tech has a new dean of engineering. William M. Worek, professor and former head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), has accepted the post effective July 1. In addition, Worek will serve as the Dave House Professor. More

Dean Johnson Named Michigan Professor of the Year

Dean Johnson
Dean Johnson, the James and Delores Trethewey Associate Professor in Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics, has been named Professor of the Year by the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan (PCSUM). Johnson shares the honor with professors from Michigan State, Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State Universities. More

Sharik New Dean of the Forest Resources/Environmental Science

Terry Sharik
Terry Sharik has been appointed dean of Michigan Tech’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES). He will take the reins on July 1, 2012, after Peg Gale, SFRES dean since March 2004, retires. It’s a homecoming for Sharik, who taught in the School of Forestry and Wood Products from 1986 to 1993. More

Alumni Around the World

Seattle Hosts Alumni Gathering

Seattle alumni gathering

From left, Eric Winder ’06/‘10, Lyndsey Dixon ‘10, Ryan Bunger ‘10, Gail Mroz and Mara Carlton ‘01

On Thursday, March 29, Seattle area alumni and friends enjoyed an evening with Tech President Glenn D. Mroz '74 '77, Gail Mroz '86, and Alumni Relations Director Brenda Rudiger at the downtown Rock Bottom Brewery. The event provided alumni with the opportunity to catch up on what is happening at Tech and share a variety of wonderful (and often colorful) memories of their student days.

Next up for the Seattle area chapter? A private tasting at an area winery is being planned. Details coming soon!

MindTrekkers in Sheboygan this Saturday!

Our alumni at Kohler have helped make this happen. Story here.

On Saturday April 14, 2012 Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers will bring the magic of science to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The team will facilitate over 100 hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities at the Blue Harbor Resort.

Make ice cream in 60 seconds, walk on water, enclose yourself in a giant bubble, and make your hair stand on end with the team of university students. While you discover the science, you will also have the opportunity to speak to local universities as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math professionals. The event is expected deliver entertainment and learning to over 3,000 people.

The free event is open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday April, 14 2012 at the Blue Harbor Resort (725 Blue Harbor Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081).

Contact Samantha Allen, Mind Trekkers Public Relations Director, seallen@mtu.edu, for more information.

Fill in the Blanks

1943 distillation plant

From the Archives: "Group of six women working on a piece of equipment in a laboratory. Image is one of a series captured for use in the publication 'War training programs for women offered by the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, Houghton, Michigan, Beginning February 15, 1943.'"

Reunion Should be a Blast!

Mark your calendars and plan to visit your alma mater for Alumni Reunion August 2-4. It’s the 110th anniversary of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association, and preparations are underway to make this the biggest reunion ever!

The 2012 Reunion will be the first ever to celebrate the women of Michigan Tech.

All female graduates, former students, faculty and staff are invited to a number of special events during Reunion including a Saturday evening “Girls Night Out” party hosted by the Presidential Council of Alumnae. Visit www.mtu.edu/reunion for more details.

Between now and then, we'll be bringing out some historical snippets and photos. We hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane and come to campus in August for what should be a truly special Reunion.

We are starting with this 1943 photo, and many more will be coming.

Any additional info on this one, or comments?

Email me.

2005 Study Session

studying on the mall
It was warm enough in April 2005 for outdoor studying. Recognize anyone?

Email me.

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Tech Sports

Haidar Wraps Up Incredible Year with Another Award

Ali Haidar
Michigan Tech junior Ali Haidar enjoyed one of the best season’s in men’s basketball in recent history. The Windsor, Ont., native was named to the Basketball Times All-America Third Team and the Bulletin All-American Fourth Team. In addition to leading the team to the GLIAC North Division Title, Haidar was also selected the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

“I am really proud of what Ali was able to accomplish this season,” said head coach Kevin Luke. “He can achieve even more with next season with hard work.


  • Basketball Times All-America Third Team
  • Bulletin All-America Fourth Team
  • Daktronics All-Midwest Region Second Team
  • GLIAC Player of the Year
  • GLIAC First Team Selection
  • Averaged 19.1 points, third most in the GLIAC, and 9.0 rebounds, second in the league
  • 14 Double-Doubles, ninth most in NCAA Div. II
  • Scored 20 points and set a school and GLIAC Tournament Record with 26 rebounds
  • Ranks 16th in career scoring at Tech with 1,252 points

Saliga Sets School Record at St. Norbert

Alice Flanders
The Michigan Tech track and field teams won 11 events at the St. Norbert Twilight Thursday (April 5). “We had some good performances for the first outdoor meet of the year,” said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. “We are looking forward to building on these performances as we move forward.”
Nathan Saliga won the 400-meter hurdles in a school record time of 54.78 in his first career attempt at the race. More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

Pasties and Taxes

Schmidt's Corner
This message comes from Rick Kneebone who lives in Portreath and was born in Illogan. Seems like there are some Kneebones in the CC. It is not a common name.

The Illogan Highway in Redruth-Camborne was the location of many of the large copper mines of Cornwall. Rick worked in Chile and in the Middle East and later for Fluor Daniel on aluminum plants. He later moved with his wife Anne and two children to Greenville, SC where he worked until he retired and he and Anne went back to Cornwall. His daughter is a Doctor in the Greenville area and his son is an engineer in the same area.

I remember you mentioned some of your Cornish background. The old folks could really make pasties. Did your grandmother or mom slice or dice the potatoes. My grandmother diced. My cousin's grandmother sliced. I asked Rick Kneebone about it and he said their was really no set Cornish way, either would surfice...Crimping was another matter. My mother learned from my father's mother and never could get the crimping down to a real art.

Did you ever have pea soup and pasties?? Grandma Brown would make small pasties and put them in a dish pan and then pour in the pea soup and cook on the wood stove until the pasties floated. If they did not float, they were sinkers and supposedly not easily digestible.

Did I mention that I am pleased to see that you have PhD by your name. Congratulations...You do good work.

Keep up the good work,
Bob Brown

Pasty tax has been big news in UK this past week. Even the prime minister, who takes his holidays in Cornwall has become involved.

Don't think it will bring the government down !!!!!!

NY Times article.

Rick Kneebone

Rick and Bob: Yes there are still Kneebones (and pasties) in the Keweenaw. My grandmother was from Redruth, and my mother made the absolute best, having learned from her mom! My mom sliced hers, and she had another specialty: pork and egg! Now I'm drooling.

The 1972 Storm

winter 72
Here is my memory of the 1972 storm. As I recall, snow fell steadily during the day but it wasn't particularly cold or windy. I had come back to campus that evening from the Canal Road to play some hockey at the new arena. I was dressed in the sweats that I used to skate in and didn't bring a change of clothes.

I had a Camaro, great car but rotten in the snow, which I parked near Fischer Hall and walked up the hill to the rink. During the game, the storm front rolled in and when I headed out to walk back down the hill the temperature had dropped, the wind was roaring and the snow was flying.

The wind chill was so severe that I stopped with some others and huddled behind a building part way down the hill to get out of the wind. When I got back to my car, the sweat in my sweats was freezing up, the car was rapidly being buried and it wouldn't start. I trudged to my girlfriend's place (now wife) who was renting a room on Blanche St. to borrow a shovel and some tools to dig out my car and try to get it started.

She talked be into staying the night as I apparently looked like a cross between the abominable snowman and Shackleton after his Antarctica fiasco and I had to borrow a pair of jeans and a sweater from the landlady's daughter since I had not brought a change of clothes. The next day, the day Tech was closed, I had to get my car towed and found out that the alternator had died. It took a couple of days to get it repaired and I had to make do with the borrowed clothes until I could get it back on the road.

I also want to make a Shout Out to Mike Irish and the Jazz Program. I was a founding member of the Jazz Band that DK started in 1967. It's great to see that from those humble beginnings, the program is thriving today. Great job, Mike!!

Bob Knapp

World's Fastest Train

TRAIN RIDE..worlds fastest train... 357.2 MPH

Here's the deal: You have to appreciate the speed from the shot taken from the bridge.
You thought the train from Paris to Avion was fast at 300 km/h but this is something else. I wonder how far back it has to begin slowing down for the station. Imagine going through a station at full speed!

This is a high speed train built by the Alstom rail group in Belfort, France They share manufacturing facilities with the GE Energy Products Europe (EPE) Gas Turbine group.

The video was provided by the GE EPE Chief Engineer in Belfort .The train hit 574.8 Km/h which works out to 357.2 MPH or Mach 0.482 - wow! In particular, watch the train going under a bridge with people watching. This is FAST!! And it is powered by electricity and controlled with Apple iMacs.

Now, watch the attachment.

WMV version

Tom Brown

GLI and NHL Winter Classic

I'm interested in the 2012 GLI and the NHL Winter Classic w/ the Wings. Is there a combo deal?

- Larry Hilliard
- class of 1983 EE


We typically don't get ticket information for the GLI until late summer/early fall. With this being a special event, we'll post any details as soon as we get them.

Wes Frahm
Director of Athletic Communications and Marketing

Jazz Lab Band from 1979-80

79-80 band
I remember most of the names of the people pictured.

In the front row: Ken Willis, Russ Kerlin, ?, Jill Kerns and Steve Misenheimer.

In the second row: Don Keranen, Remas Karklys, Mark Lucier, Jeff Paulson, Tim Nielsen, Brian Masinick, Dan Tegel, Paul DeKeyser, Jim Finlayson and Dan Gruich.

In the back row: John Toupin, ?, Jeff Lyons, Jim Goss, ? and Joel Toupin.

I had a great time playing jazz with this group and got to see a couple of them during the recent Jazz Band Reunion at Tech.

Thanks for the photo memory,

Tim Nielsen

Thanks for the names, Tim. It is still clickable.

TKEs Help Out for Easter

Little Brothers feed the elderly, and TKEs help, too.



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 alumni@mtu.edu, and they'll record your amount.You can let TechAlum know, too, so our alumni can follow along.

Featured Alumni Benefits

Husky Blend Coffee

Hand-roasted and custom-blended especially for Michigan Tech alumni and friends.

You can enjoy Husky Blend Coffee with your Husky friends and classmates while you support your alma mater. A portion of all proceeds will go directly to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association in support of events, programs, and services for YOU - our alumni, students, and friends.

Husky Blend Coffee comes in a wide variety of flavors from medium to dark roast including fair-trade organic (regular and decaf) and is available in 12 oz. vintage cans and 2 oz. travel packs.

Event, Party, or Wedding Favors Husky Blend Coffee is packaged in many different ways to suit the needs of your event. Whether you are looking for a small party favor or entertaining a few hundred guests at your event, Husky Blend Coffee will be perfect for you!

Try some today! Visit http://www.gocoffeestore.com/Michigan-Technological-University_c28.htm and place your order.

New Job Search Video Service for Students and Alumni

• Fast, informative, engaging web videos
• Conveniently available 24-7 online
• Expert advice from leading employers

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.

Michigan Tech Gear

Show your Michigan Tech Pride!

More Alumni Benefits, Services and Discount program information

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative: Positions in Water and Transportation

Web Developer, J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Research Engineer/Scientist I, Materials Science and Engineering

Research Engineer/Scientist I-Remote Sensing Analyst, Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)

Immigration Specialist, Human Resources

Regional Admissions Manager, Admissions

Apply using the new online system at http://jobs.mtu.edu.

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

Controls engineer. We are a small company that is building product assembly equipment. The candidate should have experience with Siemens PLC as well as Allen Bradley. We are willing to train an employee with less experience but our first choice would be a candidate that has experience.

The company is American Hydrostatics. It is located in Troy, MI, We do projects all around the country, but build here in Troy, and then head out for commissioning.

The website is www.americanhydrostatics.com

Neeraj Bhagat: nb@americanhydrostatics.com
Phone number here is 877-983-4230

Other, local

Keweenaw opportunities: http://www.keweenawprofessionaljobs.com/

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

Also, visit the Career Tools webpage for more options.