March 12, 2013
Vol. 19, No. 14
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Fine Tuning the Machines

Tech ZE sled
Tech's IC entry, with large engine.

The Michigan Tech Clean Snowmobile Team had completed the endurance run to Copper Harbor and was fine tuning its sled the next day at the Keweenaw Research Center.

Their heavily customized, internal combustion (IC) Polaris had been outfitted with a 900CC ATV engine.


"We wanted the largest possible," said Cody Fackender, a fourth-year mechanical engineering technology major. Much of the machine looked custom built.

"We fabricated the exhaust, A-frame, airbox, you name it," he said. "The engine was so big the A-frame had to extend farther back into the seating area."

It was a more efficient motor, he explained, and next year's team will be able to "turbo" it.

The Tech team, like them all, had focused on emissions, sound, and rideability. This day, they were taking the sled apart for their lab emissions test, only to put it back together again for the rest of the field testing of the Challenge.

Idaho had also completed the endurance run in their IC machine, after conquering their cooling system problems that had plagued them in the past. Amos Bartlow, a fourth-year EE, was the oldest undergrad on a team that also included graduate students. They were confident about the rest of the competition.

"It would be great to have grad students," said Tech SAE Advisor Jason Blough. "Turnover is always the hardest part. They just get knowledge as juniors, then they're gone a year later."

He was watching the Tech zero emissions (electric) sled get ready for inspection, which normally happens earlier in the week.

"They were taking it out for test drive Monday and failed a plug," Blough said. "It's a tough choice: leave the sled alone for inspection or test it first and hope nothing breaks."

And it was a heavy sled.

"600 plus pounds," said fifth-year ME Michael Woods. "It's got 35 lithium ion phosphate batteries."

Any special challenges?

"How much time you got?" he laughed. "We've been blowing fuses, which we learned was related to the plugs. We had trouble with the motor mounts, controller, and we are always fighting range limits."

The University of Buffalo IC sled was nearby. They had already made two trips to Wisconsin for parts, according to Amy Vuong, second-year ME.

"We think our odds are good now, even though we broke down, thanks to belt drive bearings," she said. "The engine is good. The chassis is good."

Their sled featured a diesel engine, which they have used since 2005. "It's more efficient than gas," she said. "And it's quieter, thanks to slower RPMs and sound deadening."

The Montreal-based École de Technologie Supérieure was pleased at having completed the endurance run for the first time in their ten years at the event. They operate without an advisor, according to Francis Dupuis, fourth-year ME.

"We want to make all the decisions," he said. "Like fine tuning our turbo for eco mode or sports mode. Even if we fail, we learn."

Success is relative, it seems, and here it is frequent, according to Blough.

"Every student from the last four or five years of teams has gotten a job," he said. "And not just in the snowmobile industry."

Outside the garage, the Northern Illinois (Huskies) team had an unexpected breakdown on their IC machine. They had to replace a coil plug connector before their next test.

Relax, I wanted to tell them. Odds are you're all going to do just fine.

Dennis '92 '09


Snowfall Totals (More coming this week . . . )
Snow to date: 165.25 inches
On the ground: 36 inches

Two weeks ago: 156.25 inches
On the ground: 42 inches

One year ago total: 130.5 inches
On the ground: 25 inches

At Tech

Wisconsin-Madison, McGill Claim Snowmobile Crowns

The University of Wisconsin-Madison took first place in the internal combustion (IC) category, and McGill University took top honors in the zero emissions (ZE) section of the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held at Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) this week. Fifteen universities from across North America sent teams to compete in the IC contest and five participated in ZE. More

Six Sleds Complete Clean Snowmobile Challenge Endurance Run

Tech Sled
Six snowmobiles made it to the finish line Tuesday in the Endurance Run, a 100-mile test of reliability that launched the 2013 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Technological University. Ten snowmobiles began the trek, which starts with a series of laps around a track at the Keweenaw Research Center. Machines that survive that initial test head north to Copper Harbor. More

President Reports Cost-Cutting Steps, Protests MPSERS Charges

Glenn Mroz
Michigan Tech, like six other public universities in Michigan, must pay a whopping bill each year to a state retirement system in which employees hired since 1996 have not participated and cannot participate. And the amount the University must pay is growing every year. Last year it totaled more than 14 percent of the state appropriation that Michigan Tech received. More

Honoring and Educating Tech’s Extraordinary Females

March is Women’s History Month, and the Women’s Programming Committee has kicked off its month-long celebration of the accomplishments of women. This year, events focus on a central message of health and wellness. More

Alumni Around the World

South Carolina Stingray Event

south carolina
In February, the South Carolina Alumni Chapter got together for a skybox social at a Stingray Hockey game. Many Thanks to Chapter Leader Michelle Foy ’10 for organizing the event!

“I was thrilled to meet decades of Tech grads. From the 50's (Ray), 60's (Larry), 70's (Jim), 80's (Ed), 90's (Mark), 2000's (Bret), and 2010's (me) it was amazing to share stories of what used to be and what is now. I think it was a great kickoff event and I'm excited to plan our next event after May.” – Michelle Foy ‘10

Click here to connect with the South Carolina Chapter on Facebook.

Clean Snowmobile Challenge and Keweenaw Alums

The Keweenaw Alumni and Friend Chapter came out to check out the snowmobiles and to vote for the best overall presentation of a team and their snowmobile in the Networking with Industry/Resume Exchange/Static Display Event for the Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

Many thanks to chapter volunteer Natasha Chopp ’06 (pictured, left, with Darnishia Slade '98, president of the Alumni Association).

Alaska Happy Hours


More than thirty alumni and friends from the Alaska Chapter gathered for a pizza social and Tech update with David Hand, civil and environmental engineering department chair and Ben Larson ’94 from the Office of Development.


Save the Date for Alumni Reunion 2013, August 1–3!

2012 Pasty Picnic
Make plans to catch up with fellow alumni and rediscover campus during Alumni Reunion 2013. The featured groups for Reunion 2013 include the Class of 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1993, 2003, the Golden M's (those who graduated fifty-plus years ago), and the Women of Michigan Tech.

A variety of activities for all ages will be offered including family activities, campus tours, seminars, pasty picnics, and much more!

For a preliminary schedule, lodging information, and to RSVP, please visit

Distinguished Teaching Awards Seek Input

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) seeks input for its annual Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize outstanding contribution to the instructional mission of the University.

Based on over 51,000 student rating of instruction forms, eleven finalists have been identified for the 2013 awards. The selection committee is soliciting comments from students, staff, faculty, and alumni to aid in its deliberation process.

The finalists for the two awards include:
Associate Professor/Professor Category
Professor Andrew Burton (School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science)
Associate Professor Guy Hembroff (School of Technology)
Professor Bruce Mork (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Associate Professor Nilufer Onder (Computer Science)
Associate Professor Christopher Plummer (Visual and Performing Arts)

Assistant Professor / Lecturer / Professor of Practice Category
Assistant Professor Jared Anderson (Visual and Performing Arts)
Assistant Professor Frank Christiana (Aerospace Studies)
Professor of Practice Karyn Fay (Biological Sciences)
Assistant Professor Scott Miers (Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics)
Assistant Professor Kazuya Tajiri (Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics)
Assistant Professor Thomas Werner (Biological Sciences)
Comments on the nominees are due by Saturday, March 30, 2013 and should be sent to CTL at this link.

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their classes. The selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients. The recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award will be formally announced in May 2013.

For more information, contact Nancy Seely at 906-487-2046 or .

NSBE in Detroit

Detroit-area alumni are welcome to help the National Society of Black Engineers student group do some presentations.

Tech students will be visiting the following Detroit schools:

Tuesday, March 12 Western High School Clippert
grades 5-8
grades 5-8
Wednesday, March 13 Fredric Douglass
High School
All Boys School
Ludington 5-8 Ludington 5-8
Thursday, March 14 Detroit Int. Academy for Young Women Carver Academy PK-8 Carver Academy PK-8
Friday, March 15 Martin Luther King
High School
Debrief and Lunch  

For more information, please contact:
Joan Chadde,Michigan Tech science education outreach coordinator,; cell phone 906-369-1121
or Ellesse Bess, Michigan Tech Society of Black Engineers chapter president,; cell phone 313-463-1683

Fill in the Blanks

2006 Snowmobile Team


The 2006 version of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge team.

Recognize anyone?

Email me.


The Globe

Library globe


The globe in the library was installed in 1969, we think.


Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Men's Basketball Earns NCAA Tournament Bid

men's hoops
The Michigan Tech men's basketball was selected as an at-large team for the field of 64 in the 2013 NCAA Div. II Men's Basketball Tournament. The team will face No. 5 seed UW-Parkside Saturday (March 16) in Springfield, Mo. Game time as well as ticket information will be released when it becomes available. More

Women's Hoops Earns NCAA Tournament Bid

women's hoops

The Michigan Tech women's basketball was selected as an at-large team for the field of 64 in the 2013 NCAA Div. II Women's Basketball Tournament. The team will face No. 5 seed Kentucky Wesleyan Friday (March 15) in Ashland, Ohio. Game time as well as ticket information will be released when it becomes available. More

Huskies Drop 4-3 Decision to Colorado College

Michigan Tech held a 49-24 advantage in shots on goal and an 82-37 margin in total shots attempted, but couldn't overcome an early 3-0 deficit in a 4-3 loss to Colorado College in the final game of the WCHA regular season tonight. The Huskies battled back to within a goal twice and peppered Tigers' netminder Joe Howe with a season-high number of shots on goal but could not complete the comeback. More

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

Snow White Snow Statue

snow white
The Snow White statue was a 1st place winner in Class A by Phi Kappa Tau in February 1977.

The theme that year was "The White World of Sports" and the caption reads "Snow White and the Seven Sports"

I've attached a couple of photos.

Bob Spencer ' 79

Thanks, Bob. I made the top one clickable. And, you are right, it was the "White World of Sports."


snow white statue detailI’m not sure who built this, but I’m fairly certain that it was from ’74-’75, when the theme was “The Frozen World of Frost-Bound Funnies”.

Charles Rogers
BSEE ‘78


Was one year in early 70's when the theme was Frozen Fairy Tales

Fred Wark. 1975


My brother was going to Tech then, believe it was 64 or 65.


Dale F. Elliott

Dale: 1968 was "Disney's Wonderful World of Ice."


That looks like the Phi Kappa Tau statue from 1976 or 1977 winter carnival. The caption was "Snow White and Her Seven Sports".
Jim Regan '77


My guess would be 1979 based on the person with the bell bottoms and the theme that year was something to do with famous movies. I have pictures of All-ice in Winterland, Moby Dick, Blizzard of Oz, Winterful World of Disney, etc....

Sandy Doll-Gustafson


I think it was 1964 since the theme that year was Fairy Tales (and I enjoyed being carnival queen that year). I don't Know who made it though.

Peggy Foley 1967


This was a snow statue in the Winter Carnival of February 1967. The theme was in honor of Walt Disney who died on December 15, 1966. I don't recall at the moment who constructed it, but I was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at the time and we constructed a statue in front of the old Union Building titled " A More Wonderful World From Walt" . It was one of the other prominent fraternities on campus that constructed the one you mention. If I can obtain further information, I will let you know.

I attended MTU from 1964 - 68 and graduated with a B.S.E.E. and then when on to Ohio State University for graduate work.

Bob Kenyon


I seem to recall the seven dwarfs painted all over the halls in 1967/1968 or possibly one year later. That must have been the theme for that year. I have pictures of winter carnival that year, but haven't seen them for a very long time. Don't even know where to look.

Bill Low - '71


I saw the note on the snow statue in the newsletter. This was outside the library as I recall built by Phi Kappa Tau in 1977 or 78. Not 100% sure but this may have been the last statue that us Phi Tau’s built on campus. We decided in about 79-81, somewhere in there, to move it to the side yard at our house in Hancock. That eliminated all the travel time we lost in building statues on campus and enabled us to up our game in the competition.

I am not 100% sure on the dates but I think I am close.

Dave Schradle
Mining Engineering and Phi Kappa Tau, 1982.


Disney was the theme in 1959. Maybe?

Dave Knoebel ‘61

Dave: It looks like it was used in 1958:" A Tribute to Walt Disney."

Saving Access to the Hungarian Falls

Photo by Jacob Emerick.

Hi Dennis,
I graduated from Michigan Tech a few years back, and after completing a master's in Regional Planning from SUNY Albany I came back to the Houghton/Hancock area to pursue an internship with the Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT). I was (and still am) an avid adventurer, and helping protect the area's special places for others to visit and enjoy during their time at Tech is very rewarding. Recently we've been working on protecting public access to the uppermost Hungarian Falls above the historic dam. I don't know anyone who didn't visit Hungarian Falls at some point while studying at Tech, so for me keeping it available for future generations of students is both a personal and professional goal.

I know I've got a ton of fun memories at Hungarian Falls, and I'm sure other alumni have many more that they'd like to share. I would guess that there's been a few marriage proposals or other goofy stories at the falls over the years, and it'd be great to hear from everyone who loves the falls.

Nathan Miller, 2010

For more info on KLT and the falls:

Thanks for the Note


Best TechAlum Issue ever!!

Patrick Hughes, ECE '81
Austin, TX

Following the Huskies

I follow all the Tech games either on Huskieslive or WCHA real time scoreboard and try to post up Alums from my era. Dink Pemberthey was a Forestry grad and Bobby Brown Met Engr both in my class of 53. They were local Houghton HS Gremlin hockey players and Tech Varsity during the day. I sent emails out immediately last night when the final score was posted for the St. Cloud game. A good one for the Alumni news letter. Lets hope the momentum carries over to the final weekend, I'll be watching it live from the Great Northwest.

Bob Carnahan


On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM:

Ya BABY ! ! !

We just got back from our Southwest vacation about 3 this afternoon and THAT is GREAT news ! ! Thru friends of our in Lake Havasu, we met the VP of St Cloud who was on vacation, but was leaving in time to get back to see the hockey games this weekend! ! ! ! Can't remember his name, but I bet him a buck a game. Looks like we broke even.

Bob Pemberthey '53

Closing, or Not

Hi Dennis!
Thanks for the latest update. 1.5 snow days! Wow, you folks must be getting soft.

In the spring of 1974 I was in grad school. One morning we received 4 foot of snow in 6 hours prior to the school day starting. The parking lots were cleared by around noon. I remember because I ventured onto campus to find lots of empty lots and proceeded on in to my grad office to get some work done.

Roy Aydelotte
Class of 72 (and 74)


Dennis: I remember at least two Friday full day closures (and I believe a Monday) in Feb. 1985 due to the three weeks of deep cold (-40s). Check the repair records, the Steam Plant – the pipes to some of the buildings froze.

Dean Force, ‘85


Hi Dennis,
I attended Michigan Tech from Jan 1946 until June 1950 driving in from Laurium. I didn't miss a day of class because of snow. I was late one day thou. The bridge was open and they couldn't close it because it had expanded due to the heat.

Art Tinetti '49

Art: Many here recall the Alumni Reunion when the bridge got stuck! 2008 or 2009.


Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the list of snow days! Not sure if this counts as one but last year on Feb. 29, 2012 Tech closed at 3 pm. While technically not a half day, we did close. I remember it was really bad as I used a scooter to get to classes and I think I got stuck 6 times going between Wads and Walker and back. My professor actually told me I should have skipped class that day as it was so bad, and ten times worse for me in my scooter. But I can say I never missed class because of the snow in the two years I was at Tech!

Rebecca Klumpp
Class of 2012



Tech closed for I think a day and a half in February 1994 due to extreme cold. As I remember it, it was several weeks of 20 to 30 below (high temps) and the Governor at the time told the University it had to close. Most people just bundled up and kept going about their routine and didn't worry about it. I was working in the graduate school at the time and that was my last year there.

Toby Hebron

Local Memories and Heat

102 degrees
Just a couple of quick comments:
I really like the blizzard pictures, having grown up in Ontonagon. A couple of them illustrate the truth of something I learned from my father at a young age, that people who live in "snow country" should NEVER have white cars! To this day, I won't buy white or light colored cars.

As a senior, I rented from Mrs. Ruhl at 214 Blanche St. I had borrowed a lab thermometer from the Chemistry Department and hung it outside the window, in the shade, on the north side of my room.

Studying for my "final finals" before graduation, the temperature outside was 104F early one afternoon. This would have been right at the end of May or early in June of 1964. Dee was like a sauna for our graduation a few days later.

Joe Guzek
Chem. E., 1964

Vetville Revisited

Hey Dennis,
In regard to the e mail from Dewey Bjork about "vetsville" as he called it.
There were two areas, the one he shows in his picture and another area beyond the field house across 41 up the hill.

The two areas were known as upper and lower Woodmere. They weren't just for vets when I lived there from 1954 to 1957, but any married student. I believe a few in lower Woodmere were reserved for hockey players (single). A couple of friends and I worked one summer for the school tarring the roofs and painting and repairing the units. My unit had a bedroom, small bathroom with a shower, and one room combined kitchen dining area and living room. Small, but who carried. It was heated with an oil stove.

I paid 35$ per month which included electricity. I'm sure I had a few pictures but I can't find them. Many lifelong friends were made there!

Bill Fish -1957

Bill: We've seen photos of the one up the hill, but it's been awhile. Looked like it was up Garnet St.

Pasties in AZ

How funny - I was passing through Phoenix on my way to Tucson on February 12, found the Cornish Pasty Co on Yelp and so just had to try it. I must have missed the alum gathering by a few hours. Amazing enough to read about it, but I would have been astounded had I walked in on it! (Tasty pasties, by the way, traditional and otherwise.)

Barb Matz, '74

NASA Alums

Hi Dennis,
I noticed a note in this weeks Newsletter about Alumni at NASA that referenced an earlier article (that I did not see). Are you looking for alum at NASA for anything in particular? I am a 2004 ME-EM alum working at NASA Ames Research Center in Aerothermodynamics. Please let me know if you'd like more info.

Kerry (Trumble) Zarchi

Kerry: Just trying to see how many we have and where they are located.


I just noticed that you were asking about Alums that work for NASA. I have been working for NASA as a civil servant since 1988 (the year I graduated from Tech) at the Johnson Space Center here in Houston, Texas. I currently work in the Human Health and Performance Directorate where I support all the medical doctors, scientists, and human factors engineers that keep humans in space. I take care of all the information technology for the directorate. There are a few alums here, but not many. Most of the alums in the Houston area work for oil and gas companies.

Stacey E. Keener (Morrison), MSCS

The Dee and the Calumet Colosseum

USA Hockey has a nice article about the Calumet Colosseum in the March issue of their magazine. The following page has a feature on the best old ice arenas in the nation and the Dee is the first one mentioned.

I have fond memories of playing hockey at the Dee on Sunday mornings with my intramural team. There was one time that the Dee crew had failed to properly lock the doors after the Portage Pioneers banquet the night before. We entered the place to the sound of the alarm going off and sat down in the dark lobby waiting for someone to arrive. After about five minutes, a Houghton Police officer walked in and asked, "Now what are you guys doing setting off the alarm." We explained that we had the ice reserved for our morning skate and that the doors had just popped open when we pushed on them. (The deadbolt had been locked, but they failed to lock the bolts into the door sill at the top and bottom.) The officer told us that the Dee crew must have had too much to drink at the banquet the night before and they were probably still sleeping it off. He proceeded to break into the office to turn on the lights for us so we could get on with our practice and then made some phone calls to find out who was supposed to be working that morning. That's just some of the charm of life in Houghton.

Jon Evans
BSME - 1995

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