Michigan Tech Researchers' Companies Win Accelerate Michigan Competition

Startup companies founded by Michigan Tech professors brought home more than half a million dollars from the 2017 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

Orbion Space Technology, a firm founded by L. Brad King (MEEM), took top prize in the competition in Detroit Thursday (Nov. 16). Orbion won $500,000 in cash and an additional $39,000 in in-kind services. King is the Ron and Elaine Starr Professor in Space Systems in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

“Orbion is honored to be chosen from the dozens of exciting new companies that participated in the competition,” King said. “Our biggest challenge right now as a space start-up is getting our product to market quickly. The award will accelerate our product development and help Orbion continue on our upward trajectory.”

StabiLux Biosciences (NovoLux), a firm founded to market technology developed by Yoke Khin Yap, won the competition’s “Up and Comer Award,” receiving $20,000 in cash and $5,000 in legal services.

NovoLux is a registered trademark of StabiLux Biosciences for the commercialization of their high-brightness dyes for multi-color flow cytometry. 

"We are glad to be recognized,” said Yap. “It goes a long way to build our technical and business track record.“ He thanked Steve Tokarz, CEO of StabiLux Biosciences, and Jonathan Leinonen (SBE) for taking the lead on the Accelerate Michigan competition. “Special thanks to Jim Baker and his Michigan Tech team who support our venture with help from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)," Yap added.  

“This is an amazing accomplishment for both companies,” said Baker, executive director of innovation and industry engagement at Michigan Tech. “Their wins, as well as the performance of all Michigan Tech-affiliated participants, clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the rich resource network for innovation that we have built on campus and in the community.”

Read the full story on the Michigan Tech news site.

Mechanical Engineering Ranked #15 in the Nation

College Factual, a website offering advice to prospective college students and their families, has ranked Michigan Tech's Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics #15 of 269 mechanical engineering departments nationwide. ME-EM rose six from its ranking of #21 last year.

"This is great news," said Bill Predebon, chair of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Tech. "It is very satisfying that our ME program continues to be ranked, which is a recognition of the quality of the faculty, students, staff and alumni."

Michigan Tech's mechanical engineering program has also been ranked #3 out of 13 in the state of Michigan. Tech has achieved this ranking two years in a row.

College Factual bases its rankings on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the Department of Education. 

Three Inducted into Academy of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

In ceremonies held Oct. 28, the Academy of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech inducted three new members. The inductees were Christine R. Roberts (Przybysz), Xintan Chang and Thomas J. Bronz. 

The Academy honors outstanding ME-EM graduates, recognizing those who exemplify excellence and leadership in engineering and civic affairs, and who will serve as inspirational role models for current and future students.

Christine Roberts graduated from Tech with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1991, later going on to earn a master’s in project management from George Washington University and her MBA in International Business at DePaul University in 2000. Roberts began her career at Motorola, Inc., where she worked for 20 years, rising from production manager to vice president of product management for Motorola Mobility. In addition to Motorola, she also held positions at Google and Netflix.

Currently, Roberts is at cloud communications services pioneer Twilio as vice president and general manager of Twilio’s Super Network and chairman of the board for the Twilio Sweden Group. She volunteers with programs advancing involvement in STEM fields for young women and underrepresented minorities through hands-on teaching.

Xintan Chang earned his master's in mining engineering and PhD in engineering mechanics at Tech. Before coming to Tech, Chang had worked in Chinese coal mines for 11 years after earning his BS in mining engineering from Xi’an Mining Institute (now Xi’an University of Science and Technology) in 1969. While at Tech, he co-authored the Transient State Mine Ventilation Simulation Program MFIRE for US Bureau of Mines, which remains the most popular mine fire ventilation simulation software in the world.

Chang returned to Xi’an University in 1988, working his way up to full professor within five years. His research focused on mine ventilation, mine/civil fire simulation and fire-fighting, and public safety/safety management, earning a National Reward for his simulation accomplishments. Chang became president of Xi’an University in 2003, leading several expansions and improvements for the university during his tenure.

Thomas Bronz graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from Tech in 1989, later earning an MBA from Northwestern University. After graduating from Tech, he worked in the commercial vehicles industry in a variety of management positions overseeing suspensions controls processes. In 2006, he served as the director of high performance product development at Brunswick Corporation where he improved development processes for freshwater boat lines.

Bronz returned to the commercial vehicles market in 2010, helping a start-up business to become a successful standalone within four years. He then moved on to become president and CEO of Hadley Products, once again returning to the suspensions controls field, before ending up as director of aftermarket sales at SAF Holland, where he supports hitches and suspensions for trucking fleets across North America.

William Predebon, chair of ME-EM, says that these alumni set a fine example for current students. “When I think about Tom, Xintan and Christine, I am struck by all they have done and continue to do, by their accomplishments, by the challenges they have faced and persevered, and by their leadership," Predebon says.

"They have set a high standard for our future alumni to emulate. We are very proud of them and look forward to them returning to campus and interacting with our students.”

This induction honors some of the most successful of the more than thirteen thousand alumni of Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics. Portraits and a brief biography of Academy members are prominently displayed in the lobby of the ME-EM building to serve as inspiration for future mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics students.

Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund (C2E2) Awards Announced

Vice President for Research David Reed has awarded the following Century II Campaign Endowed Equipment Fund (C2E2) awards at the recommendation of the C2E2 Committee.

  • Mary Raber (Pavlis Honors College) - MakerSpace: Facilitating the Development of a Maker Culture at Michigan Tech
  • Jingfeng Jiang (Biomedical Engineering) - Building Mechanical Testing Infrastructure Toward Enhancement of Human Healthcare Research and Education on Campus

Reed thanks the review committee members for their participation in this internal award process. For additional information on the C2E2 opportunity, visit C2E2.

Midyear Commencement Volunteers Needed

The Commencement Team is seeking volunteers for the Midyear Commencement ceremony. We need volunteers to serve as greeters, coordinate graduate check-in, collect tickets at the door and assist guests with special seating accommodations.

The ceremony is Saturday, Dec. 16. Volunteers are asked to arrive by 8 a.m. and stay until the end of the ceremony, which ends at approximately 12:30 p.m. More information regarding the ceremony may be found on the Commencement website. An optional volunteer training will be scheduled during the week of commencement.

Sign up by Dec. 1 if you would like to volunteer. Contact Alisha Kocjan if you have any questions. This special weekend cannot happen without the help of our amazing Michigan Tech community!

NSF Releases Annual Update to Proposal and Award Guide

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that affects all NSF proposals being submitted or due on or after Jan. 29, 2018. The new guide can be found here, and a full summary of the significant changes to the PAPPG can be found online.

In particular, Michigan Tech researchers should note:

  • The Collaborators & Other Affiliations Information pilot, in effect through much of 2017, has been formalized. Information about collaborators and other affiliations (COA) must now be provided through use of the standard NSF COA Excel template for all proposals.
  • All NSF Project Descriptions must now contain a separate section specifically titled/identified as "Intellectual Merit.” The existing requirement for a separate section on “Broader Impacts” remains.
  • The page limit for budget justifications (including those for subcontracts) has been increased to five pages.
  • The “Results from Prior NSF Support” section has been clarified to indicate the timeframe for which PIs or coPIs must report on prior NSF funding. Currently funded projects, or projects with an end date in the past five years, must be described, subject to clarifications in the full PAPPG instructions. The existing format for this section remains.
  • Guidelines have been updated to clarify that the requested dollar amount of indirect costs should now be specified in the budget justification.

Tech Researcher Gets Mine Safety Grant

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration has awarded $10,537,000 in mine safety grants, including $249.257 to Michigan Tech. The funds are intended to reduce mining accidents, injuries and illnesses by supporting safety and health courses and other programs.

Grant recipients will use the funding to provide miners with federally mandated training required for all miners working at surface and underground coal and metal/non-metal mines.

Principal investigator on the grant at Michigan Tech is Matthew Portfleet (GMES), assistant director of the University's Mine Safety Program.

Comedian Opey Olagbaju

Come join us for our last comedian of the semester at 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 in the MUB Ballroom and bring your friends.

Opeyemi "Opey" Olagbaju’s love and commitment to stand-up are always apparent on stage. The Los Angeles comic performs across the city and has successfully showcased in several festivals, such as the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest, the World Series of Comedy and more.

He is noted for his observational humor, which stems from his personal experiences as an immigrant from Nigeria who assimilated into American culture and society. Through comedy, Olagbaju explores what makes us different, and more importantly, how these differences make us all the same.

This performance is free and funded by the Student Activity Fee.

Jennings Named Coach of the Year

Michigan Tech head coach Matt Jennings was named the 2017 GLIAC Volleyball Coach of the Year, Laura DeMarchi was named GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Setter of the Year, and to the All-GLIAC First Team along with teammate Mariah Sherman. MacAulay Petersen earned All-GLIAC Second Team honors, and Elle Heinonen was GLIAC Honorable Mention.

Jennings is in his sixth season as head coach of the Huskies. He is the third Tech volleyball coach to earn the honor after leading his team to a tie for second place in the GLIAC standings and to their third straight GLIAC Tournament appearance. Tech finished 18-9 in the regular season and won nine of its final 10 conference matches.

The Huskies advanced to the GLIAC Conference Tournament Finals yesterday but fell to league champion Ferris State in three sets. Tech advanced to yesterday's final by downing Northern Michigan in the semi-finals in Big Rapids.

Volunteers Needed for CXC Junior Cup/FIS Open/Alumni Open Ski Event

Michigan Tech Athletics will host the 2017 Michigan Tech CXC Junior Cup/FIS Open/Alumni Open skiing event on Saturday Dec. 16 and Sunday Dec. 17 at the Tech Trails and are in need of volunteers.

There is an option for people sign up for either all or part of the event. Those interested in helping out during the event that weekend can let MTU Athletics know by using the volunteer form, which includes the details on the days and times. The volunteer form can be accessed by clicking here.

The freestyle sprint will take place Saturday (Dec. 16) with the classic mass start races to follow Sunday (Dec. 17). For more information on the event visit the race website here.

The Michigan Tech ski teams open the season Saturday, Dec. 9 at the UP Opener hosted by Northern Michigan University in Ishpeming, Mich. under new coaching staff Tom Smith and Kristen Monahan.

Women's Basketball Home Opener Tonight

The undefeated Michigan Tech Women's Basketball Team will open the home portion of its schedule tonight hosting Minnesota Duluth.

Tip off is 6 p.m. tonight in the Varsity Gym. The Huskies come into the contest in the top 25 in the national rankings with a 4-0 record. The Bulldogs are 1-0.

The game can be heard on local radio on 93.5 FM, audio stream on pasty.net, video streamed and live stats.

Michigan Tech secured two more road victories this past week to go to 4-0 to start the 2017-18 season. The Huskies defeated 19th ranked Minnesota State Moorhead Thursday night 66-53 and then won by double digits at Minnesota-Crookston 68-52. Tech held both opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting from the field and in three of their four games this season the Huskies have limited teams to less than 60 points. In addition, the win at No. 19 MSU-Moorhead Thursday night was the first over a WBCA NCAA Division II Top 25 ranked team by the Huskies since December 13th, 2014.

Tonight's game with Minnesota Duluth with be the 53rd meeting between the two programs. Although the Bulldogs own a 32-20 lead in the all-time series, Tech has won three straight and 8 of the last 11 including a 60-47 decision last year in the season opener in Duluth.

ICC Distinguished Lecturer Series Tomorrow

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) will host Richard Brown III from 1-2 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 21) in Rekhi 101.

Brown will present "Coherent Distributed MIMO Communication Systems (and Wireless Power Transfer)." Refreshments will be served. A meet and greet will follow (2-3 p.m.) where you can join the discussion, ask questions or seek advice.

Brown is a program director at the National Science Foundation in the Computing and Communications Foundations (CCF) division of the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE).

Brown will discuss and answer questions regarding the CCF program and other related programs at NSF. A full bio and abstract can be found online.

Continuous Improvement Connection

Often times we try to justify risky actions or choices that can potentially jeopardize our safety. As it gets cold, forgetting to put on a hat or gloves or wearing the wrong footwear can cause you to get sick, frostbite or fall on the slippery sidewalks as you cross campus.

Conditions for walking and driving in the winter are often unsafe, yet we go forward, putting ourselves and others in danger. So what is it that allows us to find these risks so necessary? In Lean culture, safety is a standard for all people, as it is of utmost importance. Safety is more than just precaution, it is the eradication of any mental or physical threat that could cause harm to an individual. Following safe procedures not only protects you, but it is the most efficient and effective route for any process, as it allows you to remove some aspect of variability in terms of completion.

An unhealthy body cannot complete a task, so another person must take their place. Someone may think “I cannot go to class or work unless I put myself in these situations," however, you cannot go to work or class if you have been in a car accident, hit another pedestrian, slipped and cracked your head, or have had fingers or toes amputated.

We must always try to remember that some risks are not worth it, and there is always a more efficient route that won’t put you or anyone else at risk at all. To learn more about safety in Lean culture, feel free to stop by the Office of Continuous Improvement, or if you have any questions, please email.

Job Posting

Job Posting for Monday, November 20, 2017  

Staff and faculty job descriptions are available in the Human Resources Department. For more information regarding staff positions call 7-2280 or email jobs@mtu.edu. For more information regarding faculty positions contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Lecturer in Statistics, Mathematical Sciences. Apply online. 

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Education Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.  

IT Connect

Recently, we announced that Michigan Tech was moving to a new web conferencing tool called Zoom. We are just checking in to see how Zoom is working for you. This is now active and available to all Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff.

Zoom allows you to connect with up to 100 participants, regardless if they have an account or not. With Zoom, you can share your screen, webcam and audio.

You can sign into your account here. Select "Sign In" and enter your ISO username and password.

If you would like help with this process or have any web conferencing questions, contact us at 7-1111 or at it-help@mtu.edu.

In the News

ABC TV10 aired a story about Mark Kulie's (GMES) snow measurement research for NASA. 


Home Health Care News published an article about FM Wound Care, a start-up company that is awaiting FDA approval to market a product designed to prevent infection, based on technology developed by Megan Frost (Bio Med). 


The contributions of Hao Zhou '15 and Petra Huentemeyer, associate professor of physics, on excess positrons measured by the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray observatory were featured in numerous publications including; Spiegel Online (Germany's top newspaper), Bright SurfSpace Daily and Scienmag.com.


A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Closed Thanksgiving Break

During the Thanksgiving holiday, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum will be closed from Wednesday through Sunday (Nov. 22-26). On Monday, Nov. 27 the museum's annual holiday sale will begin. This sale will continue through Friday, Dec. 22.


Van Pelt and Opie Thanksgiving Break Library Hours

For the upcoming break, the library will be open the during the following times:

  • Saturday, Nov. 18 - 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 19 - 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 20 - 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 21 - 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 22 - 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 23 - CLOSED
  • Friday, Nov. 24 - CLOSED
  • Saturday, Nov. 25 - 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 26 - 9 a.m. - midnight (regular semester hours resume)

Access remains available via the Opie Overnight Entrance at all other times (with active HuskyCard).