Left to right: Ed Eiswerth '77, Mark Garver '06, and Dan Batten '88/90 joined the Alumni Association Board at the reunion.
Left to right: Ed Eiswerth '77, Mark Garver '06, and Dan Batten '88/90 joined the Alumni Association Board at the reunion.
Benjamin Hall
Benjamin Hall
Sarah Rajala, left, shares a moment with Terry Smythe, middle, and Philip Smythe.
Sarah Rajala, left, shares a moment with Terry Smythe, middle, and Philip Smythe.
Amy Trahey with President Glenn Mroz
Amy Trahey with President Glenn Mroz
Women of Promise
Women of Promise

Alumni Association Notes

New Board Members Named

Mark Garver ’06 is a project administrator with PB Americas on the construction management team for the O’Hare Airport modernization project. He also manages all accounts payable and expenses, comanages the vehicle fleet, and monitors all direct expenses. At Tech, Garver was active with Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity, Interfraternity Council, FIRST Robotics, Sailing Club, Undergraduate Student Government, and Memorial Union Board, among other organizations. Garver also interned at Troy Design and General Motors, and he received his BS in Business Administration.

A colleague says of Garver, “We are gaining both a motivated and organizationally skilled individual on the Alumni Association Board.”

Daniel S. Batten ’88/’90 is regional IT applications manager-Americas, for Textron, Inc. Previously, he was global program manager with GMAC Financial Services, leading teams in manufacturing and financial services. Prior to working for GMAC, Batten was a global senior manager for Delphi Corporation, involved in supply chain, financial, and human resource services. While at Delphi, Batten was honored with the Excellence in Achievement Award. Batten’s community service includes leading a $5-million fund-raising drive for his church and volunteering for Junior Achievement and the Boy Scouts of America. Batten received his AAS in Mechanical Design Engineering Technology and his BS in Business Administration.

He recently received his MBA through Northwood University and says, “I’ll enjoy the opportunity to give back to Michigan Tech.”

Edwin Eiswerth ’77 is the fire chief for Peachtree City Fire and Rescue. Eiswerth leads the operations of the department’s emergency services and is responsible for budgeting, hiring, developing, and training staff. Prior to working in emergency services, Eiswerth was in the US Air Force and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Eiswerth has been active with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metro Atlanta Chiefs Association, and Fayette County 911 Center Board of Directors. He also helps out with the Boy Scout Explorer Post. Eiswerth was involved with Air Force ROTC and Phi Kappa Phi fraternity and received his BS in Forestry.

A colleague says of Eiswerth, “He is completely loyal to Michigan Tech, Air Force ROTC, and the Air Force, as well as his friendships.”

Alumni Award Winners

Benjamin J. Hall ’05

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

(Presented Posthumously)

Benjamin Hall graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. He served as the cadet battalion commander in the Tech Army ROTC program and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army.

A paratrooper and an army ranger, Hall was deployed to Afghanistan with 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Hall was killed in action on July 31, 2007. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and the Purple Heart.

Born in Texas, the son of army colonel and Tech alumnus John Hall ’75, Hall moved around a lot as a child but throughout his life remained fixed on achievement. At Tech, he majored in social science and earned many awards in the ROTC program. He earned the rating of Distinguished Military Graduate, and ranked among the top cadets across the nation when he graduated.

He continued to excel while on active duty. He earned the Army’s Combat Infantry Badge and Expert Infantry Badge; was one of only twenty-two soldiers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade to be awarded the title of True Blue; and was instrumental in creating a new infantry company, called Destined, in his regiment.

His family remembers him as “giving and humble—the type of guy people were drawn to.” Hall is survived by his parents, two sisters, and a brother, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Jason M. Cousineau ’98

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Jason Cousineau earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and has engineered a distinguished career.

He has worked at Engineered Machined Products, Inc. of Escanaba since graduating, is a senior product development engineer, and is the technology lead on several products. EMP is a leader in the design, manufacture, and assembly of advanced thermal and oil management components and systems. Cousineau holds several patents, including two for an advanced filtration system that continuously filters engine oil and automatically ejects used filter media.

Cousineau has been published by the Society of Automotive Engineers and was honored by Design News Magazine for his contributions to global engineering. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering management at Lake Superior State University.

For Tech, Cousineau has participated as an industry advisor and sponsor on several Senior Design projects as well as a graduate research advisor for the mechanical engineering department.

Dawn M. (Zarling) Plitzuweit ’95

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Dawn Plitzuweit, who has excelled in women’s basketball as both player and coach, earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences.

While playing for Tech (1990–95), she was named twice an All-America, twice an All-America Honorable Mention, and twice an All-Academic player. As a player, Plitzuweit led her team to three titles in the GLIAC and four appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament. She holds career records at Tech for rebounds, assists, and steals.

She also received academic honors, and, at the invitation of the president, was the speaker at her own commencement. That same year, she was named the NCAA Woman of the Year in Michigan. She is the first person to be honored by the Molten/Women’s Division II Bulletin as both an All-America Player (1995) and Coach of the Year (2006).

As well, she has been named Coach of the Year in the conference, the state, and the nation. Plitzuweit has been an assistant coach for Tech, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She was the head coach at Grand Valley State University for four years and won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2005–06. She has been associate head coach at the University of Michigan since 2007.

She is a member of the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame and the Varsity Club.

Sarah A. Rajala ’74

Distinguished Alumni Award

Sarah Rajala, who has pioneered the way for women in electrical engineering, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field.

She was recently named dean of Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering. Prior to this, Rajala headed the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at MSU. She earned both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University, taught at North Carolina State University and Purdue University, and served as an adjunct research faculty member at the Wake Forest University Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

Rajala joined the faculty at NC State in 1979, where she was the first female professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers; a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; and president and fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. A native of Skandia, Michigan, she was only the third woman—and the only one in her class—to graduate from Michigan Tech with an electrical engineering degree. She was a member of three honor societies: Mu Beta Psi (music), Tau Beta Pi (engineering), and Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering).

At Tech, Rajala is a member of the Presidential Council of Alumnae and the Electrical Engineering Academy and was the first alumna to receive Tech’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award (1986).

Terry Smythe

Honorary Alumni Award

Terry Smythe is a long-standing friend of Michigan Tech. She is the founder and volunteer coach of the Michigan Tech Rowing Club, which began in 1995 with shells donated by Jim Dreher ’62. Smythe is an accomplished rower in her own right, attending two Olympic Trials and competing all over the world. In 2006, she brought home five gold medals from the Masters World Rowing Championships.

She has been chair of the Presidential Advisory Council for Women’s Athletics at Michigan Tech, which mentors Tech women and brings speakers and presentations to campus. Smythe was instrumental in developing the Tech employee wellness program, which today is known as TechFit. She was also a member of the Tech Tennis Advisory Council.

Smythe serves as fitness director for Keweenaw Memorial Medical Center and has collaborated on several Senior Design projects with the biomedical engineering department and has led many Summer Youth explorations. She teaches spinning and indoor rowing classes at Tech and is often on campus as a motivational speaker and presenter.

Smythe has received numerous awards locally and nationally for her work promoting fitness and rowing in the community, including sitting on the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports. There is no end to Smythe’s influence and enthusiasm. One admirer sums it up by saying, “When the bull comes at her, Terry grabs the horns.”

Presidential Council of Alumnae Update

PCA members are recognized for achievements such as educational excellence, professional accomplishments, past student service, current community services, University support, and other personal success. The PCA advises the President on campus climate issues and provides suggestions and support to enhance the University’s environment for students, especially women. Current students are also identified as Women of Promise. 

2008 Inductees 

Cathy J. (Johnson) Colman ’80 Computer Science IT Director, Quality, Process and Support Solution Center, 3M, St. Paul 

Nancy M. (Maloney) Grimm ’95 Rhetoric and Technical Communication Director of the Writing Center, Michigan Tech 

Lou Anne (Szewczyk) Koerschner ’81 Chemical Engineering Sales and Marketing Director, 3M, St. Paul 

Dianne M. March ’86/’92 Computer Science Cofounder/Software Consultant, SRT Solutions, Ann Arbor 

Linda J. (Neal) McInally ’79 Chemical Engineering Supply Chain Executive Director, Specialty Chemicals Business, Dow Chemical, Midland 

Brenda J. (Taylor) O’Brien ’84 Civil Engineering Engineer of Construction and Technology Michigan Department of Transportation, Lansing 

Karen A. (Mikkola) Swager ’92/’94 Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Manager of Mine Strategy and Execution Mosaic Phosphate MP Inc., Mulberry, Florida

Amy L. (Grisdale) Trahey ’94 Civil Engineering CEO/Owner, Great Lakes Engineering Group, Lansing. For more about the PCA, visit www.pca.mtu.edu.

Online Alumni Community Enhanced

More than 10,000 alumni and friends have reconnected via HuskyLink, Michigan Tech’s online community, since its launch in early 2007.

HuskyLink members can reconnect through the exclusive Michigan Tech alumni directory that allows users to find former classmates or fellow alumni who live in their area.

The customized My Profile section, Friends List, and Blogs provide new ways for alumni to communicate with each other. Class Notes allow members to post announcements and stories which could also be published in this Michigan Tech Magazine. Special Clubs and Groups pages allow members to enhance their HuskyLink experience by connecting alumni with common campus experiences, and you can also subscribe to the TechAlum newsletter.

Get connected today! http://www.huskylink.mtu.edu/join