Pasty Picnic 2009
UEC Electronics president honored in SBA contest
Rebecca Ufkes BSME ’87, president of Hanahan-based UEC Electronics, was named first runner-up in the US Small Business Administration’s annual National Small Business Person of the Year contest.
Philip Ufkes BSEE ’86 is the firm’s vice president. UEC Electronics, founded in 1995, helps clients develop product ideas by applying manufacturing, hardware, software, and mechanical and electronic design. The company has grown from a home-based consulting firm with one customer to an 80,000-square-foot campus with ninety-five employees.
Ufkes turned to government contracting when her largest client fell upon tough times. She became the first graduate of the navy’s Manufacturing Technical Assistance Production Program. Her company soon became a prime defense contractor. Revenues grew from $9.7 million in 2007 to $13.4 million in 2008. Employment rose steadily each year, despite the recession.
The National Small Business Person of the Year is selected from the fifty-three state small business winners, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Before becoming the runner-up in the national contest, Ufkes was selected as the Small Business Person of the Year for South Carolina.
Alum: Melting oceanic "fire ice" will turn up the global thermostat
As the author of Cold, Clear, and Deadly: Unraveling a Toxic Legacy, Mel Visser '59 uncovered the reasons for the buildup of persistent organic pollutants in pristine environments like the Arctic and Lake Superior. Now the chemical engineering alumnus has sounded a warning on climate change with his new book, The Climate Trap: A Perilous Tripping of Earth’s Natural Freeze Protection System.
"For many years, I wondered why Earth cooled slowly as it entered into an Ice Age, then suddenly heated up rapidly," he said. "Without some unexplained major source of energy released by some triggering event, Earth should have cooled down and joined Mars as a frozen sister."
He theorizes that energy came from methane hydrate, also known as "fire ice," the same chemical that blocked BP’s attempt to funnel off the Gulf oil spill. "It is also the compound that is now, as the Arctic Ocean warms, decomposing to release methane. There is more carbon tied up in ocean floors as methane hydrate than in all the world’s coal and oil combined," Visser said. "The story, like most deeply hidden stories, is unbelievably simple when finally uncovered. I have had it reviewed by oil executives and geology professors who find it amazing." The Climate Trap is available on Amazon.com.
- Boyd Norton’s ’60 newest book (his 15th), Norton’s Outdoor Digital Photography Handbook, is available on Amazon.com.
- Pete Davis ’65 ’67 retired after twenty-nine years as a wildlife biology consultant in the Denver area. He has moved to St. Francis, Kansas, to get away from the city and to hunt pheasants and train dogs.
- Michael Russo ’69 was named executive secretary of AEEC (formerly the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee) on August 1, 2008.
Rowland Gray ’78 retired from Ford Motor Company in 2007. He returned to work for the army in Warren as a program quality manager for heavy and light tactical vehicles.
- Scott Weil ’87 was named Inventor of the Year at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy multi-program laboratory in Richland, Washington. Weil is an ME graduate and earned master’s and PhD degrees from Carnegie Mellon University in metallurgy and materials science and engineering.
- Shelley (Williams) Bolbrugge ’94 and family have relocated to Washington, DC. Shelley now works for the US Department of Transportation–National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a rulemaking engineer in the Office of Crash Avoidance. The family lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
- Dannett Rice ’01 welcomed Naomi Marie on November 10, 2007, and had twins Joshua David and Faith Elizabeth on November 3, 2009.
- Amanda McMahon ’02 announces the birth of Rohan Jakob, born April 28, 2010. He joins big sister Viveka Denali.
- Lacey Mason ’04 is working at the Institute for Fisheries Research (a cooperative effort of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and the University of Michigan) as a computer research specialist (GIS analyst).
- Audrey and Jim Goetzinger ’04 announce the birth of Lucy Marie on May 9, 2009.
- Robert Sandoval ’05 graduated from Northwestern University in June 2010 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. He is now working as a senior engineer at Dow Chemical Company in Midland.
The Michigan Tech family extends condolences to the relatives and friends of those who have passed away recently.