Paula Zenner

Paula  Zenner
  • BS Mechanical Engineering 1987
  • MS Operations Management 1993
Paula Zenner earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1987 and worked in industry immediately following graduation. She returned to Michigan Tech to earn a master's degree in Operations Management, which was received in 1993.

She began work at Michigan Tech in the Mechanical Engineering Department as an academic advisor in 1991 and has advanced to her current position as Director of Operations and Finance. She directs the financial and operation activities for this nationally ranked academic department with annual external research expenditures of over $4 million and a salary and wage budget of $7.5 million. Zenner also serves as a member of the Department Executive Committee and advises the Department Chair on all matters related to the entire operations (human, financial and capital) of the department — she is the go-to person for many of the high level projects for the department as a whole.

Additionally, Zenner is responsible for the administrative and logistical characteristics of the undergraduate and graduate programs and courses, including resource allocation and accreditation. She served as the project manager for two major laboratory and facilities renovations. She has also co-authored papers providing national and international dissemination of engineering educational advances in undergraduate programming.

As a student at Michigan Tech, Zenner was an active member in several campus groups such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Alpine Ski Team, and Ski Coach of the Copper Country Ski Club. Zenner also worked on campus in the Central Ticket Office as a student assistant.

Within the Houghton community, Zenner has coached children's athletics, served as a Board member of the Houghton All Sports Booster Club, and volunteers for a variety of school/service fundraising activities.

She currently resides in Houghton, Michigan, with her husband, Mark ('93), and daughters, Blaire and Sloane.

Zenner was inducted into the Presidential Council of Alumnae in April 2009.

Excerpted from the 2009 Presidential Council of Alumnae Program