Category Archives: Engineering Management

Shawn Badanjek, Engineering Management & MIS, Wins Big at Lear Open Innovation Challenge with other Michigan Tech Students

By Jennifer Donovan
Original Link

Five Michigan Tech students competed in the Lear Open Innovation Challenge 2018, and four brought home awards.

Michigan Technological University students Shawn Badanjek, Mayank Bagaria, Anurag Kamal, Cameron Philo and Arvind Ravindran completed this year’s challenge, and Badanjek [student in the School of Business and Economics] was a member of the team that won the grand prize.

Lear Corporation, based in Detroit, is a leading automotive supplier that hosts the annual challenge to build connections with the state’s universities and tap new sources of innovative ideas.

“Detroit is the birthplace of the automobile, and, leveraging this proud legacy and manufacturing expertise, its industries are poised to be ground zero for the development of tomorrow’s mobility solutions,” the Lear Open Innovation Challenge website explains.

The challenge is conducted by the Innovatrium, a consulting firm founded to help organizations build the internal capacity to innovate and grow.

This year’s Lear Challenge had 57 participants from six universities: Michigan Tech, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Detroit-Mercy.

The Lear Open Innovation Challenge presents a problem to interdisciplinary teams of university students. This year, the challenge involved increasing vehicle occupant safety. Two weeks later, the teams meet in Detroit to present their solutions.

The competition is designed to teach an innovative mindset, prepare students to create ideas for the future of mobility and vehicle connectivity, work with innovation coaches and Lear technology development experts and learn how to develop solutions that advance technology and manufacturing. While in Detroit, the student teams get a tour of Lear’s headquarters and a chance to network with top companies in the Detroit area and faculty from Michigan Tech, Michigan State, Wayne State, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Grand Prize Winner

Five Michigan Tech students completed the challenge and four received awards. One, Shawn Badanjek, was a member of the team that won the Grand Prize. A senior in engineering management [and management information systems], he will receive an internship with Lear for the summer, where he will work with his team to develop a prototype of their idea. He will also receive $250 cash prize, a Haworth Fern chair (customized personally for him) and a set of Detroit Tigers tickets.

Lear Open Innovation Challenge grand-prize-winning team

Lear Open Innovation Challenge grand-prize-winning team: (from left) Michigan Tech student Shawn Badanjek, Janelle Newman, Shivam Bajaj, Nicole Goldi and Adrian Maloy.

Badanjek has high praise for the competition mentors. “I believe the guidance and mentoring I received from these people was priceless,” he says. “I learned more about high-level team building and interaction in two weeks than in any semester-long class I have ever taken. This is something you learn that will be with you and help you navigate team interactions for life.”

Two other students, Cameron Philo—a Pavlis Honors College student—and Mayank Bagaria, were on a team that won an award for the most innovative idea. They will each receive a $250 cash prize.

“We approached the problem from a very different perspective, not as a conventional mechanical engineer would design, but as a biomedical engineer would design,” says Bagaria, a graduate student in mechanical engineering. “Working on the team was an awesome experience; diverse universities with people from different majors provided a very different perspective to the solution. The whole experience made me realize my strength and areas I need to work on. Michigan Tech helped us throughout the process. It would not have been possible to go and compete in Detroit without Michigan Tech.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries around the world. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our beautiful campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

Ron and Linda Staley Establish New Engineering Management Scholarship

The School of Business and Economics is pleased to announce that Ron & Linda Staley have established a new engineering management scholarship for incoming students. This endowed scholarship will recognize an outstanding first-year student in the engineering management major.

2017 has been a big year for Ron’s involvement with the School of Business and Economics. He was inducted into the Academy of Business which recognizes outstanding leaders in business and civic affairs, as well as those who have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the School of Business and Economics. He also joined our new Engineering and Supply Chain Management Industry Advisory Board.

Ronald Staley Final Crop -20170611Staley has been with The Christman Company for 33 years and is currently leading the reestablishment of a new construction management and general contracting office in the City of Detroit.   He founded Christman’s Historic Preservation Group in 1992 providing construction services for high profile national historic landmarks across the US and foreign countries.  Ron earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Industrial Management) and Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology from Michigan Technological University.  He is on the Board of Directors of The Christman Company and multiple non-profit boards and honored as a Fellow in the Association for Preservation Technology International and Honorary Affiliate of the Michigan Chapter American Institute of Architects.

Ron and Linda live in Brighton, Michigan and have two married children and two grandchildren.

“We are so fortunate to have alumni who are dedicated to giving back to the School of Business and Economics both financially and with gifts of time and expertise.” – Dr. Dean Johnson, Dean of the School of Business and Economics


Meet Tim Spehar…


Tim Spehar is a spring 2017 graduate of our engineering management major! He recalls visiting a series of universities during his junior year of high school. He and his Dad traveled around the state of Michigan before making it up to the U.P. to check out Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics.  During his visit, Tim found exactly what he was looking for: the opportunity to combine both business and technical skills into one program. When he left his campus visit, Tim knew he had chosen his college! He knew he would be coming to Michigan Tech to major in engineering management.

Tim’s four years on campus were packed with classes, involvement in student organizations, and playing outside. As he reflects on his experiences, he came up with some advice he would like to share with future students:

  1. Academics come first. College chemistry is a lot more difficult than high school. When arriving on campus Tim was used to being able to get good grades without putting in extensive study time. Even if you’re at the top of your high school class, you are going to need to devote more time to your studies in college.
  2. Get outside your comfort zone. In his first year of college Tim’s roommate was a guy he went to high school with. Although they came to school together, Tim said he was surprised at how quickly he branched out and met new friends. “It is important to get out and meet people during orientation week when everyone is trying to find their place on campus.” He advises getting to know your neighbors in the residence hall. When Tim moved off campus, he moved into a house with guys that lived near him in Wadsworth Hall.
  3. Pick up new hobbies. Tim played rugby and lacrosse in high school, but when he started at Michigan Tech he decided not to play on the club teams here. Instead, he got involved in starting a new student organization on campus! American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM). Tim worked closely with both Dr. Dana Johnson and Roger Woods and became the first president of the Michigan Tech chapter of ASEM. This organization is a student based chapter of a national organization that is centered around raising awareness of engineering management as a profession.
  4.  Attend every career fair. You just never know who you are going to meet. During the fall career fair of his senior year, Tim was waiting in a long line to talk to a recruiter from a company he was interested in.  While he was waiting in line he started reading information on a nearby table for a different company. He ended up going to their table and talking to a representative for Therma-Tron-X Inc. After talking a while he was offered an interview for the next morning.  It wasn’t long before Tim was invited down to their office in Wisconsin and ultimately was offered a job.

Tim has already started his position as Project Engineer at Therma-Tron-X Inc. and has been enjoying his first few weeks on the job. On behalf of the School of Business and Economics, we congratulate him and wish him the best on his future endeavors! If you’d like to get in touch with Tim please feel free to send him an Email at, or follow him on Instagram @the_cycling_engeineer

Tim commencement with parents

ASEM Becomes a National Chapter

The American Society for Engineering Management (National) announced a new ASEM Student Chapter at Michigan Tech.

The new student chapter at Tech has 15 student members including Kalli Hooper who will serve as the new national chapter president. Dana Johnson and Roger Woods will serve as their faculty advisors. The School of Business and Economics offers a BS degree in Engineering Management, which is the fastest growing program in their school.

– Dana M. Johnson – Tech Today February 3, 2017

Waupaca Foundry (1)