All posts by Sue Hill

Rail Transportation Program to Co-host Midwest Conference

Midwest Rail Conference 2017

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program is among the hosts of the Midwest Rail Conference in August. Co-sponsors include the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and a group of organizers.

Formerly the Michigan Rail Conference, this newly-expanded program now has a regional focus with co-organizers, like the Freight Rail Transportation Committee (AR040) of the Transportation Research Board and the National University Rail Center (NURail).

AR040 also is bringing their Summerail 2017 event, and NURail will add their annual meeting to the event. The theme of this year’s conference is “Midwest Connections: Passenger and Freight Rail Look to the Future!” #MWRailConference.

The conference gathers rail industry representatives and supporters to discuss issues and opportunities for Midwest rail activity. This year’s conference will be held from Aug. 15-17, 2017, at the Fetzer Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

There will be technical presentations, panel discussions and a networking reception. Joseph McHugh, senior vice president and chief for Amtrak Government Affairs and Corporate Communications will provide the keynote address.

The conference is open to anyone interested in the rail industry, but should be of particular interest to federal, state and local government representatives, transportation industry professionals, colleges and universities, the interested public, students and the media.

The conference organizing committee is offering students a limited number of scholarships to cover the conference registration and field trip fees. The early bird registration rate has been extended until Friday June, 30.

Detailed conference information and links for registration can be found on the conference website.

For more information regarding the conference, contact David Nelson (CEE) at dannelso@mtu.edu. To register contact alkerttu@mtu.edu.


Pasi Lautala on Interdisciplinary Programs

Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala

The pathway to success is paved with more than a little advice. Students, job candidates and employees need public speaking skills, and they also need to learn the craft of salesmanship. In addition, some experts predict that regardless of college major, everyone needs coding skillsFinance and accounting majors need big data analysis skills. If this is starting to sound like a potpourri of requirements, well, that’s the point. In the future, success at work will be characterized by the ability to excel in more than one discipline or area – and an interdisciplinary degree could be vital.

Pasi Lautala, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Rail Transportation Institute at Michigan Tech, tells GoodCall®,

If interdisciplinary was a novelty in the past, today it’s becoming a standard.

In fact, Lautala says it should be the expected norm, since it’s rare for anything to be developed or completed under a single disciplinary.

“We’re witnessing that first hand in the development of 21st century transportation, where automated vehicles, trains, drones, etcetera, are all dependent on the interdisciplinary components, such as intelligent transportation systems infrastructure, alternative power and propulsion systems and constant communication/information exchange between vehicles and infrastructure.”

As a result, Lautala says, “Civil, mechanical, electrical, and even materials engineers are all under the same umbrella.”

Read more at GoodCall®, by Terri Williams.


Steel Bridge Team on Facebook

Steel Bridge TeamSchool is out for the academic year. But just like Michigan Tech research, competition knows no season. Summer events are a given for many student organizations including Supermileage Systems, Formula SAE—and Steel Bridge, one of 43 qualifying teams heading to national competition at Oregon State University on May 26-27, 2017. Eleven weeks and 900 hours of work were on the line, along with the commitment to rebound from a disappointing collapse at the 2016 event.

Michigan Tech’s team took first place overall at the 2017 North Central Regional Competition sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and American Society of Civil Engineers. It also placed first in three out of six subcategories:  stiffness, efficiency and lightness. The other three categories are construction speed, construction economy and display.

The Tech Team finished an impressive 12th among the 43 teams this weekend. Details can be found on Facebook.

Original story by Cyndi Perkins.


MDOT Funding for Leo Liu Group

Zhen Liu
(Zhen) Leo Liu

Leo Liu (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $149,000 research and development contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Stan Vitton (CEE), Min Wang (Math) and Michael Billmire (MTRI) are Co-PIs on the project “Develop and Implement a Freeze Thaw Model Based on Seasonal Load Restriction Decision Support Tool.”

This is a two-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Tim Colling Appointed to Governor’s Advisory Board

Tim Colling
CTT Director Tim Colling

Tim Colling, director of Michigan Tech’s Center for Technology and Training, has been appointed to the Governor’s Infrastructure Asset Management Advisory Board. Other than Colling, the board is made up of infrastructure owners: government agencies and private telecom, power and gas utilities.

“This gives the University a unique opportunity to advise on policy for infrastructure in Michigan, which will likely become the template for other states,” Colling said. “So far the early discussion relates to linear (pipe, road and data cable) assets and has not gone the path of facilities.”

Colling said that over the next year, Michigan Tech will be involved in meetings with the board and Governor’s office to outline a framework and process for integrated asset management, similar to what Tech has done with roads and bridges. The board’s activity is expected to result in legislation that will codify asset management practices for these other assets, and it is likely there will be a spending package related to the bill, either directly or indirectly, Colling added.

In the short term, he said, the University will be involved with the two pilot programs in the state.

By Jenn Donovan.


Roadsoft Tech Assist in Lower Michigan

Roadsoft

Center for Technology and Training (CTT) Software Engineers Byrel Mitchell, Andrew Rollenhagen and Mike Pionke traveled in lower Michigan providing Roadsoft on-site technical assistance at the cities of St. Louis, Vernon, Laingsburg and Kalamazoo, and the Calhoun and Kent County Road Commissions during the week of April 17.

This is the fourth year CTT has conducted the semi-annual Roadsoft Tech Assist visits, which are hands-on sessions with agency-specific topics. Besides helping Roadsoft customers, the sessions provide CTT software engineers with valuable information about client workflow and challenges. Roadsoft is a roadway asset management software suite for collecting, storing and analyzing data associated with transportation infrastructure.

Roadsoft is developed and supported by the Center for Technology and Training with principle funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation.


Remembering Harbans Singh

On August 27, 2016, our father and Michigan Tech grad from the Class of 1962, Harbans Singh, left this beautiful earth. Our father was a great man and a once in a generation business man.

He very fondly remembered his time in Houghton and made sure we remembered that he received a great education and wonderful experience at Michigan Tech. His dealings with the Deans and Presidents were great. He was the first man to graduate with a turban from your school. He was super proud of that.

In 1960, our father came from India to the U.S. with no money. From California, he ended up at Michigan Tech at a time when he was unhappy and unsure he would succeed in America. Michigan Tech was a great experience, and he met many wonderful friends and teachers. He completed his degree very confidently.

After his Civil Engineering degree in 1962, our father worked for the State of Illinois until he founded and created Eagle Grips, the world’s largest producer of custom hand gun grips.

Tej M. Singh, MD, MBA
Chief, Vascular Surgery
Director, Mitchell Vascular Center
Palo Alto Medical Foundation


Harbans Singh left India in 1960 to pursue a better life. He enrolled at Michigan Tech, graduating as the first Sikh at the school in 1962 with a BS in civil engineering. He married Ms. Indira Sodhi in 1965 and started Art Jewel Enterprises (aka Eagle Grips) in 1978. Eagle Grips became a large international leader in custom, handmade grip production. His family considered him to be a wonderful role model, ultimate doer, optimist, and advisor.

Harbans Singh

Harbans Singh


Railroad Careers Night February 22, 2017

REAC logoThe Michigan Tech Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) is hosting Railroad Careers Night at 7 p.m. tonight (Feb. 22) in the DHH Ballroom.

Students from any discipline and any year are encouraged to stop in for free pizza and stimulating conversation with representatives from the rail industry. We are expecting about 10 companies, including Class 1 railroads, consultants and suppliers to be available for casual conversation in a relaxed atmosphere — a perfect follow-up to the mad pace of Career Fair.

By David Nelson.


Veronica Webster on the Oroville Dam Spillway

Veronica Webster
Veronica Webster

YubaNet.com quoted Veronica Webster (CEE) on the hydraulic structural problems underlying the erosion of the Oroville Dam spillway in California.

In for the Long Haul at Oroville Dam Says Water Resources Expert

February 15, 2017 – Civil engineer Veronica Webster studies long-term trends for assessing flood risk at Michigan Technological University. She says that for the Oroville Dam, the immediacy of the problem is related to longer running issues.

Many of our hydraulic structures are likely under designed. —Veronica Webster

Webster is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech and is a recent recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award to study flood frequency and risk analysis.

Read more at YubaNet.com, by Michigan Technological University.


2017 Moisseiff Award from ASCE

Daniel Dowden
Daniel Dowden

Daniel M. Dowden, Patricia Clayton, Chao-Hsien Li, Jeffrey Berman, Michael Bruneau, Laura Lowes and Keh-Chyuan Tsai have been selected by the Structural Engineering Institute to receive the 2017 Moisseiff Award “For the paper, “Full-Scale Pseudodynamic Testing of Self-Centering Steel Plate Shear Walls,” Journal of Structural Engineering, January 2016.”

The award ceremony will take place during the Structures Congress 2017 in Denver, CO, April 7, 2017.

The award recognizes important papers dealing with the broad field of structural design, including applied mechanics as well as the theoretical analysis, or constructive improvement, of engineering structures such as bridges and frames, of any structural material.

The Structural Engineering Institute is part of ASCE, the American Society of Civil Engineers.