Category Archives: Alumni

Michigan Department of Transportation – Hall of Honor: Thomas R. Irwin, P.E., ’63

nov13-14aThomas R. Irwin, P.E., ’63, Michigan Tech Civil Engineering alumni, was one of the 2014 honorees to join the Michigan Department of Transportation Hall of Honor. Irwin entered the highway construction industry in 1969. He has held prominent positions in state and nation transportation associations throughout his career. He was president and owner of Hodgkiss & Douma Inc. (H&D) from 1984 to 2005. Irwin believes in continuous knowledge growth and personal involvement in order to develop personally and encourage others to develop. He is past president of the Michigan Road Builders Association (now the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association), past president of the Michigan Asphalt Paving Association (now the Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan), past state director of the National Asphalt Paving Association, past state director of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), and past co-chair of ARTBA’s environmental committee. He was past president of the Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) Fund board of trustees, serving on the board for 11 years. Irwin received Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 and the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce President’s Award in 2003, and other awards throughout the years.
The Hall of Honor, a permanent display in the Van Wagoner Transportation Building in Lansing, was established in 1971 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to developing Michigan’s network of highways, roads, streets, transit systems, railroads, airports, and waterways. Members are elected by a committee representing a wide range of transportation industry organizations. With the inclusion of this year’s honorees, a total of 83 people have been inducted into the Hall of Honor.

CEE Alumni News

Flint-based Rowe Professional Services selects new president: Leanne Panduren, a 1993 Michigan Tech University graduate hired by Rowe as an assistant engineer in its Flushing office, is set to take over as CEO in January 2016. More details

Engineering & Surveying Excellence Awards Gala recognizes top projects and honors individuals
On February 22, 2014, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M) honored firms for engineering and surveying excellence during the association’s 49th annual Engineering and Surveying Excellence Awards ceremony at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids. Outstanding Michigan engineering and surveying projects from the past year, as well as engineering professionals who have significantly contributed to the profession, were honored.

Great Lakes Engineering Group – ACEC Small Firm of the Year
Great Lakes Engineering Group (GLEG) is the 2014 Small Firm of the Year and specializes in bridge inspection – one of only three firms in the state to obtain MDOT prequalification for underwater bridge inspection. The firm’s founder and principal, Amy Trahey PE, a 1994 civil engineering graduate of Michigan Tech University, was instrumental in obtaining this prequalification. Mrs. Trahey has served on the ACEC/Michigan Board of Directors since 2009. She was Treasurer for two years and will become ACEC/Michigan’s first female president in 2015.

Great Lakes Engineering Group - ACEC Small Firm of the Year

GLEG employees hold memberships with ASCE, MSPE and MCA and actively participate in local schools and zoning boards, along with youth baseball teams. GLEG encourages students to pursue careers in engineering through mentoring, internship programs, and job shadowing. Employees serve on the Michigan Technological University Civil and Environmental Advisory Board and routinely support the ASCE steel bridge competition.

GLEG is a woman-owned civil and structural engineering firm dedicated to providing full engineering services to private and public clients primarily in Michigan. The company was founded upon the need for structural engineering services that specialize in the field of bridges.

Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering – Eminent Conceptor Winner
This year’s engineering Eminent Conceptor Award winner was Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering, Inc., Grand Rapids, for the West Bay County Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrades. A number of Michigan Tech civil engineering alumni worked on the project including: Rich Grant – 1984, Bruce Sabin – 1979, 1981, Eric Griffith – 2007, Gary Bartow – 1976, Steve VandenBrink – 1978, Bob Wilcox – 1999, Carey Bond – 1992 and also a couple of chemical engineering alumni: Elaine Venema – 2006 – ChE, and Brian Schanhals – 2009 – ChE

Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering - Eminent Conceptor Winner

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The West Bay County Regional WWTP (WBC) provided wastewater service to six communities. In 2009, the City of Essexville and Hampton Township requested to connect to WBC and provide them with 2.3 million gallons per day (mgd) capacity. WBC would need to move quickly since they would have to have this capacity available before the wastewater service contract with another municipality expired.
While WBC wanted to accommodate these neighboring communities, WBC already needed to mitigate Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) overflows for up to 25 year storm events. The added 2.3 mgd flow would complicate the solution. Before additional customers could be connected, MDEQ required WBC to create additional treatment capacity, mitigate both WBC’s SSOs, and the customer community Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).
Critical project needs included significant WBC plant capacity expansion, add flow equalization, address odors and inadequate biosolids storage capacity, and improve on the chlorine contact time for disinfection.
FLEIS & VANDENBRINK’S ROLE IN THE PROJECT
Fleis & VandenBrink (F&V) completed a capacity study, design and construction engineering as part of an expedited schedule to complete the project within about 15 months. F&V also was the inter-community consensus builder while provided funding assistance, construction management, and start-up and operations assistance.

CEE ACADEMY Alumni News
This year’s ACEC/M Vernon B. Spalding Leadership Award was presented to Melvin “Ernie” Orchard, PE, founder and past president of OHM Advisors, to honor his outstanding leadership roles in ACEC and several community organizations.

When Ernie Orchard became president of the consulting firm Orchard, Papke, Hiltz & McCliment, Inc. in 1972, he immediately engaged with ACEC/MI. Energetic in his support of ACEC, Ernie later held leadership roles at the state and national levels. In the mid-70′s, he helped to organize the first Political Action Committee in Michigan’s Chapter of ACEC and the first Legislative Day in Lansing to bring attention to issues impacting the design profession.

The ACEC/M Felix A. Anderson Image Award was presented to Richard Anderson, PE, of Somat Engineering, Inc. for his actions and contributions to enhance the image of the profession.

Mr. Richard O. Anderson, a 1971 civil engineering graduate of Michigan Technological University (MTU), is a Principal Engineer and former President of Somat Engineering, Inc. in Detroit, Michigan.

As a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), he is a nationally known expert for his innovative and cost effective solutions to infrastructure projects and engineering education. During a distinguished career spanning over 42 years, he has worked on over 6,500 projects including airports, high-rise office structures, health care facilities, transportation facilities and many others.

Engineering on Alcatraz: Alumna Involved in Restoration and Stabilization

Certain names bring forth visceral associations. Alcatraz is one, but the notorious prison of the past is also a place for a Michigan Technological University alumna to use some of her civil engineering skills in the present.
Debra Campbell, a 1976 graduate, works for the National Park Service on Alcatraz, perched on an island in San Francisco Bay. She has been involved in four recent projects on the iconic island.

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CEE Alumni reception in Bay City

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering hosted an alumni reception in Bay City on March 18. The event was held in conjunction with a conference put on by the department’s Center for Training and Technology and was attended by close to 70 alumni from the conference and surrounding area.

Alumni reception in Bay City

Ali Catik: Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects

Ali Catik, president, Civil East Operations, Tutor Perini Corp, NY, and a 1976 Michigan Tech graduate presented the Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar entitled: “Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects in Big Cities” on Friday, Sept. 27, in Dow 642. Watch the seminar presentation on Michigan Tech Engineering Channel on Vimeo Continue reading

CEE Alumni Meet in Grand Rapids


Alumni Appreciation Night was held in Grand Rapids. The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department hosted the event which included complimentary appetizers, Keweenaw Brewing Company beer, and pickled eggs as Copper Country treats. Great gifts and giveaways including a signed Michigan Tech hockey jersey, jackets, hats, and more were there too.
Alumni came out to chat with faculty and students from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Also our national award winning concrete canoe and steel bridge – along with senior design projects and more were displayed. Continue reading

Retirement Gathering for Neil Hutzler

Retirement Gathering for Neil Hutzler
The civil and environmental engineering department invited the campus community to a retirement reception for Professor Neil Hutzler on Wednesday, May 16, in the Great Lakes Research Center. Hutzler has retired after 35 years of service.
As Professor Neil Hutzler was looking to retirement, he was ensuring that a new generation would become inspired to consider engineering as a career. Hutzler is co-author of the recently published Family Engineering Activity & Event Planning Guide (2011) and co-director of the Family Engineering Program. Hutzler, and collaborator Joan Chadde, have been busy conducting training workshops and promoting the program nationwide.
Find out more in this university news story about Dr. Hutzler’s recent work in Family Engineering
Family Engineering Inspires Students (and Mom and Dad)

Finding Engineering in Everyday Activities

Construction Career Days

Staff from the Center for Technology and Training (CTT), a part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI), joined several other construction industry professionals from across Michigan to coordinate the fifth annual Michigan Construction Career Days event in Howell last week.
CTT staff who assisted were Training Coordinator John Ryynanen, Research Engineer Christopher Gilbertson and Technical Writers Shaughn Kern and Trevor Kuehl.
Construction Career Days attracted more than 1,500 students and teachers from across Lower Michigan. The event is designed to show young people the wide variety of careers available in the construction industry–at all levels of education and experience.
Ryynanen serves on the Construction Career Days Advisory Committee.
For more information about Career Days, see Construction.

John Ryynanen, training coordinator with the Center for Technology and Training in the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, is quoted in the Livingston Daily article “Event Gives Students Some Experience in Construction,” about the fifth annual Michigan Construction Career Days, held May 9 in Howell Township. The event introduces secondary school students to education and employment opportunities in construction and the skilled trades.