Time & Talent Showcases the Power of Knowledge Exchange

Time & Talent (T&T) is a testament to Michigan Tech’s commitment to fostering meaningful connections between the University and its alumni. The program, led by the Office of Alumni Engagement, has become an ongoing narrative of volunteerism and knowledge sharing.

In October, the T&T program invited a group of talented alumni to return to campus where they engaged with current students, faculty, and staff through presentations, lectures, and learning opportunities. Representing the October cohort of T&T guests were four alumni whose achievements span a variety of fields:

  • John Helge ’76 (Forestry)
  • Bruce Kuffer ’71 (Civil Engineering)
  • Paul Meneghini ’93 (Civil Engineering)
  • Brian Schwanitz ’77 (Applied Geophysics)
L-R: Paul Meneghini, Brian Schwanitz, Bruce Kuffer, John Helge

This assembly of accomplished professionals brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to campus. Their collective expertise covered a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, industrial water treatment, business development, operations management, and trenchless technologies for sanitation, water, and pipeline sectors.

During the visit, each alumnus served as a guest lecturer in a mix of classes that matched his practice. Where Helge spoke in classes such as Experiences in Environmental Engineering and Intro to Sustainability and Resilience, Schwanitz addressed students in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Formation Evaluation and Petroleum Engineering. Meneghini and Kuffer both met with students from various disciplines, including Professional Development, Community Development and Planning, Social Sciences, Public Speaking and Multimedia, and Introduction to Public Policy.

Their collective wisdom resonated with a common theme: the importance of communication skills, no matter the industry. Kuffer, in particular, emphasized the significance of recognizing and learning what he coined as “the soft side of engineering,” which proved to be the key attribute of his successful career.

In addition to guest lectures and presentations, the cohort also met with various Michigan Tech staff and student organizations, including the Student Leadership and Involvement Office, Husky Innovate, Blue Key Executive Board, Law Club, Green Campus Enterprise team, and the Society for Environmental Engineering, where they not only shared their knowledge and expertise but also provided valuable guidance on how to navigate and succeed in a professional career.

Previously, the Office of Alumni Engagement hosted Tom Seel for the Time & Talent program. A 1985 mechanical engineering graduate, Seel shared decades of valuable experiences with students and faculty during his September visit.

The Time & Talent initiative isn’t just about a singular event; this University-wide program aims to bring a diverse cohort of alumni back to campus every semester. These cohorts may feature new rosters or the return of previous guests, depending on what schedules allow. As the Time & Talent initiative continues to grow, we anticipate additional volunteer opportunities to arise for alumni along the way. Whether through Time & Talent or other volunteerism, the Office of Alumni Engagement encourages all alumni to stay connected and active through a variety of events and opportunities.

Stay tuned for more interactions and upcoming Time & Talent events that promise to add new dimensions to the rich tapestry of alumni connections at Michigan Tech.

Interested in volunteering or know an alumnus who would be a good fit? Submit the nomination form on our website or contact Jordan Shawhan via email or call 906-487-3575.

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