Category Archives: Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: Tim Spehar at Therma-Tron-X, Inc.

Last year during Career Fair, Tim Spehar ’17 was an engineering management student. This year, he’s back on campus—as an alumnus and recruiter for Therma-Tron-X, Inc. (TTX), a custom industrial finishing systems manufacturer with locations in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois.

Photo of alumni Tim Spehar at Career Fair
Student to recruiter is an eye-opening experience, Tim Spehar ’17, says

Tim serves as a project engineer, managing the design, fabrication, installation, and startup of equipment. “Our organization is flat, so I report to the VP of Engineering, the VP of Special Projects, and our CEO.” At any given time, TTX project engineers like Tim are in charge of 10 mechanical designers during the engineering phase, up to 20 fabricators who assemble subsystems, and 10 on-site installers who erect the system for customers.

Husky Work Ethic on the Job
Once the machine is assembled, Tim’s team travels to the client facility, working multiple rotations as field engineers to start-up and test the equipment, training the customer through the entire process before handing the keys over.

“A rotation is a two-week stint where we work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until we decide to leave,” Tim says. “Some nights have been midnight or later to troubleshoot and stay on schedule. We fly in on a Monday (with our own planes—super sweet perk!) and work through the weekend until the following Friday.”

The rigor doesn’t phase Tim.

 “The rotations are my favorite,” he says. “While we work very tough hours, it is the most rewarding part of the project process. We get to see what was once on paper, become a physical machine. It’s our baby—it’s really cool to see it through beginning to end.”

Back in the office, Tim works with every facet of the organization to see that the project progresses on time, working with the lead designer to manage the drawing release schedule; working with the shop manager to discuss workflow; and working with accounting, shipping, and purchasing, coordinating equipment deliveries to customers. “And through all of this, we interface directly with the customer, helping them get ready for their new paint line, working with chemical coaters to discuss system capabilities and limitations.”

For Tim, getting the job done well is the number one goal—but it hasn’t come easy.

Michigan Tech’s Business Degree Prepared Me
In fact, he admits it was challenging to size the equipment for his first machine project. “But now after three machines it feels like old hat,” Tim says. Having an engineering background and project management experience through Michigan Tech’s engineering management degree has paid off. “Working on a few special projects and standardization projects in-house, I have become one of our go-to foundry systems installers and hydraulics applications engineers.”

“Having opportunities to work with and teach others is so rewarding. Some days feel like day 0, where I’m learning or teaching myself something new to solve problems quickly and creatively, but other days I find myself being pulled in to assist others on the team because I can problem solve so effectively. I really enjoy what I do. It has become a rewarding passion.”

 


Mentoring Opportunity for Entrepreneurial-Minded Students

Michigan Tech campus in the fall.
The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics, announces a mentoring opportunity for students to meet with successful Michigan Tech alumni.

During Innovation Week (Oct. 15-18), Kanwal Rekhi ‘69, along with other 14 Floors members, have generously offered to meet one-on-one with entrepreneurial-minded Huskies. Students who have an innovative technology, solution, idea, and/or prototype that they would like to get in front of an experienced entrepreneur to talk market assessment and commercialization potential, should apply for the mentoring opportunity. Limited times are available.

This initiative is part of Michigan Tech’s 14 Floors. 14 Floors is a series of events and activities designed to build momentum and enable culture change on campus. Core initiatives focus on fostering entrepreneurship and high-tech innovation within a global culture and economy. Cross-disciplinary activities led by faculty and staff focus on students and are held on and off campus. The effort is made possible through alumni support.



Captain Amanda Nerg ’10 Recieves Michigan Tech’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Nerg, Amanda Capt photoThis award is presented each year to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their career. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated.

Captain Amanda (Taylor) Nerg ’10 believes in leaving a place better than when you arrived.

“Your actions will affect those around you and you can be that guiding force in creating a better future for those who come after us.”

For Nerg attending Tech was coming home. During her childhood, she lived near Tech while her mom served as the commander for the Air Force ROTC. “When we moved I missed everything about the area. When I began my search for a college, I only applied to one school, Michigan Tech. It was exciting to return to the place I had once called home.”

Nerg received a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 2010. In 2014, she earned her master of business administration at the Naval Postgraduate School.

She says the training she received at Michigan Tech prepared her for a career in the Air Force. Her first assignment she served as a contract administrator at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota where she managed a $7.6 million architect-engineer services program.

“Michigan Tech instilled a passion for innovation and creative thinking. The Air Force ROTC program guided me to become a strong leader and follower in the military. Alpha Gamma Delta taught me the values of living with purpose and impacting the world. Every class, every extracurricular activity provided the foundation for who I am today.”

Nerg is the Chief of Contracting Office at Moron Air Base in Spain, where she supports multiple Air Force, Marine, and NATO missions. While working on her master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School, she says her analytical background from Tech calculus and statistics classes helped create her thesis on geospatial information systems (GIS) and their use in humanitarian and disaster response, developing a transportation routing model for fuels distribution.

She says she has many fond memories from Tech include meeting her husband, Steve Nerg ’11. The couple has been married for more than six years.

Tech helped Nerg discover who she wanted to be. “Everything you do and have done at this university has shaped you into who you are today. Aspire to be your best and do your job with integrity and passion.”


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