Category: Alumni Spotlight

Restoring American History, One Building at a Time

by Jen A. Miller

Ron Staley standing in front of Michigan Central Station.When Ron Staley ’77 ’80 (AAS Civil Engineering Technology, B.S. Business) encounters a historic building fallen into disrepair, he sees opportunity.

Staley leads one of the country’s most respected historic preservation teams at The Christman Company, where he’s senior vice president and executive director of historic preservation. For nearly four decades, he and his team have restored architecturally significant structures, preserving them as cornerstones of U.S. history.

With each project he tackles, he’s “taking a building apart and putting it back together for future generations.”

Read about Staley’s career and his latest project — Michigan Central Station, a grand old rail station in Detroit that will soon be a 30-acre walkable innovation hub — in our 2024 Michigan Tech Magazine


Career Success in Economics: Q&A with Jerrid Burdue

Photo of four people including Jerrid Burdue, Debbie Stabenow, Dean Johnson, Emanual Oliveira
During Jerrid’s tenure at Michigan Tech, he had a chance to present to policymakers in Washington about ideas for the future of retirement. From L to R: Jerrid Burdue, Senator (MI) Debbie Stabenow, Dean Johnson, Emanual Oliveira

Niles, Michigan, native Jerrid Burdue, a 2017 Michigan Tech economics graduate, shares about his outside-of-class involvement instilled confidence to secure a rewarding full-time position.

Career Success in Economics: Q&A with Brianna Turunen ’17

Brianna and colleagues at Career Fair
Back on home turf, Brianna (left) recruits with RS&H colleagues at Michigan Tech’s Career Fair (Image courtesy Brianna Turunen/RS&H)

Brianna (Koski) Turunen, from L’Anse, Michigan, graduated in 2017 from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. She is the operations lead for civil engineering firm RS&H’s East region.

Second-Gen Involvement = Sweet Success(ion) for Family Business

Following a bountiful strawberry season, Heidi’s will bring sweet cherries and blueberries to market. (Image courtesy Heidi’s Farmstand and Bakery)

Second-generation family businesses play a crucial role in family-owned enterprises’ stability and growth. As highlighted in the Harvard Business Review, the second generation can make or break a family business’s future. While they inherit a legacy, they also face extraordinary challenges, such as managing relationships, implementing changes, and establishing their own identity. Research from the Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell emphasizes that only about 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation. This brings to focus the importance of effective succession planning. Second-generation family business leaders can create a lasting and prosperous tradition by leveraging their inherited wisdom and adapting to market changes. 

Ivy Stoller in front of Husky statue
Ivy Stoller ’23 celebrates earning her Michigan Tech degree. (Image courtesy Ivy Stoller)

As a native Michigander, Ivy Stoller was born in downstate Lowell and made the trip up north to Houghton to pursue her education. Ivy graduated from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, concentrating in data analytics, in the spring of 2023. During her time at MTU, Ivy was active in various clubs and student organizations. She participated in Kappa Sigma Iota (KSI Accounting Club) and was a member of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helping with tax returns for fellow MTU students and local community members. Additionally, Ivy was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society for business students. Beyond academic achievements, Ivy cherished her time at Michigan Tech as a period of personal growth and building lifelong friendships. 

Ivy’s family owns a business called Heidi’s Farmstand & Bakery located on 30 acres in southern Lowell. The family farm was founded in 1949 with many functions: raising cattle, running a dairy operation, and growing corn, soybeans, and wheat. Its business operations were started in 2006 by Ivy’s parents in collaboration with her mom’s brother. Later in 2007, the business was sold to Ivy’s twin uncles. Now, since Ivy has graduated, the family plans on changing it to a joint venture between the uncles, Ivy, and at least one of her siblings. 

Finding and Following Passion to First Job: Asia Motta ’22 ’23 Lands Dream Role with Covia Holdings

Asia Motta
Asia Motta ’22 ’23 began her career in May after graduating with her master’s degree from Michigan Tech in April.

Anastasia “Asia” Motta’s ’22 ’23 first post-college job happens to be everything she could have dreamed of. After earning her BS in engineering management in 2022, followed by achieving the Master in Engineering Management the following spring, Motta is now a Continuous Improvement Engineer with Oregon, Illinois-based Covia Holdings. Motta, from Rockford, Michigan, fills a brand new role for the sand mining company. Her position is tasked with evaluating mining operations and sand processing to identify inefficiencies, safety concerns, and areas for improvement. Then, she develops and manages collaborative projects focused on those key issues.