Category: Alumni Spotlight

Lyth Donates to School of Business and Economics

By Mark Wilcox mlwilcox@mtu.edu

David Lyth sits with recipients of the Joyce Caylor Lyth Endowed Scholarship and the  Pioneering Women in Business Scholarships at a luncheon in August.

David Lyth sits with recipients of the Joyce Caylor Lyth Endowed Scholarship and the Pioneering Women in Business Scholarships at a luncheon in August

December 3, 2015—

A Michigan Technological University alumnus has provided a gift of $100,000 to the School of Business and Economics to offer financial assistance to women and to honor the memory of his wife.

David Lyth calls his late wife, Joyce Caylor Lyth, “a pioneer,” and he hopes a scholarship at Tech’s SBE will encourage future generations of Upper Peninsula women to follow in her courageous footsteps.

Lyth, a professor at Western Michigan University, met his future wife while they were both undergraduates at Michigan Tech in the late 1960s.

Joyce Lyth

Joyce Lyth, a native of the small Menominee County community of Wallace in the central UP, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009 and bravely fought the disease for nearly five years, passing away in March of last year.

“She was a first-generation college student and came to Tech to study accounting at a time when most women went to college to study either teaching or nursing,” He said.

To honor her memory and preserve her legacy, the Joyce Caylor Lyth Memorial Endowed Scholarship is open to female first-generation college students from the Upper Peninsula studying accounting at Tech’s SBE.  It is the first scholarship program of its kind in the business school in that it is for women and was set up by a woman.

“Throughout her career, throughout her life, Joyce was always focused on what was ethical and what was right,” David Lyth said. The couple laid the framework for the scholarship while she was still alive, according to Lyth.

He says referring to his wife as a “pioneer” is not an exaggeration.

“She made her own way in the world, working her way through college.” Lyth says it was rare for UP women to attend college in the 1960s, and as a result, there were no scholarships available to her. Working a variety of jobs, she self-financed her education. Her ground breaking didn’t end with college, in many ways it began.

“She pioneered women moving off campus in 1970, and went on to become chief accountant at Stryker” he said.

Joyce was the controller of two firms in the 80s. 90s and 00s, and on two occasions, she was a business owner.

“She started her own accounting services business in Houghton in 1979 and another in Kalamazoo in 2005 and retired due to her illness in 2009.

Role Model and Mentor

Throughout her business life, Joyce was a role model.

“She very effectively mentored all around her, even after recovery from cancer treatment,” Lyth says.

“This scholarship is a continuation of her legacy. She was about mentoring. She was always looking to help others develop their capabilities and grow professionally,” he says.

The scholarship is designed to have a mentoring component with one year’s recipients mentoring the next.

Pioneering Women in Business Scholarships

In addition, Lyth, in collaboration with the School of Business and Economics, has helped establish the Pioneering Women in Business Scholarship. The program provides four $1,000-a-year scholarships for four years.

“Joyce and I realized the value and importance of an education, especially at Michigan Tech. We want to give others the same opportunities Joyce had,” Lyth said.  “Our aim is to support those who may not be able to come to Tech without some help.”

Lyth is hoping the initiative will inspire support from alumni and friends of the SBE for the Pioneering Women in Business Scholarship program, the Joyce Caylor Lyth Scholarship, or by establishing their own endowed scholarship fund.  David has also included a significant provision for Joyce’s endowed scholarship in his estate plan, to ensure their wish to provide opportunities for young women like Joyce continues far into the future

 Gene Klippel, SBE dean, says the Lyth Scholarships provide excellent opportunities for financial support to female students enrolled or enrolling in the School.

“Making a college education more affordable to our students is a continuous goal of the School,” Klippel said. “Thus, the Joyce Caylor Lyth Memorial Endowed Scholarships and the Dr. David Lyth-supported Pioneering Women in Business Scholarships are indeed most welcomed and greatly appreciated.” 

Klippel hopes the philanthropy of the Lyths will be inspirational. “It is our sincere hope others will see the value such scholarship support provides for our students and be willing to explore with us how they, too, can make a difference in the life of a student.

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.


Alumni Spotlight: Kate Hogberg

Kate Hogberg
Kate Hogberg earned her BS in Business Administration in 2002

Kate (Harkins) Hogberg conveys architectural principles in her job as Communications Specialist with HDR, Inc. She also is learning a fair amount about building blocks.

Kate, a Michigan Tech SBE graduate, is helping with Duplo instead of Lego sets at home—her child is two years old, and she and her husband are expecting another in June—but communicating about architecture, engineering, and construction is something she does every day.

“My typical day consists of communicating with engineers and scientists to tell stories of successful projects around the world,” says Kate. She leads the production, writing, and editing of internal and external publications, as well as developing the storylines, content, and production for internal and external videos. “Communication happens by email, phone, text, video conference, and in-person, and usually involves me asking a lot of questions to get to the bigger meaning of our work. The technical minds get focused on the technical aspects of their work, and it’s my job to extract how that work was new and innovative, used the latest technology, and made an impact on a community.”

Kate’s work tells the story of science and technology in the world. “I do a lot of writing and editing, work that communicates internal messages and goals and tells the story of our work and its impact,” she says. “Reshaping technical information into straightforward marketing materials takes an ability to collaborate with engineers, something business students at Tech are comfortable taking on.”

In fact, studying business at Tech prepared Kate to step into a technical world and make a difference by telling its story. “Working in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry (AEC) was a natural fit given my education at Tech,” she says. “I was instantly comfortable working with engineers, architects, and scientists, and understood the quirks of communicating with many of them.”

“At Tech, the usual question was ‘What are you?’ What kind of engineer, in other words. That mentality has been a huge advantage for me in the business world.”

Looking back out that window to the mountains, Kate thinks of what her work means in the big picture. “Engineering and science are the foundation of our communities,” she says, gazing at the grid of structures and transportation all the way to the base of those mountains, the ones in the distance barely more than tiny building blocks. “The minds that drive the technical fields have the ability to make a huge difference in our futures. These people solve complex infrastructure challenges and develop scientific breakthroughs.”

Away from the office, Kate’s ability to plan and manage is just as important for leisure as it is for cranking out information on a building project. “Being able to manage your time well is huge,” she says. “I always know what’s coming so I can plan my days accordingly and still have time to spend enjoying the outdoors with my family.”

She pauses again, turning back from the window “I think it’s important to balance work and fun, and finding a company and position that value that as well is critical.”

And what advice for students leaving school and heading into the working world? “It’s exciting to start a career when you graduate, and I think that’s the time to make a name for yourself.” She thinks back on her path from a biomedical engineering firm to a construction company, and now to her home in Denver and career with HDR. “Bring your fresh ideas, show your enthusiasm and put in the time it takes to be great at what you’re doing.”

This profile appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Impact Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2


Michigan Tech Hockey Hero turned Energy Entrepreneur

Mark Malekoff was a member of the Michigan Tech Ice Hockey team before graduating in 2008 when her earned his Bachelors in Business Administration.
Mark Malekoff was a member of the Michigan Tech Ice Hockey team before graduating in 2008 when he earned his Bachelors in Business Administration.

Mark Malekoff jokingly refers to his four companies as his “backup plan.” The original plan was to become a star in the National Hockey League.

The Grande Prairie-born-and-raised entrepreneur was captain of the local Alberta Junior Hockey League team, the Storm, before receiving a scholarship to play for the Huskies at Michigan Technological University. Plans for an NHL career changed in Michigan, however, as Malekoff studied finance and developed an interest in business and entrepreneurship that set him up to run his own company – then companies – back in Grande Prairie.

After graduating in 2008, Malekoff returned home where he quickly found work as a business analyst with Bonnett’s Energy Corp. and found an opportunity to volunteer coaching AAA hockey. Not one to sit still, he also began working towards a certified management accountant designation, which he received in 2011.

In what he calls his “spare time” between working at Bonnett’s, studying for his CMA and coaching, Malekoff took on enough debt to purchase three rig mats and begin renting them out to energy services companies in and around Grande Prairie. That was the beginning of his first business, TriTech Energy Services Inc., which now rents sour service storage tanks, pipe skids, manifolds and flowlines in addition to rig matting.

Inspired by British billionaire Richard Branson’s “screw it, let’s do it” attitude, Malekoff eventually took on more debt to acquire a safety and training business in June 2013. That acquisition became TriTech Safety and Training Inc., Malekoff’s second company, which provides at least four courses a day for oilfield personnel throughout Alberta and northeastern B.C. who require first aid, hydrogen sulfide or workplace hazardous information system training.

Was taking on debt nerve-wracking? Definitely. “You go from college, where you don’t have a lot of cash, to taking on a mortgage, and then taking on debt payments,” the now 30-year-old serial entrepreneur says, though he echoes Branson’s optimism: “Just go for it.”

This year, he decided to launch two more companies: Nakoda Energy Services and Rise Energy Services. The first business targets hydraulic fracturing companies and hopes to sell them third-party heat-capturing inflatable lid systems for their frack tanks, which he says can reduce water heating budgets for pressure-pumping companies by $20,000 per day. Rise Energy Services meanwhile offers downhole tools services to drilling companies in the field.

Asked if he has always had an inclination toward entrepreneurship, Malekoff says no. Not when he was a young boy or a teenager – he didn’t have time. “I was always pretty tied up playing hockey,” he says.

This story was written by Alberta Oil Staff for Alberta Oil Magazine.


Alumna Starting Farmers’ Market

FarmersMarketAmber Campbell ’96, the founder of G&A Garden Center in Houghton, is collaborating with area farmers to open a weekend Farmers’ Market at her garden center, 400 W. Sharon Ave. It will open this Friday, Aug. 8, and be open Fridays and Saturdays until harvest season is over.

Locally grown, natural and organic fruits and vegetables and eggs will be offered, as well as jams and baked goods. Campbell calls the Farmers’ Market “an effort to bridge farmers and consumers in a natural, sustainable way.” The goal of her garden center, which opened in 2012, is to provide the community with local, natural and organic foods and plants.

Participating in the Farmers’ Market will be Niemela’s Market Garden of Pelkie; Wintergreen Farm of Ontonagon; Pike River Produce of Chassell; and Teresa’s Jam and Home Bakery of Chassell. 

Hours will be 1-6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.


Cavitt and Hendrick selected for MIS Alumni Scholarships

The School of Business and Economics has created a new MIS Alumni Endowed Scholarship to be awarded to students in the Management Information Systems major. It is the Donors’ desire that two scholarship awards be given each year: one $1,000 scholarship awarded to one sophomore, and one $2,000 scholarship awarded to one junior.
Interested in MIS? Contact us today at business@mtu.edu to learn more about this major!
The selection committee awarded the 2014-15 MIS Alumni Scholarships to Skyler Cavitt ($1,000 scholarship for a Sophomore) and Benjamin Hendrick ($2,000 scholarship for a Junior).
Skyler Cavitt is a Sophomore majoring in MIS.
Benjamin Hendrick is a Junior majoring in MIS.
The MIS Alumni Scholarship recipients were selected based on the following criteria:
  • Academic performance
  • Communication skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to the MIS major
  • Financial need

Students majoring in Management Information Systems were invited to submit their resumes and personal essays explaining why they deserve this financial award and recognition. We sincerely appreciate the support and commitment of the MIS alumni who made this endowed scholarship possible: Jamie Linna, Steve Linna, Carrie Schaller and Greg Horvath.