Category: Alumni Spotlight

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.

Alumni Spotlight: Maggie Chen

In late April 2014, Associate Dean and Professor of Economics, Tom Merz, met up with School of Business and Economics alum, Maggie Chen, while he was visiting Hong Kong.  Chen was very involved as a Tech student, participating in the Applied Portfolio Management Program before earning her BS in Finance in 2004.  She also completed a fellowship at Columbia University and continued on to receive her MBA from Yale University in 2010.  Chen currently resides in Hong Kong with her husband Max and their two-year-old son Mickey, where she is a foreign equities portfolio manager in the State Administration of Foreign Exchange Investment Company.  She aspires to be a visiting lecturer in finance at Tech’s School of Business and Economics.

Are you an alum of Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics?  We’d love to hear your story!  Send it to business@mtu.edu today!