Category: Engineering Management

Nathan Sodini Named Outstanding Man in Business

Nathan Sodini, a student dual majoring in engineering management and finance, is the 2022 Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man in Business. Roger Woods, College of Business faculty member, says Sodini’s involvement in campus programs defines what it means to be a Michigan Tech business Husky. “This is a student who from day one has engaged in all opportunities Michigan Tech has to offer—and his involvement has paid off.”

Back in high school, Sodini launched a profitable entrepreneurial endeavor with his passion for classic and performance automobiles. During his first year on campus, the scholar-athlete landed a paid internship as a production supervisor at General Motors’ (GM) Heavy-Duty Truck Plant. In his second year, Sodini took on a co-op with GM as a quality-operations supervisor, tasked with controlling the daily quality of T1 HD trucks with his team of more than 40 employees.

Student Nathan Sodini standing in staircase
Nathan Sodini

Adding to his already impressive resume, Sodini obtained a motorsports internship with Hagerty back in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, and last fall was back at GM in the body shop, orchestrating the procurement of pre-assembled trucks to support the Oshawa launch. His leadership skills were further honed on campus, where he served for two years each as elected president of the Society of Automotive Engineers student chapter and as business manager of Advanced Motorsports Enterprise—Formula SAE. For his final college summer, Sodini heads south to General Motors Defense in North Carolina where, as a business manager/shift leader co-op, he will support the production management of the Infantry Squad Vehicle being produced for the United States Army.

Being able to blend the worlds of engineering and business has been a dream come true, Sodini says:

“A business degree from Michigan Tech is more than coursework. It’s an experience preparing strategic leaders for tomorrow’s challenges.” 

Nathan Sodini, Michigan Tech Outstanding Man in Business

The Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man and Woman in Business awards, valued at $250 each, are presented annually to two current College of Business students who embody a dedication to academics, leadership, and extracurricular involvement within the Michigan Tech community.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

MTU Business Student is No. 1 Army ROTC Cadet in US

Michigan Tech Army ROTC
It’s mission complete for the Ranger Challenge Teams of the Michigan Tech 1st Arctic Warriors Battalion

Caleb Grulke, an engineering management major in the Michigan Technological University College of Business, is the number-one ranked Army ROTC cadet in the nation. As battalion commander of the 1st Arctic Warriors Battalion of the Michigan Tech Army ROTC, Cadet Lt. Col. Grulke credits the multidisciplinary nature of his major—business blended with engineering—and the guidance of his cadre for the opportunity. “The lessons I’m learning in the College of Business apply to every task at hand, even military tasks,” says the Waukesha, Wisconsin, native. 

Cadet Lt. Col. Caleb Grulke
Cadet Lt. Col. Caleb Grulke

This year, 3,762 ROTC cadets from 260 ROTC programs were selected to be assessed for active duty in the US Army. Grulke’s 4.0 GPA, superb performance at summer training, participation in extracurricular activities, and leadership ability were factors contributing to his ranking.

Maj. Daniel Gwosch, department chair and professor of military science for Michigan Tech ROTC, says the ranking is deserved. “Caleb is a gifted leader and the heart of our battalion,” says Gwosch. “His enthusiasm and drive are infectious and are why we experienced a 200 percent increase in first-year enrollment and a 300 percent increase in ROTC scholarship candidates committing to Tech this fall.”

“Caleb is a gifted leader and the heart of our battalion.”

Maj. Daniel Gwosch

Gwosch adds: “This is a great honor for him and something our whole program is excited about because it validates how hard the cadets work. It’s not easy to wake up in the early morning hours, but cadets like Caleb do it with a smile.”

The commanding general of Cadet Command will officially announce Grulke as the top cadet when the accessions process for the roughly 7,500 cadets in active duty, National Guard, and reserve officer status concludes in December.

Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business, is eager to see what comes next in Grulke’s future. “To rise to the top of an already highly selected group of individuals is an impressive accomplishment,” says Johnson. “He has accomplished so much already and more awaits him through his hard work and leadership.

We are very proud to have Caleb represent us!” 

Dean Johnson

Both the Army and Air Force have active ROTC programs on Michigan Tech’s campus. Since 1917, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps has prepared Huskies to be US military officers. The in-college officer-commissioning program is a path toward a college education and a headstart to a military career related to a field of study. 

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

My Engineering Management Co-op Experience

This summer, engineering management major Mitch Watters participated in a co-op at Greenheck. The third-year student completed real-world work assignments related to his major while being simultaneously enrolled in a course requiring online discussions, written assignments, evaluations, and a final report. 

Q: Where are you doing your co-op?
MW: I am doing my co-op at Greenheck, which is a supplier of air movement and air control systems. I grew up in the same Wisconsin town Greenheck is located in, so when I saw a co-op job posting on LinkedIn, I applied right away.

Q: What are your responsibilities there?
MW: I am a test engineer at the dampers lab. I am responsible for performing tests and carrying out test plans. To set up tests, I perform air-leakage tests on our products; other times I make modifications or adjustments to our products and test how they perform. I collect data and communicate test results to our product development engineers. I also help brainstorm and make recommendations for our tests.

Student Mitch Watters in a test oven

Q: Who do you work with?
MW: In the lab I work with our lab supervisor and test technician. A lot of the testing I do comes from our engineering team and product development engineers. I spend most of my time working with our product development engineers.  

Q: What are you learning?
MW: I learned how engineering teams work together and how my role assists the sales team. I learned the importance of effective and efficient communication.

Q: Favorite co-op memory?
MW: Some of the best parts of my co-op were when I traveled for field issues. I was able to see the application for our product in the field and how to maintain a professional level of communication with our customers.

Student Mitch Watters

Q:
What will you take away from this experience?
MW: My co-op experience helped shape my future career by giving me the engineering experience needed for my degree. As an engineering management major I need an understanding of both the engineering and business side of the company. Next summer I hope to do an internship where I can gain hands-on business experience. Overall, I am even more certain that I will really enjoy an application engineer position.

About the College of Business
The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

My First Year at MTU: Marco Marquez

MTU student Marco Marquez stands at a podium
Having grown up in Detroit, Michigan, Marco Marquez felt ready for the natural, rugged beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The unique location, along with Michigan Tech’s STEM focus, led him to enroll in engineering management.

Since starting at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2019, Marco has adjusted and loves his second home. At first, he wasn’t sure what to expect and found it difficult to leave behind access to shopping, family, and friends. However, he says that meeting new friends and exploring the Upper Peninsula made the transition to college easier than expected. 

Marco has enjoyed getting to know students from other cultures and connecting through language. As a bilingual student, Marco finds language to be a starting point in learning about other people. Of his new connections, meeting a fellow Husky from Spain in Intro to Finance has been one of the most rewarding. He finds that collaborating on homework in Spanish to be a helpful way to continue using his second language.

Joining student organizations has also helped Marco gain new perspectives. One impactful experience was visiting Chicago with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to speak with pre-college students in primarily Hispanic schools. The group encouraged students to think about their lives after high school and the opportunities that are available to them in STEM and college. Marco also traveled to Minneapolis with the Accounting Club, which prompted his decision to switch majors to accounting and finance. He is also a member of the Society of African-American Men, which participates in community service activities on campus. 

In his first year at Michigan Tech, Marco’s vision for his future has evolved. Initially, his goal was to get a degree and a well-paying job to help support his family. Since then, he has learned to aim even higher. Marco now aspires to create his own company in the automotive industry, where he will work to make travel easier, faster, and more affordable. He would also love to use his passion for language to connect with others while undertaking this journey.

Marco credits his growth to the encouraging culture at MTU, and wants to let other students know that stepping outside their comfort zone just might change their perspective for life. 

They Can See Clearly Now: Couple Donates Washer Fluid for Student Travelers

By Mark Wilcox, University Marketing and Communications

Roger Woods (engineering management faculty) and Teresa Woods (Math) often travel during the holidays. For a while now the Woods have been looking for a way to make a donation related to residential life, when the idea of helping students traveling home for the holidays came to mind.

Drone photo of campus and Portage Canal

“In our various Thanksgiving and Christmas travels we have always gone through gallons of washer fluid heading downstate or to Wisconsin,” Roger Woods says. “We recognize that most Tech students do the same but may not have factored washer fluid into their plans. We came up with the idea of donating cases of washer fluid to the residence halls for whomever needs it.”

The Woods reached out to Auto Value of Houghton which sold them 100 gallons of washer fluid at cost. The washer fluid will be available beginning today at the desks of each residence hall.

Joseph Cooper, director of Student Financial Services, is also interim director of Residence Education and Housing Services. He applauds the Woods for their creative donation. “Many of us have been in the predicament where we’re struggling to get to the next gas station to fill up on washer fluid. This is an incredibly generous idea and we appreciate Roger and Teresa supporting our students in this unique way.”

Gallon bottles of washer fluid are available for students on a first-come, first-served basis along with a wish for safe travels from the folks who donated them. “From your fellow road trippers, R & T Woods — Be safe.”