John Bean joins Michigan Tech as a visiting professor of practice in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering. He hails from a small town in central New Hampshire called Hopkinton, located just west of Concord. He earned an MS in Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Connecticut and a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. He also earned a graduate certificate in Surveying Engineering at the University of Maine. He has over 40 years of experience in surveying, civil engineering, and GIS, both in teaching and in practice. His work has taken him to Antarctica, the North Slope of Alaska, and the Mojave Desert, among other places.
What drew you to Michigan Tech?
The reputation of the school and, believe it or not, the weather! My partner, Susan, and I both love the snow. We have two sled dogs (from Iditarod kennels) who can’t wait for it to start snowing!
What is your primary area of research and what led you to it?
I enjoy providing surveying, mapping and database support to engineering field-based research projects. I love being involved in interesting projects, especially those in interesting places. I like that I can assure project managers that I and/or my students will get them good, reliable, and complete data to support their needs. I also love practicing what I teach. Research projects, especially, tend to stretch my existing knowledge and often require unique approaches to obtaining the necessary data.
What do you consider an important long-term goal for your research, teaching, or outreach?
I want to get students excited about the field of geospatial engineering by involving them in projects and outreach.
What do you hope to accomplish, as an educator and as a researcher, over the next few years?
Continual improvement in everything I do, and to help grow the geospatial engineering program. I would also like to reach out to the Native community here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Too much! Dog mushing, hiking, kayaking, exploring, photography, playing guitar (poorly), skating, snowshoeing, ski-joring, golf, tennis, reading, listening to music; the list goes on and on.
What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My favorite books: “Educated: A Memoir,” by Tara Westover; “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain; and “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark,” by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. My two favorite movies: Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Good Will Hunting. My favorite bands/performers are: R.E.M., Indigo Girls, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
“Choose a major that excites you. You will spend a long time in the working world; spend it doing something you love.”
Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?
Well, I’ve only been here for a month or so, but my favorite places so far are Mackinaw City (I know that’s technically not in the UP), the MTU campus, The Pier (the park and walkway that runs along the waterfront in Houghton). Also the Hancock Dog Park, Good Times Music, and the KBC.