Category: Alumni

Making A History out of Mysteries: My Journey at Michigan Tech

Guest Blog by Hriatpuii Vanlal, MS in Civil Engineering, Michigan Tech

Hriatpuii Vanlal
Hriatpuii Vanlal

As I embarked upon my academic journey at Michigan Tech, I encountered a multitude of challenges that tested my commitment from the outset. Each obstacle presented a chapter in a narrative that has profoundly shaped my personal and academic trajectory.

Amid the uncertainties that beset me, my steadfast faith and belief began to falter, and I found myself on the brink of surrender. It was during this vulnerable moment of despair that I encountered Dr. Audra Morse, the esteemed Department Chair at the time. Her inquiry into my well-being and subsequent invitation to her office provided a timely beacon of hope, serving as a catalyst for renewed determination. In a milieu where diversity in age, ethnicity, lifestyle, and academic pursuits distinguished me from my peers, I never experienced disregard or neglect. The unwavering support and guidance of the faculty, particularly the professors within my course of study, played an integral role in shaping my academic journey.

It is paramount to recognize the invaluable support provided by Dr. Theresa M. Ahlborn, respected Professor Emerita. Her intense dedication to my academic pursuits was evident through her provision of a dedicated study space within her office. Dr. Ahlborn’s consistent encouragement and guidance were instrumental in navigating the challenges I faced, for both academic and personal development.

Though the trials I faced were arduous and often perplexing, I now reflect with gratitude upon the strength I have gained from confronting them. Each experience has contributed to my personal growth, molding me into a stronger individual than I was before.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to the eminent faculty and officials of Michigan Technological University for their assistance and guidance throughout my coursework for a Master’s Degree. Their collective efforts have undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the fulfillment of my destined purpose.”


Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering Welcomes Nine Members to the Academy

Academy Inductee Leanne H. Panduren, PE, F.NSP

Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering proudly announced the induction of nine distinguished individuals into its prestigious Academy. Established in 1993, the Academy was created to honor outstanding graduates and distinguished friends of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering. Election to the Academy recognizes excellence and leadership in one’s career as well as professional and community service shaping the world.

Academy member plaques during induction ceremony held on October 5, 2023
Academy member plaques during induction ceremony held on October 5, 2023

The purpose of the Academy is to honor outstanding graduates and distinguished friends of the Michigan Tech Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering. Election to the Academy recognizes excellence and leadership in engineering and civil affairs. Our membership is heavily invested in giving back to the University, students, faculty, and the community at large.

Nominations come from faculty and current Academy members based on a record of outstanding achievement in their field; demonstrated commitment to service and leadership in their profession; demonstrated commitment to service and leadership in their community; support of the CEGE department or university as a whole via demonstrated actions. 

The Academy Induction was held on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at the Rosza Center.


Elected Members of the Academy:

Wayne Bergstrom
Wayne Bergstrom

Wayne Bergstrom, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE., F.ASCE, F.ABET:

Wayne Bergstrom, a distinguished Michigan Tech alumnus from the class of 1976, has accumulated over 45 years of experience in civil and geotechnical engineering. With roles in consulting, industry, and governmental service across six continents, Bergstrom has been instrumental in adapting civil infrastructure projects to various geologic environments. He is currently a Principal Engineer at Bechtel Infrastructure and Power and has received prestigious honors, including the Bechtel Distinguished Engineer in 2013 and Bechtel Fellow in 2020. Active in professional societies, Bergstrom served as the President of ABET, Inc. in 2016-17, accrediting college programs globally.

David Thomson
David M. Thomson

David M. Thomson, PE ‘83:

Originally from Kodiak, Alaska, David Thomson switched from metallurgical to civil engineering at Michigan Tech, driven by a passion for big equipment and construction. His diverse career includes leadership roles at Burlington Northern Railroad, STV, Inc., and his consulting practice focused on private industrial clients. Thomson’s commitment to service is evident through his involvement with the Rail Transportation Advisory Board and the Civil and Environmental Professional Academic Advisory Committee. He received a departmental alumni service award in 2019, recognizing his dedication.

David Hand
David W. Hand

David W. Hand, PhD, BCEE ‘80:

David Hand’s journey with Michigan Tech began in 1982, leading to a distinguished career in environmental engineering. Joining as an assistant research engineer, he eventually became a professor and served as the Chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Hand’s accolades include the Rudolph Hering Medal and the 2000 AEESP Landmark Achievement Award. His contributions span over fifty funded environmental engineering research projects, numerous awards, and a significant body of published work.

Emmanuel U. Nzewi
Emmanuel U. Nzewi

Emmanuel U. Nzewi, Ph.D, P.E., M.ASCE ‘80:

Emmanuel Nzewi, a 1980 civil engineering graduate from Michigan Tech, has made significant contributions to academia and research. With a Ph.D. from Purdue University, he served in leadership roles at multiple universities, conducting research on sustainable water resource systems and transportation accessibility in rural communities. Active in ASCE, Nzewi received the 2013 Outstanding Service Award and continues to explore engineering education through natural language processing models.

Michael Paddock
Michael Paddock

Michael Paddock ’87, ’88:

With bachelor degrees in surveying (’87) and civil engineering (’88) from Michigan Tech, Michael Paddock has left a lasting impact in the field. His career at CH2M HILL included managing transportation megaprojects, exemplified by the successful reconstruction of major interchanges and highways. Paddock’s dedication extends beyond his professional endeavors, with full-time volunteering for Engineers Without Borders, earning him the EWB-USA Founders Award in 2009. Recognized as the Humanitarian Award recipient from Michigan Tech in 2020, Paddock and his wife generously support the university.

Leanne H. Panduren
Leanne H. Panduren

Leanne H. Panduren, PE, F.NSPE:

Leanne Panduren, a 1993 civil engineering graduate, has showcased exceptional leadership throughout her career at ROWE Professional Services Company. Progressing from Assistant Project Engineer to President and CEO, Panduren actively promotes excellence and education in engineering. Her contributions extend beyond her professional realm, with active involvement in professional engineering societies and various philanthropic and economic development roles in her community.

Steven Tomaszewski, ‘91:
Steven Tomaszewski, ‘91:

Steven Tomaszewski, ‘91:

Steven Tomaszewski, a 1991 environmental engineering graduate, has ascended to the role of Global Director of Environmental Strategies & Operations at General Motors Company. His career at GM spans various locations globally, contributing significantly to facility management, crisis management, and the transition to electric vehicles. A dedicated Michigan Tech supporter, Tomaszewski serves on the Board of Trustees and has been recognized with the Michigan Tech Young Alumni Award in 1999.

Thomas M. Keranen, P.E., Esq.:
Thomas M. Keranen, P.E., Esq.:

Thomas M. Keranen, P.E., Esq.:

Thomas Keranen, graduating in 1972 with a BSCE, has seamlessly merged engineering and law throughout his career. Starting as a civil engineer, Keranen obtained a law degree and transitioned into construction law, becoming a respected figure in the field. Active in construction industry associations and educational programs, Keranen’s contributions extend to serving on the Civil and Environmental Engineering Professional Advisory Committee at Michigan Tech.

Zachary Grasley
Zachary Grasley, PE, PhD ’01:

Zachary Grasley, PE, PhD ’01:

Zachary Grasley, a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Michigan Tech in 2001, currently heads the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University. His prolific research career, marked by awards like the NSF CAREER Award and Fellowships in prestigious engineering societies, has significantly impacted the field. Grasley’s dedication to advancing civil and environmental engineering is evident in his role as a Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M, guiding the department’s substantial student body and research programs.

The new inductees showcase diverse achievements, embodying the spirit of leadership, service, and excellence that defines the Michigan Tech Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

New Faculty Spotlight: Kerri Sleeman

Professor of Practice Kerri Sleeman

Kerri Sleeman, CEGE Professor of Practice, was born and raised in the Houghton area. Over the years she has held a number of different positions at Tech, most recently in various positions with Facilities Management. Before that, she worked in the automotive and construction industries as an engineer. She earned both her degrees at Michigan Tech, a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Engineering.

What drew you to Michigan Tech?

“My husband and I have made this place our home for over 20 years, which coincidentally is when I first came to work at Michigan Tech. I originally came to Tech in order to move back home full-time. The amazing outdoor opportunities in the Keweenaw, and the sense of community on campus have kept me here.

What do you consider an important long-term goal for your teaching, or outreach?

I am very excited to be able to work as a full-time faculty member. The students are the whole reason Michigan Tech exists! I have taught as an adjunct faculty member over the years while working at Tech. It always helped me keep the larger picture of the University in focus. I look forward to bringing my industry experience to students in the Construction Management Program. Another goal is to increase our sustainable construction course offerings for students.

“Sustainability has become such a large part of what the students will need to understand in their work.”

Kerri Sleeman

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to get outside in all our seasons! Having a puppy, my husband and I go hiking and snowshoeing all the time. We also love to snowmobile, downhill ski, and play pick-up hockey. We build a rink we build on the lake behind our house each winter. I also like to garden and try to run a half marathon or two each year.

Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?

I love it all! There is something for everyone.

Getting out on the water with is a favorite pastime, with Larken, of course!

Any advice for incoming students?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many resources at Michigan Tech. Please use them!

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Advice for incoming students, from Kerri Sleeman

Linda D. Phillips ’77 ’84 to be Honored with Humanitarian Award

Linda Phillips
Linda Phillips

The greatest measure of any school is the quality of graduates it sends into the world, and Michigan Tech has the best of the best. The Alumni Board of Directors is excited to announce the 2023 Alumni Award recipients and looks forward to honoring them at the 2023 Alumni Awards Ceremony during Reunion Weekend.

Among the award recipients is Linda Phillips, who has been selected to receive the Humanitarian Award for 2023.

“Volunteer leadership or service that has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater.”

Office of Alumni Engagement

Linda D. Phillips earned a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering with honor in 1977 and a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1984, both from Michigan Tech. While at MTU, she participated in ASCE student chapter, Chi Epsilon, Society of Women Engineers, and was counselor for the Women in Engineering program

Ryan Sherman ’07 Selected for Award by Steel Bridge Task Force

Ryan Sherman
Ryan Sherman

The Steel Bridge Task Force has selected Ryan J. Sherman, PhD, PE, Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as the recipient of the 2023 Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture

The Steel Bridge Task Force consists of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA), and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) T-14 Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design. The program was instituted in 2005 in memory of Robert J. Dexter, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, who was an internationally recognized expert on steel fracture and fatigue problems in bridges.

Sherman joined the faculty in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in 2019. He earned his BS degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University and his MS degree and PhD in Civil Engineering from Purdue University.

Read more at BuildUsingSteel.

Feldhausen to Chair CEGE’s Professional Advisory Board

Benjamin M. Feldhausen
Benjamin M. Feldhausen

Benjamin M. Feldhausen has been elected to chair the Professional Advisory Board for the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering at Michigan Technological University.

A graduate of Iron Mountain High School and dual baccalaureate honors graduate in surveying and civil engineering of Michigan Tech, Feldhausen is licensed as both a professional engineer and professional surveyor. While attending MTU, he spent several years as an undergraduate teaching assistant, a peer mentoring advisor, a tutor and was also a member of the National Civil Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon.

Read more at Iron Mountain Daily News.

Congratulations to the Fall 2022 Graduates

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering would like to congratulate our fall graduates and raise you up for all to see. We are proud of you and want to wish you the best of luck in your next chapter.

Presenting Our Fall 2022 Graduates:

Hailey Bedard

Hailey is graduating with a BS in civil and mechanical engineering. She says she will miss many things about Michigan Tech, but among them are all of the outdoor activities that the Keweenaw has to offer, Winter Carnival and statue building, and having the majority of her friends close by. Hailey is thankful for all the friends she has met along the way and the amazing community she has been able to be a part of. Hailey states “I would like to thank my parents, Jack and Cindy, who have supported me and encouraged me to chase my dreams every step of the way.”


Abbie Bethune

Abbie is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. She will be moving to Denver Colorado to work for GE Johnson as a Project Engineer after graduation. Abbie says she will miss the people at Michigan Tech “Michigan Tech has become my home away from home and I have been incredibly lucky with the support and community that has been a part of my experience here”. She says she is thankful to Michigan Tech for “Opportunity, from internships to sorority life I feel I have been able to have a world-class education because of MTU. I look back to the beginning of my college career here and I am amazed at how much I have grown and learned because of the opportunities Michigan tech has to offer.


Aynaz Biniyaz

Aynaz is graduating with a PhD in civil engineering. After graduation, she will be moving to Oregon to start working full-time at Jacobs. Aynaz says she will miss Winter Carnival. She says she is grateful to Michigan Tech for providing her with the opportunities to grow in her career and would like to recognize Karen Wade from CDI as someone who made a difference to her while at Michigan Tech. Aynaz says “I would like to thank all the beautiful people from Michigan Tech who supported me during this journey.”


Gabe Bollinger

Gabe is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. He will begin working as an Associate Geotechnical Designer at Gannett Fleming in Harrisburg, PA after graduation. Gabe says that he will miss Winter Carnival and ice fishing and is thankful to Michigan Tech for challenging him in the classroom.


Sean Bonner

Sean is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, he will be working for KPFF Consulting Engineers as a structural design engineer. He is also being commissioned into the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant to serve in the Tennessee Army National Guard. Sean says he will miss just about everything the Keweenaw has to offer. He says “I’d like to thank Michigan Tech for giving me the opportunity to gain a world-class engineering education while funding my room and board to commission as an Army officer. I’d like to thank Dr. Kris Mattila for challenging me and making class enjoyable. I’d also like to recognize Dr. Daniel Dowden and Dr. Tess Ahlborn for sparking my passion for structural engineering.


Curtis Byrns

Curtis is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. He will begin working for Kiewit Infrastructure Company after graduation. Curtis says he will miss the area once he leaves Michigan Tech.


Donavon Free

Donovan is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, he will join the Army. Donavon says he is thankful for and will miss his friends at Michigan Tech and would like to recognize Jimmy Buffet as someone who made a difference to him while at Tech.


Rob Froelich

Rob is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. He will be starting his career with DAAR Engineering after graduation. Rob says he will miss the Rugby Team (Go SledDogs) and is thankful to Tech for making him more resilient.


Katherine Gallarno

Katherine is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. After graduation, she is moving to New York to start her career working for Holcim as an environmental engineer. She plans to spend her free time traveling and exploring the state. Katherine says she will miss being a part of such a caring community that supports and encourages their peers. She is thankful to Michigan Tech for providing her with the opportunities to learn and grow as a student and as a person. When asked who she would like to recognize, she says “My family. They were my biggest supporters and I wouldn’t have made it through my degree without their constant encouragement and advice.”


Malina Gallmeyer

Malina is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. She plans to go back downstate and work as an Engineer in Training at Fleis & Vandenbrink after graduation – “I am excited for this great opportunity and, even though I will have just graduated, I know there will be lots of learning as I start my career.” Malina said she is going to miss her St. Al’s friends so much – “Since no one goes home on the weekends, we have become like a family, and because of that leaving them behind is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever do. Even though it’s tough, I know we will all grow from the experience, and, in the end, they will only be a 9-hour car ride away.” She is thankful to Michigan Tech for the opportunities it gave her personally and professionally – “With so many clubs and organizations, I was able to find a home away from home. This made the long winter nights a little brighter and a little warmer. Professionally, the career fairs were incredible opportunities to network and meet people from many different companies.” When asked who she would like to recognize as someone who made a difference to her while at Tech “Julie Ross was amazing when figuring out how to arrange my classes to check all requirements. Coming into college with a lot of AP credit was great but I didn’t know how to use it until I met with Julie. She really walked me through everything from the beginning of my time here at Tech up until my last scheduling night. Carlos Amador was also an incredible professor. His passion for teaching Spanish and working with university students was apparent in every class. I remember meeting him before I decided on Tech and his enthusiasm and interest in what I had to say made me feel welcome. That interaction helped me to decide on Tech as my school. Now I am a Husky forever!” She ends with “Moving on from Tech is the greatest challenge yet, but, as I have learned from my time here, I should face this challenge head-on and dive into it with everything I’ve got.


Carter Ghiringhelli

Carter is graduating with a BS in construction management. After graduation, he will be working full-time for Catamount Constructors in Denver, Colorado. Carter says he will miss the small community environment that is Michigan Tech. He is thankful to Tech for hiring great professors that care about their students’ education. Carter wanted to recognize David Nelson as someone who made a difference to him while at Tech – “He was a great professor who I enjoyed learning from in the classes I had with him.


Sean Gulbranson

Sean is graduating with an MS in civil engineering from the online structural engineering program. Sean will continue working for Meyer Borgman Johnson, a structural engineering design and consulting firm located in Minneapolis. He says “I’m looking forward to giving back to the community by joining a planning commission in local government.” Sean says he is thankful to Tech for “the years of dedication to being a leading civil and environmental engineering school. I have been continuously impressed by the research and civil engagement that comes out of MTU every year.


John Hardy

John is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, John plans to start working in industry. He will miss Winter Carnival and is thankful to the Michigan Tech Football Team.


Benjamin Holland

Ben is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. He will begin work as a Land Development Drainage Engineer for Kimley Horn in Boise, ID after graduation. Ben says he will miss the cheap housing and all the snow for great skiing and also the trails for running/biking. He says he is thankful for the CEGE Department and how great everyone is here – “I came in very interested in Water Resources and so many different people helped aid in developing significant knowledge related to my passion.” When asked if he would like to recognize someone who made a difference, Ben says “Melanie Kueber Watkins!!! Melanie is awesome! She shares a great interest in how theoretical engineering applies in industry. She tells me of her experience in work to help me get an idea for what to expect in my next steps and she greatly respects the work I do. In many different tasks, she has sent my way, she tells me I know a lot more than her (doubtful) which is at least a polite thing to say. Working under her in research over my master’s degree has been awesome because I can work on a variety of projects depending on what needs to be done and when. She gave me an experience similar to consulting as it is done in industry so she is amazing at preparing the 90% of students who graduate and leave academia for industry.


Julia Jenaway

Julia is graduating with an MS in civil engineering. She will start working at WJE in Bingham Farms, Michigan in February 2023. Julia says she will miss the snow and the easy access to nature. She says she is thankful to have received a great education while being in a beautiful place.


Kelly Livingston

Kelly is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. After graduation, she will move to Alaska for an environmental consulting job. Kelly says she will miss the snow is thankful to Michigan Tech for being a small campus, so walking from end to end is not hard. She would like to recognize all the professors from the CEGE department, especially Dr. Becker and Dr. Seagren.


Nathan Machiorlatti

Nathan is graduating with an MS in civil engineering from the online structural engineering program. He plans to take a few months off and then start working for a structural design engineering company. Nathan says he is thankful for all the hard work each of his professors put into teaching him and developing course content clearly and concisely. “Dr. Dai, Dr. Ahlborn, Dr. Swartz, Dr. Morse, and Dr. Webster, I appreciate all of your hard work! Thank you! Also, thank you for taking zoom meetings outside of regular office hours to answer questions that I had on class material. I appreciate Michigan Tech taking the time to create an online master’s in structural engineering which has allowed me to advance in education while being flexible on the location. I hope that the program gains further traction, and continues to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of the structural engineering field.


Owen Mattila

Owen is graduating with an MS in civil engineering. After graduation, he will be moving to Baraboo, WI to work as a Graduate Engineer at MSA Professional Services. Owen says he will miss reviewing homework with friends and interacting with all the professors. He says he is thankful to Tech for everyone he has met during his time here. When asked who he would like to recognize as someone who made a difference during his time at Tech, Owen says “Thanks to my dad (Dr. Kris Mattila) for all your support and encouragement.”


Jonah Meyer

Jonah is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. He will begin work as a Public Works Engineer in Cedar Rapids, IA after graduation. Jonah says he will miss the snow and Lake Superior and is thankful to Tech for the amazing CEGE faculty and The Army ROTC Department for personal and professional development.


Benjamin Mohrhardt

Benjamin is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. After graduation, he plans to go to Utah for the winter and then will most like come back to MTU to pursue his PhD. Ben says he will miss the snow and is thankful for all the support in obtaining his education and research goals. He would like to recognize Dr. Daisuke Minkata and Dave Perram as people who made a difference to him while at Michigan Tech.


Srujana Neyikapula

Srujana is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. She is looking forward to working as an environmental engineer after graduation. Srujana will miss the beautiful campus, great lake, faculty, and her friends. She says “I am thankful for all the knowledge, experience, and support I have gained from Michigan Tech. Additionally, I am thankful for all the wonderful moments and memories that I have experienced as a Tech student. I would like to recognize Dr. Audra Morse for supporting me as an advisor. I truly enjoyed being a student at Michigan Technological University. I have gained great knowledge and expertise in my domain. I will cherish the memories I had as a student at Tech. I will definitely miss being at school (especially DOW & GLRC).


Kait Pascoe

Kait is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduation, she will be working a full-time position at GEI Consultants. Kait will miss the people she has met and the nature that has surrounded her during her time at Tech. She is thankful for all the connections she has made and the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Club.


Theresa Passe

Theresa is graduating with an MS in environmental engineering. She will begin work as a water engineer at Carollo Engineers in Boise, Idaho after graduation. Theresa will miss the snowy walks to class and is thankful o the CEGE department for helping her grow and learn. When asked if she would like to recognize someone who made a difference during her time at Tech, Theresa says “Thank you to Dr. Becker!”


Mariah Sheeler

Mariah is graduating with a BS in civil engineering. After graduating, she will start a job at UP Engineers and Architects. Mariah will miss playing on the Rugby team and is thankful for the community of students at Michigan Tech. She would like to recognize the whole membership of Alpha Delta Alpha for making a difference to her while she was at Tech. She ends with “Shoutout to the Math Lab for being an awesome place to work for the last 3 years!”


Carlin Wong

Carlin is graduating with a BS in environmental engineering. He plans to take a trip to Asia before starting work back home in Seattle for Arcardis after graduation. Carlin will miss the Keweenaw and all its beauty. He is thankful to Tech for all the great professors that care about their students’ success. “There are so many people who have helped me, but without Dr. Ross my journey at Tech would have been much longer/chaotic. I couldn’t have done it without her help. My dad received his undergraduate degree at MTU in the Spring of 1988. I cannot wait for my turn in Winter 2022.


Scout Wunder

Scout is graduating with a BS in construction management. After graduation, he will begin working as an Assistant Project Manager for Michels Construction. Scout says he will miss being able to snowboard at any moment and all the friends he has made during his time at Tech. He is thankful to Michigan Tech for showing him how hard work can pay off in the end. “Michigan Tech has been such a great chapter in my life and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

Graduates Not Pictured Above

BS in Civil Engineering

Adam Bau

Christian Benson

Allyson Goff

Adam Grady

Drew Heinonen

Ethan Kangas

Jonathan Lobsinger

Mark Luebke

Scott Marvel

Kevin Tran

BS in Construction Management

Marcus Hillstrom

Troy Manthei

Graduate Certificate in Water Resource Modeling

Lauryn Roberts

BS in Environmental Engineering

Edziu Kosiara

Margaret Purvis

MS in Civil Engineering

Michael Abosede

Maria Schadow

Michael Turner

PhD in Environmental Engineering

Emily Shaw

CEGE Seeking Corporate Sponsors for Mobile Interactive Displays

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering is seeking corporate sponsors for three Mobile Displays. The purpose of the Mobile Displays is to provide opportunities for prospective students, K-12 students, families, friends, and visitors to campus to experience civil, environmental, and geospatial engineering. 

The Mobile Displays will be in prominent locations throughout Dillman Hall and Dow Engineering and Experimental Sciences Building so that prospective students on a campus tour can learn about our programs through hands-on activities and connections to real-world engineering. Being mobile, the displays will be used during K-12 Outreach events, Career Fairs at area schools, and travel with our Geospatial Engineering Trailer, which supports K-12 outreach to students in Michigan and beyond. Of course, the Mobile Displays will be deployed in our own classrooms as demonstrations faculty use to emphasize key principles to future engineers. Each Mobile Display is based on a key principle essential to the discipline and the degree program. 

The key principle demonstrated in the Civil Engineering Mobile display is stress. Stress is the result of when a force like tension or compression acts on a material or body. Stress is measured as a ratio of force over area (e.g., lb/in2, N/m2).  The higher the force, the higher the stress—or the smaller the area the higher the stress.  All materials have a “stress limit” that, if reached, will fail said material or body.  Stress on a bridge beam being “loaded” by moving traffic can be controlled by changing the area moment of inertia, I, which is defined by the geometrical cross-section of the beam. The higher the moment of inertia the less stress a beam will experience. The beauty of the engineering design process in this simple case is best explained by considering that a pipe (which is hollow) will have a bigger area moment of inertia than a rod (which is solid) using the same amount of material. This Engineering Mobile Display demonstrates how a specific load (or a specific deflection) can affect the stress on a beam based on its cross-sectional shape.  The many “mini beams” represent real-world structural sections currently used by industry. Students and visitors can see the interaction of loads, deflections, stresses, materials, shapes, and even failures with hands-on “interplay” and real-time calculations. The almost seemingly rudimentary principles of the ancient tried-and-true engineering process is easily explained and is sure to capture the interest, and spark curiosity, in all folks that stop by to play with us. 

Concentration is the key principle demonstrated through the Environmental Engineering Mobile Display. Using their own breath, students can see the impact of the amount of CO2 they release when they breathe in their environment. Those CO2 concentrations are then connected to current and past atmospheric CO2 concentration data. Concentration is a fundamental way in which we express the amount of substances in our water, air and soil environments. Helping our students experience firsthand the concept of concentration can draw them into the field. 

Location is the fundamental principle demonstration in the Geospatial Engineering Mobile Display. Location is the basis of positioning, where a person, place or thing is identified in three-dimensional space. We all occupy space and location is where we are at any given point in time. This location can be quantified by measurements that ultimately identify position. Geospatial Engineers use a multitude of tools that include electronic total stations, 3D scanners, UAV’s, and GPS to precisely and accurately measure position to determine location. Look around you. There is literally nothing that has been constructed, placed, erected, or removed without first knowing its location.  Location is where we are and will always be. Designed with sustainability and accessibility for all in mind, the Mobile Displays are easily transportable and easy for children of all ages to explore. Sponsorships are available for each Mobile Display. To become a CEGE Mobile Display sponsor, please contact Audra Morse at anmorse@mtu.edu or 906-487-3240.

CEGE Academy 2022

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering inducted four new members to the Academy at a ceremony held Thursday, March 24, 2022. The Academy was established in 1993 to recognize excellence and leadership in engineering and civic affairs of outstanding graduates and friends of the Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering Department.

Russ Becker, PE, ‘89, ‘91

Russell Becker
Russell Becker

Russell (Russ) Becker completed his baccalaureate (1989) and master’s (1991) degrees in civil engineering at Michigan Tech. He is the Chief Executive Officer and President of APi Group, one of the largest providers of specialty services in North America and the largest provider of life safety services in the world. Russ’ continued commitment to overall excellence has inspired APi Group to create a culture of leadership by building an exceptional learning and development program, a highly selective Leader Development Program, and an award-winning veteran’s hiring program.
Russ began his career as a field engineer with Cherne Contracting. He moved on to become a project manager for Ryan Companies during the construction of the Greenfield Recycled Paper Mill project for Liberty Paper. Upon completion of this project he joined APi Group’s subsidiary, The Jamar Company, in Duluth, Minnesota. He started as manager of construction and was named president in 1998, where he served until joining APi Group as president in 2002.
He previously served as a member of Dunwoody Institute’s board of trustees. He is the former chair of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota board of directors and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Foundation board of directors. He currently serves on the Children’s Foundation board of directors, the Liberty Diversified Industries board of directors, and the Marvin Companies board of directors. He also serves on the advisory board for the College of Engineering at Michigan Technological University and the board for the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT). Russ is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Minnesota Business Partnership. Russ resides with his wife, Trish, and three sons in Dellwood, Minnesota.

Michael Drewyor P.E., P.S. ‘72, ‘74

Michael Drewyor
Michael Drewyor

Michael Drewyor received his baccalaureate (1972) and master’s degrees (1974) in civil engineering from Michigan Tech. He was an owner and partner with Robert Hitch at Hitch Inc. for 30 years where he provided architectural, civil/structural and surveying services for private, industrial and government clients. The business was sold in 2007 to Orchard, Hiltz and McCliment, Inc of Livonia, Michigan
Drewyor retired from Michigan Tech in 2020 as the Roland A. Mariucci Professor of Practice where he taught for the previous 13 years. His teaching assignments included courses in Construction Management, and senior capstone courses. He was also an advisor for the Associated Schools of Construction estimating team.
Drewyor has also been active in alumni activities, serving on the Alumni Board of Directors in the 90’s, local alumni chapter president in the 00’s and Sigma Rho Fraternity, Inc board since graduation. He is a member and supporter of the Huskies Club.
Drewyor serves as a National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) emeritus member from both the Michigan State Board of Professional Engineers and the Michigan State Board of Professional Surveyors. He previously served 8 years on both Michigan Boards. He received his commission as NCEES Central Zone vice president in 2020. As the vice president, Drewyor serves on the NCEES board of directors and as the zone’s administrative officer through 2022. He is also a current candidate for the NCEES position of President-Elect. This three-year cycle will run through August 2025.
Mike and Judy reside in Houghton, MI and have two children, Jennifer (Houghton) and Adam (Colorado).

Jennifer Hartfelder, PE, PMP ‘90

Jennifer Hartfelder
Jennifer Hartfelder

Jenny Hartfelder completed her civil engineering degree from Michigan Tech (90) and went on to complete a master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is Vice President of Stantec, a top-tier global design and delivery firm. Based in Denver, Colorado, Hartfelder has over 30 years of experience providing project management and engineering design for municipal and federal clients. Her water and wastewater treatment plant experience includes the preparation of master plans, preliminary and detailed designs, and engineering services during construction. She has managed water and wastewater projects up to $10M with numerous small business subcontractors. She has extensive experience in the evaluation and design of wastewater disinfection systems, as well as business management including mentoring and leading staff, project delivery, client service management, and business development. Jenny previously served as a Strategic Campaign Manager for Stantec’s Water business leading top marketing campaigns across North America. She was responsible for leading the local pursuit teams to perform client account analyses; develop campaign plans and sales messages; and prepare statement of qualifications, proposals, and interviews. She was responsible for securing $10 to $20 million in sales per year.

She is a past president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and of the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association. In 2021 she was named a WEF Fellow, one of the industry’s highest honors. She is a registered professional engineer in Colorado and Washington and Project Management Professional.

John Van Huis, PE ‘76

John Van Huis
John Van Huis

John Van Huis completed his baccalaureate degree in civil engineering at Michigan Tech in 1976. Upon graduation, he joined the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad (CNW) in the Chicago offices as a Structural Engineer. He went on to be Engineer of Coal Line bridges for the new Powder River Basin coal fields in Wyoming and then Bridge Engineer for the entire CNW system.

In 1987, he joined the investment group of CNW employees who purchased the Soo Line RR assets in the state of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Wisconsin Central Transportation Company (WCL) went on to own railroads in New Zealand and Australia where he oversaw bridge replacements and construction. While at WCL, he earned an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In 1999 he joined Radtke Contractors and formed their railroad bridge and construction division. In 2009 he finished his railroad career with Alfred Benesch as Sr. Project Manager Railroads and Vice-President Wisconsin Division and retired in 2016.

Mr. Van Huis is a registered engineer in the State of Wisconsin. He has been involved in many national railroad associations over the years. He was a member of the American Railroad Engineering Association (AREA), Roadmasters and Maintenance of Way Association and American Railway Bridge and Building Association where he served as President in 1994. All three of the organizations were merged to form into what is now known as the American Railway and Engineering Association (AREMA).

John and his wife Suzanne reside in Winneconne, Wisconsin. They have two sons and one grandchild. They have both been deeply involved in their sons’ lives coaching youth hockey, soccer, and volunteering for the Oshkosh YMCA swim team. They are also supporters of the late great singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg Prostate Cancer Foundation. In retirement, John enjoys substitute teaching in the local school systems, gardening, and international and domestic travel.

Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering 2022 Department Awards

Undergraduate Student Awards

Nicole Bloom Award for Environmental Sustainability

Brian Goldberg
Brian Goldberg

This award is made annually to an undergraduate civil or environmental engineering student who has demonstrated leadership, passion, and activism for effecting environmental sustainability at the local, national, or global level.

Brian Goldberg has been selected for the 2022 Nicole Bloom Award – Brian is the current co-president of the Green Campus Enterprise. Brian was nominated for this award by Robert Handler, advisor for the Green Campus Enterprise and adjunct faculty in the CEGE Department.  The Green Campus Enterprise works to design and assess projects that could have a meaningful impact on the environmental footprint of the Michigan Tech campus. Brian has been instrumental in developing new campus projects for the Green Campus Enterprise.  His leadership has helped move the Green Campus Enterprise in the right direction.

The Nicole Bloom award is accompanied by the Pati and Soumitri Reddy $1000 endowed scholarship.

Department Scholar

Thomas Pastell
Thomas Pastell

Thomas Pastell was selected to represent the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering as our 2022 Department Scholar and to be considered for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship.   Thomas is civil engineering major that exemplifies the intellectual curiosity and creativity that are the hallmarks of a high achieving student and scholar, additionally, he is extremely conscientious, honest, and hardworking.   Thomas is captain of the Steel Bridge team and he is using his steel bridge activities to participate in the Built World Enterprise.   He is also a trailblazer as he thought to combine the two experiential learning activities. 

The Department Scholar recognition is accompanied by a $500 scholarship.

David W. Hand Environmental Process Engineering Award

This award is named after Professor Emeritus David Hand who designed the environmental engineering process lab and taught the class for over 15 years. Dr. Hand is internationally known for his expertise in water treatment.

This award recognizes a team of students from the CEE 4509 capstone environmental engineering class for: outstanding technical skills in the laboratory, outstanding teamwork and professionalism, effective oral and written communications, and excellence in safety protocol as recognized by your peers and supported by the instructor.

This year there were two teams that Dr. Jennifer Becker and Dr. Eric Seagren found best embodied the spirit of this award and both will be recognized.

Aden Clark
Margaret Purvis
Evan Rye

Malina Gallmeyer
Jack Hoffman
Anabel Needham

Each team member will receive a $100 scholarship from the CEE Department.

Graduate Student Awards

Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence

Rose Dailey
Rose Daily

The Danielle Ladwig Award is made annually to a graduate-level student in civil or environmental engineering in recognition of outstanding achievement in academics, research, and service, in memory of our friend and colleague, Danielle Ladwig. 

This year Rose Daily was selected for the 2022 Danielle Ladwig Award.  She was nominated for the award by Joan Chadde who highlighted her admirable record of service accomplishments.  Rose has been especially active in promoting sustainable solutions for campus and the local community.  She has been involved in numerous ways with outreach and has presented to Grade 4-12 students through the Water Festival and the Lake Superior Youth Symposium as well as career path presentations on environmental engineering for local high school students.   In the past academic year, Rose has been expanding her expertise in sustainable systems at Instituto Monteverde in Costa Rica.  There she has been working on a project to construct a rainwater collection system for a local K-12 school (Monteverde Friends School) and designing a constructed wetland to treat all of the grey water leaving another local K-12 school (Cloud Forest School).  Rose was the recipient of an NSF GRFP Fellowship which has funded her work in Costa Rica.

This award is accompanied by the Pati and Soumitri Reddy $1000 endowed fellowship.

Wilbur Haas Graduate Research Excellence Award

The Graduate Research Excellence Award is made annually to a graduate-level student in civil or environmental engineering to recognize outstanding student scholarship and research contributions.

This year Dongzhao Jin and Yunxiang Ma have both been selected for recognition with the 2022 Graduate Research Excellence Award.  The quality of their research and publications is very deserving of recognition.   

Dongzhao Jin
Dongzhao (Kobe) Jin

Dongzhao (Kobe) Jin is a civil engineering doctoral candidate advised by Dr. Zhanping You.  He is researching sustainable asphalt pavements.  To date, his research has led to a number of papers including 15 published peer-reviewed journal papers, 2 conference proceedings, and 1 under-review paper. His strong track record is equivalent to those of many assistant professors in well-known institutions. In addition to his publications, he has also been very active to help seek funding and preparing proposals for my research group.  He is enthusiastically preparing himself to become a future researcher to develop sustainable construction materials. His efforts in teaching made him earn the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in 2020. He also received the 2022 Graduate Student Government Exceptional Student Scholar Award.

Yunxiang Ma
Yunxiang Ma


Yunxiang Ma is a civil engineering doctoral candidate advised by Dr. Qingli Dai.  He is researching the mechanical behavior of CLT walls and wind and seismic performance of CLT shear wall structures. Mr. Ma has dedicated his research to developing the research results on performance evaluation of CLT panels and resilient CLT shear wall structures. His research has resulted in 8 journal papers, 2 under second-review papers, and 1 to-be-submitted manuscript. It is noted that he has published papers in several high-impacted journals (in our field) including the Journal of Cleaner Production (IF: 7.246), the Journal of Construction and Building Materials (IF: 4.419), and ASCE Journal of Structure Engineering (IF: 2.528). These three journals are the most highly rated in the field of construction materials and structural engineering, respectively. He has also worked collaboratively with the scientists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest product Lab and Colorado School of Mines for different research projects.  He is the recipient of the Graduate School Finishing Fellowship and the 2022 Department Outstanding Scholarship Award.

This award is accompanied by a $1000 Wilbur Haas Memorial Fellowship.

Department Citizenship Award

The Department Citizenship Award recognizes a faculty and staff member that ‘goes the extra mile whether it be in representing the Department, helping colleagues, or participating at events.  The award is decided by the Department Chair and is accompanied by a $1000 to a faculty IRAD or staff extra compensation.

This was a tough decision as so many have stepped up to ensure our teaching, research and service activities excelled during the last year, despite shrinking budgets, colleague departures, and challenges created because of COVID. 

Jeffery Hollingsworth
Jeffery Hollingsworth

Jeffery Hollingsworth is being recognized for his incredible service this year. Jeffery is recognized for stepping up following a sudden departure of a faculty member, filling in for a faculty member who was having health problems, and for serving on the faculty search committee. In addition to all that, Jeffery has actively participated in the recruitment process, kept up with binder changes on behalf of the geospatial program, leading the departmental assessment activities, and is participating in teacher and K-12 outreach events this summer.  Thank you Jeffery for your service to your colleagues, our students, and prospective students.

Kiko
Henrique de Melo e Silva

Due to the sudden departure of Dave Perram and the retirement of Chris Wojick, a huge void was created in the CEGE safety program.  Kiko (aka Henrique de Melo e Silva) is receiving the Departmental Citizen Award for willingly stepping up to fill the vacancy and subsequently leading safety activities at the college and university level.  Thank you for being willing to grow in taking on this role.

Student Voted Awards

Faculty of the Year – and GTA of the Year

The CEGE Department has two awards that are voted on by the departmental students, the GTA of the Year and the Faculty of the Year Award.  We appreciate the work of Chi Epsilon and their advisor, Stephen Morse, for conducting the voting.  

The Faculty of the Year award will recognize two faculty – the top voted faculty from the Civil/Geospatial Engineering specialties and the top voted faculty from the Environmental/Water Resources Engineering specialties.  This award will be accompanied by a $1000 transfer to the faculty IRAD index.

Stan Vitton

Stan Vitton

Dr. Stan Vitton joined the faculty of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering in 1994.  Over the years he has shared his knowledge with CEGE students on a wide variety of engineering topics as well as his industrial engineering experience with Shell Oil.  He has instructed numerous courses in the geotechnical engineering specialty.  His research has been in the area of geotechnical materials and during his twenty-eight years at Michigan Tech, he had 31 peer-reviewed publications, 20 peer-reviewed conference proceedings, 27 reports, 4 book chapters, 61 professional presentations, 2 U.S. and international patents, and a total research funding of $6.3 million with $2.3 million directly attributed to Dr. Vitton.   In June 2022, Stan will retire from the CEGE Department.

Noel Urban
Noel Urban

Noel Urban

Dr. Urban joined the faculty of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering in 1995.  His teaching interests are in the environmental engineering domain and include: Environmental Engineering Chemical Processes, Surface Water Quality Engineering, and Global Biogeochemistry.  He has an active research program and has interests in wetland biogeochemistry, sediment diagenesis, and the environmental impact and fate of pollutants.

GTA of the Year Award

Tyler LeMahieu
Tyler LeMahieu

The GTA of the Year award recognizes the top voted graduate teaching assistant from all the Department’s specialty areas.  This award will be accompanied by a $500 fellowship.

Tyler LeMahieu is the 2022 GTA of the year. He was a GTA for CEE 3620, Water Resources Engineering.