Category: News

Participation at an All-Time High aboard the R/V Agassiz for Chassell Strawberry Festival

Interest in scientific excursions aboard the R/V Agassiz hit an all-time high this year at the 2022 Chassell Strawberry Festival on July 9! Hayden Henderson (Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, MTU 2017) was the captain and Kenny Larsen, a PhD student in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering, was the chief scientist. Kenny presented a 40-minute program on “How scientists assess the health of the Great Lakes?” and “How can citizens be Great Lakes Stewards?”

Six 40-minute scientific excursions were conducted for a total of 110 participants (max 18 per excursion). There were 90 people on the waiting list who waited on the dock in hopes of getting on, plus 20 who had to cancel! A total of 220 people wanted to participate! This is an all-time record!

“We were sorry to not be able to serve everyone. I don’t remember ever being overrun with so many people and having a three-page waiting list!” observed Joan Chadde, event coordinator and Director of the MTU Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Participants had lots to say about what they had learned. Some of their comments included:

  • How mercury and PCBs get into water
  • Lake turnover and stratification
  • How to keep our lakes healthy and be a better steward
  • How to sample and measure water quality.
  • How invasive species harm the lake.

And often, one is left with more questions, like this one:

Do fish smell like algae, or do algae smell like fish?

The Ride the Waves community outreach program is made possible with a grant from General Motors in support of the Agassiz and Great Lakes education/outreach.

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.

Pengfei Xue Uses Simulation to Predict Lake Levels

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue (CEGE/GLRC) was quoted in a story published by Bridge Michigan on the expected rise of Great Lakes water levels heading toward 2050.

Xue’s research used advanced climate modeling with a 3D hydrodynamic model to simulate the lakes more accurately.

Great Lakes water levels could increase on average from 7.5 to 17 inches in next few decades, study says

New research into Great Lakes water levels looks farther into the future to predict how much climate change will increase lake levels in four of the five Great Lakes.

Presented at the Frontiers in Hydrology Meeting on Thursday and awaiting publication, the research – led by Michigan Technological University associate professor Pengfei Xue – used advanced climate modeling with a 3D hydrodynamic model to simulate the lakes more accurately. The modeling Xue used is more typically applied to oceans.

Michigan Technological University associate professor Pengfei Xue was the lead researcher on the modeling study looking into climate change impacts on the Great Lakes.

“We were able to develop a coupled modeling system that not only accounts for the interactions between the lakes, atmosphere and surrounding land, but also presented a more realistic and accurate representation of the Great Lakes hydrodynamic processes in climate modeling,” Xue said. “This is a necessary step to ultimately improve the long-term lake level projections.”

Read more at Bridge Michigan, by Natasha Blakely.

Future Rise of the Great Lakes Water Levels under Climate Change

The Great Lakes of North America are the largest unfrozen surface freshwater system in the world and many ecosystems, industries, and coastal processes are sensitive to the changes in their water levels. The water levels of the Great Lakes are primarily governed by the net basin supplies (NBS) of each lake which are the sum of over-lake precipitation and basin runoff minus lake evaporation.

First Author
Pengfei Xue, Michigan Technological University
Authors
Miraj Bhakta Kayastha, Michigan Technological University
Xinyu Ye, Michigan Technological University
Chenfu Huang, Michigan Technological University

Read more at Frontiers in Hydrology, by Penfei Xue, et al.

Bill Sproule Presents on Transit Systems

Old photo of a monorail with city architecture in the background.
World’s Fair monorail, 1962
Item 73122, World’s Fair Slides (Record Series 9955-01), Seattle Municipal Archives.

Professor Emeritus Bill Sproule (CEGE) attended the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 18th International Conference on Automated People Movers and Automated Transit Systems in Seattle, Washington, held June 1–3, 2022

Sproule gave the keynote presentation, titled “Back to the Future,” on the history and future of automated people movers and automated transit systems. In addition, he gave a presentation titled “Seattle Monorail and the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.”

Sproule was also the proceedings editor for the conference.

MTU Team Participating in NextCycle Michigan ROADS Innovation Challenge

A proposal submitted by Zhanping You (CEGE) earlier this year has been selected by NextCycle Michigan as one of the projects in the NextCycle Michigan ROADS Innovation Challenge Track.

You and his team will work on a project titled “The Marketing Development and Implementation of Recycled Glass for Asphalt Pavements.”

You’s team is comprised of Michigan Technological University teams with the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority (MCSWMA) and Dickinson County Road Commission. The collaborators will plan a construction section of recycled glass asphalt pavement in Dickinson County.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Arman Tatar Awarded 2022 Ammann Research Fellowship

Arman Tatar
Arman Tatar

Upon the recommendation of the Structural Engineering Institute, Arman Tatar has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as the recipient of the 2022 O.H. Ammann Research Fellowship in Structural Engineering.

The award will allow Tatar to purchase the necessary parts and material to pursue his original research topic in addition to the research he is currently conducting under Dan Dowden’s supervision.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Jack Moon Receives APWA Branch Scholarship

Jack Moon, a second-year civil engineering student at Michigan Tech, has been awarded a 2022 Branch Scholarship from the American Public Works Association Chicago Metro Chapter – Fox Valley Branch for his outstanding academic and scholastic achievements. He will be formally recognized at a luncheon held June 14.

According to the chapter’s website, the branch scholarship is intended for students pursuing a degree in civil engineering, environmental engineering, or a public works-related field.

Congratulations, Jack!

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Kenny Larsen Awarded Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship

Kenny Larsen
Kenny Larsen

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management has announced the second cohort of 2022-24 Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellows.

PhD in Environmental Engineering candidate Kenny Larsen is among those selected.

The Davidson Fellowship offers students enrolled in a master’s or PhD program the opportunity to conduct research within a National Estuarine Research Reserve. Each two-year project employs the tenets of collaborative research, including engaging end-users, incorporating multidisciplinary perspectives and ensuring outcomes that are applicable to local coastal resource management needs and decision-making. This fellowship honors the legacy of Margaret A. Davidson, a true visionary and pioneer in the field of coastal resource management.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Brincks, Thrasher, and Welling Awarded National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation 2022 Scholarships


The National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation has announced the 19 recipients of its 2022 scholarship awards. Three Michigan Technological University students are among them:

Congratulations to Brayden Brincks, Alex Thrasher, and Connor Welling!

According to the NSPS Foundation’s press release, the scholarships are awarded annually from funds created by various companies, professional organizations and individuals to help assist the financial needs of future geospatial professionals. Each year’s awardees are selected by NSPS Foundation and American Association for Geodetic Surveying scholarship committees based on their academic record, letters of recommendation, financial need and their introductory letter outlining their educational plans, future goals, significant activities and contributions to their school, community and the surveying profession.

By Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.