Tech Biosolids Research Featured at National Conference

Jennifer Becker
Jennifer Becker

Jennifer Becker (CEE) and graduate student Karina Eyre participated in the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Conference 2018 (May 15-18) in Phoenix, Arizona. Becker gave an invited presentation entitled “Pathogen and Indicator Organism Inactivation in Class A Biosolids Produced by Low-Tech Methods,” during a session focused on identifying critical research needs related to biosolids, the treated residuals produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Becker and Eyre each gave podium presentations based on ongoing research sponsored by The Water Research Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Eric A. Seagren (CEE) is also a principal investigator on these projects.

Scott Conners ’92 to Serve as the President of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers

Scott Conners
Scott Conners ’92

1992 alumnus Scott Conners, PE, will serve as the President of NSPE-MI, the National Society of Professional Engineers in Michigan.

Conners has a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and holds many certifications related to municipal government. He has been the city engineer in Walker for the last 20 years, after having worked as a consultant for eight years with a variety of clients and projects across west Michigan. Scott previously served as Western Regional Vice President for MSPE and Western Chapter President, and currently serves as the chairman of the Professional Engineers in Government statewide committee.

Conners is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Grand Valley Metro Council, the Grand Rapids Charter Township Planning Commission and Site Plan Review Committee, and many other organizations. In addition to the bachelor of science degree, he holds a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.

In 2017 Conners won the Michigan Engineer of the Year Award from NSPE-MI. Scott is described as a dedicated, hardworking engineer, outstanding in professional abilities and endless willingness to volunteer. He is well respected among his peers with esteemed reputation for leadership.

Victoria Sage Receives Award from Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council

Victoria Sage Accepting AwardVictoria Sage, technical writer in the Center for Technology & Training (CTT), is the recipient of the 2018 Carmine Palombo Individual Award from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC). In addition to her duties as a technical writer at the CTT, Sage is editor of the Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program’s The Bridge newsletter.

In announcing the award, the TAMC notes “Vicki’s work in these roles has been a great service to the TAMC in that many of Vicki’s efforts advance the strategies of the TAMC Work Program through key training and educational initiatives for professionals at local transportation agencies. Vicki has also provided leadership and advocacy of asset management principles as well as communicating relevant programs of the TAMC and transportation agencies across Michigan in helping develop stories in The Bridge.”

One of the driving factors in Sage’s nomination for this award was her role in development of the TAMC Bridge Asset Management Workshop. Using innovative features of common desktop software, she transformed the TAMC training into a focused workshop to quickly and easily create a bridge asset management plan for students attending the training.

“Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans, and she developed an innovative way to use everyday tools to help the workshop attendees,” says TAMC Bridge Committee Chair Beckie Curtis. “This innovation has been a game changer in terms of what can be accomplished in the training workshops and making it even easier for people to have a document that they can then use to organize treatments in a way that is financially manageable.”

Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans…Beckie Curtis

Transportation asset management is a process of managing public assets, such as roads and bridges, based on the long-range condition of the entire transportation system. TAMC, created in 2002 by the Michigan Legislature, promotes the concept that the transportation system is unified, rather than separated by jurisdictional ownership. Its mission is to recommend an asset management strategy to the State Transportation Commission and the Michigan Legislature for all of Michigan’s roads and bridges.

Victoria Sage at TAMC Conference

Michelle Banonis ’99 Helps Shape Future of California Water

Michelle Banonis
Michelle Banonis

Michelle Banonis was appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Director of DWR (California Department of Water Resources) on May 8. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Mid-Pacific Region where she spent eight years working on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Upper San Joaquin River.

We are shaping the future of California’s water environment.Michelle Banonis

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Banonis spent most of her early years in Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering in 1999 from Michigan Technological University and in 2015 earned a Juris Doctor degree from Humphreys College, Laurence Drivon School of Law.

Read more at “Banonis Appointed Chief Deputy Director,” DWR Winter 2017-18, p. 29.

Sean Kelley ’86 is President of ACEC of Michigan

Sean J. Kelley, PE
Sean J. Kelley, PE

Michigan Tech alumnus Sean Kelly was recently selected as president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M). the story, “ACEC Of Michigan Elects New President And Board Of Directors,” appeared on the Detroit Regional Chamber website.

He received his BSCE from Michigan Technological University and his MBA from Eastern Michigan University and is a registered professional engineer in Michigan and Ohio.

Michigan Sea Grant Supports Pengfei Xue’s Environmental Research

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Since invading the Great Lakes, filter-feeding zebra and quagga mussels have brought increased water clarity to lakes Michigan, Huron, and Ontario. This has boosted the growth of bottom-dwelling filamentous algae like Cladophora, which washes ashore in stringy green mats to foul beaches and harbor harmful bacteria. The invading mussels also recycle phosphorus — a nutrient that feeds algal growth — through their feces. Pengfei Xue, an assistant professor in the Michigan Technological University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead a team building computer models to simulate how wave and current patterns influence the distribution of mussel-boosted phosphorus levels. They will investigate how that cycle affects Cladophora growth near Sleeping Bear Dunes and Grand Traverse Bay.

Read more at Michigan Sea Grant Upwellings April 2018.

Students Design Underground Utilities Corridor for the Straits of Mackinac

Students Who Designed the Utilities CorridorHOUGHTON — A group of Michigan Technological University seniors are working on a possible solution to protect the gas, oil and electrical lines under the Straits of Mackinac.

University Professor Mike Drewyor said his senior capstone project class of 16 is wrapping up a semester of work examining how to build an underground tunnel beneath the straits. They’ll present their findings in May on what they hope could be a way to protect the Great Lakes from environmental disaster.

Chad Brown, a civil engineering major on the class’s geological investigation team, said he thinks there’s a good potential the tunnel could come to fruition.

“I think that there’s so many concerns, environmental concerns for the public that they would actually like this to happen,” he said. “In terms of it being economical, it could have some complications there, but in terms of preserving the beauty of the Mackinac Straits, I think it’s a very good solution.”

Read more at Record Eagle, by Jordan Travis.

Michigan Tech’s NSBE Student Chapter conducts 7 th Annual ‘Alternative Spring Break’ Bringing STEM and Family Engineering to Detroit K-12 schools

NSBEMembers of the Michigan Tech Student Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Pre-College Initiative (NSBE-PCI) visited six middle and high schools in Detroit where they made classroom presentations that encouraged students to consider college and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career. In addition, the NSBE students conducted three Family Engineering events at K-8 schools on March 12-14th.  The NSBE students reached 575 middle and high school students and 200 elementary students and their families.
These outreach programs, conducted in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District, target under-represented students with the goal of addressing our country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in math, science, technology, and engineering. The Family Engineering Program was developed by faculty and staff in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan
Technological University (2011) in collaboration with the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering (familyengineering.org).
“The teachers and students both thought the classroom presentations were great and want to invite the students back,” explained Mr. Kenyuano Jones, Principal at Northwestern High School. “I definitely would recommend it for next year and hopefully expand the hours to include the entire day.”
At Bethune Middle School, nearly 50% want to learn more about engineering, 35% think engineering could be a good job for themselves, and 55% want to go to college.
One student observed, “I would recommend the classroom presentation to my friends because it would give them an idea of what they want to do in life.”
This NSBE-PCI outreach effort is funded by the John Deere Foundation and the Michigan Tech Office of Admissions and College of Engineering, and coordinated by Joan Chadde, Director, Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

mParks Community Service Award for Joan Chadde

Joan Chadde-Schumaker
Joan Chadde-Schumaker

Joan Chadde is a recipient of a mParks Community Service Award by the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association (mParks). The awards were presented on April 18, 2018, at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing.

The awards recognize individuals and groups who show outstanding support to public recreation and park programs in their community.

This award was specifically for her initiative in designing and implementing a one-week summer program, now in its 4th year, to bring 20 under-represented students from high schools in Detroit to explore environmental science and engineering majors and career paths at Michigan Tech. The mParks award recognizes Chadde’s fundraising efforts in covering costs for all students’ and exploration leaders’ transportation, their housing and meals, the recruitment and selection of  students, and the program planning, evaluation, and publicity.

Chadde, a staff member of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach and an adjunct instructor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences.

mParks Award for Chadde