All posts by James Desrochers

Manufacturing First Expo

With a long history of graduating STEM-focused students, many Michigan Tech alumni have had careers in manufacturing environments.  When the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance, organized the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference in Green Bay, WI on October 24, 2018, Michigan Tech was more than happy to participate.

On the evening before the Expo, the Excellence in Manufacturing/K-12 Partnerships Awards Dinner celebrated the community efforts to showcase manufacturing careers for High School students.  These students gain practical experience through dedicated educational professionals to help them plot a career path.

From Left to Right: Dave DiPietro, Aaron Berg, Katie Tesch, Gabe Hernandez


At the Expo itself, over 500 High School students attended to learn about career options.  Michigan Tech alumni from Georgia Pacific, Plexus, Paper Converting Machine Corporation, and Rockwell Automation volunteered to help share their stories with students.  They were able to talk to students about how their education helped prepare them for their careers.

Mobility In Detroit Experience 2018

Mobility in Detroit 1Michigan Technological University partnered with the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Tech Career Services,  and MICHauto to create a unique opportunity for students interested in careers in the automotive industry.

Over 80 Michigan Tech students applied, but only 22 were selected to participate in this RenCen Group Photo 2event.  These students joined with other students to learn about careers in the future of Mobility at the  MICHauto Summit.  During the summit, industry leaders provided career advice and a vision for the future of careers in the automotive industry.  Students also had an opportunity to network with industry representatives to discuss career opportunities.  Careers in mobility are much more than automotive!

Mobility in Detroit 3In addition to showcasing careers, the event was designed to help students learn about the city of Detroit itself, from a history, culture, and entertainment standpoint.  This included attending the Detroit Pistons game, taking a walking tour of downtown landmarks led by the Detroit Experience Factory, and seeing the PlanetM Landing Zone.


Michigan Tech Alumni in NASCAR

Michigan Technological University has a long history of involvement with the automotive industry, engine research, cold-weather testing, and other validation resources.  When the Michigan Tech Advanced Power Systems Labs (APS LABS) brought the Mobile Lab to the Texas Motor Speedway in April, it was expected that quite a few NASCAR fans would be in attendance and probably a few alumni.   


The Mobile Lab helped showcase current and future technologies for mobility.  The Mobile Lab can be used to provide education at a customer location but also functions as the command center for Michigan Tech’s research related to the ARPA-E NEXTCAR challenge designed to improve vehicle performance through vehicle automation and connectivity.  

FinePix HS20EXR701The Mechanical Engineering Annual Report for 2014-2015 featured many of our alumni that work within the automotive industry.  Currently enrolled students are active in SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series through the Advanced Motorsports consortium.

Michigan Tech has strong representation on the Hendricks Motorsports team with three alumni employed there.

  • Greg Ives (BS-Mechanical Engineering, 2003) has been in the racing industry since he graduated.  He is currently crew chief for the #88 Hendricks Motorsports team.  
  • Chais Eliason (BS-Mechanical Engineering, 2014) joined Hendricks Motorsports as an intern and became a full-time employee after graduation and has been a race engineer for the #48 team.
  • Doug Wojcik (BS-Mechanical Engineering, 2015) is the most recent Husky to join the Hendricks Motorsports team as a race mechanic on the #88 team.

#SCF1929These alumni found their Michigan Tech education prepared them for their careers in the highly competitive cutting-edge application of automotive racing.  

To learn more about research, development, and validation opportunities, please contact Jim Desrochers.

Industry Involvement on Campus

When people think of industry involvement on the Michigan Technological University campus, Career Fairs are often the first things that come to mind.   The Fall and Spring Career Fair brings hundreds of companies to campus for several days of interaction and interviews with students.

The spring also brings many companies to campus for a different kind of engagement.  In April, corporate representatives traveled to campus to provide valuable information to the University.  Their time and talents were used to help shape and develop future programs, provide insights into past efforts, and connect with current students that may be their future employees.  

Here a few examples of different ways companies have gotten involved on campus in the past month:

CareerServicesCorporateAdvisoryBoardAdvisory Boards

Michigan Tech has more than 20 Advisory Boards for different departments, colleges, and other organizations.  These Educational Advisory Boards (EAB) typically meet twice per year. The agenda for these meetings is adjusted to focus on individual priorities of the group. Departmental advisory boards have anywhere from 10-25 members.  Members of the boards receive updates on departmental activities, provide feedback on future program development, and ensure that the University continues to meet the needs of industry.

For example, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Professional Advisory Council (CEEPAC) discussed accreditation, toured some facilities, met with current students, and learned about some new research developments.  

Design Expo

DesignExpoDesign Expo allows corporate representatives to interact with students to discuss what they learned throughout the year working on their Senior Design and Enterprise projects.  Judges volunteer their time to help provide students valuable feedback about their presentations and projects but they also get an opportunity to learn more about student’s future career plans.

FordExecutivePanelDiscussion2Executive Visits

Many companies take advantage of the various activities to hold executive meetings on campus.  For example, executives from Ford Motor Company made a two-day visit to discuss their broad involvement across campus. During their visit, they had a chance to talk to university leadership, department chairs, and various faculty involved in research projects.  They also had events to informally meet with students working on their projects or receiving their scholarships. A panel discussion was held in the evening to let students ask questions of these executives in an informal setting.

More Information

To learn more about additional ways to get involved on campus, please contact Jim Desrochers or any member of the corporate relations staff.

Role Models For STEM

Role Models for STEM 1In school, spring break is often a time to escape academic rigors and refresh oneself in order to get ready for finishing the semester.  However, for some Michigan Technological University students, Spring Break can also provide an opportunity to perform community service.

During this year’s break, nine members of the Michigan Tech National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Pre-College Initiative student chapter at Michigan Tech traveled to Detroit to conduct STEM John Deereeducation & outreach in six elementary, middle and high schools.  NSBE’s Alternative Spring Break program, now in its 7th year, has become a tradition. This year’s program was generously funded with corporate support from the John Deere Foundation.

Role Models for STEM 2The NSBE college students’ activities included:

  • Making presentations to nearly 1000 middle school and high school students about going to college and pursuing STEM majors;
  • Conducting Family Engineering events at three K-8 schools for 200+ students and their families.


Role Models for STEM 3

“The teachers and students both thought the presentations were great and want to invite the students back.” – Kenyano Jones, Principal Detroit Collegiate Preparatory School at Northwestern

To learn more about how your company can help Michigan Tech’s efforts in STEM outreach or to sponsor a Family Engineering event in your community, please contact Jim Desrochers.

Oshkosh – Fueling Renewable Energy Education on Campus

OshkoshOshkosh Corporation has a long history of partnership with Michigan Technological University.  The Oshkosh brand includes many more items than just their Oshkosh Defense products.  Their business has expanded to include the brands of McNeilus, JLG, Pierce, IMT, and many others.

Oshkosh 1The Enterprise Program at Michigan is a unique multi-year, multidisciplinary program available to all students.  Enterprise teams organize themselves much like companies in the private sector with a technology or business focus area, a leadership structure, and multiple project sub-teams.  Many Enterprises have a combination of industry-sponsored and internally generated projects.  Enterprise project work is a recognized alternative to Senior Design for Michigan Tech engineering majors.  Michigan Tech has 25 active Enterprise teams with nearly 800 students involved annually.

In order to help provide meaningful projects to students interested in alternative forms of energy, Oshkosh has graciously provided the Renewable Energy Mission Module (REMM) for undergraduate students enrolled in the Alternative Energy Enterprise to use for engineering project work.  The REMM
Oshkosh 2has an array of technology that includes:


  • Folding-blade wind turbine
  • Folding-solar panel array
  • Chargeable battery pack
  • Integrated generator
  • Exportable power


Students in the Alternative Energy Enterprise can use the REMM to study alternative energy sources connected to the power grid.  This will allow measurement of energy utilization and effectiveness in the northern climates of Houghton.  Engineering talent from Oshkosh is available to provide training and technical expertise to help students understand how the equipment functions.

Oshkosh 3

We are pleased to be able to provide this hardware for Huskies to apply what they are learning in the classroom in a practical manner.”  

Rob Messina, Chief Technology Officer, Oshkosh Corporation and Michigan Tech Alum


For information on how to get involved with Enterprise please contact Joe Thompson.

Scholarships – An Extension Of Your Recruiting Strategy

ScholarshipsScholarships are an important part of making college affordable to today’s young students. They help Michigan Tech provide us with a competitive advantage that helps us recruit the best and the brightest young scholars from within Michigan and across the nation. These highly recruited young minds serve to attract other top-notch students and draw the attention of the eminent faculty. They also have a history of providing extraordinary leadership on campus and within the community.

Corporate contributions can help increase the pool of available students available to hire and can be an excellent addition to your long-term recruiting strategy.

Scholarships can be directed to the types of students you are most likely to hire. Scholarships can be directed toward specific majors, GPAs, class standing, and other parameters.

Generous donors for scholarships and other programs include individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Automotive Talent Acquisition Management (ATAM18)

Michigan Technological University was happy to be invited to participate in the Automotive Talent Acquisition Management (ATAM18) held in Detroit, MI from February 26-28, 2018.


Many thought leaders from traditional automotive companies as well as mobility and new transportation methods were in attendance.  As the industry evolves, the traditional “norms” from talent acquisition and recruitment are being challenged by startups, joint ventures, and skill requirements that didn’t even exist before!  

ATAM18 Presentation 2Because Michigan Tech graduates work in a broad variety of industries that include automotive, we enjoyed being afforded the opportunity to share our efforts related to STEM-outreach.  Our presentation specifically highlighted our Mind Trekkers and Summer Youth Programs and CareerFEST.  Each of these programs is designed to provide real-world examples to the students of today to become the mobility employees of tomorrow.


New Listing Showcasing Mobility Resources

FrontMobility is the movement of people, goods and information. In terms of autonomous vehicles, mobility includes everything from the roads to the dashboard to the engine to the LIDAR sensors. The research is inherently interdisciplinary.


Back3Unstructured environments are the gray zones of mobility. It’s where chaos enters the picture.  Michigan Tech is in a remote, snowy region in the Upper Peninsula—our community regularly has to make sense of chaos and a lack of structure, and to some extent, that carries over into our research.


To help make it easier to find the technical help your business needs for research and development, links to the various resources have been assembled on

2017 Southeast Michigan Science and Engineering Festival #STEM

Science can be messy.  In fact, when you are trying to get middle school students excited about science, it is essential that! But Michigan Technological University’s Mind Trekkers’ don’t mind at all.

On September 22 and 23, 2017, Mind Trekkers visited Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI for their 3rd Annual Science and Engineering Festival.  Schoolcraft has enjoyed hosting this event which features rock music, balloons, liquid nitrogen ice cream, fire, explosions, magnets, oobleck, and many very excited middle school students.

Michigan Technological University’s “Mind Trekkers” are a student organization made up of college students that aren’t afraid to share their love of STEM with middle school students.  They volunteer their time to help put on Science and Engineering Festivals in communities across the country.

The partnership between Schoolcraft and Michigan Tech has allowed both institutions to help share the hands-on “spark” of STEM education with thousands of students in the Livonia area.  This partnership has been facilitated by the generous donations of time and talents from corporate partners.

The 2017 Festival includes sponsorship from:

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