Day: September 6, 2018

Taking on Disasters—Before They Happen

Brian Tucker of GeoHazards International (GHI) struggles to hold a heavy adobe brick used in typical buildings in rural Peru. GHI retrofitted an adobe school building in the village of Chocos, Peru, with geomesh, which holds the adobe walls together and greatly improves their earthquake resistance. Credit: Gregory Deierlein, Stanford University
Brian Tucker of GeoHazards International (GHI) struggles to hold a heavy adobe brick used in typical buildings in rural Peru. GHI retrofitted an adobe school building in the village of Chocos, Peru, with geomesh, which holds the adobe walls together and greatly improves their earthquake resistance. Credit: Gregory Deierlein, Stanford University

Next week more than 1,200 first-year students at Michigan Tech will hear from MacArthur Fellow Brian Tucker, founder and president of Geohazards International.

Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Landslides. Storms.

Brian Tucker, founder global non-profit Geohazards International, takes on disasters before they happen. Tucker will present “Lessons Learned in Reducing Natural Disaster Risk in Poor Countries,” this Thursday, September 13 at 6 p.m. in the Rosza Center at Michigan Technological University.

Tucker is a seismologist and MacArthur Fellow whose work focuses on preventing readily avoidable disasters in the world’s poorest countries by using affordable civil engineering practices. He founded GeoHazards International (GHI) in 1991 after recognizing that multi-story residences, schools, hospitals, stores, and offices built from adobe, stone, or unreinforced masonry in many regions of the world are death traps when earthquakes strike.

A consulting professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Stanford University, Tucker is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Earthquake Engineering as well as the board of the World Seismic Safety Initiative. He is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.

In 2001 he was awarded the Gorakha Dakshin Bahu Award for service to the people of Nepal by the King of Nepal. He was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2002. He received the George E. Brown, Jr. Award, from the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation for International Science and Technology Cooperation, in 2007.

Most recently, Tucker was given the Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award from Pomona College in 2017 and was named among the 100 Distinguished Alumni of University of California, San Diego. He has also won two “Hammers” from the 2016 and 2017 C.R.A.S.H-B’s World Indoor Rowing Competition.

Tucker received a BA from Pomona College, a PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and an MA in Public Policy from Harvard University. Tucker served as Principal and Supervising Geologist at the California Division of Mines and Geology from 1982–1991. He founded Geohazards International in 1991.


Michigan Tech’s First-Year Engineering Lecture is a longtime annual tradition for freshmen in the College of Engineering, and now students from the School of Technology, and Department of Computer Science are joining the event.

Please note: space at the venue is at capacity, so the event is not open to the public this year. 


Engineering Alumni Activity Fall 2018

Timothy Bohrer
Timothy Bohrer

Michigan Tech alumnus Tim Bohrer was recently named to the Packaging and Processing Hall of Fame by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute. Bohrer is founder of Pac Advantage Consulting LLC. Among his accomplishments, Bohrer led the team that developed the packaging used for microwave popcorn. The story was covered in Converting Guide and in Packaging World. After finishing his undergrad work in chemical engineering at Michigan Tech University, Bohrer got his Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.

Brendan Ruppen
Brendan Ruppen

Gosling Czubak Engineering Sciences, Inc. hired Brendan Ruppen as staff engineer in the company’s environmental department. Ruppen earned a bachelor of science degree in Geological Engineering from Michigan Technological University, where he completed a groundwater engineering project assisting a local fish hatchery with remediation of production wells.

John O. Hallquist
John O. Hallquist

Michigan Tech alumnus John O. Hallquist was featured in the article “John O. Hallquist, Ph.D., Celebrated for Innovations in Software Development,” in Benzinga. Hallquist earned his master’s and PhD in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics from Michigan Tech.

Noah Mundt
Noah Mundt

2005 Environmental Engineering Alumnus, Noah Mundt, was honored as one of the 40 under 40 by the Phoenix Business Journal. Occupation: Senior program manager. Employer: Siemens Industry Inc. Definition of success: Balance – Creating the perfect intersection between happiness, mindfulness and helpfulness for yourself, your family, and society. Making a living doing something you enjoy, are good at and helps others.

Don Njegovan
Don Njegovan

Vancouver-based Strongbow Exploration has appointed Michigan Tech alumnus Don Njegovan to its board of directors. Njegovan is currently Osisko Mining vice president for new business development, Njegovan holds a bachelor’s of science degree in mining engineering from Michigan Tech. The story was covered by Mining Weekly.

Jeff Helminski
Jeff Helminski

Michigan Tech alumnus Jeff Helminski was featured in the article “Transparency drives results for Helminski, Auxo Investment Partners,” in MiBiz. Helminski who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech, is managing partner at Auxo Investment Partners.

Jeff Thompson
Jeff Thompson

Michigan Tech mechanical engineering alumnus Jeff Thompson ’12 was featured in the article “Family ski-making business inspired by Keweenaw Peninsula,” in Crain’s Detroit Business. After graduating from Michigan Tech, Thompson joined the family business Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis in Boyne City, Michigan. Thompson is currently president of the company. Several of the company’s skis are named after locations in the Copper County including Ahmeek, Hubbell, Brockway and Medora.

Meredith Ballard LeBeau
Meredith Ballard LeBeau

Meredith Ballard LeBeau visited the White House as a representative from Calumet Electronics, one of five industry leaders chosen to represent the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, also known as IPC. Ballard LeBeau holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering, an MS in Environmental Engineering, a graduate certificate in Sustainability, and a PhD in Environmental Engineering.

Michigan Tech alumni Shawn and Cathy Smalley were featured in the article “The Buck is Back,” in NothernExpress.com. The Smalleys purchased and reopened the iconic Big Buck Brewery restaurant in Gaylord, Michigan. Shawn grew up in Plainwell, and Cathy is originally from Gaylord. They met as students at Michigan Tech (he has degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering, and she in environmental engineering). Although neither of them has any experience in the craft beer or restaurant industries, home brewing was an early hobby for them.

Kristen Mariuzza
Kristen Mariuzza

Michigan Tech alumna Kristen Mariuzza was featured in the article “Mining for opportunity,” in the Marquette Mining Journal. The story covered a recent “Ladies Night” event at the Eagle Mine in Marquette County. Mariuzza is general manager of the mine. Mariuzza, an engineer by trade, worked at the Empire Mine in Palmer while earning a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Mike Raymond
Mike Raymond

Michigan Tech alumnus Mike Raymond was recently listed at #28 “Automotive Power Person” of the year by Motor Trend Magazine. Raymond is the chief engineer of the Motor Trend 2019 Truck of the Year the RAM 1500. He received his BS in civil engineering from Michigan Tech in 1981. Raymond took a great, smooth-riding truck and made it better. Powertrains include obligatory V-6, V-8, and diesel, but the big news is the debut of the eTorque 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

Julie Fream
Julie Fream

Julie Fream was conferred the rank of emerita by the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees. Fream earned her bachelors degree in chemical engineering from Michigan Tech before earning a MBA from Harvard Business School. She has had a distinguished career in the auto industry and is now the president and CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association. During her eight years on the board, she served on the Leadership, Audit & Finance, Academic Affairs Committees, and was the vice chairwoman and chairwoman of the board, each for two years.

Terry Woychowski
Terry Woychowski

Terry Woychowski was was conferred the rank of emeritus by the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees. Woychowski earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from MTU before continuing on to a distinguished career with General Motors. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University and attended the Duke University’s Global Executive Development Program after Michigan Tech. Woychowski served as the board chairman from 2016-18 and recently delivered the commencement address at Michigan Tech’s midyear commencement.