Author: Sue Hill

Engineering Participates in the 2020 Bob Mark Business Pitch

Husky Innovate’s 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was held Wednesday (Jan. 29).  A total of 18 students making up 13 teams pitched business models to advance their innovation.

Community members and judges from across campus and the community selected the winners and provided the teams with feedback.

The Winners of the 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition were:

  • First Prize, $2,000—Kyra Pratley, POWERPENDANTS
  • Second Prize, $1,000—Jake Soter, SwimSmart Technologies
  • Third Prize, $500—J. Harrison Shields, Shields Technologies
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Samerender Hanumantharao & Stephanie Bule, Bio-Synt
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • Audience Favorite, $250— Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • MTEC SmartZone Breakout Innovation Award, ($1,000 Reimbursable expenses toward business development)—Ranit Karmakar

A special thanks to all those who lent their time and resources to make the evening a success including our contestants for their hard work and great presentations and our judges:

  • Dean Janet Callahan, College of Engineering
  • Brett Hamlin, Associate Department Chair, Engineering Fundamentals;
  • Nate Yenor, MTRSC Commercial Program Director
  • Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, MTEC-SmartZone;
  • Elham Asgari, Assistant Professor, College of Business
  • Josh Jay, Materials Science Engineering Student, University Innovation Fellow and Innovation House RA

A special thanks goes out to emcee Cameron Philo, Electrical Engineering and PHC New Venture Pathway Student, University Innovation Fellow and E-Club President; Lexi Steve, Mechanical Engineering and Pavlis Honors College Student, University Innovation Fellow and Husky Innovate Intern; and the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences for operations support and space and SLS & IT for production support.

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, Professor of Practice within the College of Business who started the Elevator Pitch Competition at Michigan Tech. The competition recognizes his entrepreneurial spirit and its continuation at Michigan Tech.

The 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.

Husky Innovate is Michigan Tech’s resource hub for innovation & entrepreneurship and offers workshops, competitions, NSF I-Corps training, a Speaker Series, and cohosts the Silicon Valley Experience.

Making their pitch: MTU students take part in Bob Mark Pitch competition

HOUGHTON — In four minutes Wednesday, students had to summarize their product, the need for it, and how they would bring it to market. For two more minutes, they had to field whatever questions a panel of judges could throw at them.

The gauntlet is part of Michigan Technological University’s annual Bob Mark Pitch Competition, named for the late Tech professor who founded the event. It was put on by Husky Innovate, which offers a series of extracurricular workshops and competitions for students to develop ideas.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

Michigan Tech holds annual Bob Mark Business Model Competition

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Michigan Tech held their annual Bob Mark Business Model Competition Wednesday night.

The competition gives Michigan Tech students a chance to pitch their ideas to a group of judges who decide on the best pitch and give feedback after each presentation.

Read more at TV6 FOX UP.


Judges Needed for Design Expo 2020

You are invited to be a judge for the 2020 Design Expo on Thursday, April 16. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of Design Expo! The Expo highlights hands-on projects from more than 1000 students on Enterprise and Senior Design teams.

Although special expertise is appreciated, judges are not required to be technological specialists or engineers. If you like engaging with students and learning more about the exciting projects they are working on, please consider judging.

Who should judge?

  • Community members
  • Michigan Tech faculty and staff
  • Alumni interested in seeing what today’s students are accomplishing as undergrads
  • Those looking to network with Michigan Tech faculty and students
  • Industry representatives interested in sponsoring a future project

Design Expo is co-hosted by the College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College. If you would like to serve as a judge at this year’s Design Expo, register as soon as possible to let us know you’re coming. 

By Pavlis Honors College.


Design Expo 2020 Registration Now Open

Michigan Tech’s 20th annual Design Expo will highlight hands-on, discovery-based learning. More than 1,000 students on Enterprise and Senior Design teams will showcase their work and compete for awards.

Student registration is now open. Senior Design and Enterprise teams must visit the Design Expo website to register and review important instructions, deadlines and poster criteria. All teams must register by Monday, Feb. 10.

The Design Expo takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16 in the MUB Ballroom and all are welcome to attend.

A panel of judges made up of distinguished corporate representatives and Michigan Tech staff and faculty will critique the projects at Design Expo. Interested in judging at Design Expo? Sign up here.

Design Expo is co-hosted by the College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College. Learn more at mtu.edu/expo.

By the College of Engineering and Pavlis Honors College.


New Engineering Faculty Fall 2020

Chemical Engineering

Kurt Rickard, PhD

Kurt Rickard joins the faculty of Chemical Engineering as an instructor. Rickard earned a PhD from Purdue and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan Tech, both in chemical engineering.

He has experience as a control engineer with a strong theoretical background. He has experience with LyondellBasell Industries, ARCO Chemical Company, Quantum Chemical Company and Shell Chemical Company.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jeffery Pereira Hollingsworth
Jeffery Pereira Hollingsworth

Jeffrey Hollingsworth

Jeffrey Hollingsworth joins the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a professor of practice. He holds a Master’s of Science in civil engineering (GIS specialty) and a post-bac certificate in GIS from the University of Colorado Denver. In addition, he earned a BS in surveying from Ferris State University.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Hollingsworth was an associate professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and an instructor at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Xinyu Ye
Xinyu Ye

Xinyu Ye, PhD

Xinu Ye Joins the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a research assistant professor. She earned a PhD in environmental engineering from Michigan Tech, a master’s in civil engineering from Michigan State and a bachelor of resource environment and urban and rural planning from Harbin Normal University in China.

She is a recipient of a Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship at Michigan Tech and has received graduate student awards at Michigan State. As an undergraduate, she was named an Excellent Student Leader at Harbin Normal.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Trever Hassell
Trever Hassell

Trever Hassell

Trever Hassell joins the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a senior lecturer. His areas of interest include power electronics systems, Electric Drives and Machinery, Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Systems, and Microgrids.

Hassell earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech. For the past five years, he has been serving as an academic advisor/instructor in the ECE department at Michigan Tech. He is a registered professional engineer with experience in industry including time with ABB Inc., Cummins, Inc., Entergy/Vermont Yankee and Reinker Controls Inc.

Nagesh Hatti
Nagesh Hatti

Nagesh Hatti

Nagesh Hatti joined the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a professor of practice. He holds an MBA from Texas Christian University, a master’s in software engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India and a BE in telecommunication engineering from Bangalore University, India

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Hatti served as technical program manager for Schneider in Green Bay, manager of supply chain operations support from American Airlines in Fort Worth, Texas and various other positions in industry.

Geological Mining and Engineering Sciences

Luke Bowman, PhD

Luke Bowman has joined the faculty in Geological Mining and Engineering Sciences as a research assistant professor. Bowman has both a PhD and a master’s in geology from Michigan Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Hanover College.

Prior to joining the faculty, he was a curriculum development specialist with Mi-STAR and an adjunct assistant professor in GMES at Michigan Tech.

Xin Xi
Xin Xi

Xin Xi, PhD

Xin XI has joined the faculty of the Department of Geological Mining and Engineering Sciences as an assistant professor. Xi earned a PhD in atmospheric sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B Sc in Geoinformatics from Beijing Normal University, China.

Prior to his current position, Xi served as a research assistant professor at Michigan Tech. From 2016 to 2018 he was a research associate at the NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research (Maryland).

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics

Jung Yun Bae
Jung Yun Bae

Jung Yun Bae

Jung Yun Bae joins the faculty of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics and the College of Computing as an assistant professor. She earned a PhD from Texas A&M, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Hongik University in Seoul, Korea.

Prior to this appointment, she was a research professor in the Intelligent Systems and Robotics Laboratory at Korea University in Seoul. Her research interests include; robotics, multi-robot systems, coordination of heterogeneous robot systems and unmanned vehicles.

Susanta Ghosh
Susanta Ghosh

Susanta Ghosh, PhD

Susanta Ghosh has joined the Michigan Tech Faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics and as a faculty member of the Center for Data Sciences at the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

He earned a PhD and MSc in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and a BSE in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology in Shibpur, India.

For the past three years, he has served as a research assistant professor and instructor in ME-EM. Prior to coming to Michigan Tech in 2016, Ghosh was a visiting research investigator at the University of Michigan and a research collaborator at Duke.

Paul van Susante
Paul van Susante

Paul van Susante, PhD

Paul van Susante, who had been serving as a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, started the fall semester as an assistant professor within that department.

He earned both a PhD and a master’s in engineering systems from the Colorado School of Mines. He also holds BS and MS degrees in civil engineering with an emphasis on building engineering from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

His research interests include advances in engineering education, engineering design process, extreme environment technologies and planetary science and exploration, among others.

Vijaya V. N. Sriram Malladi
Vijaya V. N. Sriram Malladi

Vijaya Sriram Malladi, PhD

Vijaya V.N. Sriram Malladi has joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. He holds MS and PhD degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Malladi was a research scientist at Vibrations, Adaptive Structures and Testing (VAST) lab at Virginia Tech. Prior to that, he served as chief research scientist (CEO) of GAiTE LLC.

Myoungkuk Park
Myoungkuk Park

Myoungkuk Park, PhD

Myoungkuk Park joins the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics as a research assistant professor. He earned a PhD from Texas A&M, MS from Korea University and BS from Kyungkhee University, each in mechanical engineering.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Park was a principal engineer/senior engineer with Samsung Electronics in Asan, Korea and a research assistant at Texas A&M.

His research interests include multi-robot system control, control of large-scale stochastic process and design of automated material handling.

Yongchao Yang
Yongchao Yang

Yongchao Yang, PhD

Yongchao Yang has joined Michigan Tech’s faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. Yang holds a PhD in structural engineering from Rice University and a B.E. in structural engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology, China.

Before coming to Michigan Tech he was a technical staff member at Argonne National Laboratory and a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Engineering Alumni Activity Spring 2020

Steve Durkee
Steve Durkee

Michigan Tech alumnus Steve Durkee was the subject of the article “Legrand Appoints Steve Durkee to Lead Legrand | AV,” in Mondodr. The story was also covered by AV Network. Steve has been with the company since 2004, joining when it was just Chief Manufacturing. He has held a wide range of leadership roles, most recently as Senior Vice President & General Manager of Commercial AV. Earlier in his career, Steve spent 10 years at Graco in Engineering, Product, Marketing and Sales leadership roles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech and an MBA from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota.

Dhaval Lodaya
Dhaval Lodaya

Michigan Tech alumnus Dhaval Lodaya was featured in the article “SAE International Announces Winners of Second Annual Student and Young Professional Technical Paper Competition,” in Yahoo Finance. Lodaya, Senior Project Engineer, Gamma Technologies LLC, works in system and component level modeling and controls of hybrid electric and electric vehicles. He earned his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Electrified Powertrain Controls from Michigan Tech.

Marty Lagina
Marty Lagina

Michigan Tech alumnus Martin Lagina ’77, was featured in the article “How Marty Lagina achieved a net worth of $100 million,” in Money Inc. Lagina is a reality television personality, engineer and entrepreneur. His most noteworthy work remains to be in the Curse of Oak Island series where he is not only the producer but also one of the people who fund it. Lagina has a BS in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech.

Huaguang Wang
Huaguang Wang

Michigan Tech alumnus Huaguang Wang was featured in the Central New York Business Journal. Wang has joined Indium as a research metallurgist. He is responsible for the research and development of high-reliability, low-temperature solders and bonding materials for use in electronics assembly applications. Wang earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in metallurgical engineering from Central South University and his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Lisa Larsen
Lisa Larsen

Lisa Larsen, a civil engineer with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is spotlighted in a guest blog post of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Her position involves projects related to the construction of public infrastructure in communities that are economically distressed. Larsen holds a BS from Michigan Tech in civil engineering.

Julie Fream
Julie Fream

Michigan Tech alumna Julie Fream ’83, a former member of the University’s Board of Trustees, was quoted in the article “Who is an ‘essential’ employee under order for nonessential workers to stay home?” in Crain’s Detroit Business. Fream holds a BS in chemical engineering. She earned several awards from Michigan Tech, such as the Distinguished Service Award, the Outstanding Service Award, and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Shannon Tait
Shannon Tait

Michigan Tech alumna Shannon Tait was quoted in the article “Building a better future: Three women on why they chose the construction industry,” in Epicenter, Mt. Pleasant. Tait works as the Manager of Commercial Projects for Three Rivers Corporation (TRC) and has been with the company for eight years. She attended Michigan Technological University graduating with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Rick Smith
Rick Smith

Michigan Tech alumnus Rick Smith ’81 was the subject of the article “Canyon Resources strengthens team with appointment of leading bauxite executive,” in Proactive. Smith, a bauxite expert, was named chief development officer of Canyon Resources Ltd. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in geological engineering from Michigan Tech.

Stuart Pann
Stuart Pann

Michigan Tech alumnus Stuart Pann has been named chief executive officer of Bossa Nova, a leading data service provider for global retailers. The store was featured in Benzinga. Pann holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BS in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Darryl Babbitt
Darryl Babbitt

Michigan Tech alumnus Darryl Babbitt ’08, was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Crawford County (Michigan) Road Commission. He has a BS in civil engineering from Michigan Tech. The story was covered in the Crawford County Avalanche.

Jamie Archambeau
Jamie Archambeau

Civil Engineering alumna, Jamie Archambeau ’02, was selected as one of 2020 Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Archambeau is the Director of Transportation Planning West at Atkins.

Jacob Hakkola
Jacob Hakkola

Michigan Tech alumnus Dr. Jacob Hakkola recently joined the vascular and interventional radiology team at UP Health System-Marquette. The story was covered by the Mining Journal. Dr. Hakkola, an Escanaba native, attended college at Michigan Technological University to major in electrical engineering. As an engineer, he worked to develop MRI-compatible pacemakers and was introduced to the field of radiology.

Dan Heldt
Dan Heldt

Michigan Tech alumnus Dan Heldt has been named Chief Financial Officer of LHB in Duluth, Minnesota. The story was covered by Business North. He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Shawn Vij
Shawn Vij

Michigan Tech alumnus Shawn Vij ’05, was featured in the article “Author, Shawn Vij hits ‘rewind’ on Old Bollywood Values,” on Yahoo.com. He holds an MBA from Purdue University, MS in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Vij was featured in the article, “Global Business Leader, Shawn Vij Talks About Conscious Capitalism as a New Movement for India Inc.” in Outlook India.

Jacob Heck
Jacob Heck

Michigan Tech alumnus Jacob Heck ’05 surveying engineering, was listed in Outlook 2020s 40 under 40. The list was featured in the Dec. 31 issue of xyHt.com.


Engineering Staff Recognized for 2019 Making a Difference Awards

Michigan Tech campus from Portage Canale.A total of 48 nominations have been submitted for the 2019 Making a Difference Awards. Everyone is invited to a reception honoring the nominees. The reception is scheduled for 2:00pm to 3:30 pm, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2019 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The recipients for each category will be announced at the reception.

In the College of Engineering, the following staff have been nominated:

Above and Beyond

Carol Asiala – Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Behind the Scenes

Taana Blom – Chemical Engineering
Cindy Wadaga – Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Legacy Award

Owen Mills – Materials Science and Engineering
Alexis Snell – Chemical Engineering

Rookie Award

Rachel Griffin – Materials Science and Engineering
Rachel Store – Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Laura Wiinikka – Chemical Engineering

Serving Others

Pam Hannon – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Katie Torrey – Chemical Engineering

Unsung Hero

Brian Eggart – Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Paul Fraley – Materials Science and Engineering
Shelle Sandell – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mark Sloat – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Stefan Wisniewski – Chemical Engineering


Engineering Supports SnowBots at Yeti Cup

First Tech Challenge logoThe SnowBots Middle School Robotics teams competed in Kingsford last weekend for the Yeti Cup U.P. FIRST Tech Challenge robotic qualifier competition. All three teams were in the finals and brought home awards from the competition. SnowBots teams are open to area sixth-eighth grade students, and meet at Houghton Middle School.

SnowBots teams are sponsored by: Michigan Department of Education, GS Engineering, Destination Unstoppable, Boundary Labs, ThermoAnalytics, IR Telemetrics, Michigan Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department, Monte Consulting, and Houghton Portage Township Schools. The Kingsford event was sponsored in part by Michigan Technological University College of Computing. The Copper Country was also well represented with 18 community volunteers supporting the event.

Read more at the Mining Gazette.

States bound: SnowBots qualify for state championship

The SnowBots Middle School Robotics teams reached a first-ever milestone at the Pellston regional FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier on Nov 23rd. All three teams, identified by the colors Blue, Red, and Silver, have now qualified to compete at the state championship Dec. 13-14 in Battle Creek. SnowBots Blue and Silver qualified on Nov. 9 and the Red team will be joining them after their great performance in Pellston.

Read more at the Mining Gazette.


Pre-Schoolers Learn to Engineer

85 parents and their PreK children from the Miigiziinsag Little Eagles Pre-School, KBIC pre-primary , KBIC early headstart, and BHK pre-school attended the first Family Engineering Fun Night held November 13th, 2019, at KBOCC. A pizza dinner was available at 5:30 pm with hands-on engineering activities from 6:00-7:00 pm. The event was conducted by Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, with help from Michigan Tech students with the Chemical Engineering Honors Society Omega Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society student chapters, and funding from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium and the “For the Wisdom of the Children Grant from the American Indian College Fund.”

Man works at table with two children and another adult looking on.
Matt Friiswall and his children Iziah and Isabel work on designing a scoop to remove trash from the “pond”.

Adults work with students at a table in a crowded event.
Michigan Tech student Hailey Mikolitis (right) assists pre-school students Jarron Colbert and Treyson Tapani, who are testing the strength of two different arch designs.

Three people arrange items on trays at a table.
All the right tools set up.

One adult is showing another a foil project at a table.
Michigan Tech volunteer training.


Engineering Students Attend WE19

Romana Carden
Romana Carden

Mackenzie Brunet
Mackenzie Brunet

Ten members of the Michigan Tech chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) went to the 2019 national conference, WE19, November 7-9, in Anaheim, California. Advisor Gretchen Hein (EF) accompanied the delegation of eight undergraduates and two graduate students.

The WE19 conference was attended by more than 16,000 SWE members, both collegiate and professional, from across the nation, who enjoyed professional development breakout sessions, inspirational keynotes, a career fair, and multiple opportunities for networking.

Romana Carden, a 5th year student in engineering management, participated in the SWE Future Leaders (SWEFL) program. Along with Mackenzie Brunet, Carden went to the SWE Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI), a day-long leadership development event. Both programs, led by female engineers working in industry and academia, help college students gain leadership skills.

Full list of students who attended:


Engineering Students at the Health Research Institute Slam

Research Slam event photo of people in the labThe Health Research Institute hosted its first Research Slam Student forum Nov. 8, 2019. The event was divided into three categories: Two-Minute Introduction, Three-Minute Thesis, and Eight-Minute Talks.

Presenters from the Three-Minute Thesis and Eight-Minute Talk categories were judged on comprehension, content, audience engagement and ability to communicate their work and findings clearly.

The winners are:

Three Minute Thesis

Eight Minute Talk

  • 1st – Ariana Tyo, Biomedical Engineering
  • 2nd – Dhavan Sharma, Biomedical Engineering
  • 3rd – Wenkai Jia, Biomedical Engineering

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all of the presenters for sharing your research with the HRI community. We would also like to give special thanks to our faculty judges: Tatyana Karabencheva-Christova (Chem), Sangyoon Han (BioMed), Samantha Smith (CLS), Jingfeng Jiang (BioMed), Marina Tanasova (Chem), Rupak Rajachar (BioMed), Traci Yu (BioSci), and Shiyue Fang (Chem).