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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I learned about integrity from my parents, and from my teachers. I do remember a young-age incident, around first or second grade. My older sister and I broke into a locked room in our rented house (Olinbury House in Sussex, England) which held a treasure of books that we wanted to read. We knew we should not enter that room. However, we could see through the keyhole more books, in the very same enchanting series we loved. This was around 1968. Books still ruled the day—and we were already spending 100 percent of our allowance on books to read. So that was the temptation, more books.
In the scullery, we noticed a set of keys that we tried against this locked room. In the bathtub, while reading this book, as my mother could not tear me away from it, somehow the truth came out. Later that evening, I was punished a multiple factor more than I would have been, because of not being truthful about where I had “found” the book. My poor older sister was punished even more than me, “as she should have known better.” She was 9, and I was 7.
I strongly remember another incident, in sixth grade. We were a set of students at different levels, all “learning” math (without actual instruction). I had fallen behind, and so I faked my homework, copying the answers from the back of the book. Mercifully, I was caught by the teacher, checking my work. I found this incident profoundly disturbing, and I remember feeling ashamed of myself. It was then, about age 11, that I fully realized it was my own decision what sort of integrity I would possess, across my life. In that moment, I believe, my character was set.
Fast forward. Throughout this past year, I’ve been in frequent correspondence with one of our engineering alumni. He lives in California and regularly sends me clippings from the LA Times concerning the admissions scandals at USC. While I do understand parents being concerned about their child’s education, I do not understand how a parent would compromise not only their own, but also their child’s integrity, out of a desire to have them be admitted to a university on a basis other than their own merit.
At Michigan Tech—of course, as you know—no one can earn a degree except through their own work. With this comes character. Along with character comes confidence, courage, and conviction in the knowledge that with enough time and resources—you can do pretty much anything.
The picture below is from our Department of Mechanical Engineering’s senior dinner, where soon-to-be-graduates make an obligation to themselves to uphold the standards of the engineering profession, known as The Order of The Engineer.
That evening, in my first year as Dean of Engineering at Michigan Tech, I participated as well:
“As an Engineer, I, Janet Callahan, pledge to practice integrity and fair dealing, tolerance and respect; and to uphold devotion to the standards and the dignity of my profession, conscious always that my skill carries with it the obligation to serve humanity by making the best use of the Earth’s precious wealth. As an Engineer, I shall participate in none but honest enterprises. When needed, my skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public good. In the performance of duty and in fidelity to my profession, I shall give my utmost.”
Now, if you’re interested in taking this oath (if you haven’t already) and you want to know more, please let me know—Callahan@mtu.edu.
Janet Callahan, Dean
College of Engineering
Michigan Tech alumnus Tim Swanson was named CEO of Bettcher Industries. Located in Birmingham, Ohio, the company makes equipment for food processing, foodservice, industrial, medical and other uses. The story was reported in several publications including Crain’s Cleveland Business, the National Provisioner and Benzinga. Swanson earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in operations management both from Michigan Tech.
Lawnbot.biz, a sales and payment platform for outdoor home services, named Michigan Tech alumnus Erik Alburg as the company’s first chief technical officer (CTO). Before joining Lawnbot, Alburg was the product manager and engineering manager at Modustri, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based IOT startup. Prior to Modustri, Alburg was the head of development at Thinaire. He has a BS in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech.
Alumnus Joe Taddeucci has been named Director of Public Works for Utilities for the city of Boulder, Colorado. Taddeucci joined the City of Boulder in 2005 as an engineering project manager and was promoted to Water Resources manager in 2012. Prior to joining the city, he was an engineering consultant for 15 years. Taddeucci holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University.
Michigan Tech electrical engineering alumnus Tim Pozsgai was featured in the story “Medway High School Students Share Stories to Honor Local Veterans,” in the Medway Wicked Local (Massachusetts). Pozsgai grew up in Trenton, Michigan, and enlisted as an electrician. Pozsgai spent four years on active duty in the Navy, deploying to the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. When his enlistment was up, Pozsgai decided not to re-enlist and attended Michigan Technological University where he earned a degree in electrical engineering, supported by the G.I. Bill.
Michigan Tech alumna Lori Lange ’96, has joined the engineering team of the City of Brentwood, Tennessee. She previously was the Construction Director with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Lange graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Civil Engineering degree from Michigan Technological University.
With organizational changes within Lundin Mining, CEE alumna and PCA member Kristen Dolkey-Mariuzza has accepted the position of Vice President – Environment & Social Performance. Kristen is currently employed with Lundin Mining as the Eagle Mine Managing Director. Mariuzza is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University.
Michigan Tech alumnus Shawn Vij ’92, was the subject of the article “Author Shawn Vij Talks About Corporate Success in his upcoming book,” in The Statesman, one of India’s oldest English newspapers. As Vij clearly states, “It is about ‘being’ a conscious business that raises the overall human condition.” It is not about philanthropy, charity, or corporate social responsibility but rather about always being a conscious business. It’s about each of us doing the right thing always. Vij 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 the subject of the article “India’s Moral Fiber in Business,” in International Business Times. As Global Business Leader, Shawn Vij argues in his new book, Moral Fiber – A Practical Guide to Living Our Values, companies that anchor on a higher purpose achieve greater results.
James A. Morrison is part of a team that received the 2019 Best in Small Projects Award by the Design-Build Institute of America at #DBIACON. The project involved the rearmoring of the 9-foot sediment bypass tunnel at Mud Mountain Dam in King County, Washington. Morrison, Vice President of COWI, has a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech.
Doug Parks, a longtime General Motors engineer who oversees its autonomous and electric-vehicle programs, will become the automaker’s global product development and purchasing chief. Parks joined GM as a tooling engineer shortly after graduating from Michigan Technological University in 1984 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. His career included time as chief engineer of the Pontiac Solstice, Chevrolet Cobalt and Chevy Volt. He was promoted to vice president of global product programs under Barra when she was the head of product development.
HDR has hired Thomas Stout to be part of the advanced technologies for surface transportation practice as the inductive pavement leader. This emerging practice uses inductive charging technology to wirelessly charge stationary and in-motion vehicles. “Vehicle electrification and automation go hand-in-hand and present many exciting opportunities,” Stout said. Stout has a doctorate in computer engineering from North Carolina State University and received his master’s and bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University in electrical engineering and computer engineering respectively.
Michigan Tech Alumnus Jung-Hoe Hopgood ’99, was mentioned in the article regarding the Keystone XL hearing in Pierre, South Dakota. Hopgood, a senior engineer with EXP Global Inc. out of Florida, was accepted by the board as an expert witness during Tuesday’s meeting in Pierre. The story appeared in the Daily Republic. Hopgood earned an undergraduate degree in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University before earning a masters degree in business administration from Ohio State University
Michigan Tech alumnus Matt Smorch ’89 has been named president and CEO of CountryMark. Scorch earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and joined CountryMark in 2001. CountryMark is an American-owned oil exploration, production, refining and marketing company. The story appeared in Morning Ag Clips.
Rachael Barlock has received the 2019 Young Professional of the Year Award from the Michigan Section of the American Water Works Association. Barlock has demonstrated her facilitation and leadership skills working with water providers along the Huron-to-Erie Corridor in the update of the drinking water monitoring network. She holds a BS in environmental engineering and an MS in civil engineering from Michigan Tech.
The Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) has found its new chief bridge engineer: longtime Assistant Bridge Engineer Julie Neph. Neph, who has been with the MBA for the majority of her career, will begin her new role on Nov. 3. Neph has been responsible for management of a variety of both in-house and contracted projects for the maintenance of the Mackinac Bridge and facilities. She keeps 4 million motorists safe every year. She and Executive Secretary Kim Nowack represent the MBA as members of the International Cable Supported Bridge Operators Association. Neph joined the MBA after one year in the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Engineering Development Program. She graduated from Michigan Technological University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. Her hometown is Sanford, and she currently lives in Cheboygan with her husband, Dave. They have two sons who are both currently attending college.
Denise Rizzo (ME-EM PhD 2014) was elected fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for 2019. Dr. Rizzo is Senior Research Mechanical Engineer at the U.S. Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), formally U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC)
Michigan Tech alumnus Don Njegovan was featured in the article “Osisko Mining Appoints Mr Don Njegovan as COO,” In Steel Guru. In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Mr Don will have overall responsibility for coordinating the feasibility study for the Windfall Project, organization of the development of mining activities and leadership of the mining team for Osisko. Njegovan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba.
Michigan Tech mechanical engineering alumnus Keith A. Foerster was featured in the article “Lazydays Names Foerster VP of Service Operations,” in RVBusiness. According to a press release, Foerster joins Lazydays from Heraeus Medical Components, where he served as president and general manager of North and Central America Operations and led a team of 800 employees in four operating locations.
Civil Engineering alumnus Brandon Maurisak is one of Mass Transit’s 40 Under 40. Mass Transit Magazine recognizes 40 young individuals each year that are making a name in the public transit industry. Public transit and rail electives were offered as part of the civil engineering degree program at Michigan Tech, which Maurisak credits for exposing him to characteristics of transit modes, route planning and system operations. His early exposure to rail transit and his professional life came full circle when, in 2013, following his recruitment by AECOM, he worked on the design of an extension of the system kick started by the Hiawatha.
Michigan Tech alumnus Jason Markesino was featured in the article “2019 Engineering Leader Under 40: Jason Markesino, 37,” in Control Engineering. Markesino has a BS in Mechanical Engineering with Robotics and Automation Emphasis from Michigan Tech. In 2013, Jason became the lead electrical mentor of Team RUSH, a FIRST Robotics Team.
Michigan Tech alumnus Karl Haapala, ’01, 03 ’08, was featured in the article “OSU Researchers Discuss Sustainability in Additive Manufacturing and New Sustainable Development Methodology,” in AdditiveManufacturing.com. Haapala is an Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University, where he directs the Industrial Sustainability Lab and serves as Assistant Director of the OSU Industrial Assessment Center. He received his BS (2001) and MS (2003) in Mechanical Engineering, and his PhD (2008) in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an NSF IGERT trainee, all from Michigan Technological University.
Michigan Tech electrical engineering alumnus Charles L. Hand ’62 recently authored a guest blog, Circumnavigating Lake Superior, featured on the College of Engineering news website. Now that Chuck has paved the way with his wonderful article, we hope more alumni will want to do the same!
If you are a Michigan Tech engineering alumni, and you’d like to share a story on our news blog, please email your idea and/or article to Kimberly Geiger, outreach coordinator in the College of Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
This past spring Michigan Tech ECE alumnus Sirak Seyoum, an electrical engineer living in San Francisco, took time off his professional position at Cargill to climb Mount Everest. His goal: to become the first Ethiopian to conquer Everest, the highest mountain in the world.
As a young boy, Sirak Seyoum grew up in Gondar, Ethiopia, idolizing sports legends like soccer superstar Pelé and Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila. After discovering his own passion 11 years ago, Seyoum has been climbing mountains pretty much nonstop ever since, some more than once, about 21 in all. (Scroll down to the end of this post to see the full list.)
Seyoum and members of his rope team started their trek from Lukla to Everett Base Camp on April 5th. Their bid for the summit took place 41 days later. Starting at Camp 4 at 9pm on May 15th, the team climbed throughout the night. By 9:54 AM the next morning, Seyoum was just 200-300 meters from the summit of Everest, at 28,210 feet. “I could literally feel the summit and how beautiful it was, but obeyed the order from my Sherpa, telling me to go back down.”
Check out Seyoum’s Everest Power BI chart, to see the live data gathered from his Gen3 satellite device throughout his climb.
Now back home in the Bay Area, Seyoum is already preparing for next year. He’s planning to climb Everest once again, but this time via the north side in Tibet, China—a more challenging and difficult route.
Q: When did you first start to climb mountains?
I began climbing in 2008 while living in Las Vegas, Nevada. It started out with a small hike up a 5,000 ft. mountain after declining a coworker’s repeated invites and then finally accepting. I was hooked right away and spent every weekend hiking and climbing.
Q: Does being an engineer help you as a mountain climber? And how does being a mountain climber help you as an engineer?
Interesting question. Being an engineer helps support part of my mountain climbing with the necessary funds needed to train for such climbs. Being a mountain climber helps me purge thoughts, and sometimes great ideas come to life during my climbs.
Q: This year especially, there were many news reports about overcrowding on Mount Everest. What was your experience, and how might the problem best be solved?
Overcrowding has always been an issue over the years but what makes this year stand out most is the amount of inexperienced climbers and Sherpas. The combination of both together is deadly. This year there were only a few days to plan the summit bid, due to bad weather. Our team went for the summit during the coldest period of the 2019 season which didn’t attract most climbers hence traffic was minimal. The temps were at -40 degrees. The winds were estimated at 35-45 km/hr.
Q: Is descending the mountain harder than climbing up? Is there a greater risk of falling?
Very true. Descending is more challenging because of muscle loss and fatigue due to not having enough calories during the entire climb.
Q: During your bid for the summit, while climbing at night at such a high elevation, how did it feel?
The stars are way closer and the sky seems to be running out of room for them. What’s also incredible is that at Everett Base Camp, during the day when the sun is out, we could hear the melting of the glaciers all around us, sounding like a tropical island with a nearby stream or waterfall. In the evening, melting stops and sounds of avalanche cascade one after another throughout the night. It was incredible.
Q: What was the biggest lesson you learned by attempting Mount Everest?
Never ever stop supplementing your body with electrolytes, water, and energy bars (Ollybars) during and after climbing, especially on the summit bid day.
Q: What was the best part?
The views from Lhotse Face. Reaching Camp 4 with ease and feeling the summit.
Q: What was the biggest challenge?
Lhotse Face. Standing just below Hillary Step, feeling the peak and deciding to turn back around.
Q: You plan to climb next year, via the North side. How will you prepare—mentally, emotionally, physically—for this more difficult route?
Though every step of climbing via the south side was challenging in every way, I have learned a lot about my abilities, and most of all nutrition. My tolerance for high altitude was much higher than I expected, which provides me with a huge boost of mental confidence. The rest will come in line because the hardest part of training is the mental confidence.
Q: Anything more to add?
I would like to recognize and thank my sponsors, Walia and Ollybars. I’d also like to thank Brenda Rudiger, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement at Michigan Tech, for mailing my MTU neck gator and MTU stickers. I have one showing on my mountaineering suit, top left side.
Seyoum’s conquest of some of the most challenging mountains around the world is testament to his level of fitness. Visit Sirak Seyoum’s Facebook page to read posts and watch videos from his climb of Mt. Everest, and learn more about his second attempt.
Last, but not least: While a little anxious, Seyoum’s mother, Dr. Fantaye Mekbeb is his number one fan. Seyoum’s father, Dr. Seyoum Taticheff, passed away in 2011 but was always proud and supportive of his son’s mountain climbing ambitions.
All the mountains (excluding Everest at 8,848 meters) Seyoum has climbed to date:
Mt. Rainier, WA, 4392 meters
Mt. Whitney, CA, 4421 meters
Mt. Shasta, CA, 4321 meters
Mt. Wilson, NV, 2056 meters
Mt. Charleston, NV, 2289 meters
Griffith Peak, NV, 3371 meters
Black Mountain, NV 5092 meters
Bridge Mountain, NV, 6955 meters
Mummy Mountain, NV 2264 meters
Rainbow Wall, Red Rock Canyon, NV
Nevada de Toluca, 4680 meters
Mt. Kalapathar, 5644 meters
Island Peak, 6189 meters
Lobuche East, 6119 meters
Mt. Chopicalqui, 6345 meters
Mt. Pisco5752 meters
Mt. Urus, 5423 meters
Mt. Ishinca, 5530 meters
Mt. Cotopaxi, 5897 meters
Mt. Chimborazo, 6263 meters
Mt. Antisana, 5704 meters
Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering is expanding undergraduate and graduate online course offerings. This will enhance learning opportunities for undergraduate students who are off-campus for an internship or coop experience, and also significantly increase graduate level opportunities for learning new skills.
Lifelong learning and professional development are desired by many employers. Get a leg up on your career advancement or take courses to fulfill continuing education requirements. Learn more about what online programs are currently available and to apply for regular admissions or non-degree seeking graduate student status.
Available online course offerings exist in civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. A sample of courses offered this Fall 2019 include MEEM5650 Advanced Quality Engineering, MEEM5655 Lean Manufacturing, CEE5212 Prestressed Concrete Design, EE5455 Cybersecurity Industrial Control Systems, and MSE5760 Vehicle Battery Cells and Systems.
A series of new graduate certificate offerings are under development, to be launched in 2020, including topics in Manufacturing, Industrial Applications and Practices, and more. These graduate certificates will typically have 9 or 10 credits, and can be “stacked” with each other over time, leading to a master’s degree from Michigan Tech.
Learn more about what online programs are currently available and to apply for regular admissions or non-degree seeking graduate student status.
Questions? Please contact College of Engineering Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Leonard Bohmann.
Karl and Christine (Blood) LaPeer practice their humanitarian efforts at Michigan Tech, funding seven, four-year scholarships—and also around the world. The LaPeers are both 1985 Michigan Tech graduates, Karl with a BSME degree, and Christine with a BSMT degree. Michigan Tech’s Alumni Association will present them with the University’s Humanitarian Award at the upcoming Alumni Reunion on August 2.
The Michigan Tech Humanitarian Award is presented to those alumni and friends who, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution of volunteer leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity.
During his time at Tech, Karl vividly remembers the second day of classes as his most memorable, saying “I met my future bride (now wife of 32 years) on the second day of classes in a calculus class. I would have to say that was the best thing that ever happened to me at Michigan Tech.”
After graduation, Karl joined Fanuc Robotics to design industrial robots for the automotive industry. He returned to his studies, in business this time, at the University of Michigan where he became a Henry Ford Scholar, graduated first in his class, and earned his MBA in 1993. After a few years working in the business world, Karl helped start Peninsula Capital Partners, an investment company, where he works to this day. His diverse background in engineering and business allows him to assess both the financial and operational aspects of an investment opportunity. He is a licensed professional engineer, speaks fluent German, and is a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, a global association of investment professionals. He is also an active member in his church and frequently serves as a lay minister.
Over the course of the last decade Karl and Chris have helped fund one of the largest mission movements in history, and funded ministries ranging from Christian bands to missionaries and evangelists.
Between 2013 and 2014, the LaPeers and their children, working through the Angel House initiative, funded the building of three Angel House Orphanages (25 children each) and two freshwater wells in India. Angel House is a focused rescue initiative for abandoned orphans and trafficking victims throughout India and Southeast Asia. In May 2013 Karl, Chris, and their daughter, Elayna, dedicated an orphanage. In December 2013 their daughter, Heather, dedicated an orphanage and village well; in December of 2014 their son, Nate, dedicated another orphanage and village well.
The LaPeers served as part of the 1Nation1Day (1N1D) 2015 mission outreach in the Dominican Republic as part of a team of over 2,000 foreign aid workers providing pairs of shoes to children, distributing meals, training business leaders, and providing clean water. During this time Chris also worked in medical clinics around the country treating patients for free, while Karl and their daughter Elayna led the campaign’s University Forum program where 5,600 university students were empowered in 38 forums led by 33 business leaders from around the world.
In Nicaragua in 2017 (1N1D) Karl and Chris were part of a team of 2,800 foreign aid workers in which 8,941 people were treated for free at eight medical clinics, 270,000 meals were distributed, 438 small homes were built, 1,220 business leaders were trained, 16,000 people were provided with clean water, over 100,000 primary school students were given hope in school assemblies, 6,111 women were empowered at conferences, and 3,600 attended pastor conferences. Karl and Chris also headed the 1Nation1Day team in the department (state) of Boaco.
Most recently, the LaPeers traveled to Peru for 1N1D Un Solo Peru 2019, joining the team in Tarapoto, in the Amazon Region of Peru. They co-led the state, working with the 150 foreign missionaries. Chris ran a medical clinic with over 30 medical professionals that treated, at no cost, nearly 1,500 patients in five days. Karl gave lectures at universities, spoke at leadership and business conferences, churches, press conferences, and also gave media interviews.
Their son, Nate (25), daughter-in-law Elizabeth (25), and two daughters, Heather (29) and Elayna (12) also made the trip. “They spent the week in the schools, helping kids understand that they are special and uniquely designed to make a difference in the world by a personal God,” says Karl. “Along with our coworkers, we helped fund two clean-water projects, as well—one in Tarapoto and one in Cusco—that are now providing clean, safe water to people who have never had a drink of safe water in their lives.”
Their goal now, as a family, says Karl, is to “dig deeper to reach more people with a message of hope, purpose, and eternity—not just on foreign mission trips, but each day where we live and work,” says Karl.
The LaPeers are already planning future trips. First, a return trip to India to visit the four orphanages and two water projects they dedicated five years ago. Next summer a trip to Los Angeles, California to join with 20,000 missionaries from around the world. “We’re also being tugged back to Tarapoto, in Peru, to do some follow-up work with business leaders, university students, and churches—and there is an invitation to visit both Cambodia and Pakistan with organizations we know.” Adds Karl: “We can’t see how we can do it all, but we’ll see.”
Engineering alumni will be among those recognized at the Alumni Reunion Awards Dinner on campus August 2, 2019.
Outstanding Young Alumni
Distinguished in their careers before the age of 35; achieved a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated
- Andrew H. Baker ’11 and ’14 Materials Science and Engineering
- Amberlee Haselhuhn ’11 and ’16 Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering
Significant contributions to the success of the Board of Directors and/or the University
- Lou Anne ’81 and Fred ’81 Koerschner Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Outstanding contributions in both their careers and to Michigan Tech
- Iver Anderson ’75 Metallurgical Engineering
Volunteer leadership or service that has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their Alma Mater
- Christine ’85 and Karl ’85 LaPeer Medical Technology, Mechanical Engineering
The Portage Lake Bridge, or more commonly known as the Lift Bridge, was designated in May, 2019 as an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Michigan State Historic Civil Engineering Landmark of the Year. Built in 1959, the bridge provides a key role in connecting the Keweenaw’s local industries to the nation, and uses a first-of-its-kind intermediate lift span position. It also was an early example of accelerated bridge construction.
The Lift Bridge is a double-deck vertical lift bridge—the only one of its type in Michigan and uncommon nationwide. While the lower deck was originally used by trains; these days, snowmobiles roar through the lower deck in winter. This riveted steel bridge was built to support the Keweenaw’s copper mining and logging industries and to serve the nation’s need for copper and timber. So you might say, it’s built to carry heavy loads!
I was invited one recent Friday to meet one of our civil engineering alumni from the class of ‘66, Donald R. Anderson. He was docked in Hancock, just east of the Lift Bridge, traveling with his son, up from Grand Haven. They were in town waiting for the extended family, to arrive and spend a few weeks together on the boat as they worked their way through the Apostle Islands area. We were chatting, taking a look at the engines, and enjoying some local cider when BAM! A very loud boom sounded from the Lift Bridge. We all turned to watch as a tandem trailer loaded with trailers pulled to a halt. Over the next hour, inspections of the rig, and bridge seemed to happen while we looked up from below with high-tech binoculars and speculated about the impact. We figured that being in tandem, one of the trailers rocked up just as the truck pulled through and snagged that edge a bit. The truck eventually pulled down and around and took time to do a safety check just behind the marina.
On my way home, pedaling across the bridge I stopped and took a few images. You can see how there is a bit of battered metal at the leading edge on the Houghton side. No easy way to tell what marks are new or old from down on the ground (and I am a metallurgist). My assessment—that bridge was built to last. I bet it will still be in use for its 100th anniversary. They build things to last up here in the Keweenaw. And remember your metallurgy: steel can plastically deform and even strengthen as a result of the increased number of dislocations.
Dr. Tess Ahlborn, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University, working with two recent civil engineering masters of science graduates Emma Beachy and Michael Prast, submitted the application of Lift Bridge for Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Award at both the state and national levels. While Lift Bridge has now won the state ASCE Landmark of the Year award, the jury’s still out on the national level award. You can read more about the Lift Bridge here.
Thank you Tess, Emma and Michael, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for the 300 pages of historical content that supported the nomination.