Tag: Michigan Technological University

Global Campus Grows

Whether it’s been covering new education fellowship partnerships, reporting on Michigan Tech’s collaboration with the MEDC, writing about innovative mass timber research initiatives, researching the gifts of adult learners, welcoming new team members, or rushing to keep up with Global Campus Vice President David Lawrence, this blog writer has had a busy year. And while all these initiatives, and more, have been underway, I’ve also had to keep track of Michigan Tech’s new online courses and programs.

Recent Online Programs at Global Campus

For example, in the last year, the College of Business added the online TechMBA and the Master of Engineering Management. Both are accredited, 10-course programs that, in various ways, leverage your STEM expertise. Whereas the TechMBA provides foundational business skills, the MEM allows students to customize degrees that merge engineering and business. To promote these programs, Dr. Mari Buche, David Lawrence, and his Global Campus team graciously led several online virtual interest sessions, which were all well attended.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

President John F. Kennedy

Furthermore, the College of Engineering met the learning and leadership challenge with its Master of Engineering, a professional terminal degree. This degree allows students to focus on either a HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) track or an engineering track. For the engineering track, learners can combine courses from several disciplines. In fact, the master of engineering is ideal for those collaborating with their employer to develop a program to meet specific on-the-job needs.

More recently, the Department of Applied Computing has also added two new programs to its roster: Public Health Informatics and Foundations in Health Informatics. Both certificates can be stacked to form a master’s degree. Like other HI programs, these prepare students for diverse roles in the data-driven healthcare industry. Guy Hembroff, the Health Informatics director, also ensured that MTU’s CHI students have memberships in HIMSS. HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) is a global society. It enables health information professionals to access resources, enroll in seminars, develop networks, search for jobs, and much more. In other words, it gives MTU’s Health Informatics students an edge.

Global Campus Bridge Courses

Bridge courses are short, intensive, preparatory online courses that help learners acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to enter advanced study. This study might mean an undergraduate program, graduate degree, or graduate certificate. Often, bridge courses are for students who are provisionally accepted into a program.

Linear Algebra: A Bridge Course Offered Through Global Campus
Linear Algebra: A Bridge Course Offered Through Global Campus

For instance, in September of 2022, Teresa Woods, Associate Teaching Professor in Mathematical Sciences and Linear Algebra aficionado, taught our first bridge course: Linear Algebra. Her ten-week, asynchronous online course was aimed at prospective students who needed the LA requirement to enroll in MTU’s Online Master of Science in Applied Statistics program.

Woods’ course covered fundamental linear algebra concepts as used in Applied Statistics. Some of the topics included systems of equations, vectors, matrices, orthogonality, subspaces, and the eigenvalue problem.

To learn more about this course, email Teresa Woods (tmthomps@mtu.edu).

Linear Algebra is once again running for the Fall 2023 semester. And there are still a few seats left. Right now, the proposed start date is Sept. 18, 2023.

Newer Professional Development Opportunities

Fundamental Courses and Bootcamps

Global Campus also had the privilege of working with subject matter experts to promote in-demand professional development courses. Also known as continuing education and career training, these courses allow those in the workforce to hone skills, acquire specialized training, develop leadership abilities, and stay up-to-date on current trends.

Currently, Michigan Tech offers both non-credit and for-credit pd courses.

For example, during the summer of 2023, APS Labs rolled out its short, but rigorous course on Diesel Engine Fundamentals. Despite the turn to EV, this course recognized that diesel engines weren’t going anywhere soon. That is, diesel engines are still in light-duty vehicles, medium and heavy-duty trucks; in commercial vehicles (trains, trucks, buses, barges, and boats); in army vehicles; and in generators.

This course was conveniently available in both online and in-person versions. Its goal was educating those pursuing careers in the automotive industry, commercial vehicles, power generation, or related fields.

A Diesel Engine, which was studied in the APS Labs short course for Global Campus
A Diesel Engine

Also, Kevin Johnson, Assistant Teaching Professor, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering, lent his significant expertise to summer students. He taught an an intense 20-hour in-person hydraulics bootcamp. In his course, students learned about several topics crucial to hydraulics, such as valves, pumps, motors, circuits, and closed-loop hydrostatic systems.

Upcoming Professional Development Courses

Python for Modern GIS

A person working on GIS with Python, one of the courses taught though Global Campus
GIS Workshop

Furthermore, recognizing the need for more Python professionals in the GIS world, Parth Bhatt (Assistant Teaching Professor / Researcher from the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences) is offering a 7-week, asynchronous, online course for Fall 2023.

His Python for Modern GIS and Remote Sensing course will help students learn beginning and immediate-level applications of Python for understanding and writing simple scripts, automating workflows, and solving day-to-day, real-world geoprocessing tasks in the ArcGIS ecosystem and open-source platform.

Dr. Bhatt, a dynamic teaching professor who lives and breathes GIS, is also on deck to develop online for-credit certificates for his department. Stay tuned for more developments.

And, yes, you still have time to register for Bhatt’s course.

Civil Asset Management

As well, the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering has recently added a 3-credit, synchronous online course in Civil Asset Management. This course is taught by Mark Declercq, who brings three decades of valuable, practical civil asset expertise to the classroom. In fact, as Grand Rapids Engineer, Declercq was one of the first experts with boots on the ground during that city’s massive flood event.

Civil Asset Management (CEE 5390) will help students develop long-term plans, as well as the strategic, critical thinking they need to recognize and maintain the value of our all-important civil assets. Declercq also maintains that to develop resilient and affordable solutions and to tackle upcoming sustainability challenges, engineers definitely need Civil Asset Management skills.

Keep Up With Global Campus as We Learn and Grow

In the future, Global Campus plans to offer additional non-credit and for-credit courses and programs. Our goals are advancing the personal development, career goals, and leadership opportunities that come with education. We also recognize the importance of challenging all learners to grow, to think creatively and critically, and to prepare for tomorrow.

We’ll keep you posted as we assist in developing and supporting new programs. For updates, read this blog or follow us on social media.

And remember, regardless of where you are in your educational journey, whether you want to take a course for fun or for your future, it is never too late to start learning.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.

Henry Ford

Civil Asset Management Course Comes to Michigan Tech

Aerial view of the Grand Rapids river as it crested during the flood event.

Five years before the 2018 Houghton Father’s Day Flood presented civil engineers with infrastructure challenges, there was the Grand Rapids Flood Event. This flood, which lasted from April 12 to April 25 2013, affected multiple areas in the city. At that time, the Midwest had been receiving a deluge of rain, with Grand Rapids getting 3.5 inches (89mm) of the wet stuff between April 8 and 15. And upriver, the Comstock Park community received 5.04 inches (128mm). With the latter rainfall, the Comstock Park floodwaters moved from minor to moderate, resulting in the river rising to 13.3 feet (4.1m) by April 13.

Rain continued to fall throughout the city, but on April 19, the tipping point was the 9.1 inches that fell in Grand Rapids, breaking the 109-year record from the flood of 1904-1905. Then, things rapidly grew from bad to worse. On April 21, the Grand River crested at 17.8 feet (5.8 feet above flood level) in Comstock whereas it rose to 21.85 feet (3.85 feet above flood level) in Grand Rapids.

1700 residents were evacuated (1000 from the Plaza Towers alone). Roads were closed. Railroads were impassable. The water in the city core was so high, in fact, that people reported fish swimming by their office floor windows. 429 million gallons of wastewater ended up seeping into the Grand River.

After the flood, the investigations began, not only to determine what went wrong, but also to prepare for future disastrous events.

Experts analyzed the events and identified the city’s risk of flood-prone areas using Geographical Information System modeling. They collected the physical data about the flood protection system assets for contingency planning and resiliency analysis against intense storm events.

Flood waters as seen through an office building window.
Floodwaters as seen through a window in the downtown core of Grand Rapids.

Introducing Mark Declercq

Civil Asset Management expert Declercq.
Civil Asset Management expert, Mark Declercq

One of the leading engineers on the front lines was Grand Rapids City Engineer and Civil Asset Management expert, Mark Declercq, PE and MTU Alum (Bachelor’s and Master’s of Structural Engineering, ’88, ’90).

As City Engineer for Grand Rapids, Declercq was responsible for the enterprise asset management program, capital project delivery, and capital maintenance program for the care of public assets.

These assets included the public transportation systems; water distribution and sanitary collection systems; storm water conveyance systems, pumping stations, retention structures and clean water plants; energy audits on public buildings; and solar array systems design and installation. In other words, he played a major role in Grand Rapids infrastructure.

After the flood, Declercq stepped in to co-lead the Grand River Corridor Strategic and Conceptual Planning for the potential river restoration project and riverbank development. The project, indeed, was a success: the Grand River watershed, low-head dam restoration, and flood protection system were all re-certified by FEMA. This recertification was a crucial part of the update and digitalization of nationwide flood insurance maps.

And this restoration project smartly kept the heart of the city in mind, too. For instance, the impressive amphitheater project in downtown Grand Rapids is a result of that strategic plan. In the 2013 Grand Rapids Flood Event, then, Asset Management was crucial for building resiliency, sustainability, and business continuity. (Fun fact, former MTU professor Dr. Henry Sanford acted watershed hydrology expert for the City of Grand Rapids.)

Sharing His Civil Asset Management Expertise With MTU

Declercq will bring his experience as a City Engineer, his expertise in Asset Management Planning, and his over 33 years in the private and public sectors to Michigan Technological University. In Fall 2023, he is teaching a 3-credit, online Civil Asset Management professional development course for the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering.

Currently, he serves as president of Applied Asset Management Consultants, an entrepreneurial start-up that was launched in 2018.

And his skills and credentials don’t stop there.

Declercq not only holds certifications in Professional Asset Management, LEAN Management, and Emergency Management, but also has memberships in the Institute of Asset Management, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers. Indeed, his resume is loaded with his accomplishments.

The Grand Rapids flood was one of Michigan’s worst natural disasters. It altered how we worked and lived in the downtown area. It served as a catalyst for a shift in the way we conceived land use and the deployment of resources in order to save our city and construct it in the future.

David Lawrence, Vice President for Global Campus and Continuing Education, who was working in the downtown core during the flood event.
A railroad bridge, an example of a civil asset, inundated with water during the Grand Rapids Flood event.
A railroad bridge, an example of a civil asset, inundated with water during the Grand Rapids Flood event.

Building Connections to Tech

Declercq is no stranger to Michigan Tech either. Previously, he collaborated with Dr. Audra Morse to invite CEGE students and faculty to participate in the IAM Great Lakes Branch quarterly meetings. One goal: exposing students to best practices involved with real-world CEGE challenges. Another goal: introducing students to future employers, such as public municipalities, federal and state regulatory agencies, private sector companies, and engineering consultants.

In addition, at the November 2023 IAM Great Lakes meeting, the CEGE will present the Enbridge Line 5 Risk Assessment under the Straits of Mackinac. This presentation will showcase the work and ingenuity of the CEGE Dept and its students.

So it was only natural that Dr. Morse proposed an Adjunct Professor of Practice opportunity so that Declercq could share his expertise on asset management as it applies to civil infrastructure.

Managing Civil Assets

According to Declercq, all infrastructure has value to its organization, customers, and stakeholders. Thus, in civil engineering, Asset Management is the science and practice (coordinated activity) of managing infrastructure systems and civil assets to realize their value and to achieve the highest levels of services for communities. Asset Management, which is cross-functional, involves several disciplines, such as business management, finance, and risk.

The goal is optimizing the life cycle of the civil assets that shape our lives. Below is just a short list of civil assets.

  • Transportation systems (roads, bridges, tunnels, and all assets within the public right-of-way)
  • Long-span bridge systems (Mackinac Bridge)
  • Potable Water distribution systems (watermain pipelines, groundwater pumping systems, buried and elevated tanks, and water treatment facilities)
  • Wastewater collection systems (underground piping, clean water treatment facilities)
  • Storm water conveyance systems
  • River watersheds and dam structures
  • Flood protection systems
  • Landfill operations
  • Natural assets like trail network system, national and state parks, museums
  • Electrical/Natural Gas generation, transmission, and distribution systems
  • Public-use facilities
Historic Fayette State Park on the Garden Peninsula, an example of a civil asset.
Fayette Historic State Park on the Garden Peninsula, Michigan: An example of a civil asset

Interviewing Mark Declercq

To let him speak, I asked Declercq a few questions about his course and the future of civil engineering.

Q. When is the course running? How is it delivered? What content does it cover?

A. The 14-week, for-credit course “Civil Asset Management” (CEE 5390) will first be available in Fall, 2023. It is delivered in a synchronous online format. That is, classes will run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-5:20 pm. Each class will consist of brief instructor-led lectures, followed by student engagement activities. There is also a weekly online laboratory session for applying concepts and working with real-life scenarios.

This course is suitable for all civil engineering students who want to broaden their skills. Civil Asset Management spans a diversity of disciplines including business, finance, risk, supply chain managers, construction managers, facility managers, resource managers, and operational and maintenance managers. CAM, in short, is necessary for the long-term design, maintenance, and sustainability of civil engineering infrastructure and facility asset types in the United States.

The course covers several topics fundamental to Civil Asset Management. Topics include asset data and risk assessment; environmental, social, and governance principles; six working capitals; overview of computerized maintenance systems; sustainability strategies; and funding mechanisms. Central to this course is a rich case study on the 2013 Grand Rapids flood event.

Students will acquire many valuable skills, such as evaluating asset value against cost, risk, and performance in managing the long-term care of civil engineering infrastructure. They will also apply the 10-steps to building an Asset Management Plan. Finally, they will use the A3 Lean Management tool for scenario and business case evaluation.

Q. Why is Civil Asset Management important to civil engineers? What organizations use it?

A. Civil Asset Management is an important and necessary technical and business skill set for today’s civil engineers. That is, civil engineers must learn to be strategic about developing recommendations and formulating decisions. They must be able to optimize the value of asset infrastructure.

This skill set has several societal benefits, too, such as enabling the affordability of and accessibility to basic infrastructure, such as water, wastewater, and multi-modal transportation options. It also equips engineers with the skills to develop strategic plans that incorporate resiliency and sustainability against climate change. And in these plans, engineers learn how to account for disruptors to business continuity.

Most importantly, Asset Management values Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles embraced by many international governments, as well as the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. Also, traditional US civil engineering firms need those with Civil Asset Management expertise to develop plans and frameworks for organizations.

Although early in its journey in the United States, Civil Asset Management has been adopted by several Michigan organizations. These include the Michigan Department of Transportation; the Michigan office of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (E.G.L.E.); and the Michigan Chapters of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Water Environmental Association (MWEA). Asset Management has also been incorporated at the federal level. It is employed by the Department of Defense, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Interior for US Parks, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Q. How does Civil Asset Management help civil engineers prepare for some of the challenges in their fields?

A. Critical thinking is a significant challenge in our civil engineering industry. Or to put it another way, strategy, planning, and the art of “big picture” thinking comprise an undervalued skill set in our industry. This skill set, though, is crucial to both Asset Management and Project Management.

Another challenge for civil engineers is understanding the concept of “value” from the viewpoint of the customer or end user. For example, consider watermain breaks caused by freezing winter temperatures and an unreliable, aged distribution system. The risks are high if the geographical impacts are widespread and felt for a prolonged period of time. Hence, the “value” of the water system in this state is considered less than desirable, especially from users facing affordability challenges with their monthly water rates. Electric outages from recent storm damages throughout Michigan are another example.

Asset Management Planning, then, enables both the strategic thinking and long-term planning to develop scenarios based on data, science, and known risks that improve customer/user outcomes, such as affordable water rates and electrical reliability. Implementing Asset Management’s best practices and tools helps civil engineers do better for their communities and beyond.

Q. Where are those with Civil Asset Management expertise employed?

A. Those with Civil Asset Management experience often begin their careers in a variety of roles: young project engineers, data analysts, engineering technicians, product designers, and project managers. This expertise also opens up opportunities for moving up to positions, such as a CEO, COO, Vice President, or Director of assets and capital project delivery programs.

Additionally, those who have knowledge in managing civil assets might take on the roles of City Managers, City Engineers, Finance Officers, Risk Managers, County Administrative Managers, Water/Sewer/Storm Asset Managers, Public Works/Services Directors, Facility Managers, and other top management and C-, VP-level leadership positions. Furthermore, Civil Asset Management expertise signals an understanding of key business outcomes, a valuable attribute that private and public sectors seek in recruiting leadership talent.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A. My life, both on and off the job has provided me with considerable real-life stories and examples that serve as valuable teaching and mentoring for students. For instance, I love the environment and protecting its value.

I have hiked all the Isle Royale trails, made over a dozen visits to the island. And I have thru-hiked the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail in 2018 over a six-month period, thru-hiked the John Muir Trail in the California High Sierra Mountains in 2022, and hiked the Patagonia W-trek in spring 2023. Next, I plan to thru-hike the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2024.

Civil Asset Management expert Declercq at Baxter Peak.
Declercq finishing another challenging hike on a high note:
at Baxter Peak.
Civil Asset Management expert Declercq at the top of Mount Whitney.
A victorious Declercq at the top of Mount Whitney.

These hiking experiences tell me that we must do more to advocate for and protect our environment, perhaps our most valuable civil asset.

Brian Hannon Joins Global Campus

Brian Hannon

Global Campus is proud to welcome Brian Hannon (‘88), former MTU hockey star and long-time coach, as a part-time member of our team.

Currently Director of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances for the Keweenaw Research Institute, Hannon will be offering his expertise to GC for a few days a week.

Getting His Start at Tech

Born in 1965 in Clinton, NY, Hannon set season and career scoring records at Clinton High School. Michigan Tech quickly noticed his talent, putting Hannon to work as a sponsored student athlete in 1983, where he played hard for the university until 1988.

There were several other successes along the way. For instance, in 1983, he was named to the Lansing State Journal CCHA All-Rookie team and the GLI (Great Lakes Invitational) All-Tournament Team.

And in 1984, he was selected to play for the 1985 United States Junior Team in Helsinki, Finland. He performed extremely well, ending up as the 3rd leading scorer for Team USA.

An 1985 article from the Winter Carnival edition of The Lode praised his skills:

Several young players have made their presence known, too. Freshmen Center John Archibald and sophomores Brian Hannon (right wing), and Don Porter (left wing), have been big scorers both in goals and assists. Their game intensity, team work, and explosive styles promise to give Tech some big victories in the next few years

The Lode

Although an injury forced Hannon out of action in 1985-1986, he returned in full form for the 1986-1987 and 1987-1988 MTU seasons. In these seasons, he scored, respectively, an impressive 37 and then 47 points. During these years, he also had several honors. For instance, he was an Assistant Captain, a WCHA player of the week, and a member of the WCHA all-academic team.

In other words, Hannon was a bonafide star for MTU. In fact, he ended his career as the all-time American-born leading goal scorer in Huskies Hockey History and the tenth highest scorer overall.

Turning Pro

After graduating from Tech, Hannon brought his talents to professional hockey in ten different hockey leagues, primarily playing in Germany from 1990-2001.

Several of these years were spent playing for the Bundesliga/DEL, a German elite hockey league in operation from 1965 to 1994.

In 1988-1989, his team, the Carolina Thunderbirds, won the Kelly Cup in the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League). In that same season, Hannon scored a whopping 67 points.

For many of these teams, he also took on the responsibility of assistant coach.

Hannon Hockey Card from his time with The Frankfurt Lions
Hannon Hockey Card from his time with The Frankfurt Lions

Thereafter, Hannon hung up his professional hockey skates.

But he didn’t take a break for long. Coaching and hockey continued to call him. In 2002-2003, he worked as Head Coach for the Springfield Spirit before bringing his talents a little closer to home as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the Finlandia Lions from 2004 to 2023.

This is just a summary of his career.

So, I asked Brian some questions and let him do the talking.

Remembering His Time at Michigan Tech

What is your favorite memory of playing hockey and being a student at Tech?

There is not just one. I fondly remember my teammates (they were a very diverse group), the Greatest PEP Band in the Land, the fans, the GLI tourney, and the Winter Carnival, of course, which is the best festival on any college Campus!

What was it like being an MTU student back in the 1980s?

I think the biggest difference is that we were on trimesters and on an accelerated  summer track. Now there is a Fall and Spring term with a summer session and the students get out around the end of April. But we stayed until almost the end of May. I totally understand the reasoning for the change and feel that MTU has always evolved with the students’ best interests in mind. Also, we didn’t have today’s technology, so you had to go to class and retain what you were learning by getting your work done and studying hard. We relied a lot more on study groups and projects that were more apt to have group or team concepts.

Making Memories in Germany

So, I noticed you played hockey in Germany for a long time. So many games, too! And goals. Can you speak about your experience of playing hockey in Germany. That is, what was it like? What did you enjoy about it?

I had a great experience and still have great memories about my time in Europe. Truthfully, I decided to go to Germany because I wasn’t good enough to make it to the NHL; I mean, I wasn’t big enough for the style of game played during that generation. (Author’s note: in the 1988-1989 season, Brian Hannon was 5’10” and 180 pounds. In that season, the NHL’s top scorer was not, in fact, Wayne Gretzky, but Mario Lemieux, who stood 6’4″ and weighed in at a whopping 229 pounds.)

However, I was fast-skilled and could definitely score. The bigger ice rink in the European leagues was an advantage for me and my particular skill set, which was more in tune with the European game. Initially, I saw hockey as a vehicle to travel and experience the world before getting back to living a traditional life. But that decision actually turned into a pretty fun, long, and amazing career that I wouldn’t change for anything.

While in Germany, I was able to learn a new language and immerse myself and my family into a different culture. The friendships made there are also lifelong. I still have teammates that come to visit me here. And now that my son, Connor, is playing professionally in Germany (defense), I’ve had the opportunity to reunite with some of those same folks. Most of all, I was lucky enough to play on some great teams and win a few championships, which create bonds that you have for for life.

Learning Life Skills Through Hockey

Hockey has been a significant part of your life. Beyond the physical skills, what else can people learn from/through hockey?

No matter who you talk to, hockey is all about the people. It doesn’t matter if they’re your family, teammates, coaches or fans; the people are the ingredient that make the game so enjoyable, so worth playing.

From the first day I stepped on Michigan Tech campus as a student athlete, I quickly learned that no matter how many goals I scored or how well the team was doing, I was responsible for getting good grades and remaining in good academic standing. I think any current or former MTU student athlete will tell you the same thing. Because of the time you miss away from campus for travel to games, practice time, etc., you really learn to manage your time and prioritize your schedule. It takes a lot of work and planning to achieve your academic and athletic goals.

Obviously a team sport requires teamwork, but it also requires leading by example, committing to excellence, and devising a strategy to reach group goals. Looking back on those championship teams, I remember that everyone was playing for each other. Everyone was sacrificing individual success for the good of the group and invested in each other’s well-being. That’s why we were able to achieve our team goals. We were a family! Beyond these skills, hockey also taught me the importance of being self-disciplined and motivated enough to stick with a process until the end.

Returning to the Upper Peninsula

You were born in New York, spent several years living in Germany, but returned to the UP. What drew you back to the Upper Peninsula?

I would say that I never really left the UP. I would say I put down roots right when I started playing hockey in 1983. And then when I graduated on May 22, 1988 and married my wife, Pam, on June 17, those roots grew deeper. (She was also a Michigan Tech student from Houghton.) And even when I started my Pro Hockey career in September, 1988, I was still here for the summers.

Let me explain. Well, during my playing years, the summer usually begins at the last game of the season. That’s about a 4-month period where we didn’t compete, but we trained. So as a student and as a professional athlete, I would stay up here during the summer and train. Remember that 40 years ago, there weren’t many ice arenas in New York state, especially those with ice during the summer months! But Michigan Tech had ice to skate on and other world-class facilities to use.

Those years were wonderful; I could train with my former Huskies, golf, fish, relax, play baseball, work at the hockey school, visit family and friends. So it was a natural when one summer, I bought some property here. At that moment, we made a decision for our children’s future. Next thing, I am building a house with my father-in-law knowing that one day, when my playing days were over, we would raise our family here.

Sharing His Talents

You just mentioned hockey school. What has been your involvement in Summer Youth Programs at MTU?

I am proud to say that I am currently the longest serving on-ice summer youth hockey instructor in the history of MTU Hockey School. I began coaching at the hockey school after graduating in 1988 (old NCAA rule where we couldn’t coach while being a student) and have worked at least one week during every summer since. That is 33 years. It would have been 35, but one year they put a new compressor system in and there was a pause because of COVID.

I’ve always enjoyed coaching, passing on what I know to the next generation. And the kids are great! I am pleased that several of the youth I coached went on to play college or professional hockey. A great example is Hancock-born Michigan Tech’s former standout Tanner Kero, who is currently with The Texas Stars.

It is delight to see many of my corporate alumni contacts bringing their children to this camp, as well as other other great sports or stem-related summer youth programs offered at MTU.

Forging New Partnerships

Vice President for Global Campus and Continuing Education David Lawrence praised you for having impressive connections with Tech Alumni and with local industry. Can you speak more about these? How do you plan to leverage these for Global Campus?

I’ve had over 40 years of being associated with both the Michigan Tech brand and MTU initiatives. For instance, I was involved with the Youth Engineering and Science (YES) Expo. YES evolved into MTU’s nationally acclaimed Mind Trekkers program.

Overall, in various roles, I have had the great pleasure of meeting, interacting, and partnering with our Michigan Tech Alumni and friends, especially in the corporate world. I’ve also made a lot of connections with industry leaders who have relationships with Tech. As a result, I have quite a bit of experience navigating the cultures of various organizations. I am hoping to leverage my skills and contacts to reach out to both alumni and MTU corporate partners to introduce them to Global Campus.

We’re still growing our online offerings, I know. But I think I am well suited to listen to the needs of organizations and connect them to the best MTU online program, project, professional development, and continuing education. I’m just getting my feet wet learning about all our initiatives, such as our role on the Semiconductor TAT, but I believe I can be of value to the team.

Promoting the KRC and Michigan Tech

Along with Global Campus, I am proud, of course, to be a part of the multidisciplinary, Keweenaw Research Center (KRC), which is the UP’s best secret. This center is active across a broad spectrum of vehicle development. KRC also maintains more than 900 acres of proving grounds, specifically developed for the evaluation of ground vehicle systems. For instance, one of our main partners is the Department of Defense, so there are usually very tight security measures in place. Unfortunately, because of our work with DoD, I can’t say too much about my role at the KRC.

I’d like you all to know that on August 4, 2024, Alumni and interested public will be able to experience this amazing research center. As part of the Alumni Weekend, the KRC will be celebrating its 70th anniversary with its very first open house.

I’ll end by saying that I have been very lucky to have a great mentor in Jay Meldrum, whom I continue to work with. Now the Director of the Grand Traverse Area Initiative, he had a wealth of industry experience long before his career in academia. He instilled in me that if I am involved with a certain project, but there is no synergy for the potential partner, don’t give up. Find a way. That is, find out what they are interested in and reach out to a different campus group, program, or project and make a new connection, forge a new partnership.

Because at the end of the day, we all play for Michigan Tech.