Career Fair Is All About Prospects

by John Gagnon, promotional writer

The multipurpose room at the SDC was choked with people Tuesday for the fall Career Fair, as students tackled the job of finding a job. Enlivened and expectant, they milled about and stood in line, sometimes long ones, to try to stand out in a crowd and catch the attention of the companies with the opportunities.

Those companies were looking for more than good GPAs and degrees: as well, communication skills, eagerness, hands-on education, research experience, even passion. "Passion is a big part of our culture," said Anthony Komarek, an alumnus in mechanical engineering who works for Polaris in Medina, Minn. "We want people to be passionate about our product."

Amid the buzz of activity Tuesday, there was evidence of a fair amount of confidence in the economy.

Carol Hogsett, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, is a regular at the fall fair. The laboratory had a hiring freeze for a time, but now is hiring again, albeit in a way that she calls "strategic." She was looking to fill 10 student internships. She especially likes students in the computer network and system administration program.

Angela Corbine, of Bucyrus, in South Milwaukee, was looking to fill five full-time engineering positions and nine co-ops at her firm, which makes mining equipment. Its hiring had ebbed but not stalled. "It was down a little bit," she said, "because our customers were nervous. That’s is changing already. Business is really good."

And so are Tech students. Uniformly, the people we talked to said Tech’s reputation in industry is first-rate.

Anthony Corrie was one such champion. He works in the tax and accounting division of Thomson Reuters in Dexter, Mich., and said his division of the firm was looking for five full-time computer programmers and six students for internships. This is the first time since 1996 that the company has participated in a Tech career fair. Corrie, an alumnus, convinced the firm's leadership to return. Several Tech alumni work for the firm in Dexter and are accorded "great respect," Corrie said. One Tech alumnus, he pointed out, is singlehandedly responsible for $30 to $40 million in new annual revenue. "That's how well Tech prepares you," Corrie said. "That’s why I said we had to come back here and get more people like that."

Gordon Erdelean, a 1997 graduate in chemical engineering who works for BASF in Southfield, was recruiting for two or three full-time engineering positions and two or three internships. He said his firm relies heavily on Career Services to find employees--and not just at career fairs. BASF particularly likes Tech's online program for student applications and routinely reviews them and flags the best fits for interviews. He said Tech's career fair is one of only seven that the company visits.

"We’ve been coming a long time," said another regular, Richard Cottrell of Consumers Energy in Jackson. "We come to get the best power engineers that we can. Tech has one of the premier power programs in the region, and we’ve had great success with Michigan Tech engineers. That's why we’re still here." Business has not been good, however, because the cold summer complicated matters for Consumers Energy. No sun, no air-conditioning, no revenue. Nevertheless, the firm is hiring, thanks to the aging baby boomers. "Retirement is coming for them," he said. "We need to hire people, and get them in the system and trained. We can’t make them instant engineers." Consumers Energy is hiring but not as much as in the past. "It'll recover," Cottrell said. "We’ll be back hiring twenty engineers a year."

Meanwhile, students were showing their best side to all of these professionals.

Andrew Heikkinen, a junior in materials science and engineering, was looking for a co-op or an internship. "I’d really like to get something," he said. "I have to learn some more skills." He was buoyed by the Career Services website that said 38 companies were looking for materials engineers. He considers himself a savvy young man who will make a good impression. "I'm a smart kid," he said. "I can talk."

Matthew Alward, a senior in civil engineering from Fenton, Mich., will be gradating in May and is looking for anything in his field. Eventually, he wants to work in alternative energy, but says, "It's not the time to be picky." His approach to this endeavor: "Be myself and rely on Tech's reputation." He's hoping an internship and undergraduate research will give him an edge.

Times are tough for alumna Megan Miller, class of '09, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and hasn't found a job yet. She has been searching to no avail. Her fiancé, a Tech civil engineering graduate, has done more than that--he has sent out 300 applications, with nary an opportunity presenting itself. The twosome traveled all the way from Bozeman, Montana, to attend the fair. They're thinking of coming back to Tech for graduate school. In the meantime, they're doing landscaping work. "We try to pull through," Miller said.

Dawn Hossa, who works in human resources at Waukesha Inc., in Wisconsin, has been coming to the fair for four years. She enjoys the duty. "You get to see the future," she says of the young people poised to make their mark on the working world.

Anna Pearson is part of that future. A junior in biomedical engineering from St Joseph, Mich., she was looking for an internship for next summer. "Anything I can get," she said. "I need a job. I need to get my foot in somewhere." This was her fifth fair. She attends all of them to learn the ropes. She had eight companies on her list to visit yesterday.

"Hopeful?" she is asked.

"You have to be," she said.

* * * * *

Jim Turnquist, under whose watch the career fairs have been the biggest ever, was content with the 155 companies that showed up. There was a point this summer when he worried the number of companies participating wouldn’t break 100. So, the turnout, although markedly down from 295 last year, was better than he anticipated. He senses the beginnings of an economic upturn and more opportunity for students. "It’s going to get better," he said. Traditionally, the fall career fair is bigger than the February event. He suspects the winter fair will be the bigger of the two this academic year.

First Friday University Social

The next First Friday University Social will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2,
at the Par and Grill of the Portage Lake Golf Course. All faculty, staff and graduate students are invited.

Complimentary soda and light snacks will be served and a cash bar will be available.

First Friday University Socials provide a casual setting for members of the campus community to get together informally, share their work and get to know each other. Such informal gatherings often lead to more productive work relationships and an appreciation for diversity.

Employee Self Service is Now Available

Employees can now view and update their life insurance beneficiaries as well as their dependents covered under Michigan Tech’s medical plans through their Employee Self Service (ESS).

You can access ESS at http://www.mtu.edu/facultystaff/ and click on Employee Self Service in the left-hand column.

Employees may change life insurance beneficiaries at any time throughout the year. Changes to employee's covered dependents on medical plans may only be done if there is a status change midyear; otherwise, changes can be made during Michigan Tech's open enrollment period.

For information on what constitutes a status change click here .

Once logged into ESS, follow the links:

Employee Services
Benefit & Deductions
Beneficiaries & Dependents

For more information or help using this new feature, contact the Benefits Office at 487-2517.

Local Alumnus Makes Good

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

A local firm with Michigan Tech roots has secured a $25-million, five-year contract with the US Special Operations Command.

GS Engineering, founded by Glen Simula '80, was awarded the contract recently, and technically, it is an "indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity task order contract to supply systems test support services for US Special Operations Forces (SOF) ground mobility vehicles," according to a news release. A task order is a defined scope of work for one project.

Given the security surrounding the work, much of the information is not for public consumption, but GS Engineering will be doing design and analysis of light military structures, and the terms of the contract are a bit different.

"Indefinite delivery and quantity means they are purchasing man-hours for whatever arises," Simula says. This means GS Engineering must be able to react, retool if necessary and produce results in what can be short notice. They'll have approximately 40 tasks to complete in the five-year period.

Government contracts like this normally run for two years, with two-year options after that. This contract, however, allows GS to look at expansion, both in facilities and people and gives them a solid base in a couple of ways.

"It gets us into the game where, in the future, we can work with General Dynamics, GE, or other big companies, especially as they work with the Army and Air Force," Simula says. "And it gives us stability for this time frame; it's kind of like tenure!"

GS Engineering's work on the contract may involve local subcontractors and one Detroit-based, fairly famous subcontractor: Roush Enterprises, part of NASCAR'S Roush racing family.

"We've subcontracted with them before, and with their help, we really nailed the proposal," Simula says.

GS Engineering grew out of Simula's work with Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). Through his involvement with KRC, he could envision where a small, for-profit entity could have more flexibility in bidding on contract proposals and doing work on state and federal projects.

GS is one of a few companies that have spun off of KRC, and Simula is grateful for that relationship with Tech and one important, current connection: his employees. Nearly all his engineers are Tech grads.

"We wouldn't be here without Tech," he says. "I can't stress that enough. We get asked sometimes why we aren’t in Minneapolis or Detroit, but we have this great university right here in this beautiful area. We can attract the kind of engineers who want to live in the Keweenaw. This is home."

And the MTEC SmartZone helped, too. The business-incubator organization, created by Tech and operating with the aid of the cities of Houghton and Hancock and Finlandia University, leased office space to GS as they began their business.

They've moved from the SmartZone's Powerhouse building downtown to a new building outside of Houghton, and that new building might not be big enough.

"We are talking about expanding next spring," Simula says.

That's the result of a lot of hard work, according to Chief Operating Officer Jim Bottomley. "This was a tremendous effort by a lot of people," he says. "This gives us a good, stable base, and the effect will be felt all over the region. It's going to be a big impact."

That impact could include some work with Tech academic departments such as materials science and engineering, with whom GS Engineering has worked in the past.

Bottomley added that the broad-based project will have them moving in myriad directions, and they really don't know where until they get their tasks. "It's flexible, open-ended and you don't know where you'll end up at the end of the day."

But the engineers at GS Engineering know where they will be: on the shores of the Keweenaw Waterway, solving problems while making their homes here.

Third Annual D80 Conference on Oct. 17

The third annual D80 Conference-- "Go. Learn. Contribute. Repeat."-- will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The keynote speaker is Avery Bang, director of the nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity.

The D80 Conference is a celebration of efforts to solve issues that confront the world's poorest 80 percent. The conference highlights service and research work done by students from Michigan Tech and elsewhere, and are open to anyone interested in international sustainable development work. The public is welcome.

Registration for attendees closes today. To register for this free conference visit http://www.d80.mtu.edu/conference .

Campus Campaign Offers a New Twist

Campus Campaign is underway and this year's program offers a new twist. When you make your annual Campus Campaign commitment, you can do so in tribute to someone. Employees are being given the opportunity to thank someone who has had an impact on their Michigan Tech work experience. The office of development will then send these individuals a note alerting them to this tribute in their honor. In addition, the tributes will appear on the Campus Campaign webpage for others to read.

University employees should have received their information packets on Monday, Sept. 28. Included in this packet is a message from campus campaign chairperson, Linda Ott, along with a gift participation form.

Campus Campaign continues to be a meaningful program for Michigan Tech, having provided more than $2.7 million for University departments and programs since 1977. The main components remain consistent: participation is the focus; designate your gift to the area or program that means the most to you; and choose the method of giving that works best for you--check, credit card or payroll deduction.

To visit the Campus Campaign website click here .

For more information, contact Paula Nutini, director of annual giving, at 487-3609 or pjnutini@mtu.edu .

MSU and Tech Announce Program for Premed Students

Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine and Michigan Tech will formally announce an agreement that provides a link between premedical students at Michigan Tech and MSU’s medical school. The announcement will be at 9 a.m., Friday, Oct. 2, in the Memorial Union Ballroom A1. Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, and Randolph Hillard, associate provost for Human Health Services at MSU, will speak about the assurance program to help keep physicians in the UP.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Jennifer Donovan at 487-4521 or at jdonovan@mtu.edu .

School of Business and Economics Holds Research Seminar Series

School of Business and Economics will hold a research seminar at 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, in the Academic Office Building 101.

SBE Associate Professor Bill Breffle will present his research, "Assessing the Carrying Capacity of the Great Lakes Natural Environment of Western Michigan."

The Michigan Tech research community is invited to attend to learn about current research efforts in the School of Business and Economics.

UP Regional Mathematical Association of America Meeting

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is hosting the UP regional MAA meeting Oct. 2 and 3.

Robert Krasny from the University of Michigan will present at 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, in Fisher 101. His presentation is, "Vortex Sheet Roll-Up: A Problem in Fluid Dynamics Involving Math, Physics, and Computing."

Darin Stephenson from Hope College will present, "Examples in Noncommutative Geometry: Approaches Aimed at Involving Undergraduate Students in Mathematical Research" at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, in Fisher 101.

Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students are welcome.

A schedule is available online, click here .

Seminar on Stratospheric Pollution

Michael Fromm of the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, will present a seminar as part of the EPSSI seminar series at 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 5, in M&M U113. His seminar is titled, "PyroCb vs. VolcanoCb: Stratospheric Pollution Revisited."

To view the abstract of the seminar click here .

MSE Seminar

Associate Professor Qingfeng Ge from Southern Illinois University will speak at the MSE seminar from 3 to 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, in M&M 610. His presentation will be, "Effect of Transition Metals on Hydrogen Interaction in Complex Hydrides."

Giveaways

The Memorial Union has two tables available, both are 5 feet by 2-1/2 feet with wood laminate tops.

Contact Cynthia Hodur at cmhodur@mtu.edu .


The Ford Center has ten heavy-duty fans available.

* The units have 19-inch diameter fans.
* The box size is 24 inches by 24 inches by 48 inches
* 3/4 1 HP 115/230V 1 phase
* 1725 rpm

These would be great exhaust fans for a lab or work area. Contact Kari Price at kalprice@mtu.edu or 524-6181.

University property may only be transferred between departments; it may not be given or sold to individuals.

In the News

An online seminar offered by Career Services to prepare students for this week's Career Fair has been posted on the home page of SlideShare, a web community that shares such presentations by individuals or organizations. SlideShare singled out Tech's program from among thousands.

To view the presentation
Click here .


The annual newsletter of the Rail Transportation Program has been released by Director Pasi Lautala. It was published in the Sept. 24 edition of the Transportation Research Board E-Newsletter.

To read the newsletter click here .

New Funding

Yu Wang (MSE) has received $126,000 from the US Department of Energy for the first year of a potential three-year, $378,000 project, "Domain Microstructures and Mechanisms for Large, Reversible and Anhysteretic Strain Behaviors in Phase Transforming Ferroelectric Materials."

In Print

Mike Lazzari (Biological Sciences) has published two articles, "Developing a Standard Protocol for the Introduction of New Testing Into a Clinical Laboratory," July pp. 389, and "An Example of How Rural Clinical Laboratories Can Introduce HIV Testing Cost Effectively," Oct. pp. 581, in the Journal of American Society for Clinical Pathology.

The publications can be viewed at http://labmed.ascpjournals.org/ .