Close-up look at four legacy families

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Hauser family

With multiple CU engineering alumni spanning three generations, the Hauser family’s dedication to the engineering college has been robust and enduring.

The family’s legacy began with Ray Hauser (PhD ChemEngr ’57) and Connie Hauser,  a PhD candidate in civil engineering (Ray and Connie are pictured at left). It also includes Ray’s three brothers, chemical engineers Karl, Rex, and Don; and her father, also a civil engineer. Two of the Hausers’ four children, Beth Kelsic and Dewi Feaver, and two grandchildren, Kristen Feaver and Nathan Feaver, have engineering degrees.

The heritage and commitment to CU runs even deeper when you include daughter Cindy (MA Theatre), her husband Tom (MA Counseling) and grandchildren Eric (math classes as a high school student), Mark (chemical engineering student), and Christine (BS Integrated Physiology)

Hauser co-founded Hauser Laboratories in 1961, which grew into a multi-million dollar research and engineering company. He was director of the Boulder-based successor company, Hauser Chemical Research, Inc. In 2000, he began operating Ray Hauser Expertise and consults in materials engineering and product development and provides expert testimony in court cases. He holds nine patents that have been instrumental in providing clients with unique products covering a broad spectrum of applications, from artificial insemination capsules to dissolving golf tees. He served on the CU Engineering Advisory Council and received a CU Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

Hauser’s wife, Consuelo, was a PhD candidate in civil engineering at CU. She earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Yale University and was the first woman to get an engineering degree from Yale. That was such an anomaly at the time that her degree certificate from Yale has “Mr.” by her name.  She designed some of the Platte River flood prevention area in Denver, worked on missile systems for Martin Marietta, designed sewage and drainage systems in Longmont, and was a partner with her husband at Hauser Laboratories.

In addition to her engineering degree, Beth Kelsic (EngrDes&EconEval, ’78) also has a French literature degree from CU and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue.  She worked at Procter and Gamble in product development. For 27 years she has been in materials engineering at Ball Aerospace where she worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. Beth married a classmate, Gary Kelsic (also EDEE ’78), who also received a master’s in mechanical engineering from Purdue. He manages disk drive programs at Seagate Corp.

Beth has served on two engineering advisory councils—mechanical engineering corporate advisory board and for the BOLD Center.

“The college’s leadership has such great vision,” says Beth, “and is spot-on in getting kids interested in science and to stick with math and science at an early age.”

Dewi Feaver (MechEngr ’93) also works at Ball Aerospace and sometimes collaborates on projects with her sister Beth. Her husband, Tim Feaver is an alumnus of the Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder and is the founder of Porous  Power technologies, a lithium-ion battery company.

Kristen Feaver (ChemBio ’11) has applied to graduate schools, including CU. Her brother, Nathan Feaver, earned a master’s in chemical engineering (2011).

The Hausers’ children established two engineering scholarships to honor their parents. “They are inspiring people,” says Beth, “professionally and personally for us all. We get together often for dinners and games, not to mention all the technical talk!”

Prager family

The Prager family has celebrated three generations of CU-Boulder graduates, starting with Frank C. Prager (ChemEngr ’49); sons Nelson Prager, MD (ChemEngr/BioChem ‘80) and Frank P. Prager (ChemEngr /Engl ’84) pictured at left; and two grandsons, James Prager (ChemEngr ’10, MS ‘11) and Benjamin Miller (EnvEngr ’11).

Frank C. Prager’s daughter, Kristi Prager Miller, graduated from CU with a music and an elementary education degree. Today, six of Frank’s grandchildren are enrolled at the university, although not all are pursuing an engineering degree. All family members have strong ties to the university, whether serving on advisory boards or attending football games.

Frank C. Prager worked for Stearns-Roger Inc. for 37 years helping build much of the energy infrastructure of the west. He looks back with pride on his participation in the development of the oil and gas industry, including a billion-dollar facility in Wyoming. Because their two sons went on to graduate from law school and medical school, Frank and his wife, Virginia, established the Prager Family Scholarship, which benefits graduating engineering students who intend to pursue graduate studies in a professional field other than engineering. Strong advocates for higher education, the Pragers believe that engineering provides an ideal springboard for any career path.

“Dad said we could major in anything we wanted in college as long as it was engineering,” jokes Frank P. Prager, who went on to receive a law degree from Stanford University and is now vice president of environmental policy and services at Xcel Energy in Denver.

Nelson received his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and post-graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a cardiologist and a cardiac electrophysiologist in Denver. James works for Goldman Sachs in the oil and gas industry in Salt Lake City and Benjamin is working on a master’s degree in environmental engineering at CU.

“When my brother and I were at CU, we had to use punch cards to get a computer program to compile data,” says Frank P. Prager. “Now, the kids have more computer capability in their cell phones than we had in the college’s old mainframes. It was a different time, but engineering is engineering. It’s still a great career path.”

Sinton family

There is no single path to becoming an engineer, which is exemplified by the diverse approaches of the Sinton family.

For Will Sinton (ElecEngr ’49), that path started as a youngster growing up on a farm south of Colorado Springs when he became interested in crystal sets and ham radios.  His interest developed when he got a part time job with the telephone company cleaning telephones and working in the storeroom.

Will received a scholarship to attend CU-Boulder where he says he spent “many late nights working on homework with his trusty slide rule.”

After graduating in 1949, Will returned to the telephone company, first as a lineman in the mining towns of southwest Colorado and then as an engineer in Denver. In 1951, he was transferred to Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City where he worked on a telephone signaling system for the U.S. military. In 1953, he returned to Denver to work in the transmission engineering department and in 1960, he attended a communication engineering school at the engineering college, “benefitting from the teaching of many of the same good professors” he had in the 1940s.

In late 1960, Will again moved to New York to work in the transmission engineering division for AT&T. Returning to Denver in late 1963, he spent the next 24 years of his career heading up several types of engineering groups before retiring as division manager in 1984.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have gone as far as I did in my career if I hadn’t had the engineering degree from CU,” he says.

One of Will’s three sons, Ron Sinton, graduated from CU-Boulder. Ron (EngrPhys ’81) received a PhD from Stanford and was a founding member of a solar cell company in California. In 1992, he started his Boulder-based business, Sinton Instruments, making and testing measurement instruments used by universities and institutes worldwide for researching solar cells. The instruments measure the electronic quality of the silicon used to make solar cells.

Ron is proud that in the past four years, Sinton Instruments has hired four CU-Boulder engineering students for summer internships. One student is now in a permanent position there. Ron has been active with the engineering college, serving on the Solar Decathlon advising board and participating with advisory council.

“Engineering physics was the option that left all options open,” says Sinton. “CU had incredible accessibility to professors. You could walk up to them outside class and discuss anything. Their door was always open.”

Schloss family

Three generations of the Schloss family have established a legacy of involvement with the engineering college, helping to shape the future of the school beginning with Charles Schloss (ElecEngr ’18), his son Charles (Chuck) Schloss Jr. (EngrPhys ’52), and his granddaughter Kristy Schloss (CivEngr ’86). 

Kristy’s mother, JoAnn B. Schloss, and sister, Sindi Schloss, have bachelor’s degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1972 and 1977, respectively.

“Having a grandfather and a father who were engineers was critical” to her career choice, says Kristy, “because they exposed me to science and engineering concepts at an early age and encouraged me to pursue an engineering career.”

Their dedication to the college began while they were engineering students and has continued into their careers. Chuck and his father were editors of the engineering college’s magazine. Kristy is the chair of the college’s Engineering Advisory Council. Both Kristy and Chuck are Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award recipients – the first father/daughter pair to receive the honor. (Chuck was present at the 2000 banquet to present his daughter's award; photo at left.)

In addition to his degree in engineering physics, Chuck conducted post-graduate work in astrophysics at CU-Boulder and in orbital mechanics at MIT. He also gained an international reputation as an authority on technologies for the primary treatment of water/wastewater and holds multiple patents.

The family business began in 1918 when Charles started working for the company that would become Schloss & Shubart Inc. In 1984, under Chuck’s leadership, the company became Schloss Engineered Equipment, a company that designs and manufactures environmental treatment equipment, including water, wastewater, hazardous waste, and bulk material handling equipment.

In 1989, Kristy succeeded her father as president of the company, making her the first and still the only woman engineer owned manufacturer in the country in the environmental treatment industry.

She serves on the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee and Rocky Mountain District Export Council, as well as other corporate and non-profit boards.  She previously chaired the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch.

“As an engineer, I see the difference I can make for people all over the world,” says Kristy.  “I am passionate about making a difference in the future of the school and in future generations of engineers.”

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