Unmanned aircraft systems developed at CU-Boulder have flown a wide variety of science missions around the world, from monitoring seal populations in the Arctic, to intercepting storm cells associated with tornadoes in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, to measuring holes in Antarctic sea ice associated with offshore winds.
Now, the university’s Research and Education Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) is leading a coalition of state and industry leaders to vie for one of six unmanned aircraft test sites slated to be established by the FAA across the United States. The final site selections are expected to be announced in December.
RECUV professor Brian Argrow of aerospace engineering sciences says an FAA site in Colorado will facilitate further development, testing and deployment of unmanned aircraft systems because of the state’s diverse geography, its robust aerospace industry, and CU’s strong engineering undergraduate and graduate programs.
He also notes the long-standing track record of CU engineers working with the FAA to support the operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace.
A Boulder-based software company started by CU alumnus Ryan Martens recently went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading under the ticker symbol “RALY,” Rally Software Development Corp. debuted its initial public stock offering on April 12 with 6,900,000 shares of common stock priced at $14 per share.
"I founded Rally to change the software industry and hopefully the entire systems engineering profession," said Martens. "I saw the expense, pain and waste in the large, linear and typically late waterfall engineering approach. My goal was to figure out how to scale Agile methods to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, impact and happiness of our industry."
Martens, who earned a BS in civil engineering from CU in 1988, founded the company in 2002. Specializing in cloud-based solutions for “agile” development, Rally has since grown to about 380 employees, with offices in Boulder, Denver, and six other cities around the world. Six CU alumni serve on the company’s management team, including three engineering grads: Executive Vice President of Marketing Richard Leavitt (ElecEngr ‘88), Chief Technologist Zach Nies (CompSci ’95), and Martens, who currently serves as Chief Technology Officer.
"The company has grown on a steady path from one employee in 2002 to nearly 400 today. We have gone from a raw startup to a public company," added Martens. "Almost nothing has changed, including the strength of our leadership, our vision and our core values. We are just bigger and spread around the globe now."
Both Martens and Nies remain involved with the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Martens is working with the Engineering Management Program to shepherd an emerging Citizen Engineering club and is also connected with the Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities, while Nies has maintained ties with the Department of Computer Science.
“Rally's success is something that CU should be very proud of,” says Ken Anderson, associate chair of CU’s Department of Computer Science. “Rally has been a longtime employer of our graduates, has donated software for use by our senior projects class and our research groups, and also provides paid internships to our students.”
The college’s innovative GoldShirt Program, which offers an extra, performance-enhancing year for talented and motivated students whose academic preparation falls a bit short of standard admission requirements, is being replicated as a model program for expanding access to the field of engineering.
The GoldShirt name comes from the practice of redshirting athletes to give them an additional year of preparation, with gold denoting the high value of one day achieving a more diverse engineering workforce, says Associate Dean Jacquelyn Sullivan, who launched the program in 2009 with support from the National Science Foundation, CU-Boulder campus, and some generous alumni.
Program director Tanya Ennis says GoldShirt has welcomed 107 students in its first four years, and brought diversity to the student body while achieving retention rates comparable to those of other CU engineering students. The first GoldShirt graduate is expected to complete her degree in December, a semester early, while achieving summa cum laude honors.
The University of Washington and Washington State University recently announced new academic redshirting programs in engineering, giving a nod to CU-Boulder’s success.
Can you spare 15-30 minutes to help the college? Sign up to call five first-year students this summer and help affirm their plans to become CU engineers this fall. Share your experiences, answer questions, and help the college reduce the “summer melt” of our incoming first-year class. Willing to help? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-492-7190 and we’ll provide student contact info and a script to help you get started.
The latest edition of CU Engineering was sent out this spring, including faculty and program profiles, news about upcoming college initiatives, and more ... and it's available online, too! Click here to read the 2013 edition, hot off the press.
Didn’t get your copy in the mail? Take a moment to update your contact information to make sure we have your current address. While you're at it, be sure to share any recent developments in your life and career - we'd love to use them in an upcoming edition of this alumni newsletter!
John Brennand (MechEngr/ElEngr ’57) is currently retired and living in Santa Barbara, California.
Norman Fast (CivEngr ’61) reports “a civil engineer's job is never done.” As a civil/structural engineer, he worked on many projects as a designer, project engineer, professional engineer, project manager, and construction manager. Now retired, he and his wife, Barbara, frequently travel between their homes in Colorado Springs and Point Arena, California., where he is pursuing his interest in rehabbing, restoring, and maintaining a historic reinforced concrete lighthouse.
Frederick Gluck (ApMath ’67) has been teaching for the CU Science Discovery program in Boulder since 1997. He also serves as a member of the CU Parent Council, which functions as a steering committee for the CU Parents Association. His daughter Larissa graduated in 2010 with degrees in Spanish and film.
Stephen C. Fearn (MechEngr/Bus ’68) is currently the owner/principal engineer at Fearn Engineering Services in Silverton, Colorado. He is active in the re-establishment of a viable metal mining industry in Southwestern Colorado, preservation of historical structures, and environmental remediation of abandoned mine sites. He is also engaged in the conservation, development, and use of Colorado’s water resources as a board member of the Southwestern Water Conservation District and the Colorado Water Congress.
Harlan Bengtson (PhD ChemEngr’71) is retired and currently active in preparing and marketing low-cost, easy-to-use spreadsheets for engineering calculations through www.EngineeringExcelSpreadsheets.com.
Brian W. MacArthur (ChemEngr ’72) continues to work in Seattle, at the Chemithon Corp., where he has been for more than three decades since completing his PhD at the University of Washington in 1977.
Michael Van Portfliet (AeroEngr ’73) retired in April after 34 years with Lockheed Martin and 40 years total in the aerospace industry.
William A. Turnipseed (MechEngr/ Bus ’79) is currently the director of Proposal Engineering at SNC-Lavalin Constructors Inc., in Seattle.
Mark Tysdal (MechEngr ’81) is working toward a senior fellowship position at ConAgra Foods as a packaging subject matter expert. He lives in Omaha, with his two children, who he hopes are future CU engineers!
Alan F. Willenbrock (ChemEngr/ Bus ’83), CFA is a portfolio manager, vice president, and financial advisor in Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management office in Tucson. He was named to the firm’s Pacesetter’s Club for 2012 and 2013, a global recognition program for financial advisors who, within their first five years, demonstrate the highest professional standards and first-class client service.
After practicing mechanical engineering in the fields of robotics and industrial automation for seven years, Doug Limbach (MechEngr ’84) is now a patent attorney representing early stage companies, entrepreneurs, and investors, predominantly working with medical device startups. Three years ago he became a partner at Shay Glenn LLP. He lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and two kids.
Mohamed El-Sayed Ali (MS MechEngr’84, PhD ’88) is a professor at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and recently won the King Saud University Gold Medal and appreciation certificate for inventing and discovering a new insulating material. He also received a Gold Medal from the 40th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions in 2012 for “manufacturing a new natural insulating material extracted from a plant that grows in Saudi Arabia.”
William Beaber (ChemEngr ’90) is a successful orthodontist and owner of Beaber Family Orthodontics. He has practices in Westminster and Highlands Ranch and recently opened his third practice location in Parker, Colorado.
Brian Cooper (MS CompSci ’93) was recruited to Hazen Research in 2007 to start a biotechnology research group. Today his group staffs more than 20 engineers, chemists and technicians working on everything from waste-to-energy to biohydrometallurgy.
After working as an engineer for four years, Dan Gryboski (MS MechEngr ’95) changed careers and for the past 11 years has taught courses at the high school and college level. He currently works for StraighterLine, where he is a math teacher and subject matter expert. He recently married a fellow CU alum. They have three children and say life is good!
Thomas W. Miller (ElEngr ’97) is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Technology Consulting of Boulder. Thomas founded the company, where he continues to work as an engineering consultant, currently contracting to ASE/NREL at the National Wind Technology Center.
Heather Doty (BS/MS CivEngr/ BA Mus ’01, MBA ’10) was elected to serve as the Society of Women Engineers’ deputy director of regions for the 2013-14 fiscal year. She works as a structural engineer at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder.
Sam Mukdadi (PhD MechEngr ’02), former student of Professor Emeritus Subhendu Datta, is now an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University, where he recently received tenure.
Kenneth J Clifford, P.E. (ArchEngr ’03) joined the Civil Department at JVA, Inc. as a project manager in the company’s Boulder office.
Since graduating from CU-Boulder, Scott Greenberg (CompSci ’04) completed medical school at the University of Colorado and subsequently completed his residency in internal medicine at Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He is currently doing a cardiology fellowship at the Texas Heart Institute and plans to pursue a career in either electrophysiologic cardiology or interventional cardiology.
Joey Padden (MechEngr ’04) has transitioned to the electrical engineering field and is currently working as an architect at Cable Television Laboratories in Louisville, Colorado. He is nearing completion of his MS in electrical engineering from CU, and praises the university for its high quality professors, ethics, and rigor, saying his degree has allowed him to be very flexible within his career.
Simone Nicolo (BS/MS CompSci ’05) took a new position in January at Autodesk, where he works in 3-D printing software. He previously spent about five years working for Google SketchUp and two years at Microsoft on the Windows Firewall team. Nicolo and his wife Jennifer live in Boulder with their two kids, Laura and Leo.
Sammit Adhya (BS/MS ElCompEngr ’06) plans to begin graduate studies toward an MBA this fall at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Laurel Larsen (PhD CivEngr ’08) is now a faculty member at the University of California Berkeley. She was recently awarded the Kohout Early Career Award by the Geological Society of America for "outstanding achievement in contributing to the hydrogeologic profession through original research and service, and for the demonstrated potential for continued [career] excellence."
Mohammed Alteraiki (MechEngr ’09) works for Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco. Following roles in procurement and logistics, he currently works as a project engineer in one of the refineries in Saudi Arabia. He reports being one of three CU engineering graduates on this project, about which he says, “GO BUFFS!”
Kevin McCoy (MechEngr '09) is currently an associate in the Orange County office of Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear in Irvine, California. Knobbe Martens is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the country. McCoy’s practice focuses on patent prosecution and client practice in various industries including the medical device and automotive fields.
Jessica Strohmann (PhD MechEngr ’09) works as a R&D staff engineer at Sonitus Medical, a late-stage start-up company in San Mateo, California. She and her husband, Calvin, welcomed a new daughter, Daniella Strohmann, in December 2012.
Michael Polmear (ChBioEngr ’11) is looking forward to graduating from Tufts University with an MS in biomedical engineering. He plans to continue to work at McLean Hospital while he applies to medical school. Polmear says he and his wife, Stephanie, are enjoying the Boston area and looking forward to the next adventure.
Matt Zolnick (MechEngr ’11) landed his first engineering job since graduating in 2011 and has been working for six months as a standards engineer at the Hydraulic Institute in Parsippany, NJ. The institute is the largest association of pump manufacturers in North America. He is part of a technical team that reviews and aids in the creation of worldwide pump standards.
Kristy Kehr (MechEngr ’12) works at Raytheon where she tests satellite software. Since starting with the company in February, Kehr has received a team award and several company “Spot” awards.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jake O’Neal (ElEngr ’12) and drummer Max Grossman are nearing one year playing together as indie rock band Summa. The duo is readying an EP and has been playing gigs around Boulder and Denver, including a recent concert at The Sink. O’Neal was recently featured in a Q&A with the Colorado Daily.
Chris Oshman (PhD MechEngr ’12) will be participating in the 2013 Las Alamos National Laboratory Science of Signatures Advanced Studies Scholars Program. The program is a professional development opportunity for advanced PhD students and post doctorates interested in learning skills needed for research program development at national laboratories and in academia.
Lucas Portelli (PhD ElecEngr ’12) recently patented a solution to address varying magnetic fields in biological incubators, which was featured in a recent CU news story.
Tell us what's new in your world! We'd love to hear and share your news, accomplishments, and other changes in your life.
After some late snows in the spring, Boulder presented a beautiful, green backdrop for CU’s May commencement ceremonies. The College of Engineering and Applied Science proudly recognized approximately 948 graduates, including 480 BS, 77 BS/MS, 297 MS, and 94 PhD degrees. The addition of the Class of 2013 brings our CU Engineering alumni community to more than 40,000 members worldwide!
With such an extensive network, alumni often ask how to get the word out to fellow Engineering Buffs and new grads about a job or internship opportunity at their companies. The best way to do this is to post your position on the free Career Buffs database available for CU student and alumni job seekers, and to work with our Career Services office to schedule campus recruiting visits. The CU Engineering Alumni LinkedIn group, nearing 2,000 members, is also a great place to share your openings. I encourage you to use these channels to support fellow alumni and attract talented CU hires!
Rachel Killam of CU’s Career Services says our new grads fare very well when it comes to job opportunities, with many companies eager to hire newly-minted CU engineers. In the past three years, more than 7,000 engineering jobs were posted on the Career Buffs job and internship database and, according to the college’s Summer 2012 Alumni Survey, only 2 percent of respondents were job searching 3-5 years after graduation. The rest were employed, pursuing higher education, enlisted in the military, or engaged in other pursuits.
“What I have seen over and over as a career counselor is that engineering students who exemplify particular characteristics find jobs no matter what the economy is doing,” Killam says, pointing at self-awareness, internship experience, involvement in student societies and projects, flexibility, and willingness to network as qualities that make CU engineers desirable.
Whether you are a new grad or seasoned alum, I wish you a wonderful summer and invite you to stay connected with the college and one another.
Warm regards (and GO BUFFS!)
Director of Alumni Relations
Mark your calendar for upcoming CU Engineering alumni events!
Visit our events page for details and more listings.
The college is expecting its largest incoming class ever this fall, with around 800 new students expected to enroll. These students are our most qualified to date, with the highest ACT scores and high school GPAs in college history. The incoming class also set the record for the highest number of women at 28 percent!
Keep up with the latest news about the college by reading the 2013 issue of CUEngineering magazine online.