Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2010

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CU Engineering Assists Haiti Relief Efforts

"Tweak the Tweet" makes an impact

Avatar’s 3-D Technology Traced Back to CU

Movie sensation has CU roots

CU Engineering Assists Haiti Relief Efforts

A new approach to social media called "Tweak the Tweet," conceived of by CU-Boulder graduate student Kate Starbird, has helped Haiti relief efforts by providing standardized syntax for Twitter communications.

The Project EPIC research group in computer science is deploying the technology and getting a great response. “Tweak the Tweet” encourages the consistent use of specially placed keywords, or "hashtags," in Twitter posts to communicate critical information such as location, status, and road conditions.

“Project EPIC has done extensive research on the use of Twitter and other social media during disasters,” said Starbird. “A slight change to current Twitter behavior allows the platform to be used as a broad-reaching crisis communication tool for anyone with access."

The group members re-tweeted hundreds of help messages on Twitter in the standardized syntax to fuel adoption by others and have built a bilingual instructional Web site. For more information about “Tweak the Tweet,” visit the Project EPIC website.

CU Stands With Haiti
CU-Boulder students also are participating in a nationwide university challenge to raise money for Haiti relief. >> Get more information

Student-built CubeSat Set for Launch

A tiny communications satellite designed and built by CU engineering undergraduates has been selected as one of three university research satellites to be launched into orbit in November as part of a NASA space education initiative.

Named “Hermes” after the Greek messenger god, the CU satellite was designed, built, and tested by about 100 students at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium over a period of two-and-a-half years. Called a “CubeSat” because of its shape, it measures roughly four inches on each side, has a volume of about one quart, and weighs about 2.2 pounds.

The goal of the Hermes mission is to improve communications systems in tiny satellites through on-orbit testing of a high data-rate communication system that will allow scientists and engineers to downlink large quantities of information.

"This is great news for the students and for the Colorado Space Grant Consortium," said Director Chris Koehler. "This is a homegrown CU-Boulder satellite and these students have pushed the capabilities of communication systems by integrating them into a very tiny satellite."

>> Learn more

Avatar’s 3-D Technology Traced Back to CU

Advancements in 3-D technology have been the business of CU-Boulder spin-off company ColorLink since 1995. Now, they have caught the attention of the general public with the release of the 3-D movie sensation “Avatar.”

Gary Sharp, who earned his PhD in electrical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1992, is the chief technology officer at ColorLink, the Boulder R&D laboratory bringing continued innovation to Beverly Hills-based RealD, the maker of 3-D technologies for “Avatar” and other current films.

ColorLink was borne out of CU’s Optoelectronics Computing Systems Center, where Sharp and former professor Kristina Johnson partnered on various color display and projection innovations. Johnson has since gone onto other things and is now serving as the U.S. undersecretary of energy.

Meanwhile, Kate Tallman, director of technology transfer for the Boulder campus, says the technology advancements and acquisition of ColorLink by RealD are a source of pride for CU: “I’ll be watching the Oscars to see if Avatar makes a good showing. I’m looking forward to seeing more RealD films in the future powered by CU-Boulder inventions.”

Student-launched Business Marks 30 Years of Success

The year was 1979 and Nathan Thompson was a CU-Boulder sophomore who needed to pay his tuition. So he risked his last $500 to start a tape manufacturing business called Western Automation Laboratories.

Thirty years later, that business is still going strong as Spectra Logic Corp., a privately held Boulder manufacturer of data-backup products, including both tape- and disk-based libraries.

“It is kind of amazing … the degree to which companies have started and died (in the storage industry). We’ve just sort of steadily marched along,” Thompson told the Boulder Daily Camera.

Thompson, who was awarded the college’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 2003, attributes much of the company’s success to its persistent focus on research and development.

Spring 2010 Classnotes

Louise Price Giersch (ChemEngr ’48) is retired and living in Sonora, California. She has become an oil painter and shows her work in several local galleries. Her husband of 61 years, Lauron, passed away in February.

Darryl Gloe (AeroEngr ’64) is retired and living in Mesa, Arizona.

James Renfrow (EngrDesEconEval ’68) is a real estate broker and developer living in Montrose, Colorado.

Art Lawrence (MS CompSci ’75) is retired and living in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Terry Clark (MechEngr ’80) is president and CEO of White Marlin E&P, a new upstream oil and gas company based in Houston. The company is focusing on underdeveloped reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in the continental U.S.

Jim Barton (ElecEngr ’80, MS CompSci ’82) was awarded the IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electroncs Award for inventing the modern digital video recorder, which allows consumers to view television programming on their own schedules. Barton co-founded TiVo Inc. and sets the technical vision for the company.

Cheryl (Reynolds) English (ArchEngr ’81) won the National Electrical Manufacturers Association Kite & Key Award for her service to the organization. She is vice president of market and industry development for Acuity Brands Lighting, a lighting manufacturer based in Conyers, Georgia.

Dann Robinson (MS Telecom ’81) is a senior systems engineer at Jacobs North American Infrastructure.

Jason Kowalik (ElecEngr ’82) is a systems engineer at Agilent Technologies. He lives in Thornton.

Ahmed Abbas Adas (PhD ElecEngr ’82) is a professor at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. He sends his best wishes and says he “will never forget the friendly people of Colorado and the message they are sending to the whole world.”

Tom Curtis (MechEngr ’83) was appointed vice president of the Products Division at Air Methods Corporation in Denver, now taking responsibility for the division’s engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and customer service efforts.

Deb Reishus (MechEngr 83) is a manufacturing process engineer at Zimmer Spine and lives in Eagan, Minnesota.

Hussein Fayez (MS CivEngr ‘84) is executive vice president of Zuhair Fayez Partnership in Saudi Arabia.

David Youtsey (AeroEngr ’87) is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and is stationed in Japan.

Jay Bancroft (CompSci ’88) paddled a canoe down the Amazon River with last year. Since then, he has moved back to the East Coast from California to help family and work on teaching biology.

Helen Jones Zimmerman (MechEngr ’90) is superintendent of engineering and reliability at Tesoro. She lives in Anacortes, Washington.

Chad Seifert (AeroEngr ’90) was named general manager of Chromalloy’s gas turbine engine service and remanufacturing center in Phoenix.

Ron Wisniewski (MS AeroEngr ’90) is a teacher and coach at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona. The rocket-scientist-turned-football-coach was featured in a story in the The Arizona Republic.

Robert Singer (CivEngr ’92) is a senior project manager at Jacobs Engineering and lives in Longmont.

Mike Voorhees (Geog ’90, MS AeroEngr ’93) is CEO of Skylite Aeronautics and lives in Aurora, Colorado.

Jill (Perry) Dalglish (ArchEngr ’94) is president of Dalglish Daylighting in Denver.

Leslie (Frankoski) Morton (MS CivEngr ’94) is a vice president and regional manager in the Psomas Salt Lake City Office. She was recently appointed as a principal of the engineering consulting firm.

Kwanhyung Jo (MS CivEngr '94, PhD '97), a professor at the Chungwoon University in Korea, has been recognized by Marquis & Cambridge Who's Who for his 15 years as an educator in water and wastewater treatment.

Michael Deeds (MS ElecEngr ’96) was promoted to partner at Cardinal Peak LLC, a contract engineering services provider in Lafayette, Colorado, specializing in embedded products. He has been with the company since 2008.

Jiong Ma (PhD ElecEngr ’96) was appointed partner in the New York firm Braemar Energy Ventures, a venture capital fund making early- to mid-stage investments in the energy technology sector. She joined the company in 2007.

Neal Shah (MechEngr ’96) is a finance manager at Intel and lives in Superior.

Michael Lexa (MS ElecEngr ’96) earned his PhD at Rice University in 2009 and is now a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tina Sullivan (MS Telecom ’98) is a business analyst at PMSI and lives in Valrico, Florida.

Kelly Suber (AeroEngr ’02) is a systems engineer at United Launch Alliance. She lives in Denver.

Holly Shelton (MechEngr ’03) earned her MBA at UC Berkeley and is manager of portables product marketing at Apple in San Francisco.

Jennifer Valero (MechEngr ’08) is a mechanical engineer at GE Transportation in Erie, Pennsylvania. She says she is proud to be a CU alum in a company and town where only two CU graduates currently work. “We are elite amongst our co-workers here and people would give anything to have gone to school where we did!” she writes.

Jessica Garcia (ArchEngr ’09, MS CivEngr ’09) is a lighting engineer at Clanton & Associates. She lives in Boulder.

Peter Dao (ElCompEngr ’09) is a systems engineer at the Boeing Company. He lives in Colorado Springs.

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