Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2013

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Engineering bridges to change lives

Giving access to isolated communities

'Chasing Ice' features alumnus work

CU engineer's work hits the big screen

Rewiring bugs to make biofuels

DoE grant boosts research

Spring 2013 Class Notes

See what fellow alums have been up to

Engineering bridges to change lives

When we think about bridges, we usually think of automobile traffic on highways. But another kind of bridge is providing isolated communities in the developing world with access to health care, education and economic opportunities.

Footbridges over impassable rivers are the specialty of Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), a nonprofit organization headed for the last five years by CU alumna Avery Bang.

The daughter of a bridge engineer in Iowa, Bang took the lead at the nonprofit B2P after earning her master’s degree in civil engineering at CU-Boulder in 2009. She has grown the organization almost tenfold through her passion and commitment, while teaching a civil engineering course on Cable Supported Pedestrian Bridge Design.

Bang was named one of Engineering News-Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers for 2013. She is the second Engineers Without Borders-CU alum to receive the honor - Evan Thomas was selected in 2009. Both studied under CU Professor Bernard Amadei, founder of EWB-USA and winner of the 2009 ENR Award of Excellence.

>> Read more

'Chasing Ice' features alumnus work

(Photo: James Balog, Extreme Ice Survey)

If this week’s Academy Awards left you with the bug to see some new movies, you might consider adding “Chasing Ice” to your list. The documentary film’s breathtaking landscapes and time-lapse evidence of Earth’s melting ice have gained it critical acclaim. Plus it features the work of CU Engineering’s Adam LeWinter (MechEngr ’06), who has taken his mechanical engineering degree to new extremes by combining his technical expertise with the art of film-making.

National Geographic photographer James Balog, while on assignment for the magazine, envisioned the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), and began using revolutionary time-lapse cameras across three continents to obtain visual evidence of the Earth's melting ice. The result was an award-winning (Sundance Film Festival, 2012) documentary, which opened in theatres this past November.

LeWinter joined the project in 2007. In addition to working on the development and fabrication of the time-lapse custom-made camera equipment, LeWinter managed the expeditions and fieldwork for EIS, working extensively in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Montana, and Nepal.

LeWinter's expertise was used in the 2008 Discovery Channel show "Project Earth," and he was featured in the 2009 NOVA production "Extreme Ice." In 2010 he was offered an opportunity to work as a researcher at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, New Hampshire. LeWinter’s work now focuses on capturing changing landscapes using state-of-the-art LiDAR technology.

>> Learn More and Watch the Trailer

Rewiring bugs to make biofuels

CU engineering professor Ryan Gill wants to turn common bacteria into biofuels. And he just got a big step closer, thanks to a $9.2 million, five-year grant from the Department of Energy.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to take what we have worked on for the past decade to the next level,” says Gill, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering and a fellow of CU’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute.

Gill will collaborate with Rob Knight of chemistry and biochemistry, and NREL and DOE researchers, to rewire a non-pathogenic strain of E. coli using genome engineering technologies to make ethylene and isobutanol, which can be directly converted into biofuels.

The task will not be easy, Gill says. Among the microbe’s more than 4,000 genes, the team is searching for a small set and how it can be manipulated in a combination of on and off states to change the bacteria’s behavior.

>> More info

Featured Donor: Mike McAtee

Mike McAtee credits his CU engineering education for setting him on the path to a great career in the chemical industry. He and his brother, Dan, followed their father’s footsteps in earning chemical engineering degrees at CU-Boulder.

So when Mike was approached for his support of the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, he saw it as an opportunity and talked to his father and brother about creating the McAtee Family Research Lab.

“It’s a way to recognize the contribution the school has made to me and my family, and a way of supporting the next generation,” Mike says.

>> Learn more

Mentors Wanted!

CU’s Engineering Leadership Program continues to grow, and is working to expand its database of mentors who can be matched with ELP students. Interested in mentoring? Visit the ELP mentor page to find out if you’d be a good fit!

Spring 2013 Class Notes

Warren L. Dowler (ChemEngr ’52) is retired and at “82+” years old, reports that he’s feeling great and is still working on several projects. Following a wonderful career developing technologies for the Military and NASA space program at the Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Stanford Research Institute Calaveras Test Site, Warren consults part-time on solid propellant rocket motor current and historic technology. He splits his time between homes in Pahrump, Nevada, and Brookings, Oregon.

John Lund (CivEngr '58, PhD '67) was selected to receive the college’s 2013 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. John is retired from the Oregon Institute of Technology, where he is an emeritus professor of civil engineering and administrator of the Geo-Heat Center. He now does consulting work and was recently in Kenya working in the Rift Valley on a geothermal development project with USAID.

Jim Banwell (ElecEngr/BusStat '64) and his wife are enjoying “semi-retirement” at their home on Mill Creek, near Annapolis, Maryland, and continue to explore the Chesapeake on their power boat. Jim says he enjoys helping clients sell their products and services to the federal government through his company, the Banwell Group, and also designs websites. For the last 20 years, Jim has been board president of a central Maryland non-profit that cares for people with mental illness.

Following 10 years on staff at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and 12 years working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Engineering and Systems, Richard Rumpf (AeroEngr '65, MS '68) is continuing his career as president of Rumpf Associates International, a technology and systems consulting company for the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and private sector.

Marna Whitney (ApMath ’79, MBA ’86) is in her 27th year working for Raytheon Company.  She is currently the software test manager on a project involving 60 engineers.

Kevin Brughelli (CivEngr ’82) is a senior staff engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Mark McHenry (MS ElecEngr '82) is the founder, president and CTO of Shared Spectrum Co., which he founded 10 years ago with the goal of developing a technology that would enable multiple networks and applications to dynamically share a single RF spectrum band.  In 2000, Mark became the first person to file comments at the Federal Communications Commission proposing the shared use of “white spaces” in the television band for broadband Internet access.  His company went on to pioneer dynamic spectrum access technology R&D for the United States Department of Defense.

Astronaut alumnus Steve Swanson (EngrPhys ’83) is headed back to space. Steve was named a crew member on two upcoming consecutive expeditions on the International Space Station. Starting in March 2014, Steve will call the ISS home for six months, serving as a flight engineer on Expedition 39, and then as a station commander on Expedition 40. >> Read more

Mark Lewis (MechEngr ’84) was appointed to serve as a senior advisor of Silver Lake Partners, a technology investing firm. Mark has over 25 years of experience in the technology industry focused primarily in the software and storage technology sectors and holds eight U.S. patents in storage technology. Prior to his new appointment, Mark was a senior executive for EMC, serving in a number of roles that included CTO, chief strategy officer, and chief development officer.

Pamela Drew (Math ’87, MS CompSci ’87, PhD ’91) was appointed president of the Information Systems business area at Exelis, based in Herndon, Virginia. Pam previously was senior vice president of strategic capabilities and technology at TASC, Inc., where she led a team that provided systems engineering and integration, cybersecurity, financial and business analytics, and test and evaluation solutions to address intelligence, defense and federal-civilian customer needs. >> Read more

Rick Mayer (MS AeroEngr '89) provides working information technology support to the Naval Air Command in Maryland.

Scott Warner (ElCompEngr ’89) is serving as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

Herb Morreale (CompSci ’91) was selected to receive the college’s 2013 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. Herb currently is the founder and CEO of 6kites, Inc. and chairman of Topplers, a charitable organization that annually gives the Domino Award to computer science students.

Jim Hansen (AeroEngr ’92, MS ’93) received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Award for his service as research and development lead in the Piracy Attack Risk Surface project. You may remember Jim from his 2011 talk at CU - “Cloudy with a Chance of Pirates” - on using computer modeling and forecasting techniques to prevent piracy off the coast of Somalia. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory - Marine Meteorology Division) >> Read more

David B. Spencer (PhD AeroEngr ’94) has been promoted to the rank of professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

Thomas Miller (ElecEngr ’97) is celebrating the 15th anniversary of his company, Technology Consulting of Boulder, where he works as an engineering consultant. The firm currently contracts with ASE/NREL at the National Wind Technology Center.

Leah Buechley (CompSci MS ’03, PhD ’07) will present “Learning to Love Technology by Making Arts and Crafts” on April 10 as part of the ATLAS Speaker Series at CU-Boulder. Leah is an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab where she directs the High-Low Tech research group and is an expert in electronic textiles.

Tadayoshi Kohno (CompSci '99) was featured on PBS's NOVA scienceNOW in October in an episode that examines whether science can help solve crime. Kohno serves on the CS faculty at the University of Washington. His work includes showing how cars, medical devices and other interconnected gadgets can be hacked. >> Read more

Shreenivas Suvarna (MS ElecEngr ’99) is a senior software engineer at Boeing. He reports utilizing his education in signal processing for mobile development -- both embedded and as an application layer. 

William Glascoe III (MS Telecom '01) is working for Computer Sciences Corp. and the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and is consulting for the Military Health System. William recently finished two short studies for the U.S. Army Medical Command on medical management and civilian provider recruitment.

Todd Bewley (MechEngr '04) continues to work for the U.S. Navy, doing “fun things” at Naval Reactors.

Elliot Goldman (BS/MS MechEngr ’04) was selected as the first winner of the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s new Recent Alumni Award, which he will receive at the Engineering Awards Banquet in April. Elliot currently is a senior engineer at Lockheed Martin - Space Exploration Systems. He also founded the Engineers Without Borders – South Denver Professionals Chapter in 2009 and has remained highly involved with the CU student chapter of EWB, leading a 2011 trip to an orphanage in Rwanda where students undertook an irrigation project.

Anna Birely (CivEngr ’06) completed her PhD in civil engineering with a structural emphasis at the University of Washington in December. She is now working at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.

Chris Bonilha (MechEngr ’06, MS ’09) is lead engineer and OEM programs manager at Creative Power Solutions, a small power generation consulting firm just outside of Phoenix, where he specializes in vibration analysis and manages all OEM contracts. Chris also serves on the Arizona MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Industry Board of Advisors. Chris reports that he and his wife of nearly four years have recently become avid crossfitters and plan to start competing soon.

Andrew Shulman (AeroEngr '06) recently moved from Indianapolis, where he was working as a systems engineer at Raytheon, to Washington, D.C., where he is a strategy consultant for the U.S. Air Force at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Jaime Catchen (AeroEngr ’09) is one of several CU Engineering alumni working on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which successfully landed the rover Curiosity on Mars in August. She was a member of the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) team and conducted stress and off-nominal robustness testing for the EDL flight system. Since Curiosity’s landing, Jamie has been working on verification and validation for the updated flight software that will be loaded on the rover in the near future. She also is a graduate student at the University of Southern California, pursuing a MS in mechanical engineering dynamics and control. Jaime sent us these great photos taken in the MSL Entry Descent and Landing “war room” on Aug. 5, 2012, the night that Curiosity landed on Mars:

This photo was taken just as MSL EDL team member Jody Davis announced "Tango Delta Nominal" on the voice net, indicating that touchdown was nominal from the point of view of the guidance and control system.  This was one of three pieces of information needed to confirm that Curiosity was safely on the surface of Mars.  (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The EDL team cheers as EDL operations lead Allen Chen announces that touchdown is confirmed. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Other CU Engineering alumni on the MSL project include sequencing/operations team members Matt Lenda (BS/MS AeroEngr ’10) and Pauline Hwang (AeroEngr ’00), and MSL project manager Richard Cook (EngrPhys ’87). (Did we miss you? Send us an update and we’ll be sure to include your MSL involvement in the next edition of Class Notes!)

Correction! We regret that we provided incorrect information about Amber’s employment in the previous newsletter. Amber Shoals (ArchEngr '10) lives in Washington, D.C., and joined the college's GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Board this fall. Amber works as a structural engineer at Thornton Tomasetti in Bethesda, Maryland. She recently began a six-month assignment in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she is helping with earthquake relief efforts.

Andrew March (EnvEngr ’10) is a process engineer at Siemens AG in Berlin, Germany, where he works on streamlining product design and manufacturing. He was offered the job after being named a 2012 winner of Germany's Green Talents competition on sustainable development.

Brandon Benjamin (AeroEngr ’11) reports that he was offered a job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He plans to join JPL later this year as a systems engineer in the mission operations group upon completion of his master’s degree at CU-Boulder.

Kellan Downing (MechEngr '11) recently received a commission in the U.S. Navy as an Ensign. He currently is stationed at Naval Reactors in the refueling engineering section. Kellan also is pursuing a master’s degree in nuclear engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

Abhijeet Badrike (MS ElecEngr ’12) is working as a system validation engineer at Intel.

Porter Haskins (BS/MS MechEngr ’12) is an engineer at Orbital Science Corp. in Maricopa, Arizona.

Tell us what's new in your world! We'd love to hear and share your news, accomplishments, and other changes in your life.
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