Chris Crowley Th’75 is a research engineer by vocation and a wildlife photographer by avocation. During his 31 years managing research projects for Hanover-based Creare he also logged 1,000 scuba dives in locations such as Indonesia, the Galápagos Islands, Fiji, and the Caribbean. After earning his M.E. at Thayer, Crowley worked on nuclear reactor safety, gas and oil transport in pipelines, ocean mining, thermodynamic power cycles, and spacecraft system development projects. Recently retired from Creare, he sees connections between engineering and photography. “Wildlife photography is like running an engineering project. You have an objective: to photograph a certain animal or animals. You have to develop a work plan to get the shots. You have a limited budget. And the wildlife ‘clients’ are often only slightly less cooperative than business clients!” His images and articles have been published in magazines, textbooks, and a Nature Conservancy poster.
>> Chris Yule ’70 points to Thayer students’ work as an example of how cars can solve the energy crisis in a recent Boston Globe opinion piece. “Students in Dartmouth’s Thayer School Formula Hybrid program are having a great time building hybrid race cars,” he writes. “Imagine if the torpid design studios in Detroit suddenly came abuzz with exciting futuristic designs that treated the world’s precious hydrocarbons like newspapers or beer cans. They would create exciting new jobs in a field that has worldwide appeal. And maybe, just maybe, we could save the planet while we’re at it.” Yule has been saving the planet one parcel at a time as president of Yule Development Co., a real estate development firm in Newton Center, Mass., that specializes in designing energy-efficient solutions for “distressed” buildings and sites.
>> Veteran Wall Street analyst Brian E. Wong Th’00 is the new director of research at AMI Research, a leading provider of issuer-paid research coverage and independent stock reports. Wong will direct the production of independent analyst research reports for AMI, based in Key Largo, Fla. Wong previously conducted sell-side equity research with Broadpoint Capital and First Albany Capital, where he was a member of the Wall Street Journal’s Top Five Equity Analyst Team in 2002 and 2003. With a background in medical technology and health care, Wong provided investment research reports on companies in the diabetes, orthopedic, neurotechnology, plastics, and general surgery sectors.
>> There’s a hot new install-it-yourself solar water-heating system on the market. Called Hot2O, it’s a lightweight polymer system developed by Freeman Ford ’63, president and CEO of FAFCO, the nation’s oldest and largest solar thermal panel manufacturer. A closed-loop design allows it to serve up hot water even during winter cold. The system is compact enough to be shipped in a small box to homeowners, who can easily add it to their existing water heaters.
>> For years Tom Brady ’66 Th’68, founder of Plastic Technologies Inc., has been at the forefront of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle industry. Now he is developing and commercializing a PET recycling technology to deal with all the empties. The technology, he says, “will have huge implications for reducing waste and decreasing the carbon footprint for PET packaging.” A pilot line is running in Bowling Green, Ohio, with installation of the first production line scheduled for early 2009. Brady plans to license the system worldwide and expects to have 25 operations running within three years — for a total processing of some 200 million pounds of PET annually. “The breakthrough was our patent, which recognizes that reducing particle size allows the decontamination and purification to proceed exponentially faster as a function of particle size,” he says. “One engineering challenge we faced was using a powder instead of a pellet, which is the industry standard. We solved that by agglomerating the powder into a pellet form that dries and heats like a powder but handles like a pellet for shipping and processing. A second engineering challenge was that we no longer melt-filtered the plastic to remove solid contamination. We solved that by demonstrating that when hard contaminants are reduced in size, they no longer present an issue for secondary processing and reuse.”
>> Zoe Courville Th’03, ’07 digs snow — specifically in Antarctica on a recent three-month expedition to drill through two miles of snow to collect atmospheric data from the past 140,000 years. “From the ice core you can actually tell a whole bunch about past climate and temperature,” Courville recently told the New Hampshire Union Leader. The self-proclaimed “snow freak” earned her Thayer Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, doing research on the impact of snow accumulation in Greenland and East Antarctica. Now a research mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, she works with mentor and adjunct Thayer professor Mary Albert Th’84 on the effect of climate change on the polar ice caps.