Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering


J. Andrew McAllister
Courtesy of J. Andrew McAllister.

As one of five members on the California Energy Commission, J. Andrew McAllister ’87 is tackling clean-energy issues that could provide a roadmap for national and global policies. Appointed in 2012 to serve on the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency, he is using law, policy, and large-scale investment to push for better energy performance of buildings, decarbonization of the electric grid, and large-scale electrification of the transportation fleet. “I occupy the economist seat at the commission, though truth be told, I draw primarily on my engineering and policy backgrounds to develop creative and effective pathways toward a resilient, low-carbon energy future,” says McAllister from his Sacramento office. He has more than 20 years of experience in energy management, efficiency, and renewable generation. Before joining the commission, he worked at the California Center for Sustainable Energy and with NRECA International Ltd. in the electric sectors of countries in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. “The distributed energy world is upon us and presents huge opportunities for new systems and technologies for efficiency, demand response, energy storage, smart analytics, innovative financing, and clean generation at every scale—all of which make my job consistently exhilarating,” he says.

Jonas Akermark
Photograph courtesy of Jonas Åkermark.

Jonas Åkermark Th’01 has helped develop Seagas, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling vessel in the world. Owned by AGA Gas AB, the leading gas company in northern Europe, Seagas is currently serving the MS Viking Grace, the world’s first LNG-powered passenger vessel, with about 50 tons of LNG every morning when it docks in Stockholm. “So far, Seagas has conducted about 800 fueling operations to the Viking Grace,” says Åkermark, AGA’s LNG sales and business development manager. The Seagas is filled by three LNG trucks per day at its port in Loudden, Sweden, and then travels to Stockholm to meet the Viking Grace for a one-hour ship-to-ship fueling process that is a new way of bunkering fuel. “This extremely fast process is like a maritime Formula 1 pit stop,” says Åkermark. “It’s a unique and customized solution.” (You can watch him explain it.) LNG is natural gas that has been rendered liquid by cooling it to –160° C. This decreases the volume of the gas by a factor of 600, making it a highly energy-efficient way to transport the gas. “Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons that consists of about 90 percent methane,” Åkermark says. “By choosing natural gas to power your fleet at sea or on land, you reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 25 percent and nitrous oxide by about 90 percent, while aerosols and sulfur are reduced by nearly 100 percent.” His greatest challenge in executing the project? “It was the first LNG fueling vessel in the world—thus, nothing to compare with! It was a great engineering development project.” He’s now turning his efforts to developing the LNG market.

Desktop Genetics in Cambridge, England, wants to revolutionize the way that genetic researchers work. To that end, CEO and cofounder Riley Doyle Th’08 has raised $2.15 million to further develop the firm’s DESKGEN genome editing software platform, which allows researchers to design and perform genome editing experiments in virtually any cell line or species. Along with some investment in sales and marketing, this latest cash injection will be used to launch a custom sgRNA library design service for users engaged in functional genomics, target identification, and validation. “To date, the DESKGEN platform has enabled over 4,000 gene editing experiments and assisted thousands of users in designing and accessing the best reagents for their research,” says Doyle.

Last fall Jason Fortier ’94 Th’95, director of research and development at Covidien, and five team members won the 2015 Medtronic Technical Contributor of the Year Award. Medtronic, one of the world’s largest makers of medical devices, purchased surgical supplier Covidien for $42.9 billion. Fortier and his team won a “Rising Technology” award for the Veriset hemostatic patch, which was launched in Europe last year. His wife, Michelle Moore Fortier ’94 Th’95, reported in November that they were about to leave their hometown of Concord, Mass., for  Dubai, “as Jason is training surgeons from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa on how to use the Veriset patch.”

Bruce Curran ’73 Th’82 has been inducted as a fellow in the American College of Radiology. He is an associate professor of radiation oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and chief of radiation oncology physics at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond. His research interests include the application and improvement of computer systems in radiation oncology, including imaging and dose calculation algorithms, and the development of standards for information exchange.

Doug Madory
Photograph courtesy of Doug Madory.

Doug Madory Th’06 is one of the nation’s “most renowned private-sector experts on the structure of the Internet,” according to Business Insider magazine, which profiled him last summer. As the director of Internet analysis at the New Hampshire-based company Dyn, Madory has helped turn the firm into a leading resource for observers, companies, and journalists tracking global Internet traffic. He was a major source in a series on online gambing that The New York Times ran last fall, beginning with the story, “Cash Drops and Keystrokes: The Dark Reality of Sports Betting and Daily Fantasy Games.” In late 2014 he broke news of the Internet outage in North Korea, following President Barack Obama’s statement that Pyongyang had been responsible for the December 2014 cyberattack on Sony. He has mapped out the Iraqi Internet’s dependence on Kurdish providers and assessed the effect of the recent Nepal earthquake on the country’s Internet access. Madory began learning about computer networking while serving in the U.S. Air Force after studying computer engineering at the University of Virginia. Computer networking “is kind of a neat trick,” he told Business Insider. “And Internet-based communication is one of the defining aspects of the present state of human civilization.”


Michael Walsh
Photograph courtesy of Michael Walsh.

Michael R. Walsh ’77 Th’78 ’91, a research mechanical engineer at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, has been promoted to the highest rung on the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) career ladder. During his 29 years at CRREL he has worked in Greenland, Antarctica, and Alaska on diverse projects, including the structural analysis of icecap radar stations, development of a towed snowplow, tunneling at the South Pole, military energetics, and environmental cleanup. As cochair of a research task group within NATO on the characterization, fate, and transport of munitions related contamination, Walsh is recognized in the international community in the field of munitions impacts on military ranges. He is the inventor or coinventor of eight U.S., Swedish, and Canadian patents.

Categories: Alumni News, Spotlights

Tags: alumni, energy, engineering in medicine, environment, patent

comments powered by Disqus