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


Mike Collins
Mike Collins ’86

Forbes magazine recently featured Mike Collins ’86, founder and CEO of The Big Idea Group, a New Hampshire-based company that helps inventors come up with the right idea at the right time for the right market. Sometimes Collins pays inventors an advance and a royalty, then turns their ideas into products he sells. Alternatively, he may license an idea directly to a manufacturer or a retailer, then split advances and royalties equally with the inventor. Collins’ seven-person company also spearheads “idea hunts,” challenging inventors to work on specific projects. “Ultimately, I’d like to have inventors anywhere in the world have a place to take their invention and get a good audience to review it,” Collins told Forbes. Big Idea recently signed licenses for Game Time, an electronic timing device that gives video-game players a daily or weekly time allowance. The company is currently trawling for ideas for bike and power sports accessories.

Mike Adams
Mike Adams ’83

>> Mike Adams ’83, president of Bechtel Civil, an aviation, rail and infrastructure business, is working to make London’s famed subway system a smoother ride for commuters and sightseers. Adams oversees the Bechtel-led team that is designing and building several billion dollars worth of upgrades to the Jubilee, Picadilly, and Northern Lines of the 140-year-old Underground. Adams described the project, which began two years ago, as one of the most complex improvement programs in the world. To minimize disruption to passengers, crews can only work when trains stop running between 1 and 5 a.m. “Already, people are starting to see cleaner stations and trains,” said Adams. “And the new signaling system will shorten journey times and allow trains to run more frequently.”

Burt Keirstead ’76, Th’82
Burt Keirstead ’76, Th’82

>> Burt Keirstead ’76, Th’82 leads efforts at BAE Systems to support the Department of Homeland Security’s initiative to protect commercial airliners from missiles. The BAE team was selected last August to build and test prototypes for anti-missile systems to defend U.S. commercial planes against shoulder-fired rockets. The missiles have been increasingly regarded as a serious threat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As missile defense program manager for BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H., Keirstead is heading a team that is developing a system that will fit into the belly of a jet. He predicts that missile protection systems will be installed on airliners during the next five to 10 years. “I think it’s viable,” Keirstead recently told The Wall Street Journal. “Clearly the technology supports it.”

>> As chairman and chief executive officer of Network Computer Systems in Ghana, Nii Narku Quaynor ’72, Th’73 has helped several African nations adopt or strengthen Internet infrastructures. He chairs AfriNIC, the Regional Internet Registry for Africa, is African director of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and is a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Group on Information and Communication Technologies. Quaynor also established the computer science department at Ghana’s University of Cape-Coast.

>> John D. Pavlidis Th’89 was appointed president and chief executive officer of R2 Technology, a medical software company headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. R2’s Image Checker CT system is used in diagnosing and treating breast cancer. The December announcement followed Pavlidis’ four years as president of the ultrasound division of Siemens Medical Systems.

>> Thayer School overseer Charles Nearburg ’72, Th’73, ’74 was profiled in the September 2004 issue of Texas Driver Magazine. A road-racing and endurance specialist, Nearburg has raced such speedsters as a Ferrari 333 SP and a Goy Racing Mustang and now often races one of the vintage cars he has collected and restored. Nearburg told Texas Driver that when he was deciding what to take in college, engineering was a natural fit because he wanted to “understand the things affecting a race car.”

>> The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spotlighted Eddie Amoakuh ’83, Th’83, ’85 in a December story about Right At Home, Amoakuh’s home-care business for senior citizens. The Atlanta company provides companions for senior citizens who need help with tasks such as bathing and dressing so they can continue to live in their own homes. Right At Home employs more than 100 caregivers. “This is the right fit for me,” Amoakuh told the Journal-Constitution. “My heritage is that in Ghana, our elders are not ‘throwaways.’ When I was a child, everyone was your mother, and your grandmothers vied to take care of you. Day care was never an issue. Nor was it a problem to take care of the elders when that time came. That’s why I like this business so much.”

John Icke
John Icke ’59, Th’60

>> The Wisconsin State Journal recently featured John Icke ’59, Th’60, for his work as a volunteer docent at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Icke is the retired president of Icke Construction Co. of Madison. Almost a decade ago his company was working near the museum when he strolled in for his first look at the exhibits. “I walked through here and I thought, ‘Wow! This is so awesome,’ ” Icke told the State Journal.

>> W. Haskins Hobson ’95, Th’96, was elected to represent engineers ages 35 and under on the executive committee of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers. The statewide engineering association promotes strong licensure laws and engineering ethics. Hobson works at Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources Air Pollution Control Prorgram.

—Jennifer Seaton

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Categories: Alumni News, Spotlights

Tags: alumni, design, projects, research

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