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

Thayer Notes

1940s

Warren Daniell ’48 Th’50: Dot and I have moved into Newbury Court, a retirement home in Concord, Mass., where we’ve lived since 1955. Lots of Harvard and MIT people around, but we’re enjoying the place and holding our own.

1960s

Neil L. Drobny ’62 Th’64: At the end of the current semester I am “retiring” from a 15-year second career as an academic. Serving as a senior lecturer in the area of sustainability and corporate responsibility at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business was by far the most rewarding endeavor of my professional life. My wife and I are moving to Kalamazoo, Mich., to live on a lake. I plan to stay engaged 20 to 25 percent of the time with students and like-minded business professionals at Western Michigan University, which has a strong sustainability culture led by its business college.

After originally retiring from consulting, I thought it might be interesting to try teaching. My supposition was that it might be more satisfying to work with the next generation of CEOs, rather than the ones I had consulted for who wanted me to do as little, as cheaply, and as quickly as possible. That turned out to be the case. Frequently, I get a call or an email from a former student telling me about a promotion or some career event they traced to an experience they had in one of my courses. That is the best kind of performance review.

Looking to the future, the horizon is very cloudy with the advent of COVID-19. Early in 2020, sustainability momentum in the business community was strengthening. Whether that sort of thinking will take a back seat as we strive to right the ship post-COIVID-19 remains to be seen. A more hopeful outlook is that we may learn a lesson about the need for cooperative, science-based efforts to deal with global crises such as climate change and that will add a spark to sustainability initiatives.

Ward Hindman ’65 Th’68: There is no longer too much engineering for an old retiree. My latest big project was helping my grandson build a Spartan shield using cardboard, papier-mâché, and a snow saucer.

Sidney Marshall ’65 Th’72: After designing the phase II timesharing system at Dartmouth, I got a job at Xerox in research designing optics for laser printers and designing electronics. After about 30 years, I retired and got a job at Rochester Institute of Technology teaching computer science. I retired again and now keep active calling square dancing, taking piano lessons, and singing in a chorus. 

1970s

Brian Hyde ’70 Th’71: One memory from Hanover that stands out above everything else is a comparative literature class taught by Professor Peter Bien (Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and Death in Venice, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, and Nikos Kazantzakis’ Zorba the Greek, perhaps more). How on earth did we read all of that and take two other classes? I was too young and naïve to benefit from some of the seemingly abstract concepts addressed in that class at the time. Now I am living some of those concepts and grateful that they found a home 50 years ago. They are the explicit and tangible recollections that have repeatedly made me grateful that I had to obtain an AB from Dartmouth before obtaining a BE from Thayer.

I have worked with a lot of engineers, especially in the field of water resources, floodplain management, and watershed restoration, primarily in Colorado. As it turns out, Colorado’s high altitude and relatively dry and sunny weather meant that we had our fair share of tuberculosis sanitoria, much like those facilities in the Alps of Europe where Thomas Mann set his story.

That degree in engineering—and the liberal arts setting in which it all happened—has rewarded me throughout my life. It is how I ended up at the University of British Columbia School of Community and Regional Planning after one year of very narrow engineering work designing subdivisions in a rapidly growing Rocky Mountain city. It is also how I conceived the beginnings of the State of Colorado’s watershed restoration program, despite a lot of resistance from my non-liberal-arts-engineer boss. It offers a different angle from which to view things and a different set of eyes to try to make sense of the things I see.

1980s

Mark Bunker ’82 Th’83: For the past three years, I have been head of digital security at Fidelity Investments in Boston, focused 100 percent on securing our public cloud build-outs in Azure and Amazon Web Services. I run 35 cloud security specialists working in agile teams developing automated preventative, detective, and responsive controls to protect Fidelity applications and client data. It’s a very challenging and fast-paced environment. I am approaching 25 years at the firm. Every five years or so, I have been able to move into a different area of technology work and into different roles, such as engineering, architecture, product development, service management, and consulting. Dartmouth and Thayer School prepared me very well to make these moves.

On the personal side, I am active in Nordic skiing and hiking and am getting into road cycling. I enjoy these activities with my wife of 35 years, Sheryl (Brown, class of ’82). My two children are grown and on their own: one is a doctor at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and the other is working at a nonprofit for disadvantaged youth in Boston. We all enjoy taking trips to the mountains of New Hampshire to visit family and ski, hike, and bike.

2010s

Alison Stace-Naughton ’11 Th’13: I am currently posted overseas in Kiev, Ukraine, working for the U.S. State Department. It has been a great opportunity and an unusual way to utilize my Thayer degree. Living overseas is a lot of fun and filled with adventure (such as overcoming language barriers and culinary differences). I am currently employed as a foreign service specialist. I use the skills obtained during my college education and directly apply them to promote U.S. government policy abroad in line with intrinsic American values.

The biggest difference between Ukraine and the United States: work-life balance! Americans work way too much. The biggest similarity: Everyone globally loves coffee. They have so many coffee stands here—coffee is a world love!

Matthew Reynolds ’13 Th’14: I work in Portland, Ore., as a contract mechanical designer, prototype machinist, and quality engineer at Sherpa Design (sherpa-design.com). We do ENGS 89/90-type projects at the professional level, and my specialty is using manufacturing experience to inform better design choices earlier in the process. In prototype machining, I’ve spanned a lot of industries. I am working with Dartmouth people based in Utah to help make some of their medical prototypes. They do work for bone implants, so I’ve helped machine some cool-looking bone parts for them, helped prepare material samples to send to Massachusetts General Hospital for mechanical testing and FDA approval, and done quality control inspections on their competitors’ products. Because I used to work in medical device design and a machine shop prior to my job in Portland, I understand the process they’re moving through.

I gained experience on user interactions and problem definition by working in Thayer’s machine shop, doing a really bad job making my Stirling engine. Just because you made all the parts to be acceptable according to the prints, doesn’t mean your Stirling engine will run. My favorite part of the design process is understanding why this happens and creatively coming up with ways to defeat this. Understanding the quality control aspect of my job came organically from just trying to get my head above water in the shop.

George Boateng ’16 Th’17: I recently ran SuaCode Ghana 2019, Ghana’s first smartphone-based coding workshop. There is a full article at our website, nsesafoundation.org, but here are the highlights: “There is a new, strong wind blowing along the coast of Ghana. Students are sitting in a classroom, heads down, busy on their phones. No, they aren’t WhatsApping. They are writing code and building apps, all from their phones! This is no future aspiration. It’s reality, happening now. This new wind is called SuaCode Ghana by Nsesa Foundation! Innovative, revolutionary, game-changing!” I am the president of Nsesa and a PhD candidate at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. In this workshop, I taught coding to 32 students from 8 am to 5 pm for two days, December 23-24, 2019, at the Christian University College Ghana. It was super-exhausting but worth it!

I was also one of the winners of the $5,000 2019 African Union Education Innovation Prize. SuaCode was selected by the African Union as one of the 11 top education innovations from more than 300 submissions. I then presented SuaCode at the 2019 African Union Innovating in Education Expo in Gaborone, Botswana, last August.

Shadab Khan Th’16: After I earned my PhD at Dartmouth, I did postdoctoral research in Boston before moving all the way to the United Arab Emirates. Now I lead an artificial intelligence team to deliver healthcare solutions.

Sreevalli Sreenivasan Th’17: For the past year I have been working on starting a nongovernmental organization (NGO) tentatively called Nourish. India has some of the highest rates of malnutrition, with an estimated 25 percent of the world’s population of hungry people. We aim to tackle this issue in a systematic manner, focusing on those who are particularly vulnerable: young children and pregnant women. The government, both at the central and state levels, has various schemes and policies. The National Rural Health Mission and state government’s Mid-day Meal Schemes aim to alleviate the problem, and the Anganwadi centers help the urban poor. A lot of NGOs are doing their part, but a lot more needs to be done in an integrated manner. No comprehensive and inclusive program is available on a massive scale.

We are hoping to ensure that all children will be able to eat a healthy diet, as recommended by the World Health Organization. We plan to do this by setting up a network of volunteers and medical teams to assess the need for supplements, medicines, and care in free medical camps. We’ll also be coordinating with various government agencies. We are starting in Bangalore once the COVID-19 lockdown is over and hope to expand the program to encompass all of India.

Olusegun Amusan Th’18: I had a career change in the last year from energy to tech and moved from D.C. to the West Coast. I now live and work in Seattle, where I manage technology partnerships between Microsoft and original equipment manufacturers to build and sell intelligent edge and intelligent cloud devices and solutions. Outside of work, I spend my time golfing, building my network, and exploring the beautiful Puget Sound area.

Ebrahim Najam Th’19: I am currently employed at New England Research Inc. (ner.com) in White River Junction, Vt. In fact, I live and commute from Hanover. My job as an electrical engineer assembling rock-testing equipment is really cool and exposes me to analog electronics and signal processing—both of which I studied at Thayer.

Our clients are a mixture of universities across the world (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. universities) and oil companies that have research operations focused on underground exploration. NER makes different product lines, and each product is custom-made for the client. A standard NER system has a vessel (where the core sample from the rock goes) and several electrical probes and hydraulic intensifiers (cylinders) that pump fluid into the rock. This system lets the user perform several geological tests and gather useful data, which can point to a large gas reservoir or rich mineral source. Geology is not my forte, so I will avoid going into specifics.

Business is tough during the quarantine, but the company is small and we are hoping to weather this storm. As an original equipment manufacturer, NER has a loyal client base. I am working on-site in my office, as we engineers have to build these machines from the ground up, and we are doing our best to churn out more products.

Categories: Alumni News, Thayer Notes

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