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

Thayer Notes


Sam Florman ’46 Th’46: I have my seventh book coming out in March. It’s a bit different from my others, a personal memoir telling of a career in the construction industry. The title is Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction. I speak briefly of the early experiences that set me on my way—Dartmouth, Thayer, and the Seabees—and then tell of adventures that followed, mostly in New York City.

Bob Craig ’47 Th’48: I have been retired for 36 years. Just when I want to do things, my body says, no way, pal. I sing with a group of people at nursing homes in the area, do Meals on Wheels once a week, and read on Sundays at my church. I have a female friend and we eat out a couple of times a month.

Hjalmar Sundin ’47 Th’47: I retired from Baxter & Woodman, a civil and environmental consulting firm, in 1989. I am thoroughly enjoying retirement in Glenwood Springs, Colo. (near Aspen), skiing December into April and hiking in the Rocky Mountains the rest of the year. I have been writing a biweekly opinion column for the local newspaper for the past 13 years and recently published a book, Law & Disorder in Crested Butte, chronicling the humor, satire, and ribaldry that appeared in the newspaper in the town marshal’s reports during the 1970s “hippy” era, when Crested Butte was the center of an unconventional, free-spirited lifestyle in which no one took themselves or anyone else very seriously. It was fun to compile.

On a sadder note, after nearly 56 years of marriage, my wife died in 2006, followed by my son and daughter in 2008.


Abdul Bahrani ’53 Tu’54 Th’54: Lately I am up to 9/11 trauma therapy. There are many children, citizens, and soldiers of many nations who are traumatized by the 9/11 event and subsequent wars. There may be about 1 million people who have died, but hundreds of millions have been traumatized; some by fear, some by anger, some by guilt, some by the loss of loved ones, some by damaged body parts, some by being labeled terrorists. From an engineering perspective, the human being is structured of hardware and software; either or both can be traumatized, i.e., physically and mentally. The therapy can be approached from a structural engineering point of view. Based on personal experiences, I know there are expedient structural therapies such as muscle activation technology and rapid therapy for mental anxiety pain. These therapies address the basic root cause rather than doping the systems with medical and media remedies. My wish is to get help from other professionals to develop supplementary therapies based on this approach to heal the scars of the 9/11 event and subsequent wars. My effort may be the result of a Dartmouth humanities education that was etched in my granite brain.

Joel Ash ’56 Th’58: I spend the largest slug of my time pursuing my lifelong project of stock market forecasting and managing my investments. While I was pursuing my 35-year career in telecommunications I worked on the side on the Pytho Project (a reference to the oracle at Delphi) and when I retired in 1992 at the age of 57 I was able to devote proper time to this effort. I have two Dartmouth sons (class of ’85 and class of ’88) and hope to bring the project to the stage where they will want to carry on my life’s work.

With an undergraduate degree in modified art and a postgraduate degree in engineering, I view myself as an arts and science guy. My arts project is poetic limericks. I have written close to 600 poetic limericks, most with four, five, or six five-line stanzas and some longer. I have published two hardcover and four online books, maintain the PoeticLimericks.com website, and send out my “Poem of the Month” to more than 200 friends and poetic limericks lovers via e-mail. I have been an amateur magician since the age of 8, and after moving to New Hampshire in 2002 I founded the Wizards of the Upper River Valley magic club, which I run. I am documenting all of this in an opus titled Diary of a New Hampshire Wizard. Other activities include running the Dartmouth at Eastman men’s group, fishing, and acting as secretary for the class of 1956.

Em Houck
AUTHOR: Em Houck ’56 Tu’58 Th’58 and his books at a Barnes & Noble signing last December. Photograph courtesy of Em Houck.

Em Houck ’56 Tu’58 Th’58: After I retired from Eli Lilly and Co. as executive director of engineering, I have written two books and enjoyed signings all over the states of Indiana and in Illinois. The first book, Go Huskies! Beat Felix the Cat!, tells the story of unique high school mascots around the country. The second, Hoosiers All, tells the story of Indiana high school basketball from the beginnings of the sport in this state. I would argue that to understand Indiana you must understand basketball. The experience has been great fun.


Jerry Greenfield ’61 Th’62 Tu’65: Retirement has been almost too busy! I have a part-time job serving and selling wine at a local winery, Kiona, in Benton City, Wash. I’m active in Kiwanis, having served in several officer positions through time in my club, division, and district. I’m an amateur historian and have been asked to give lectures on various topics. After I got off the Richland City Council, I joined Toastmasters to learn how to speak better—I guess I do things in reverse order. My wife, Corky, and I try to go to Victoria, B.C., three or four times a year to see our daughter Katrina and her family. She has two small boys, Willem (5) and Tyler (2), and her husband, Jay, is in the Canadian Navy.

Mark Tuttle ’65 Th’66: I’m the teaching assistant for what is probably the largest cyberspace class in the world—Stanford’s online “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence,” taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig. There are 160,000-plus students enrolled from 160 countries. Some observations: The artificial intelligence paradigm has changed completely from 20-plus years ago, and it continues to evolve. It’s much more data-driven and engineering oriented, so as to leverage cheap, pervasive computing and more readily available data. I am in awe of the amount of energy and sense of community created in various class forums—such as social media—especially when an assignment is due or a post-lecture quiz proves problematic. The instructors have taken the Khan Academy paradigm—short videos that are typically example driven—and moved it to a new level with quizzes, homework, and exams. I am very impressed by the multilingual talent out there in the world. Dartmouth needs to get on this bandwagon.

Richard Livingston ’68 Th’69: I am an adjunct professor of materials science in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland (UMD). I will be teaming up with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute for a feasibility study of a device that could be used to assess buildings, monuments, and artifacts in danger of deterioration from the effects of moisture. Funded by a UMD/Smithsonian Seed Grant, I’ll help develop a portable prototype system that uses prompt gamma neutron activation for the nondestructive measurement of moisture in porous construction materials such as brick, sandstone, and marble. We’ll use test samples representative of the masonry used in the museum’s buildings. This matters because moisture is a threat to the preservation of both art and architecture. Corrosive chemical reactions, cracking, staining, erosion, and the growth of bacteria and mold represent some of the serious and sometimes irreversible damage it causes. The ability to accurately measure moisture in an object over space and time is crucial to conservators’ need to understand the source of the moisture, how much it has penetrated, and the mechanisms by which it causes damage. Our strategy is to improve a device called a neutron probe, which uses prompt gamma neutron activation for elemental analysis. The device is able to provide a visual representation of the gamma ray spectrum produced by the subject. This spectrum can be analyzed for the characteristic peaks revealing the composition, condition, and moisture content of the material. Our ultimate goal is to produce a portable prototype instrument calibrated for moisture measurement in porous materials.


Laurie Hartman ’80 Th’80: I have moved from solving mechanical problems to helping with people problems. I am a pastoral counselor at a large church. Many people have commented that I think like an engineer, being able to step back and see a person as part of a system as well as move in to see the various components of that individual’s challenge. Some of my most exciting interactions are working with couples who are in open conflict. I also find great satisfaction in helping people with dissociative identity disorder.

John Graves ’85 Th’86: I was recently promoted to senior engineer at General Electric Co. I am a materials application engineer in the materials and process engineering department at GE Aviation’s facility in Lynn, Mass. I am involved with industrializing aircraft engine components manufactured from ceramic matrix composites for military and commercial applications.

John Rajala ’88: I went back to the 100-year-old family forestry and sawmill business shortly after graduating. Our family owns and manages 25,000 acres of timberland in northern Minnesota. We also operate two sawmills, two planing mills, a veneer mill, and a millwork facility. We are trying to be world-class stewards of our lands. I’m proud to say that Minnesota forests are in many ways the model for better forestry in the world, and that through our private business and our involvement in broader efforts, my family and I have played a significant leadership role in that effort. I currently serve on the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, probably the most organized and effective statewide forest sustainability effort anywhere. To understand a bit more about our forestry and forest products, feel free to go to my blog.

Every five or so years a group of ’88s comes to visit and enjoy fishing and relaxation at our most prized property, Wolf Lake Camp. That group of dear friends represents medicine, law, technology, and finance. I have drawn heavily on the experience of these guys and little do they know how they have both directly and indirectly aided our efforts at being a positive contributor to better forestry and significant employer to our rural community. I’ve employed the software created by Smartsheet founder Brent Frei ’88 Th’89. We work together regularly, with his organization providing solutions to mine, and my organization providing real-world critical feedback to his.

My daughter Sarah is applying to Dartmouth. My dream is that someday I can lend my resource and real-world wood engineering knowledge to the Dartmouth/Thayer community. Dartmouth has a significant timber resource in northern New Hampshire, and I’d love to provide our experiences to the people who manage it.


Ron Faith ’90: I have been a software entrepreneur living on the West Coast for the past 20-plus years. I am the CEO of Datacastle in Seattle, Wash. Datacastle provides cloud-based data protection to companies for their employees’ laptops, desktops, and mobile devices. Prior to Datacastle, I was the VP and general manager of mobile and broadband commerce at Qpass (acquired by Amdocs) and also was at Apple. I am the former president of the Dartmouth Alumni Association of Silicon Valley. I live with my wife and three children in Woodinville, Wash.

Xilin Jia Th’93: After Thayer, I have worked in the greater IT industries. Initially I was involved in software development in various companies. One job was developing 3D capabilities (with earth, landscape, etc., rendered) for weather presentation software. That can still be seen on many TV weather shows (including The Weather Channel). Then I went on to do business development and general management for various companies. There have been successes and failures along the way. One memorable thing I did was lead a U.S. business in China to influence and guide the entire TV broadcast industry to transition to digital services. Since 2005 I have been trading securities using algorithmic techniques for myself and some other people. I now live in China.

I would like to use this opportunity to share some lessons I have learned in life. One thing is what you probably can call a success formula. Obviously success has different meanings to different people, but regardless of what it means, one’s overall successfulness (OS) can be expressed in terms of a few other factors. OS = SR * ASM – FR * AFM, where SR is the success rate, ASM is the average success magnitude, FR is the failure rate, AFM is the average failure magnitude, and SR + FR = 1. This formula is key in trading successes, but I think it can be generalized to anything we do in life. The fundamental thinking behind this is that everyone does a million things in life and no one does them without failures. The formula tells us that increasing SR is not your only way of achieving more OS. You might as well focus more on increasing ASM and reducing AFM, which perhaps can be done more easily. The second thing is: don’t pay too much attention to your fears. Common knowledge is that fear is a mechanism of the brain that naturally protects for our safety. However, the “safety” there only relates to that in the wild, not in the modern world. So, whenever you have a thought about doing something, ignore the fear and think only rationally.

Damien Shulock ’94 Th’95: I’m a mechanical engineer in the medical device field. For the last three years I have worked on a project that has been both challenging and exciting. The project is a lumbar spine implant that can be inserted between vertebrae in a collapsed state, then expanded using hydraulic pressure and locked in place. This type of device gives the surgeon certain advantages during the procedure, while improving the patient’s outcome as well. The upside for me is that I get to work with exotic materials and use lots of high-tech assembly methods, while (I hope) advancing medicine and helping patients. The methods of problem solving that I first learned at Thayer are the foundation of everything that I do.

Larry Clifford Gilman Th’95: Since 2000 I’ve lived in Sharon, Vt., with my wife, Priscilla ’94, an artist. I use skills from my engineering background—as well as my M.A. in English from Northwestern (1996)—in my work as a freelance editor and writer for technology companies, architects, and medical-research clients, typically on grant applications, patents, and articles for publication. Dartmouth connections have been essential to developing my business. For years in grad school, I lived across the river in Norwich, and many winter mornings shortened my walk to campus by walking over the frozen river to Ledyard. There can’t be many campus commutes more beautiful.

Johan Tegin Th’99: I became clinical innovation fellow at the Royal Institute of Technology and Karolinska Institutet in June 2011. The project is inspired by the Stanford biodesign program. I married Anna Pia Beckerman in 2010 and am now the father of two, André and Idun.


Robbie Barbero ’01 Th’02: I just finished my Ph.D. in biological engineering at MIT. I’ll be staying at MIT as a postdoctoral researcher for a few months to transition my projects while I look for jobs in biotech or cleantech. MIT has been great, but I’m really excited for the next step.

Brian Mason ’03 Th’05: Jocelyn and I welcomed our daughter Lynn Heather Mason on July 29. She was born a few weeks early at 5 pounds, 15 ounces, a beautiful little wide-eyed girl.

Brian and Jocelyn Mason and baby
GROUP PROJECT: Brian Mason ’03 Th’05 and Jocelyn Mason ’05 display Lynn, their newest joint venture. Photograph courtesy of Brian Mason.

Everyone is doing well. We are still living in Menlo Park, Calif., where I work as a mechanical engineer in our medical product business. Jocelyn teaches first grade. We look forward to taking Lynn to a Dartmouth homecoming soon!

Keith Dennis ’03 Th’05: After leading the policy and guidance team for a $3.2-billion stimulus program at the Department of Energy to implement clean energy across the country, I am on detail to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where I work on energy and climate issues.

Miral Anoop Shethia Th’08: I left my job as project analyst at Kantar Retail in Wilton, Conn., last year and moved to Mumbai, India, to join my family business. My family business, Shethia Enterprise, is one-stop shopping for all marine equipment and materials for all marine vessels. When I joined I saw that few clients have barges (mini-ships) with 1,000-metric-ton capacity with a draft of 3.3 meters (the minimum height needed near the coastline of India is 3.6 meters). We decided to build a larger-capacity barge (2,700 metric tons) with a draft of 3.3 meters to help in fuel savings, as more material could be carried per trip.

Miral Anoop Shethia Th’08 built a large-capacity barge at his family business, Shethia Enterprise, in India.
SHIPSHAPE: Miral Anoop Shethia Th’08 built a large-capacity barge at his family business, Shethia Enterprise, in India. Photograph courtesy of Miral Anoop Shethia.

The main purpose of this barge is to carry cargo from big-bulk carrying ships, which cannot come close to shore since the water is too shallow, to the port. This barge was designed in such a way that even during monsoons it will be able to transport cargo from the carriers to port and vice-versa. All materials, such as the steel, engines, gearbox, pumps, and anchors were procured by us and fitted/assembled on a labor charge basis. Hence the costs of the barge came down substantially. The barge was built in a record time of seven months with a cost of around $1.5 million. We plan to offer this barge on a hiring basis to the ports at a steady rate of $1,700 per day. Assuming a 12-month hiring period, the return on investment for this barge is approximately three to four years. The life of this barge is 25 years.

Laura Weyl Th’08: I’m continuing my education daily as I design earthquake-safe, high-tech facilities and seismic retrofits for existing buildings. I just received my LEED certification and will be taking my P.E. exam this spring, so let the studying begin! I completed my first two century rides and my first triathlon this year, and I also had the pleasure to return to Thayer this fall to participate in the B.E. Advisory Committee meetings. To no one’s surprise, I was impressed by (and jealous of) the stunning changes to the facilities in Thayer as well as the continued quality of coursework and projects. I always get a little nostalgic being back there!

Andrew Jean-Louis ’09 Th’10: I’m working at Navigant, and the primary client I work with is the U.S. Department of Energy. I’ve been working on their ENERGY STAR verification program testing household appliances to ensure they meet required performance specifications. I am also working to update the old test procedure for residential refrigerators to account for new compressor and heater technologies that have emerged recently. In an effort to create cost-efficient curves, I also get the chance to tear appliances apart to find out how manufacturers put their products together. We have this 6-foot crowbar that we find any excuse to use!

Kyle Sherry ’09 Th’10: I moved to Somerville, Mass., from New Jersey in January to take a process development engineer position at Midori Renewables, a startup developing a new technology for converting lignocellulosic materials into renewable fuels and chemicals. I’m very excited!


Shahen Huda ’10 Th’11: I’m in grad school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying the mechanisms by which streams incise into bedrock. In addition to appreciating the breadth and depth of education I received in Hanover, being here for a semester has made me appreciate even more the openness to resources, the faculty, and the collaborative spirit that defines the Thayer and Dartmouth student body. More than expected, I miss late nights in the CAD Lab and Couch and the radiantly heated floor in the Atrium.

Benjamin Meigs ’10 Th’11: I am designing commercial aircraft interiors at C&D Zodiac in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Jatin Nema Th’10: This year has brought a lot of changes. I took up the senior business analyst position with TE Connectivity (formerly Tyco Electronics) within its global procurement function. I worked there for seven months before I decided to step back and find opportunities more aligned with my career ambitions. After searching for about a month, I found a temporary-to-hire position with Harsco Corp. as a global supplier relationship manager. I enjoyed working on two business process improvement projects. I worked with them for three months. Recently, I took up a full-time job with a data analytics consulting group, Mu Sigma, and relocated to the Seattle, Wash., area. My current title is associate, and I solve clients’ problems through my Indian offshore team. I have enjoyed this year and it has been a great learning experience. I cherish the time I spent at Thayer and with my friends during school. I am planning a trip with my Thayer friends Kartik Vittal Th’09, Kaushik Prabhakar Th’09, Akhil Gokul Th’10, and Ramkumar Jayasankar Th’10 to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

Jeff Forsyth Th’11: Since graduating from Thayer, I have begun my engineering career at a medical device company, MAKO Surgical, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MAKO is a fairly young company that markets a robotic arm system for knee and hip surgery.

Jeff Forsyth Th’11 programs the robotic arm of MAKO’s knee and hip surgical system.
HELPING HAND: Jeff Forsyth Th’11 programs the robotic arm of MAKO’s knee and hip surgical system. Photograph courtesy of Jeff Forsyth.

The resurfacing procedure is less invasive than a full knee or hip replacement and often reduces recovery times. At MAKO I have joined the electrical engineering team and am responsible for embedded programming and customer support. The robot runs C code and is interfaced via MATLAB scripts, so I have been programming in both languages. In the case of robot issues in the field, I work to troubleshoot by phone and, when necessary, travel to resolve them. My company feels small and its culture allows good interaction between people of different backgrounds, including electrical, mechanical, systems, and quality.

Anson Moxness Th’11: I spent the summer working at Kathmandu University in Nepal teaching SolidWorks basics to students and professors and conducting research into the efficiency of improved wood cooking stoves for rural areas of Nepal.

Christian Ortiz ’11 Th’11: I have a couple of projects in progress. I just finished organizing and running Dartmouth LEGO League, which hosted more than 200 elementary and middle school students, educators, families, and visitors. I think that it was a great success and a lot of fun! I am helping to run Dartmouth Formula Racing in what is expected to be a great year. We already have had the entire team drive the car and feel how it handles. The team is months ahead of schedule compared to years past. I am very excited about the enthusiasm and ambition that this team has. As a Thayer design fellow, I have created several side projects for professors or research groups, including an earthquake simulator for Professor Vicki May and an all-in-one laser instrument for Professor Brian Pogue’s research group. Finally, I had the pleasure of assisting all of the project-based, design courses (ENGS 12, 21, 76, 89) with everything from mock-ups to CAD work, presentations, and research papers. Overall, I think that this kind of help was beneficial for the teams and can only increase as the design fellow position becomes more defined over the years.

Wei Peng Th’11: I have been working with ZS Associates in Philadelphia, Pa., since March in sales and marketing consulting. I have found my skills (optimization, statistics, marketing and sales strategies, etc.) from the M.E.M. program to be highly applicable and useful in my current position and in a way have been making it more enjoyable.

Garrett Simpson ’11: I just got an engineering fellowship with PharmaSecure in Delhi, India. I’m going to be there starting January 7 for six months to a year, traveling around to factories and helping get PharmaSecure’s code-printing machinery installed in the automated packaging assembly lines.

Categories: Alumni News, Thayer Notes

Tags: alumni

comments powered by Disqus