All Thayer News

Thayer Notes: Fall 2023

Oct 02, 2023   |   Dartmouth Engineer

News and notes from Dartmouth Engineering alumni around the world.

| 1940s |

Sam Florman ’46 Th’73: As I pass by 98 years, I’m not quite as lively as I once was. But as two granddaughters graduated from Dartmouth these past few years—Julia in 2020 and Rachel in 2021—I’m pleased with the way destiny seems to be evolving.

Warren Daniell ’48 Th’50: I am writing because of the Vermont flooding, which has been much in the news lately. If my memory serves me correctly, my master’s thesis at Thayer had to do with the factors influencing flood control in the upper Connecticut River valley.

| 1950s |

Ron Read ’57 Th’58: Engineering work experiences have the side benefit that we gain knowledge and wisdom. Mine started during summer breaks from Dartmouth. My dad worked at the salt mine under the city of Detroit, Mich., and so each summer I was given the instruction to “return to the salt mines.” On returning each fall, when asked by my fellow students what I did last summer, I told them I had been relegated to the salt mines. They often thought my summers were a waste of time, but the engineering education I received from working 1,100 feet underground was invaluable to me. We worked on automated conveyor systems, surveyed 40-by- 25-foot haulways, innovated ways to use optics to separate dark impurities from pure crystal salt, and solved corrosion problems that could shut down mechanical systems—the challenges were never-ending. This job gave me the insight that work gives you a chance to learn something new. But the true satisfaction with learning is sharing your new knowledge with someone else. Later, as a director of engineering, I began to do some part-time teaching. I went on to teach for 25 years at UCLA and University of Wisconsin in their technical management programs, helping engineers who were proficient in their technical roles accomplish the transition to management.

| 1960s |

Richard Hanson ’64 Th’65: I retired from a major laser equipment manufacturer in 2018 and have continued to maintain a small consulting and tax practice. I have just completed my three-year term on the Dartmouth Alumni Council, serving as contact with West Coast alumni and on the new alumni committee (where we created a total of eight regional playlists posted in Spotify for the 2023 graduating class). I have also continued on the board of directors of the Dartmouth Club of Oregon as treasurer and membership contact.

| 1970s |

Jim Lay ’74 Th’78: After 29 years in the private sector, I joined the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in 2005 as a lead incident investigator. Fascinating work, and I was able to participate in the production of a number of the CSB’s well-regarded safety videos, including for the Acetylene Service Company Gas, Synthron, and Valero-McKee Refinery incidents. I moved over to the directorate of enforcement programs at the U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA in 2008 as a principal safety engineer specializing in interpretation and enforcement of process safety management. I set up Lay PSC LLC for what I anticipated would primarily be process safety consulting for OSHA and private companies. Surprisingly, most of my work has turned out to be in aerospace, specifically ground support system design for rocket launch facilities, including the now-under-construction Mobile Launcher 2 at the Kennedy Space Flight Center and a variety of projects at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. I did quite a bit of cryogenic systems design in my private-sector positions, and those old skills have turned out to be in demand.

My most rewarding work has been mentoring younger engineers on my projects. What I’ve been doing is not bleeding edge—cryo is well understood—but it is a niche area not all that many people are experienced in. With the explosion in launch companies and space utilization, there is great demand for cryo experience and still room for imaginative engineering solutions. My latest jump has really integrated many aspects of my career: process safety, cryogenic engineering, incident investigation. I get bored easily, so it’s been great to have a wide variety of challenges to work on. The multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving that is the essence of the Thayer experience has served me extremely well during my career and continues to do so now.

| 1980s |

Scott Sabol ’88 Th’88: Among the big things in my professional life recently is the transition of my college to become Vermont State University, unifying multiple Vermont state colleges as one institution. Also, it was exciting for my specific program, architectural engineering technology, to be named one of only 17 inaugural zero-energy design designation (ZEDD) programs worldwide by the U.S. Department of Energy late last year. We had to show we prepare students for a zero-carbon future through a building science education curriculum that includes zero-energy-design best practices. We integrated zero-energy building design learning modules into our curriculum, for example in our heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning engineering design course. We also had to show how our students get a practical application of zero-energy concepts, which we do by entering the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon design competition annually. Our goal is to have our graduates enter the workforce ready to implement zero-energy approaches to design, which they do through becoming engineers, HVAC system commissioning agents, architects, or other professionals. Outside of academia, I continue to chair the Vermont Board of Professional Engineering, which deals with licensure, disciplinary, and similar issues for practicing engineers. It brings back memories of Dr. Carl Long, P.E., who taught about professional licensure and ethics back in my days at Thayer.

| 2000s |

David Black-Schaffer ’00
David Black- Schaffer ’00 is a new dean of research at Uppsala University.

David Black-Schaffer ’00: I have been appointed dean of research for the faculty of science and technology at Uppsala University in Sweden. The faculty is reasonably large—1,900 employees, 206 professors, 6,000 full-time students, 588 PhD students— and very diverse, as it includes both natural sciences and engineering. My role is to address faculty-wide issues such as research infrastructure, quality evaluation, long-term research strategy, the balance between applied and basic research, and resource distribution, as well as participate in the overall leadership of the faculty. This is an amazing opportunity to work more broadly across the university, particularly as we are facing significant changes from the increasing costs of large-scale research infrastructure and the wide-ranging impact of advances in artificial intelligence. (I do not doubt that Dartmouth and Thayer are facing similar challenges.) As background, after Dartmouth I got an MSc and PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford and then worked at Apple before moving to Uppsala University in Sweden. (My wife is originally from Sweden, and we met at Stanford; she is now a professor in condensed matter theory.) At Uppsala University, I am a professor in the department of information technology specializing in computer architecture (such as how to make computer processors more efficient so our phone batteries last longer). As a faculty member, I have been a cofounder of two startups: one that sold our research in memory system design to Samsung, and one that developed a teaching tool—a spin-off of my award-winning flipped-classroom teaching—used by more than 80,000 students around the world.

Brian and Jocelyn Mason in front of Tuckerman's Ravine
Brian Mason ’03 Th’04 Th’05 skied Tuckerman Ravine with his wife, Jocelyn ’05.

Brian Mason ’03 Th’04 Th’05: In April, my wife, Jocelyn ’05, and I ventured up to Tuckerman Ravine on the back side of Mount Washington. The last time we did it was when we were dating at Dartmouth in 2001. So, 22 years later, we hiked in with some friends and enjoyed a beautiful warm day in the bowl skiing the chutes. In other news, Jocelyn and I are settled into our home in Lexington, Mass., after 14 years in the Bay Area. I am working at Abiomed, Jocelyn is a reading specialist, and our three children are in elementary school and enjoying our new puppy, Salty (dog).

Andrew Herchek Th’08 Th’09: Professionally, I am the chief operating officer at East Range Partners (www., a portfolio of high-purity water companies in the United States and Canada. We provide full water system integration, incorporating treatment technologies that include reverse osmosis, deionization, filtration, disinfection, and water-quality instrumentation. We support the world’s leading companies that require ultra-pure water in their processes in verticals such as biotech, pharma, hospitals, life sciences, industrial manufacturing, and academic institutions (including Dartmouth!). Personally, my wife, Whitney, and I live in Concord, Mass., with our children Noah (8) and Isabel (5) and dog Bailey. I stay connected to Thayer by sponsoring ENGM 178: “Technology Assessment” each fall and joining review boards for various projects throughout the year.

Andrew Herchek
Andrew Herchek Th’08 Th’09 is COO at high-purity water company East Range Partners.

| 2010s |

George “Jojo” Boateng ’16 Th’17: I finished my PhD at ETH Zurich at the end of last year, then started as a postdoctoral researcher and core director at ETH Zurich at the start of this year. I was also recently recognized among the 2023 Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Europe” list and as a 2023 LinkedIn “Top Voice in AI Europe.

George “Jojo” Boateng
George “Jojo” Boateng ’16 Th’17 and his parents celebrate the completion of his PhD.

Chris Frangieh ’17 Th’17: I received my PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT under the supervision of Professor Feng Zhang and Professor Aviv Regev. My thesis, titled “Methods and Models of Screening Genomic Variants,” spans topics from computational biology and genomics to biochemistry and gene editing. My first project, in collaboration with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, used CRISPR-Cas9 perturbations to uncover novel mechanisms of immune evasion in metastatic melanoma. My second project explored the use of eukaryotic retroelements as next-generation gene editors to make large, targeted insertions in human cells. I am passionate about translational technologies that can have large clinical impact and excited about a career in advancing early-stage technologies into the clinic.

Robert Halvorsen ’17 Th’17: I have been working with Ian Speers ’17 for the past year on a startup, Pacto Medical (, and we recently won multiple prizes from the Harvard Ingenuity Lab, including the President’s Innovation Challenge. Our technology reduces the packaging volume of pre-filled syringes by 40 percent for the same dosage of medication, making pre-filled syringes less expensive to ship and easier to store, helping expand access to this life-saving technology.

| 2020s |

Daniel Lein ’19 Th’20: I recently moved up to Ithaca, N.Y., to work on the underwater remote-operated vehicle Icefin, which primarily conducts operations under shelf ice in Antarctica, where I will be deploying this winter for a few months.

Keji Wei Th’20: I have been starting my tenure track in research and teaching in the field of operations, and I also hold a part-time position as senior operations engineer at CAE. As an assistant professor at the Tongji University School of Economics and Management, I have been focusing on the application of data analytics, optimization, and transportation in various industries, with a particular interest in the aviation sector. My primary role is to leverage data to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of aviation operations. This involves various tasks, such as generating optimal flight timetables and providing new aircraft itineraries in the event of disruptions. By analyzing and utilizing data, I aim to optimize various aspects of aviation operations and contribute to the industry’s success.

Rose Wang ’17 Th’23: I am moving to N.Y.C. to start as a vice president on the equity derivatives strategy desk at BNP Paribas. I would love to connect with Dartmouth alums in the area.

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