TechCentury v.26 n.1 - Spring 2021

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V.26 | N.1 SPRING 2021


Student Writing Contest Winning Essays 14

EMU ME Program Receives ABET Accreditation 22

Why Engineers Need Afrofuturism and Literature 26

POWER UP UP your career

undergraduate and master’s degrees, graduate certificates, and degree completion

Architecture and Design | Arts and Sciences | Business and Information Technology | Engineering |

Southfield, Michigan

Possible is everything

EMU’s College of Engineering & Technology recently underwent a $40M expansion, and their mechanical engineering program received ABET Accreditation. See page 22.

Technology Century



SPRING 2021 V.26 | N.1

Cover: Ford donates laptops to Girls in Engineering Students. See page 11.

2 3 4 5 6 8 10



ESD Image Award Recipient: John Gallagher


You Go Girls! Ford Support Helps ESD’s Effort to Reduce Gender Gap


When Networking Goes Online…


ESD 2020 Student Writing Contest Awardees Announced


Paying It Forward: ESD Fellows Share Support, Wealth of Knowledge

20 DTE Energy Launches Virtual Student ‘Field Trip’ 22

Meeting the Call for Engineers: EMU Accreditation Highlights Student, Talent Focus


Ethics: Just the Facts


What If? Why Engineers Need Afrofuturism, Literature, and Composition 101



30 Examining the Energy Sector T H E E N G I N E E R I N G S O C I E T Y O F D E T R O I T | 1



AKT Peerless Environmental Services Altair Engineering American Axle Manufacturing American Center for Educational and Professional Services American Society of Employers Aristeo Construction AVL North America The Bartech Group Barton Malow Company Brightwing Central Michigan University Chrysan Industries Citizens Insurance Clark Hill, PLC CMS Enterprises Comfort Engineering Solutions, LLC Construction Association of Michigan Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC CPCII Credit Union ONE CulturecliQ Danlaw, Inc. DASI Solutions DENSO International America, Inc. Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Detroit Transportation Corporation Dow Chemical Company DTE Energy DTE Energy Gas Operations Dürr Systems, Inc. Eastern Michigan University Education Planning Resources, Inc. Electrical Resources Company Electro-Matic Products, Inc. Energy Sciences Experis Farbman Group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Financial One, Inc. FirstMerit Bank Fishman Stewart PLLC Fusion Welding Solutions Gala & Associates, Inc. Gates Corporation GHD

General Dynamics General Motors Company Gensler George W. Auch Company Ghafari Associates, LLC Glenn E. Wash & Associates, Inc. Golder Associates Inc. Gonzalez Contingent Workforce Services GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Harley Ellis Devereaux Hartland Insurance Group, Inc. Hindsight Consulting, Inc. Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. The Hunter Group LLC IBI Group Ideal Contracting Integrity Staffing Group, Inc. ITT Technical Institute Canton ITT Technical Institute Dearborn IBEW Local 58 & NECA LMCC JNA Partners, Inc. Jozwiak Consulting, Inc. JTL America, Inc. Kettering University Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti and Sherbrook, PC Knovalent, Inc. Kolene Corporation Kostal North America Kugler Maag CIE North America Lake Superior State University Lawrence Technological University LHP Software Limbach Company, Inc. Link Engineering Co. LTI Information Technology Macomb Community College Maner, Costerisan & Ellis, PC Makino McNaughton-McKay Electric Company Meritor MEDA Engineering & Technical Services MICCO Construction Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters Michigan State University Michigan Technological University

Midwest Steel Inc. Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc. Monroe Environmental Corporation Myron Zucker, Inc. Neumann/Smith Architecture Newman Consulting Group, LLC NORR Architects Engineers Planners Northern Industrial Manufacturing Corp. NTH Consultants, Ltd. O’Brien and Gere Oakland University Optech LLC Orbitak International, LLC Original Equipment Suppliers Association Pure Eco Environmental Solutions R.L. Coolsaet Construction Co. Rocket Fiber ROWE Professional Services Company Rumford Industrial Group Ruby+Associates, Inc. SEGULA Technologies Saginaw Valley State University Special Multi Services SSI Talascend, LLC Testing Engineers & Consultants Thermal-Netics TRANE Commercial Systems Troy Chamber of Commerce Trialon TRW Automotive Turner Construction Co. UBS Financial Services—Lott Sheth Farber Group Universal Weatherstrip & Bldg. Supply University of Detroit Mercy University of Michigan University of Michigan-Dearborn U.S. Farathane Corporation voxeljet America Inc. Wade-Trim Walbridge Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC Wayne State University Western Michigan University Whitehall Industries The Whiting Turner Contracting Company WSP ZF

techcentury V.26 I N.1 Spring 2021

20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450 • Southfield, MI 48076 248–353–0735 • 248–353–0736 fax • •

TECHNOLOGY CENTURY® EDITORIAL BOARD CHAIR: Karyn Stickel, Hubbell, Roth & Clark Sandra Diorka, Delhi Charter Township Utpal Dutta, PhD, FESD, University of Detroit Mercy Linda Gerhardt, PhD, FESD Richard, Hill, PhD, University of Detroit Mercy William A. Moylan, Jr., PhD, PMP, FESD, Eastern Michigan University Matt Roush, Lawrence Technologicial University Larry Sak, PE, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (retired) Rajiv Shah, PE, ACSCM Michael Stewart, Fishman Stewart Intellectual Property Filza H. Walters, FESD, Lawrence Technological University Cyrill Weems, Plante Moran CRESA Yang Zhao, PhD, Wayne State University

ESD BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT: Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Econolite VICE PRESIDENT: Robert A. Richard, DTE Energy TREASURER: Alex F. Ivanikiw, AIA, LEED AP, FESD, Barton Malow Company SECRETARY: Robert Magee, The Engineering Society of Detroit PAST PRESIDENT: Daniel E. Nicholson, PE, General Motors Company Paul C. Ajegba, PE, Michigan Department of Transportation Carla Bailo, Center for Automotive Research Katherine M. Banicki, FESD, Testing Engineers and Consultants Mike Boss, Dürr Systems, Inc. Denise Carlson, DENSO International America, Inc. Sean P. Conway, American Axle and Manufacturing Farshad Fotouhi, PhD, Wayne State University Alec D. Gallimore, PhD, University of Michigan Lori Gatmaitan, SAE Foundation Malik Goodwin, Goodwin Management Group, LLC Kouhaila G. Hammer, CPA, FESD, Ghafari Associates, LLC Ronald R. Henry, AIA, NCARB, Sachse Construction Marc Hudson, Bamboo Detroit Leo C. Kempel, PhD, FESD, Michigan State University Thomas McCarthy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US Dan Milot, ZF Group Claude Molinari, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau Scott Penrod, Walbridge Bill Rotramel, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. Terry J. Woychowski, FESD, Caresoft Global


Robert Magee, Executive Director Nick Mason, Director of Operations Susan Thwing

Postmaster, please send changes to: ESD, 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield, MI 48076. Technology Century® (ISSN 1091-4153 USPS 155-460), also known as TechCentury, is published by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD). Periodical postage paid at Southfield, MI, and at additional mailing offices. The authors, editors, and publisher will not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made in this publication. The publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Advertisements in TechCentury for products, services, courses, and symposia are published with a caveat emptor (buyer beware) understanding. The authors, editors, and publisher do not imply endorsement of products, nor quality, validity or approval of the educational material offered by such advertisements. ©2021 The Engineering Society of Detroit.


NOTES Karyn Stickel Associate, Hubbell, Roth & Clark

Greetings to all our TechCentury readers. Hope is on the horizon as we see COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out across the state and we look forward to a potential sense of normalcy as we move through 2021. In this issue, our featured articles include a piece from Michigan Tech on “Why engineers need Afrofuturism, Literature, and Composition 101,” which discusses a whole-brain approach to the future of engineering. As an example of composition in engineering, we will also include the winners from our 2020 ESD Writing Contest, which features students that understand learning to write and communicate is an important part of engineering. Also from a university perspective, have an article on Eastern Michigan University and its new ABET accreditation. And we highlight the Engineer Society of Detroit’s College of Fellows—engineers, architects, scientists and leaders with achievements of exceptional distinction who make a strong impact on organizations and the individuals working within the engineering industry. ESD’s Image Award winner from 2020, John Gallagher, is also profiled in this issue. Mr. Gallagher retired in 2019 after 32 years of reporting on the City of Detroit. Finally, we have an article regarding DTE’s new virtual field trip, a program for students to learn more about the role renewable energy plays in southeast Michigan. We hope you enjoy!



The Essentialness of the "A" in STEAM


n this issue of TechCentury, you are invited to read the top three entries in our Student Writing Contest. Three thoughtful, wellwritten essays from soon-to-be engineers at the beginning of their careers. Their ability to communicate in such a clear, engaging fashion will be the key to much success. This skill is just as important as a mastery of science, technology and mathematics in our industry. STEM education has become a buzzword in education; and more recently we, rightfully so, have added an A to this acronym. The “A” refers to arts. And this A is essential to a comprehensive program of engineering. Because, frankly, you can have the best engineering solution in the world, but if it never gets clearly articulated, it never gets built, and it never solves the problem. Being able to clearly share ideas is essential in an engineer. Engineers must be able to clearly communicate complex ideas and technical project plans—as well as be persuasive and on point—in order to see their hard work come to life. I have worked with some of the most brilliant engineering minds; some extremely talented individuals. But the ultimate key to their success, and the success of their work, has been their ability to remove themselves from the engineering bubble and collaborate, communicate, and create. The benefits of creative thinking, of communicating, and engaging beyond your comfort level, is a must—especially as we move forward in this world that gives us so many ways not to communicate one-on-one. The internet, electronic communications, devices, video games all allow us to interact without truly communicating with one another.

Kirk T. Steudle is ESD’s 113th President. He assumed the role from now-Past President Daniel Nicholson, PE, at ESD’s November 2020 Board Meeting. The traditional passing of the gavel will take place at ESD’s postponed 125th Anniversary Annual Dinner, which will take place this summer.

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So how do we fix this? We start with programs like ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy, Future City and other STEAM-related programs that support and encourage communication skills right alongside science, math and technology. We encourage young people like those who entered our Engineering Students Writing Contest. While we will never turn an introvert into an extrovert—and that’s okay—we can assist the engineers of today and tomorrow in building upon the comprehensive skills that will equate to their success, and allow us all to benefit from the brilliance of their ideas. Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD President, The Engineering Society of Detroit Senior Vice President, Econolite

IN THE NEWS FARBMAN NAMED ‘BEST AND BRIGHTEST’ Southfield-based Farbman Group was named one of the 2020 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation. The National Association for Business Resources and Best and Brightest Programs is a national awards program that identifies and honors organizations that display a commitment to excellence in operations and employee enrichment that lead to increased productivity and financial performance.



Mindy Schultz, a veteran health and safety professional, is joining Barton Malow Company as a Safety Director. She will focus on building on Barton Malow Company’s safety culture and developing initiatives and processes that improve its safety results.


Roadside sensors can detect dangers and alert cars wirelessly

Mindy Schultz

The John Gordon Petty Sr. Community Champion Award was established in 2019 to honor an individual with connections to Lawrence Technological University, who is positively impacting the lives of the African American community. Petty worked in the field of engineering since 1963, serving on the LTU Board of Trustees for over 20 John G. Petty, Sr. years. He was a member of ESD for over 30 years, serving as President for the Society’s 100th anniversary in 1995. Mr. Petty died in 2020.

WMU’S EDWARDS NAMED WOMAN TO KNOW Autumn Edwards, a Western Michigan University professor, was named one of the “30 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About” by Women in Robotics for her contributions to research. In addition to her teachings and research, she is co-founder/codirector of the Communication and Social Robotics Lab, and founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal HumanMachine Communication. Dr. Edwards’ Autumn Edwards scholarly interests include interpersonal communication and communication theory, in both face-to-face and computer-mediated contexts.

Ann Arbor will soon be home to more than 20 “smart intersections”—capable of gathering and transmitting information in real time to connected cars—as part of a University of Michigan effort to demonstrate the safety potential of connected and automated vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded UM $9.95 million toward the effort, which will be headed by the university’s Transportation Research Institute. Corporate partners contributed an additional $10 million of in-kind funding. Intersections will be fitted with cameras, radar and infrared sensors in order to capture what is moving in the area, at what speed and in what direction—from cars to pedestrians. That information can be instantaneously sent to connected vehicles in the vicinity, triggering onboard warnings when cars are in dangerous situations. Through the living laboratory of the UM-led Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment and its predecessor Safety Pilot Model Deployment, vehicles across the city have been communicating with one another and infrastructure since 2012. These projects provided evidence that connected vehicles have the potential to reduce unimpaired crashes by 90 percent. Despite advances in technology, connected and automated vehicles still have blind spots, and sensors can still be fooled on occasion by things like poor weather. Henry Liu, a research professor at UMTRI, said sensors placed at intersections can provide data to those vehicles, enhancing their capacity to detect dangers. “One way to overcome the physical limitations of the onboard technology is to have these sensors placed locally that can provide information in situations where, say, line of sight is being blocked by a bus, or some other barrier,” Liu said. “Roadside sensors can detect a possible danger that is blocked, and broadcast that danger’s information to the vehicle.” UM’s partners on the project are Ford, Toyota, Qualcomm, the City of Ann Arbor, Continental, Iteris, WSP, P3Mobility, Econolite, and Purdue University. T H E E N G I N E E R I N G S O C I E T Y O F D E T R O I T | 5


IN MEMORIAM With deep gratitude for their participation and service, the Society acknowledges the passing of the following members:


President, Hydraulic Concrete Breaking Co. Brencal Contracting Site Director, Science & Engineering Fair of Metro Detroit Member since 1987


Director, Marketing & Sales, Motron Inc. Retired, Plant Manager, Corporate Recruiter & Sales, Dana Corp., Powertrain Division Design Engineer, Formsprang Affiliate Society Member Future City Mentor and Judge Senior Engineers Council Member since 1966


Retired, General Motors Corp./Cadillac Motor Co. Senior Engineers Council Member since 1964


Retired MSU Cooperative Extension Services Senior Engineers Council Member since 1980

Virtual Celebrations Held for Dick Morley A virtual celebration of Richard “Dick” Morley, a giant of modern manufacturing, took place on December 16, 2020. Morley died in 2017. Participants were individuals who worked and interacted with him during his lifetime. Among his seminal contributions were the programmable logic controller (PLC), automatic braking systems, and the floppy disk. Dick Morley Morley was an American technologist who was considered one of the “fathers” of the PLC, since he was involved with the production of the first PLC for General Motors, the Modicon, at Bedford and Associates in 1968. The PLC has been recognized as a significant advancement in the practice of automation and has an important influence on manufacturing industry. Morley was a self-taught engineer (who dropped out of MIT), an inventor, machinist, and author. In addition to his past involvement with The Engineering Society of Detroit, he was active in the International Society of Automation and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.


Retired, President, Amir Engineering & Associates, Inc. Member since 1999

H. EUGENE WEISS Retired, Chrysler Corp. Senior Engineers Council Member since 1995

Programmable Logic Controller

Colleagues gathered to remember Dick Morley.

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John Gallagher


f there is anything John Gallagher—the recipient of ESD’s 2020 Image Award—is an expert on, it is Detroit. The veteran journalist will receive the award this summer at ESD’s Annual Dinner. The ESD Image Award is for individuals who have gone above and beyond to promote the field of engineering and technical professions. “Gallagher very aptly fits the description of the ESD Image Award,” said nominator William Moylan, professor emeritus at Eastern Michigan University College of Technology. A 32-plus-year journalist with the Detroit Free Press, Gallagher has covered the evolving up-and-down world of Detroit. “John is an excellent journalist who skillfully explained the very technical topics of architecture and construction to the non-technical audience. John kept the Metro Detroit area up-to-date on the important construction projects of Michigan,” Moylan said. Gallagher has watched the trends come and go, including moving from the suburban sprawl of the 1980s and 90s to “the return to the City generated by Dan Gilbert.” He said current city engineers and architects are faced with developing a balance of making the city more efficient and appealing while maintaining its history, yet still having an eye toward environmental sustainability. Gallagher’s job took him to unusual places and experiences, “When I was covering the construction of One Detroit Center, they invited me to get down in this fourstory deep hole at the beginning of the project,” he said. “I was suspicious at first, but as a journalist you want to experience these things.” He also flew to Carrara, Italy to tour the marble quarries with the project. Gallagher says the advent of computerized drafting has played a large role in the evolution of building design in the past decade. “It allows for the elaborate curving designs and enhanced, yet more efficient projects.” The challenge of climate change, coupled with staying on top of technology, will be tomorrow’s engineers’ greatest calling, he says. “There’s a lot on their plate. We must be environmentally sensitive, efficient and proactive. We must take care of our coastal ways and the fresh water that surrounds this state,” he said. “If we are going to be making smart cars, then we must be planning to redesign our roads to accommodate them.” In addition to being a veteran newspaper journalist, Gallagher is the author of five books, including Great

One of John Gallagher’s favorite projects to cover was the Dequindre Cut, an urban recreational path that offers a pedestrian link between the East Riverfront and Eastern Market.

Architecture of Michigan and Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention. He is also co-author of AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Gallagher joined the Free Press in 1987 to cover urban redevelopment efforts. He officially left the paper in 2019, but in his final column, he explained, “I’m not leaving Detroit and I’m not hanging up my keyboard.” His forthcoming book is The Englishman and Detroit, and he now serves on the board of the Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation, which hopes to build a museum dedicated to Kahn’s work and more broadly to Detroit’s legacy of architect and design innovation.

Journalist and author John Gallagher has been writing about the build environment in Detroit for over three decades.



MARCH 25, APRIL 22, MAY 20, JUNE 24 11 AM · ONLINE Plan to attend this new webinar series hosted by The Engineering Society of Detroit and the Michigan Waste & Recycling Association (MWRA). National PFAS experts will be speaking on a variety of important topics related to these “forever chemicals” at waste disposal facilities. The series is intended for a broad group of environmental professionals representing industry, consulting and regulatory agencies. The webinars will be 11 a.m.– Noon. Cost per webinar is $25 for ESD/MWRA members: $35 for nonmembers. Visit to register online. For more information, contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.


Join the ESD Affiliated Technical Societies as we come together to honor and recognize our leaders— engineers, scientists and technical professionals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievement and service within their respective Societies. Hosted by The Engineering Society of Detroit and its Affiliate Council, the event features this year’s Gold Award winner Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD and the recipient of the Ann Fletcher Award for Distinguished Service, Kimball Williams, FESD. Complimentary to ESD members and our community of affiliate technical society. Pre-registration is required; visit to register online. The virtual celebration will start at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.

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Looking forward to getting back on the golf course? Mark your calendar and plan to join your colleagues and friends for ESD’s 10th Annual Golf Outing. Outing proceeds help support outreach and educational efforts such as the Girls in Engineering Academy, the Michigan Regional Future City Competition, ESD Student Chapters at 14 Michigan universities and scholarship programs for high school and college students. A day of fun and networking in support of engineering! The golf outing will take place at Oak Pointe Country Club in Brighton. Golfers – register early as this popular event sells out each year. ESD’s golf outing is held in memory of David A. Skiven, PE, in honor of his deep commitment to ESD and its mission. For more information, to register or for sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Heather Lilley at or 248-3530735, ext. 120.


Michigan PEs who want to enhance their personal and professional growth, or who need continuing education hours, can check out ESD’s online three and four-hour courses. Current PEs can take review course classes on an à la carte basis to satisfy state requirements. A broad range of topics are offered. The live, instructor-led online classes are taught by academic and industry professionals. For a class schedule and to register, please visit or contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.


AUCH Construction headquarters won a Construction & Design Award last year. Nominations for 2021 are due March 31.


Help us recognize leaders by nominating a Fellow, one of the highest recognitions that ESD can bestow its members. Candidates are selected based on outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership and service. They must be members in good standing for at least five years at time of application deadline. For full details and instructions visit esd. org. For more information, contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.




Visit for more programs.

The ESD Image Award recognizes individuals who have promoted, publicized and enhanced the engineering and technical professions to the public-at-large through public engagement, mentoring, public speaking, authoring articles, and other publicly visible activities. 2020’s ESD Image Award recipient is featured on page 7. Nominees do not have to be ESD members. Nominators must be ESD Members. Nominations are due by March 26, 2021. The award will be presented at the ESD Annual Dinner held in June. Nomination requirements and additional information can be found at or contact Susan Thwing at


ESD’s Construction and Design Awards are among the premier recognitions awarded to members of the construction industry and their projects. These awards are unique in that they honor the three primary members of the building team, owners, designers and constructors, and recognize outstanding team achievement and innovative use of technology. The awards were conceived 47 years ago to encourage elevation of the standard of practice in the construction industry. For eligibility requirements, submission criteria and entry procedures, visit For more information, contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

T H E E N G I N E E R I N G S O C I E T Y O F D E T R O I T | 9


2020 OUTSTANDING YOUNG ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: KIRSTEN JORDAN Each year, ESD recognizes a young professional under the age of 35 who has best distinguished him/herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include education, work experience, and professional and community activities. The 2020 ESD Outstanding Young Engineer of the Year is Kirsten Jordan. Kirsten Jordan is a Crash Safety Engineer at Ford Motor Company where she assembles and analyzes computer-aided engineering safety models. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering Management, both from Wayne State University. She sits on the boards of the National Society of Black Engineers —local professionals and regional professionals, as well as the Industrial Engineering Junior Advisory board at Wayne State University. Pre-COVID-19, Kirsten was a regular volunteer at the Vista Maria Home for Girls and the Medilodge Nursing Home for Seniors. Being an adventurous person, Kirsten has gone skydiving, surfing and has climbed the Great Wall of China. She has also traveled to several other

ESD recently awarded three high school students and five college students with $2,000 merit-based scholarships. Recognizing and honoring the future of our profession is key to our mission. Thank you to all of our donors who helped fund these scholarships!

countries including Costa Rica, Thailand, Peru, Scotland and even briefly lived in Mexico. She’s an avid music lover who sings and plays the piano. If history is any indication, Kirsten’s career will be one to watch. Past recipients of this award include Donald Frey (1953), Reinhold Tischler (1970), Ralph H. Kummler (1974), James J. Padilla (1980), Nancy Philippart (1986), and Ryan Maibach (2010), to name a few.


Our Student Chapter at Lake Superior University held a Kick-Off party in January.

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OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OF THE YEAR % Pranav Arunandhi, International Academy, Okma Campus, Bloomfield Township % Rohit Mital, Rochester Adams High School, Rochester Hills % Jack Wildes, Rockford High School, Rockford

OUTSTANDING COLLEGE STUDENTS OF THE YEAR % Arsha Ali, Oakland University % Varvara Gromakova, Lawrence Technological University % Kyle Illenden, Lawrence Technological University % Victoria Pellerito, Lawrence Technological University % Heidi Theisen, Michigan State University % Michael Ustes, University of Michigan-Dearborn

On January 30, representatives from Ford brought a robot to ESD to distribute 40 HP laptops to the girls in ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy who have not had access to adequate computers for remote learning.



he Internet opens up vast opportunities for students (and budding engineers) to learn, create, and explore. But lack of access to computers—and that important technology connection—can close off those opportunities to under-served populations. Thanks to a recent donation of $20,000 for 40 new laptop computers by Ford Motor Company, that connection will be strong for the students participating in ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy. “While K–12 students’ access to computers and the Internet improved during the pandemic-plagued and remote fall school term of 2020, a clear digital divide persists, especially among African-American, Hispanic and low-income students,” said Gerald O. Thompkins, Ph.D., GEA Program Manager. “According to recent research by the National Center for Education Statistics, 67 percent of white students were likely to use the Internet, but just 47 percent of African-American students, 44 percent of Hispanic students, and 58 percent of Asian-American students were likely to do so.” Internet connectivity and access remains problematic for many Detroit families, he said. “Ford’s contribution to purchase laptops for the GEA program will be a tremendous

boon for our students in their academic pursuits, however, we have to remain cognizant that there are a number of families who do not have Internet access and/or computer devices. This is a major problem and we hope to work with corporate America—like we have with the Ford Motor Company— to acquire the resources to help ameliorate this problem,” Dr. Thompkins said. ESD created the academy to improve academic achievement and increase the interest in engineering among girls. ESD’s over-arching goal is to decrease the gender gap in engineering professions by helping girls to excel at STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and eventually pursue engineering careers. Each year, ESD selects a new group of approximately 30 middle school girls from applications for the full-year program. The program continues throughout the student’s education in high school and will offer support beyond as the student pursues higher education and a career. “GEA is in its fifth year with an 88 percent retention of participants,” said ESD Executive Director Robert Magee. “This year-long learning experience focuses entirely on bringing the vast opportunities in engineering to underrepresented minority girls from Detroit and surrounding regions.” T H E E N G I N E E R I N G S O C I E T Y O F D E T R O I T | 11



Digit 007 and representatives from Ford delivered 40 laptops to students in ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy.

It is also encouraging a new generation of engineers. On average, only 20 percent of engineering degrees are awarded to women with only 3 percent awarded to minorities. “GEA is helping to change these numbers and encourage young women to explore the many fields of engineering. Via GEA we are meeting a dedicated, excited group of young woman who are very committed to fulfilling their potential in this growing field,” Magee said. The program provides math and science enrichment, engineering and computer science concepts, English/language arts comprehension, hands-on project-based activities, mentoring, virtual field trips to industry, and engineering career exploration. Students participate in a month-long summer program, then meet two Saturdays per month to learn about various engineering disciplines and careers. “The students are learning about what engineers do from inspiring instructors who are female engineering students,” Magee said. “They also gain from hands-on experiences designing engineering projects and field trips to engineering facilities and other STEM-related locations.” Randy Strawsine, STEM lead for Ford, said the donation “is part of our larger STEM support, which we are expanding this year through this initiative and others. Ford was looking for a way to have an impact for under-served students. Providing technology and laptops was a great fit especially considering most student’s classes continue to be remote.” The partnership of Ford and GEA, Strawsine said, was predestined. “Ford Motor Company was born in the imagination of a young man with a big vision. A century later, we’re still all about innovation—whether it’s advancing the cars of today or reimagining the way the world moves tomorrow. That’s why we support the STEM/STEAM initiatives that grow smart kids who will have what it takes to show us what’s next,” he said. On January 30, Ford representatives brought their new robot, named Digit 007, to deliver the laptops to the girls. The new robot demonstrated the exciting new frontiers in technology awaiting the girls as they continue their path to become engineers. To learn more about the Girls in Engineering Academy, please visit or email Gerald Thompkins at

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When Networking Goes Online… BY SUSAN THWING


ong before COVID-19, in 2018, William Arruda, a senior contributor to Forbes magazine wrote, “Let’s face it. Networking has moved online. And that’s great news.… The web affords you an opportunity to connect globally with people who share your interests and passions. ” Now that COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, traditional ways of working, communicating, collaborating and networking have changed dramatically. But fortunately, as Arruda predicted, much of what we need to move forward and keep our connections going—as well as make new ones—has been in place. So as we are waiting for opportunities to gather in person again, here are some tips for making the most of virtual methods of building professional connections. % Make technology your friend — You may be isolated but it doesn’t mean you can’t be connected. Make the effort to continue nourishing your business and social relationships remotely via phone calls, FaceTime, emails, virtual meetings and just reaching out to say “hello”. Staying connected on a regular basis can give you an edge over colleagues who retreat into isolation. % Embrace the extra time — Working from home often equals no commute. For some that can be an extra hour or two to the work day. Use that extra time to research new organizations and associations you might want to join, reach out to new potential clients, or drop a quick note to past colleagues to reconnect. % Take advantage of your expertise — No matter the field of engineering you are in, you have a unique perspective and knowledge base that others may be interested in. Peruse online publications that accept guest bloggers, are looking for expert sources for news articles, or have a need for speakers or panelists. You might even consider leading an ESD technical webinar (email if you are interested). % Block out time for new resources and new connections— Set aside an hour or more a week to do something new. Learn a new skill. Brush up on news in your industry. Call or send an email to someone you recently met. Staying on top of your game has never been easier. And staying top of mind to potential contacts will make them more likely to think of your for future projects.

% Learn to use video — Learning to use video meetings effectively can help bring back the benefits of in-person meetings. Some things to remember: • Always be aware of what your camera is transmitting. Set up a test video where you dial in as a participant. This way you can see what others will see. • Be careful with your appearance. If you are video conferencing with a potential client or a work colleague, dress as if you were meeting in person. • Remember to chat – The only difference between an in-person networking event and a virtual one is that the virtual happy hour can be part of the overall meeting. It’s important to stay focused on the topic, but also remember to engage and personable. % Make sure to PARTICIPATE in virtual events – If you attend a virtual meeting or enroll in an online course, be actively part of the event. Just because it is virtual does not mean you cannot stand out. Build your network by actively participating. Introduce yourself, ask questions, and make comments. If you identify other participants whom you’d like to meet, just as you would in-person, follow up with an email or personalized connection request on LinkedIn. % Get mileage out of social media — If you have a video talk, participated in a recorded online discussion panel, or were quoted as an expert source in a news article, share it via your business or even personal social media accounts. It will expand the reach of top-of-mind awareness of YOU, and may lead to new connections. Networking is key to successfully staying up-to-date and in-the-know—and being known—within your profession. It shouldn’t stop because you are working remotely. It may not be as simple, or comfortable, as in-person connecting but you can still meet people, develop and enhance relationships and stay top-of-mind when someone is looking for an expert or resource to turn to. Establishing solid online and virtual networking skills can expand your knowledge base and client base, and more. Susan Thwing is editor of TechCentury. She is a Detroitbased freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years’ experience covering the technology, research, health care and higher education sector. You can reach Susan at

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n an effort to promote and engage student voices and ideas about the profession of engineering, ESD and its TechCentury magazine held its third annual Engineering Student Writing Contest. Sixteen students from Michigan universities participated. The top award-winning essay author receives recognition at the 2021 Gold Award Reception and a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by Fishman Stewart, LLC. Open to all students attending Michigan universities and studying within any of the engineering disciplines or related fields, the contest asked students to write on one of three topics: 1. How do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your engineering education, and how have you academically met the challenges it brings? 2. Why did you decide to pursue engineering (and your particular field) and how do you anticipate the work to evolve over the course of your career? 3. What do you consider the most amazing feat of engineering over the last 100 years, and why? How did it change the world of engineering?


Entries in the contest were chosen via blind judging by TechCentury Editorial Board members. Here are the top three entries.

ESD WRITING CONTEST FIRST PLACE GRACE ZALUBAS of Farmington Hills, Michigan is a University of Michigan student studying civil and environmental engineering. She plans to graduate in December 2022. Grace, who was last year’s winner as well, answered the question: How do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your engineering education, and how have you academically met the challenges it brings?




ssential: so important as to be indispensable. Over the past year, this word has begun to encompass more than its formal definition suggests. We have redefined what “essential” means in our lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the migration to virtual environments, basic needs such as food, medicine, cleaning supplies, and healthcare are not easily accessible in an online space. As a result, essential workers like grocery store employees, pharmacy workers, doctors, nurses, and many more have stepped up to the front lines during this months-long crisis. These heroes provide essential services: services that are so important as to be indispensable. Behind these essential workers stands another set of heroes. Engineers work behind the scenes to allow essential workers to do their jobs. Grocery stores need new floor layouts to maximize social distancing; hospitals need reliable electricity to power ventilators; makeshift field hospitals need a sound structure to support their framework. Architectural, electrical, and civil engineers have worked to create solutions to these mounting issues. In every discipline, engineers are essential in supporting their community during this time of crisis. Now, more than ever, it is immensely important for engineering students to receive the education they need to tackle these challenges. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created barriers to our learning. Face-to-face conversations with our instructors are limited, in-person activities have ground to a halt, and hands-on learning is almost nonexistent. As we train for a profession that stems entirely from real-world applications, virtual classes lack the solid connections between theoretical and practical concepts. In other words, learning about how a structural beam bends under pressure from a computer screen is entirely different from seeing it in action. Students’ physical distance from the classroom creates a mental gap between education and the real world. Beyond the virtual lecture “hall,” the pandemic has diluted the sense of community in engineering classes. Sitting next to a friendly classmate can make all the difference in having success with a particular subject. In addition, team projects form lifelong relationships for engineering students that extend beyond the individual assignment. However, with online classes, social connections between students are only as strong as the internet connections between them. For students who had never heard the term “asynchronous learning” before this

year, unwieldy forms of virtual communication deter them from embracing the teamwork that characterizes engineering. These newfound challenges have motivated me to develop new academic strategies. Video calls to discuss homework, projects, and exam reviews have become the norm. Although these avenues often fail to capture the spontaneity of brainstorming and the design process, they remind me that engineering students’ mutual support for each other transcends the physical distance between us. Also, by attending online office hours, engaging in discussion boards, and even socializing in virtual “coffee hours,” I have made invaluable connections with professors in my engineering field. Though in-person interaction has always seemed like the gold standard for meeting new people and strengthening relationships, I find that virtual meetings encourage me to reach out more often, compared to in-person interactions. The convenience of video conferencing allows me to meet with professors and form study groups at a moment’s notice, without the need to walk halfway across the campus. These solutions, however, have not come without their own challenges. Technical difficulties in video conferences have frequently halted online lectures. Issues with uploading files to overloaded servers have driven exam periods to chaos. Lack of direct communication between professors, students, and the university administration has left people uncertain of what lies ahead. This past year, the pandemic has given rise to unfamiliar physical, virtual, and social barriers that permeate every facet of engineering education, as well as most areas of daily life. Although COVID-19 has brought logistical challenges in my education, each academic challenge reflects obstacles that engineers face in the world around us. With each video conference glitch, I see firsthand the importance of improving technology to adapt to unprecedented demand. With each online message, I recognize the significance of effective communication. With each struggle to connect virtually with other engineering students, I understand the value of a supportive community during times of crisis. During this pandemic, engineering students tackle each challenge that comes their way. Regardless of the apparent obstacles, we find a way to make it work, just as engineers do in industry. Our education provides us with the skills to support our communities. As the future of engineering, we know that we, too, are essential.

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ESD WRITING CONTEST RUNNER UP NOAH BALIAT is from Auburn Hills, Michigan and attends Michigan Technological University, studying Mechanical Engineering. He also answered the question: How do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your engineering education, and how have you academically met the challenges it brings?


he COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread impacts on nearly every aspect of day-to-day life worldwide, and my engineering education has been no exception. While procedural shifts typical of the situation such as virtual classes, limited hands-on interactions in labs, and limited face-to-face interactions with professors and fellow students have been implemented in all aspects of the educational environment, the main shift present in my personal experience during this pandemic has been a reaffirmation of the underlying goal of my engineering education; to make other people’s lives better by solving problems in the world. With this goal in mind, the challenges I am facing seem insignificant in comparison with the good that the skills I am learning now can do for the world. Though the specifics of the educational situation are less than ideal, the events of the past few months have both highlighted issues in several world systems and allowed rapid advancements in several fields to materialize due to necessity. These outcomes work to spotlight challenges solvable through new engineering developments and showcase the potential for rapid innovation that presents itself in the field of engineering. Despite a lack of physical interactions with professors and other curriculum resources, I have constantly been reminded in these last months of the importance of that goal that has driven my choice to become an engineer. New problems have emerged every day during these times which create opportunities to adapt, innovate, and design the future. While many of my classmates have struggled to stay motivated and focused, especially when muddling through a combination of remote and mixed modality classes while dealing with the isolation that the situation has presented to all of us, I need only glance at the news to confirm for myself that the path that I have set myself on is the right one. While I am facing mild challenges now, the solvable problems in the world continue to affect the lives of others, and every day I take a step closer to delivering a solution.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to adapt our lifestyles to the new environment, and I have continually found new creative ways to keep myself and my peers engaged. In the digital age there is rarely a time when you can’t connect with people remotely, and I have taken full advantage of that capability to continue studying with my friends at college, tutor friends back home who are struggling, and have more casual interactions such as game nights or movie nights. As a resident assistant on campus I am constantly encouraged to find creative ways to get everyone involved in a safe manner, whether that be hosting online game nights, socially distanced card tournaments, or just hopping on Zoom to make sure that they know they don’t have to struggle through their calculus homework alone. This semester especially I have done my best to create a supportive community for all of my residents, because with the current state of increased isolation and separation everyone needs to know that they are not alone. In establishing these systems and hosting casual events I myself am reassured that I do not face these challenges alone, and that other people want to see good things come out of all of this as well. It’s encouraging to put effort out into the world and receive something in return, and I intend to continue that well beyond this pandemic. Overall, while the challenges that this pandemic has presented to us are no small thing, by focusing on the things I can control and making the most of the hand I am dealt I am able to stay motivated and encourage others to do the same. Almost none of us have had an easy time these past few months, and by utilizing this situation to pull people together rather than push them apart we can see some good come out of all of this pain and struggling. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that there are still plenty of problems in the world that we as engineers need to tackle, and by focusing on the good that can be done in solving these issues the challenges I face on a daily basis seem a small feat by comparison. The guiding goal of my educational decision holds true, and there is still much work to be done to achieve it.

ESD WRITING CONTEST RUNNER UP DANA MARIE LEFEVRE is from Livonia, Michigan and is attending Michigan State University’s College of Engineering, with a May 2024 planned graduation date.


n August 18, 2020, I stared at my computer screen after reading an email from Michigan State University’s president, and my heart silently broke as tears streamed down my face. Michigan State University had decided to close campus for the fall of 2020 for the safety of its students, staff, and community. This was just another challenge I faced this year. As a high school senior, I had looked forward to graduating, fulfilling all my final moments, and finally go to college. Even though many things did not go to according to my plan this year, I knew one thing remained constant: my passion for becoming a civil engineer. Engineers work to solve challenges, and COVID-19 is one of those challenges that people work to solve every day. The global pandemic affected my engineering education in many ways, but it has not taken away my desire for learning and hope for a brighter future. The coronavirus changed many facets of my college experience. Instead of limited in-person classes and social distancing dorms, like most universities in Michigan, I was completely virtual from my bedroom. I always knew that communication was a key part of college. I came from a high school with 90 kids, so my jump to 50,000 students was a little daunting, but I was very excited. I knew I would have to work hard to form relationships with professors, mentors, and classmates. How does the dynamic change when the best form of communication is over Zoom? The first lesson I learned in college was that the effort is worth it, and can be even more visible than being in person. My chemistry class has over three hundred students in my lecture sessions. Every single person keeps their screen off and microphones muted. So, if I turn my screen on, then I am a face and not just a name. By taking the initiative and obtaining the opportunities that colleges provide, the education value can be just as good as it would have been in-person. The second lesson I learned was just how important it was that I embrace my belonging at Michigan State. My education has always been a priority to me, but real

lessons come from peers and upperclassmen. I think that the biggest sense of belonging comes outside of the classroom. This was a challenge with remote college. So, my first step to making progress was signing up for a club. Three, actually. I joined Women in Engineering, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and even a fitness club called CHAARG. Now, I have a mentor, connections with professional companies, and many friends! Engineers often work in team to collaborate and come up with better ideas than each individual could have done by themselves. Here at Michigan State, I found my engineering team, even though our “dorm” rooms are hours across the state instead of on campus. The last lesson I learned was that it is possible to be a leader in my one-person classroom. Throughout my time in high school, I was involved with multiple clubs and sports teams. I learned from my team captains and club presidents that the best qualities in a leader include empathy, confidence, and passion. I learned to be empathetic by always listening to my peers and understanding that I am in a position to help and encourage others. I learned to be confident in my skills because I have produced great grades when I focused diligently on my studies. Last, I learned to be passionate because every day I realize that I am one day closer to my goal of getting my engineering degree! As final exams are approaching, I have come to realize that my in-person college experience will have to wait another semester. Even though I was faced with many daunting challenges at the beginning of this semester, I am confident that I will continue to receive an outstanding education. I learned unique ways to communicate, build connections, and become a stronger leader, all while taking classes from my bedroom. I am learning how to live, learn, and embrace life until we get the pandemic under control and can resume our normal, or at least a new normal! The pandemic is one more problem that I am being trained to solve whether it is from my dorm room or bedroom. No matter the circumstance, education will continue to flow, and I will do everything I can until I become one of you.

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he Engineering Society of Detroit’s College of Fellows are a unique group of engineers, architects, scientists and leaders with achievements of exceptional distinction. They are individuals with a lifetime of accomplishments and elevation in multiple areas, which include professions, professional societies, educational backgrounds, publications, and patents. However, their impact on organizations and the individuals working within is much more personal. “They are professionals who give of themselves, paying forward their expertise to assist, grow, share and support their fellow engineers, improve the industry, as well as society in general,” said Filza Walters, FESD, Past Chair of the ESD College of Fellows, and founding director of the architectural engineering program at Lawrence Technological University. In a recent conversation with Dr. Marburger (president emeritus, and former chairman and chief executive officer of Lawrence Technological University) Walters reflected on Marburger’s many years of service to the Engineering Society. “He frequently stated, while paraphrasing John F. Kennedy’s quote “Ask not what ESD can do for you, ask what you can do for ESD,” Walters continued, “and that was music to his ears!” And that’s what the College of Fellows members do, she said. Fellows are conferred by invitation of the ESD Board of Directors for outstanding and extraordinary

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qualifications and experience in their professions as evidenced by accomplishments in the following major areas: % Technical achievement % Professional achievement % ESD service and leadership % Professional society service and leadership (as indicated by honors and awards, publications and patents, academic service and leadership) % Community service and leadership “And that pretty much sums it up. We are a group who support, network, and look out for each other,” Walters said. “One of the main responsibilities we have as Fellows is to be available for younger, emerging members.” Walters said. “Quite often, we are able to recognize unique gifts and talents that others may not see in themselves.” She continued to say, “It is important to acknowledge fellow professionals and to show gratitude, and as Fellows, we take great pride in being able to reward others for the substantial value of their life’s work.” Walters said “the number of Fellows in my lifetime who have had an impact on me is immeasurable”, siting the breadth of experience within the College and the renown engineers who are members. “Lee Iacocca was an ESD Fellow, and although I never met him, his book Where Have All the Leaders Gone, was very inspiring to me. Many of the members are retired, yet vital members and contributors—sharing their

Filza H. Walters, FESD, is the Past Chair of the ESD College of Fellows.

stories and perspectives. They have such rich histories and work hard to preserve and maintain a fellowship bond to each other and to the engineering profession. It is humbling to be a part of this group,” Walters said. Walters’ achievements include b e i n g i n st r u m e n t a l i n c re a t i n g, developing and launching the integ ra t e d b a c h e l o r- m a s t e r s a rc h i tectural engineering program at Lawrence Tech. This fast-track program was introduced in the fall of 2009 and is the first program of its kind in Michigan. Prior to that, Walters worked for more than 18 years as a designer, consulting engineer, project manager, and owner’s representative, working on commercial, institutional, healthcare, industrial and educational facilities. Her own philosophy is to “guide, prepare and motivate students to become life-long learners who are dedicated to creating sustainable, healthy environments.” She is committed to serving the next generation of engineers, and regularly acts as a speaker and a mentor for ESD’s middle school STEAM programs, including Future City. This fits in perfectly with the learning-focused, expansive

At formal ESD events, such as the 2019 Annual Dinner (above), ESD Fellows wear medallions with signature red ribbons. Those who have received a Rackham Humanitarian Award also wear a medallion, but on a tricolor ribbon.

philosophy behind the Fellows. Walters said the College makes a point to “develop talent, give back, and to elevate fellow colleagues in the spirit of affirmation.” The College includes an executive board responsible for oversight, and providing support and assistance to new applicants. You will find Fellows serving as judges for the Construction & Design Awards and Future City, and volunteering at many events. They also review and oversee the selection of new Fellows. “We choose new Fellows with care and invite them to join the Executive Board to ensure the Board is diverse and inclusive,” Walters said. Walters said the work, purpose and impact of the Fellows can be summed up with this acrostic: % F = Fellowship, building a network, serving as mentors, supporting colleagues, and maintaining friendships that last a lifetime. % E = Ensure diversity of engineering and allied professions, and inclusion of all things STEAMs (science, technology, education, engineering, arts, architecture, math, management, medicine), while upholding ethical standards.

% L = Loyalty and building a legacy is the hallmark of a Fellow. With years of service and active participation to ESD, their profession and organizations, Fellow pay it forward by recognizing others who deserve to be recognized. % L = Leaders in their companies, institutions, professional organizations, and within ESD, Fellows represent many industries and professions. % O = Outstanding citizens of their communities, Fellows are distinguished by their eternal optimism and spirit of volunteerism. % W = With wit and wisdom, Fellows walk the walk, and work hard for the things they care about while continuing the good work of ESD. % S = Selfless service, time, talent, and commitment to shepherd the next generation, is a Fellows duty. They are lifetime stewards of our professions and planet. Going forward, Walters said the Fellows will “leverage and share their wisdom, knowledge, and time by continuing to give back through commitment and connection for the betterment of the engineering profession.”

NOMINATE A FELLOW We need your help identifying Fellow candidates for consideration. Candidates must be ESD members in good standing for the past 5 years. They should possess outstanding qualifications and experiences in their profession as evidenced by accomplishments in the following major areas: technical achievement, professional achievement, and ESD service/leadership. Additional qualifications include professional society service and leadership accomplishment in the following areas: honors/awards, publications/ patents, academic service/ leadership, and community service/leadership. Nomination forms can be found at This year’s deadline is March 12, but please send in recommendations any time. For more information, contact Heather Lilley at 248-353-0735, ext. 120, or

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DTE Program Manager Vielka Hernandez talks about her job in DTE’s virtual field trip. PHOTO COURTESY OF DTE



ith the shift to more online learning, DTE Energy has developed a virtual field trip to its wind and solar parks to teach young people about clean energy and the important role it plays in addressing climate change. Students experience what it’s like to climb up a 300-foot wind turbine tower, learn how solar panels use sand to create energy and visit three DTE renewable energy projects in different locations across Michigan. The 27-minute video also introduces middle and junior high school students to the many career opportunities available in the energy sector, ranging from jobs in the skilled trades to positions requiring advanced-level graduate degrees. In addition, DTE has created an educators’ guide for teachers to supplement the field trip content. With suggested research and discussion topics, worksheets and games, DTE hopes the activities in the guide will challenge students to think creatively about reducing carbon emissions and building a more sustainable future. The virtual field trip video and teachers’ guide are available to all on the company’s Empowering Michigan blog. “Increasing the amount of energy we generate from renewable resources is one of the most important things we can do to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change,” said Trevor Lauer, president of the electric company at DTE Energy. “DTE is Michigan’s largest producer of renewable energy, with plans to triple generation from wind and solar by 2030. We created this field trip to help young people learn more about clean energy and to challenge them to think about actions they can take now - and in the future - to save energy and help protect the environment. It would be great if the field trip inspired some to pursue a career in Energy.” The virtual field trip opens at DTE’s headquarters in downtown Detroit, Mich. where two DTE employees talk

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about their jobs with the company’s renewable energy team and the steps DTE is taking to generate cleaner energy. The field trip host also describes the science behind how energy is created. The next stop on the field trip is DTE’s Polaris Wind Park, located in mid-Michigan’s Gratiot County. Students get to see how wind turbines are constructed, learn about the turbines’ components and then go inside a turbine, venturing both inside and on top of the nacelle, experiencing the view. Next up, the field trip moves to DTE’s Lapeer Solar Park, located about 50 miles north of Detroit, Mich., to show students how we are generating more and more energy from the sun. Operational since May 2017, DTE’s Lapeer Solar Park is among the largest solar parks in Michigan. With 200,000 solar panels covering 250 acres, the park generates enough clean energy to power 11,000 homes. The final stop on the field trip is Detroit’s O’Shea Solar Park. Here students learn about the more than 26 wildlife habitats and pollinator gardens DTE hosts at its sites. DTE plans to plant pollinator gardens at all of its future solar parks and the Wildlife Habitat Council has recognized the company for its environmental stewardship. “With thousands of students now engaged in online learning, it’s great that DTE Energy is providing our students with the opportunity to learn about renewable energy and virtually visit DTE’s wind and solar parks,” said Beth Gonzalez, assistant superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District. “Educational efforts like this help further level the playing field for our students by bringing the experience to them. We appreciate DTE creating this fun and creative way to teach students about clean energy and the role it plays in their lives and we plan to make this part of our District’s recommended activities for Earth Week 2021.”

SUPPORT ESD AND HELP THE ENVIRONMENT Sign Up for Michigan-Made Renewable Energy

DTE and ESD have developed a partnership that will benefit ESD’s scholarship program and help the environment at the same time. Through the end of March, DTE will donate $15 to ESD’s Scholarship Program for every ESD member or member associate who enrolls in the MIGreenPower program, one of the largest voluntary clean energy programs in the country. Some of the many reasons to sign up for the program include: % Take advantage of affordable renewable energy programs supporting DTE Energy’s wind and solar projects. % Support 100% renewable energy without making exterior alterations. % Protect the environment for future generations. % Grow Michigan’s clean energy economy. DTE’s MIGreenPower program is an easy and affordable way to participate in DTE’s solar and wind projects. Customers choose how much of their electricity use they want to attribute to Michigan-made renewable energy assets. MIGreenPower can help customers reduce their carbon footprint and meet sustainability goals. Participation in the program can support efforts to earn LEED points and EPA Green Power Partner status. To sign up as an individual, isit and indicate “ESD” when asked if you have a referral code. If you need help or have questions, please contact DTE at migreenpower@dteenergy. com or ESD Executive Director Robert Magee at


Meeting the Call for Engineers




n September, the College of Engineering and Technology at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) was awarded accreditation for its Mechanical Engineering undergraduate degree from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). “This is a significant milestone and a prestigious stamp of quality for our program,” said Mohamed Qatu, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology. “We achieved the accreditation with no areas of weaknesses. We were commended for our strengths in community engagement, and facilities. This milestone puts us on par with the larger universities in Michigan and makes graduates of the EMU degree program in consideration for jobs in that same category of achievement.”

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EMU College of Engineering and Technology’s home base, Sill Hall, recently underwent a $40 million renovation to accommodate the expansion of engineering programs. Dr. Mohamad S. Qatu, Dean of the college, oversaw the expansion and the recent ABET accreditation of the school’s mechanical engineering program.

The Mechanical Engineering program, established three years ago, is the university’s response to the growing nationwide demand for engineers in this field. The program is dedicated to preparing students for productive careers in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on design and materials. The program currently has more than 150 students, three primary faculty members, and three supporting faculty members. “The demand for engineers, and mechanical engineers, is great in Michigan. All of our universities are producing considerably less engineers than the engineers needed in the state,” Qatu said. “We need to support this profession and keep our immense talent in the state to remain prosperous, growing and competitive.” EMU’s College of Engineering and Technology is already accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology and Product Design and Development Engineering Technology. In addition, the Information Security and Cyber Defense program in the School of Information Security and Applied Computing is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. “These accreditations benefit to our graduates because once they enter the job market, employers place accredited school degrees at the top of the stack of resumes,” Qatu said. “Plus it is the normal progression for graduate studies and licensure.” The College of Engineering and Technology’s home base, Sill Hall, recently underwent a $40 million renovation to accommodate the expansion of engineering programs. It reopened in January 2021 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, so has not seen full on campus class use. The renovation of the 92,635-ft 2 structure included modernizing classrooms and labs, lecture halls, student commons areas and faculty offices. The renovation created flexible use

EMU Mechanical Engineering students work in the newly renovated Sill Hall.

spaces for both research and instruction, along with replacing architectural, structure, mechanical and electrical systems. The project also expanded 16,000 ft 2 to support lab space for the engineering program. These improvements fall in line with the university’s goal to prepare well-educated engineers with handson experience for the workforce. “With ABET accreditation, students, employers and the society we serve can be confident that our program meets the quality standards,” Qatu said. The 18-month ABET accreditation process includes representatives looking at how the programs work with: student progress, program educational objectives, student outcomes, plans for continuous improvement, curriculum, faculty, facilities and institutional support. Qatu said the accreditation was achieved with the university’s community engagement initiatives highlighted as a notable strength. This outreach involves extensive efforts promoting STEM initiatives

such as EMU’s Digital Divas and Digital Dudes, as well as partnerships with the Mr. October Foundation and Game Above. Qatu added, “We are thankful to our doners, particularly in GameAbove, for their continuous and generous support.” EMU also hosts ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy month-long summer program for middle school girls and delivers certificate courses to fourth-year girls in the program. Qatu said the accreditation and community engagement achievement is part of EMU’s overall goal to help support today’s engineers while working to develop the next generation via STEM education beginning in early school years. “This accreditation is a huge achievement for the Mechanical Engineering undergraduate degree,” said Qatu. “The School of Engineering directors and faculty have worked tirelessly to qualify for this accreditation, and it is a true reflection of the strength and quality of our engineering school and programs.”

EMU Mechanical Engineering professor Dr. Emad Tanbour (far left) and Bia Hamed (far right), Director of K-12 STEM Outreach for EMU’s College of Engineering and Technology, gathered last fall to award participants in ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy summer courses at EMU.

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Just the Facts BY MATT ROUSH


he centrist senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat who served as an adviser to Republican President Richard Nixon, once famously said that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. Well, if Sen. Moynihan had lived to see 2020, his head may have exploded. They also used to say that freedom of the press is reserved for those who own one. That too has long since become a false statement. Anyone with access to a computer and a web connection can reach a worldwide online audience of 3.4 billion people instantaneously, and call themselves a journalist. So what is the current state of journalism ethics, in an era of fake news, fact-checkers, and those who fact-check the fact-checkers? The Society of Professional Journalists, the leading association for reporters and editors, has a fine-sounding code of ethics It has four principles: Seek truth and report it; minimize harm; act independently; and be accountable and transparent. Under these four principles are 35 admonitions and goals for professional behavior. They include verifying information before publication, using original sources, providing context, holding the powerful accountable, showing compassion for those who may be hurt by coverage, avoiding conflicts of interest, refusing gifts, and promptly correcting mistakes. That’s all well and good. But in an age where Flat Earth Societies and bonkers conspiracy theories have millions of online believers, where “deep fake” technologies allow people to create realistic looking videos of celebrities and politicians saying anything, where objective fact-checkers are mocked as tools of the “deep state”—does the effort to produce ethical journalism even matter anymore? Do we all get our own facts now? I asked several of the people I most respect after a 35-year journalism career about this, along with communicators in the faculty at Lawrence Technological University, where I’m now director of media relations. Cheryl Chodun is an adjunct professor of media communication at LTU—and before that, a TV and radio reporter for more than three decades. Inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2014, she had this to say: “I teach my students that when we are reporting the

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news we must report our stories in a truthful, fair, unbiased, and balanced way, and if you can’t get both sides, at least try, and say that you did.” As for the state of truth in journalism these days, she said: “I’m not sure if viewers or listeners can sort out the truth these days, or even want to. It surprises and disappoints me when I see one station or another disregard balanced reporting. I think, as educators, all we can do is teach the truth and teach the right way to deliver the news, and hope balance works its way back into the business, regardless of political preferences.” Bill Laitner, a Detroit Free Press reporter and columnist and four-decade journalist, said he’s “watched the emphasis on ethics grow. The topic began as an important but rarely discussed part of my job. It’s now, management tells us, a matter of survival for our entire industry.” Laitner said he believes the media is “under siege,” most recently from the Trump administration but long before that from new media sources, “all urging Americans to distrust their traditional sources of news. That makes it not just desirable and admirable, but essential, for journalists to be ethical and to transmit perceptions of fairness to our audiences.” That includes practices such as fairness, independence, compassion, and accountability for mistakes, he said. Tim Kiska, a veteran Michigan journalist who is now associate professor of communication at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said much has changed since most people’s news came from three networks and a few major daily newspapers, and it was tough to find magazines with fringe opinions. Today, though, “with the web and easy circulation of opinions, the genie is now out of the bottle. You can pretty much sculpt your news intake to your point of view.” But, he said, producing trustworthy, ethical news boils down to what it always has: “Are you getting everybody’s point of view in? Are the facts correct? Are you purposely leaving out any facts that should have been included?” Vincent D. McCraw, president of the Detroit chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, noted that “ethics in journalism is a foundation of the profession. That foundation has always been stress-tested. In general, it has fared well. But there are too many instances than necessary recently where small cracks appear.” McCraw said that in an era in which journalism is cannibalized into subsets for click-bait stories, hyper-partisan cable news opinion shows, allegations of so-called “fake news” and outright lies, it imperative that legitimate journalists on all platforms be ever vigilant to make sure that personal and professional ethics are not compromised. “It’s a dangerous and potentially fatal road to travel when journalism ethics is sacrificed for momentary gain or glory,” said McCraw, a journalist whose 40-year career in newspapers includes stints in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Detroit.

So what is the current state of journalism ethics, in an era of fake news, fact-checkers, and those who fact-check the fact-checkers?

“Every journalist must be responsible for maintaining and upholding the highest ethical principles of our profession, particularly in these challenging times when readers and viewers need factual and accurate information from reliable, responsible, reputable news sources,” said McCraw, who spent the past 20 years as an editor at The Detroit News and is now the founder and CEO of VDM Consulting LLC, which provides consultation on diversity, inclusion and equity in newsrooms and offers editing, writing and digital content services. John Lindstrom, retired publisher of the Lansing governmental news outlet Gongwer News Service, said that “in terms of overall ethics, the classic issues of conflict of interest, overall honesty in reporting and such haven’t changed much. But we have seen dramatic discussions and overall arguments on bias and objectivity—certainly the most significant that I can think of in my career.” He said modern allegations of political bias in journalism are nothing new. And he said that while most individual journalists may be liberal in terms of civil liberties and civil rights, politically he believes “they tend to be more libertarian than anything else.” And he said the current discussion of political bias in the media should also consider other forms of bias, such as the way women and racial minorities have been treated in the news. The presidency of Donald Trump produced unique challenges to journalism ethics and objectivity, as Trump’s frequent attacks on the media as “the enemy of the people” and his 20,000-plus documented false statements prompted the media to become, in Lindstrom’s words, “more forceful in declaring truth or falsity” in objective news coverage. He said media outlets “got pissed off enough finally…to drop the courtesies. I always would say things like ‘So and so’s claim was not accurate,’ or ‘In fact, the item is’… Now we see reporters and editors saying that something is false, baseless, untrue. And we are seeing people respond in fury at those comments. Is it because of the language used? Or because of the individual’s mind-set and personal identity is so wrapped up in the falsehood they cannot accept reality?” Vickie Thomas, a veteran reporter at WWJ Newsradio 950 (where I worked from 2001 to 2014) who was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 2019, said

“JUST GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT, AND LET THE FACTS FALL WHERE THEY MAY.” that “because of the current political climate, along with coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic, journalism ethics have been put to the test like never before. Add to that the rise of social media where ‘citizen journalists’ post all sorts of information that may or may not be accurate and often leans more toward the sensational. But, I also believe that traditional purveyors of news, and some non-traditional, have stepped up to the challenge as people look for trusted and reliable information. As journalists, it is our responsibility to sift through the propaganda to get to the truth. In many instances, that can be a challenge, requiring more time to get the story right. I’m sure many news organizations had to take stock of exactly how they cover the news as viewers, readers and listeners quickly point out bias in news coverage and possibly seek their information elsewhere as a result.” She said getting all sides to a story and presenting diverse voices are always a focus of coverage, and that her opinion should stay out of stories: “No one should know how I personally feel about anything I cover.” That’s something to strive for. As for my experience after 35 years in news, I keep thinking of a favorite boss, Richard C. Kerr, owner of the Leelanau Enterprise from 1975 to 1997, for whom I worked as a reporter and editor from 1981 to 1985. He joked that his personal political views were somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, yet was careful about accuracy in everything he published, and wouldn’t abide political shadings in news coverage. As he used to say, “Just get the facts straight, and let the facts fall where they may.” Matt Roush is Managing Editor of the University News Bureau and Director of Media Relations at Lawrence Technological University, and co-host of the M2 TechCast podcast with Mike Brennan. Before joining LTU, Roush spent more than 30 years as a reporter and editor covering high tech, business, and local government.

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Photo: The pandemic changed the way we teach. With so many engineering courses relying on hands-on instruction, future of education calls for rethinking how we think and what we expect in classrooms. PHOTO: SARAH ATKINSON, MICHIGAN TECH



ere’s the premise: Engineering needs literature. Before you scoff or nod or turn the page on whatever conclusion you’ve already come to, consider what your brain is doing right now. As you look at these words, the visual cortex fires in the back of your skull. But to understand these words, and to later draw conclusions in your frontal lobe, there is first a symphonic tuning between the angular gyrus, Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area—a rather cerebral exploration of making meaning. At the same time, before you can even blink, the amygdala has been triggered. Your emotions flare, the hippocampus sorts through drawers and drawers of past experience, shaping interpretation from the emotional staining of those aged files, and the insular cortex helps—or perhaps doesn’t—by regulating emotion and fueling your self-awareness. By now, you’ve finally had a conscious thought, and the prefrontal cortex delivers you

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an internal op-ed along with whatever else makes it into the classified ads and obituaries of your mind’s instantaneous newspaper. In other words, reading requires a lot from your brain. It’s not a natural act— it has to be taught, takes years to learn, and continues to be refined with more and more difficult texts. It starts as a kinesthetic skill, as many of us start to read first by forming the shapes of sounds with our mouths and matching them to the visual shapes of letters and


Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf

words. It’s a task that requires our whole brain, not just one side of it. The intricate dances of mental processing are often simplified into the right and left sides of the brain: the creative side and the logical side. It’s how we split college campuses, AP courses in high school, scholarly funding, and “types” of people. However, all of us have a whole brain and we need both sides. While there is a difference between the processing capabilities of the brain’s hemispheres, it has less to do with creative proclivity or mathematical aptitude and everything to do with how we view and process the world. The left brain tags, orders, quantifies, and assesses; the right connects and seeks understanding. The right and left are also affected differently by strokes. Neuroscientists have found that most patients with left-brain strokes can rewire neurological pathways more easily to relearn speech, movement, and other activities, while patients with right-brain strokes sometimes have a hard time grasping the fact that they’ve had a stroke at all. Researchers SUGGESTED think that’s because the left READING brain is so good at its job The Master and that it cannot fathom why it his Emissary: The needs the right; meanwhile, Divided Brain and the right understands that it the Making of the cannot function without the Western World left, but when damaged, the by Iain McGilchrist left’s myopia takes over. Likewise, engineering is so good at its job that many of its practitioners have forgotten why it needs literature. A group of literary and cultural scholars from Michigan Technological University remind us why we need a whole-brain approach to the future of engineering. They foresee multiple paths for STEM and the arts.


We can continue on this disconnected and dichotomous path. “It’s hard to imagine this cultural trajectory changing if we continue to set science and engineering in contrast with the humanities,” said Dana Van Kooy, director of the English program at Michigan Tech and associate professor of English in transnational literature, literary theory, and culture. She notes that “just as words can be used rhetorically to create lies, so too can numbers. It’s important to remember how much things are alike and how much we insist on difference.”

“The Mathematikado” is an 1886 parody of the famous opera “The Mikado” by Gilbert and Sullivan. Laura Kasson Fiss and Andrew Fiss study how math-themed plays reflect on STEM education in the past and today.

STEM does not have to add the A of art and become STEAM. It’s not on track to. There are plenty of arguments presented in academic forums, school boards, and board rooms on why engineering students need to get into labs quicker, why middle schoolers need a better handle on algebra, why high scores on standardized reading comprehension prioritize aptitude over understanding, why art and lit classes get cut first in budget shortfalls. Most of the time those arguments cite efficiency and money. If those are the only two values we hold onto, then society can keep up its left-brain focus on GDP crunching and workforce grinding. “English today has little influence on science, especially from the scientific view,” Van Kooy said, explaining that she thinks too many people argue that literature is irrelevant to engineering, “unless it’s science fiction, but any genre from any time period can be relevant to the present moment and our future.” For example, she included Daniel Defoe’s “A T H E E N G I N E E R I N G S O C I E T Y O F D E T R O I T | 27

Personalities, courses, and campuses are often split up by right-left/creative-logical, but none of that is apparent from the Michigan Tech waterfront. Framing and light, statistics and rhetoric; all storytelling, whether visual, verbal, or scientific, requires both sides of the brain.

Journal of the Plague,” pubSUGGESTED lished in 1722, in one of her READING classes this fall. Van Kooy’s Braiding Sweetgrass students said they “enjoyed by Robin Wall Kimmerer reading the novel because it provided them with an opportunity to reflect on the current pandemic. Interpretations evolve with changing contexts.” Some people can pretend the uncertainties and instabilities that 2020 has revealed in health care, politics, justice, and education will magically disappear or be technologically resolved. Other people will continue to make their own connections and leave engineering to its own devices.

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We can imagine other paths. And fiction has helped science do that for a long time. “Science fiction allows us to explore some of that uncertainty and instability,” said Maria Bergstrom, undergraduate academic advisor and lecturer in Humanities at Michigan Tech. “It says, ‘If that happened, let’s take it to its natural conclusion. What would the world do?’ (Literature) can serve science and engineering in that way.” Bergstrom explained that by reflecting on what-if scenarios, we make connections—a right-brain process that requires the discernment and calculations of the left. “We use science fiction to look into the future, but we can also think about how we looked into the future.” Literature, then, is not simply inspiration for engineering. The exchange does not need to be one-way; literature can serve STEM by providing insight, but that service will be erased if it only exists to perpetuate and hone left-brain skills. Also, data is not as cold as researchers pretend. “When you present data, you also tell a story,” Berg-

strom said. “What we do in the humanities fields is make the story more visible; we are aware that we are telling a particular story about this data.” That means the study of literature and the crafts of writing, reading, and textual analysis can help engineering tell its own story and imagine its own future.


Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson


Rather than literature merely serving the creativity of engineering, there is great potential in symbiosis. Tori Reeder is a doctoral student in the Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture program at Michigan Tech and is one of the instructors for the University’s Composition class. Alongside Engineering Fundamentals, they are part of a suite of crucial first-year courses, and there is no single right (or left) way to teach them well. Reeder and her collaborators want to bring the two into one classroom. They sent out surveys last fall to gauge student interest in combining engineering fundamentals and composition. “In my opinion, composition adds a different way of thinking critically about a text that takes into account context and rhetorical situation,” Reeder said. “It hopefully teaches (students) not to be afraid to look at large or complex documents and know how to break it apart, analyze it, and present it in different ways for different audiences.” Integration of engineering and literature can be a mutually beneficial endeavor. With thoughtful and deliberate preparation, the two can uplift learning and support one another rather than compete or serve.


Not only could engineering and literature help each other, they could help change the world. Much like teaching Engineering Fundamentals, there is no single path forward, but different literary and cultural movements offer opportunities to reframe and reconfigure possibilities. For example, Afrofuturism is speculative fiction focused on the experiences and imaginings of the African diaspora. Afrofuturist authors often explore liberation and freedom within their envisioned worlds where Black characters invent, overhaul, make terrible mistakes, build incredible wonders, and generally keep on being human with all its sorrows and joys. From Black Panther’s Wakanda to the workshops of “Jingle Jangle” to Octavia Butler’s Oankali spaceships, Afrofuturist spaces outline doorways within the whitewashed

hallways of the engineering SUGGESTED mainstream. READING Speculative fiction opens Octavia’s Brood doors to the future; nonficedited by Walidah Imarisha tion like “Hidden Figures” and adrienne maree brown or “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” cracks windows into the past, where studying old transgressions helps us avoid new ones as we cross the threshold of the present. Stories live inside the societal calculations of past texts, and human equations that spin off into the future can be extrapolated from how we treat numbers. Tw o M i c h i g a n Te c h researchers have written extensively about math anxiety and how Victorian-era students challenged the norms of math class through writing operas: Andrew Fiss, assistant professor of technical and professional communication and the director of the Scientific and Technical Communication program, and Laura Kasson Fiss, research assistant professor in the Pavlis Honors College and assistant director of the Pathway Program in the Pavlis Honors College. In their work, they find that the imaginative, integrated approach of literary thinking is not inherently just, but it does open space to “see what’s there and what’s not there,” as Laura Kasson Fiss said. “We hold on to this idea that there are communities that can’t understand each other,” Andrew Fiss added. “It’s still the case that math especially is seen as being in the realm of the unemotional, but the pandemic is testing that.” Three hundred thousand. Six million. Seven billion. 2020. These numbers have strong emotional pull these days, and they are not numbers alone—they carry unavoidable narrative. Engineering alone does not have the tools to comprehend these narratives. To move forward into an imaginative, integrated, and just future of its own design, engineering needs literature. The right brain and literature are not in the business of answers, but their forms of critical thinking shape questions that invite us to look at the kind of future engineering can make. With its left-brain strengths and business of making the future, engineering has a lot to gain from more partnership with the humanities and literary arts.

Allison Mills is the associate director of Research News at Michigan Technological University.

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tilities are essential for our livelihood. The survival of individuals and communities depend on the steady, safe and reliable supply of electricity. Utility companies across North America, even though prepared to respond to major events, were greatly challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Francis T. Wszelaki, past president and CEO of Columbia Power Corporation and currently Executive in Residents at the University of Toledo Business College and Paul Hong, Distinguished University Professor of Global Supply Chain Management and Asian Studies at the University of Toledo, recently took a look at the emerging energy sector supply chain management issues of the utilities industries—in the United States and Canada—in the COVID-19 world. They examined an overview of utilities industry in the context of energy sector’s handling and, challenges to managing the pandemic. They also looked at the impact of COVID-19 on utilities industry in terms of having supply chain disruptions, maintaining essential services and transitioning to new normal (e.g., workforce management, infrastructure changes, review of investment decisions in growth areas and reconfigurations of distribution channels). The researchers also used virtual remote tools to conduct field interviews with energy sector senior executives, attend industry conferences, conduct round table discussions, and hold workshops. “The lessons we learned include the prospect on how emerging issues would impact the utilities industry and customers at large,” Wszelaki said. “Implications are in the areas of strategic future scenario planning, reimaging the utility workforce and supply chain continuous improvement approaches to achieve operational excellence.” Protecting their workers and supplier’s workforce was priority realizing the pandemic would impact supply

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chains over a protracted period, he said. Energy Industry experts cautioned that utilities supply chains would see a variety of disruptions that could impact their ability to support the generation and delivery of electricity. “The utility executives—through the functional workers—responded over the past months well and will need to respond to the pandemic again this winter,” Wszelaki explained. “Their efforts to manage the pandemic are notable. Utilities are keeping the lights on is clear however, the new utility normal will come from the pandemic lessons learned. As we manage our way through COVID-19, it is expected that the future utility business models will be transformed by changing their level of sophistication, wanting their supply chains to more adaptable and more resilient while energizing us.” At the on-set of the COVID -19 pandemic, Wszelaki and Hong wrote, the utility industries in the United States and Canada were carrying out normal operations, performing

Figure 1: COVID-19 and Its Impacts $ Outbreaks (increasing # of patients, deaths) $ Lockdown orders (Factory/Hotels/School shutdowns) $ Travel restrictions $ Production stoppage $ Small Businesses shuttered $ Mental Health & Substance Abuse $ Job loss / layoffs

$ Field worker protection $ Significant drop in demand $ Deferred plant outages & suspension of new builds $ Receipt & delivery system strain $ Customer’s ability to pay $ Implement a stay-athome workforce

scheduled maintenance, and constructing power-related projects according to their corporate strategic plans. The supply chain management organizations were working with their various business units in support by procuring and supply services, materials and equipment. As the pandemic began to unfold in January 2020, and quickly ramp up in February, the utility industry was working with representatives from the Federal Energy Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the North American Transmission Forum (NAFT) and the Department of Energy (DOE) while obtaining specific guidance from the Center for Decease Control (CDC) to ensure electric service was going to be available and reliable. Among the areas the utility industry were directly impacted and the issues they had to deal with were: % Utility emergency response management plans (ERMs) were challenged by the length of pandemic and multi scenarios playing out. % Having a global business continuity and not regional created supply chain challenges for services and vendors to meet their needs. % The requirements for employee social distancing and hygiene rules needed to be adapted by their workforce. % The total demand for electricity dropped off challenging the bulk power systems. Later issues included: % Load patterns shifted due to the United States and Canada’s nationwide lockdowns and state/province stay at home orders. % Base load plant shutdowns shifted generation to renewable sources and raised challenges for maintaining bulk power system voltage and frequency control. % Financial implications shifted revenue streams, increased personnel fixed costs and challenged customers to pay. % Stoppage of new plant construction projects and in progress planned assets disrupted supply flows. In addition, normally anticipated weather events impacted the timely restoration of service to customers due to social distancing and personal safety requirements (e.g., California wildfire, Midwest derecho, tornados, thunderstorms, floods and hurricanes). “Although the COVID-19 pandemic put enormous pressures on the utility industry, it has and continues to handle the challenges well,” Wszelaki said. Successes during this time were many, they said: % The supply chain management organizations were able to perform tasks remotely while ensuring their essential workers delivered and distributed materials and services to support the business units. % Supply chain senior leaders improved their image to the C-suite executives and functional group directors by

Figure 2: Innovative Leadership, SC Management and Scenario Planning

Innovative Senior Leadership

Changing Roles of SCM

SC Management

Future Scenerio Planning

Organizational Transformation

BU Contingency Planning

Cross-Functional Linkage

demystifying their processes while building transparency in understanding the business units they served. % The performance of the utility industry’s supply chain management to the COVID-19 pandemic gave people the confidence that utilities were able provide services, perform outage restorations, continue to build new clean energy alternatives and maintain existing plant assets. “There are two key observations and multiple lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hong said. “The requirement for social distancing being the need for certain supply chain groups to working remotely was proven. The second being C-Suite executives having firsthand experiences that supply chain management are ‘mission critical’ to their corporations present and future growth.

Air quality before and after COVID-19

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Figure 3: Supply Chain Corporate Model

Management Alignment Category Management Supplier Integration Risk Management Inventory Optimization

Supply Chain Management

Integration of Insights Business Units

Corporate Finance

Recognizing a remote workforce is their future and the fact that utility supply management is a mission critical function indicates a strategic redefinition is needed.” Wszelaki said going forward the utility business units will have to work with the supply chain leadership to define and developed the Industry’s workforce of future. The important lessons learned will be workforce adjustments for utility supply chain managers to transform towards even after the COVID-19 recedes. The supply chain departments will need to promote themselves as stewards of value, challenging the rules of engagement with their business units, the researchers explained. The value proposition each department will need

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to embrace moves from the traditional “just in time” approach to a resilient transformational “just in case” model. This resiliency transformational model envisions a mobile supply chain workforce handling situation in the office, working at sites and remotely working while supplying mission critical support in the field to receive, store and deliver goods and services, they explained. Other outcomes noted included: % The supply chain departments should look at further leveraging the expertise of suppliers to develop data driven supplier profiles, with transactional contractor relations that defines the supplier’s maturity that goes beyond performance but to ownership. % The maturing of their workforce to focus on the asset management processes used by the business units and major enterprise project groups needs the supply chain departments to be more engaged. % The utility industry’s evolution to digital and virtual automation will require utility supply chain management leaders to spend even more time and resources to function autonomously with vendors, contractors and suppliers. % The integration of supply chain management into the business units they support—with a direct tie into corporate finance—will be needed to be established at the C-Suite level. This will allow the utility industry to realize the full benefits of key themes of adaptability, resiliency, sophistication and transformation. “The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled C-suite executives to realize supply chain management is ‘mission critical’ to the corporation’s survival,” Wszelaki said. “The business model using the integration of insights has five tactical approaches for defining supply chain management.” These approaches include asset management alignment, category management, supplier integration, risk management and inventory optimization. The corporate alignment that includes supply chain departments supports the continuous improvement cycle. “The improvements that are realized allows for minimal disruptions and keeps the business units on-time and on budget. The involvement of corporate finance in costs analysis, forecasting of asset expenditures, CapEX spend, and future investments to include supply chain management, will enable them to understand their decision-making impact on the corporation’s investment and growth strategy,” Wszelaki explained. “The COVID-19 pandemic indicated to us that developing each corporate entity allows for a level of supply chain sophistication … By working together at the supply chain, senior leadership can handle the status quo of doing business as usual but can also adjust tactically aligning teams when an event occurs.”

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Construction Specifications Inst. (CSI) Council of Supply Chain Mgmt. Professionals (CSCMP) CREW Detroit–Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Detroit Chinese Engineers Assn. (DCEA) Detroit Soc. for Coatings Technology (DSCT) ElectroChemical Soc. (ECS) Engineers Without Borders (EWBUSA) Great Lakes Renewable Energy Assn. (GLREA) Heavy Duty Manufacturers Assn. (HDMA) Illuminating Engineering Soc. of North America (IESNA) Inst. of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Inst. of Environmental Science & Technology (IEST) Inst. of Industrial Engineers Greater Detroit Ch. (IIE) Inst. of Mathematical Sciences (IMS) Instrumentation Systems & Automation Soc. (ISA) Int’l Council on Systems Engineering–MI Ch. (INCOSE) Japan Business Soc. of Detroit (JBS) Mechanical Contractors Assn. (MCA-Detroit) Mechanical Inspectors Assn. of MI (MIAM) Metropolitan Mechanical Inspectors Assn. (MMIA) MI Ch. of Am. Soc. of Landscape Architects (MASLA) MI Assn. of Environmental Professionals (MAEP) MI Assn. of Hazardous Materials Managers (MI-AHMP) MI Chemistry Council (MCC) MI Interfaith Power & Light (MIPL) MI Intellectual Property Law Assn. (MIPLA) MI Rural Water Assn. (MRWA) MI Soc. for Clinical Engineering (MSCE) MI Soc. of Professional Engineers (MSPE) MI Soc. of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) MI Water Environment Assn. (MWEA) MI!/usr/group (MUGORG) National Assn. of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) National Assn. of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

* Policies are underwritten by the Citizens Insurance Company of America and/or Citizens Insurance Company of the Midwest, companies of The Hanover Insurance Group. Participation in the group auto and home insurance program is based upon group membership and company underwriting guidelines.

Nat. Soc. of Black Engineers–Detroit Alumni Extension (NSBE-DAE) Net Impact Southeastern MI (NISEM) North Am. Soc. of Chinese Automotive Engineers (NACSAE) Project Mgmt. Inst.–Great Lakes Ch. (PMI) SAE Detroit Section (SAE-Detroit Section) SAE Mid MI (SAE-Mid MI) SAE Int’l (SAE-Intl) Safety Council for SE MI (SCSM) Saginaw Valley Engineering Council (SVEC) Soc. for Industrial & Applied Mathematics–Gr. Lakes Sec. (SIAM) Soc. for Marketing Professional Services–MI (SMPS) Soc. of Am. Military Engineers (SAME) Soc. of Am. Value Engineers–Greater MI Ch. (SAVE-GMC) Soc. of Applied Engineering Sciences (SAES) Soc. of Fire Protection Engineers–MI Ch. (SFPE) Soc. of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Soc. of Manufacturers’ Representatives (SMR) Soc. of Manufacturing Engineers–Detroit Ch. No. One (SME) Soc. of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Soc. of Plastics Engineers–Automotive Division (SPEA) Soc. of Plastics Engineers–Detroit (SPE-DETROIT) Soc. of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers (STLE) Soc. of Women Engineers (SWE) SE MI Facility & Power Plant Engineers Soc. (SEMPPES) SE MI Soc. for Healthcare Engineering (SMSHE) SE MI Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF) Southeastern MI Computer Organization, Inc. (SEMCO) Structural Engineers Assn. of MI–Am. Inst. of Steel Const. (SEAMi) Student Environmental Assn.–University of MI, Dearborn (SEA-UMD) TiE–The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) U.S. Green Building Council–Detroit Regional Ch. (USGBC-DRC) United States Army (USARMY) United States Navy (USNAVY)

Hartland Insurance Group, Inc. 691 N. Squirrel Rd., Suite 190 Auburn Hills, MI 48326 248-377-9600

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