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This Issue's Connections:

Kiewit Man Alumnus Receives Foundation's
Highest Award
Advisory Board
Golf Scramble 2004 Class Notes Upcoming College Events

Kiewit Man

Rick Lenoha
Rick Lanoha’s early years at Kiewit weren’t terribly exciting—he worked in the stockroom. But then, he wasn’t really looking for excitement. He needed a job while working toward a degree in construction systems technology. “Kiewit was very flexible and allowed me to work when necessary,” he said. It also helped that his was mother was a manager at Kiewit and had contacts.

But when he graduated from the Department of Construction Systems Technology in 1991 and applied for an engineering position with the company, Lanoha was on his own and had to interview like any other candidate. “I had met a lot of people within Kiewit and knew I wanted to work in the field,” he said. “I interviewed in Southern California and got the job.” Lanoha’s first engineering position at Kiewit was on a $190 million Hyperion Treatment Plant Improvement project. From there he moved up quickly, said Don Wrieth, who is with the Kiewit group in Omaha.

“Rick is a typical Kiewit guy,” Wrieth said. “Most of the people who have succeeded with Kiewit have succeeded because they just thought they were doing their jobs—nothing special. That’s how Rick is.” But Rick is special, Wrieth added. “I’ve never seen anyone accomplish what he has in such a short period of time.” Just six years after graduating, Lanoha was named project manager on a multi-million dollar pump station. That project netted him Kiewit’s highest honor: The Peter Kiewit Award for Excellence in Management. From there, he became an area manager and the vice president/district manager for the Southern California office. Then, in November Lanoha was promoted to president/district manager of Massachusetts Electric Construction Company, a subsidiary of Kiewit, in Boston.

“What separates him is that he’s driven and wants to succeed,” said Tom Shelby, district manager of Kiewit Industrial District in Kansas City. “First, he wants to be the best. Secondly, he carries that into his personal life—he reads personal growth books and reflects on his career and his job. Third, he wants to lead; he wants to learn how to lead better and is willing to stand up and take responsibility. You put these together and that makes him good at what he does.”

In addition, he’s great at building teams, Shelby said. “He is gregarious, outgoing and has a knack for developing friendship among his peers. He can be demanding and sets high expectations, but people don’t resent it. It’s extraordinary how he can build teams and get things done.”

Jim Goedert, chair of the Department of Construction Systems, remembers Lanoha much the same way. “As a student Rick was eager to learn but had real practical sense about what he was learning —he wasn’t just going for the grade—that was secondary. He had an eagerness to understand the practicality of the classes and how that applied to everything.”

Lanoha credits much of his success in the real world to his experience in college—and to the professors there. “I was in awe of Dr. (Ted) Sokul’s engineering mind and learned a lot from his courses,” Lanoha said. “And Prof. Goedert was a young guy coming in from industry who was high energy and made me realize this is what I wanted to do. Having a guy like that—he wasn’t just academia, he had real-world experience.”

Lanoha’s admiration for the program and its professors has kept him in touch with the department over the years. “I really got a lot out of my education there and believe that the university prepares us well. I’ve really gone back to the college quite a bit. We do recruiting there and it’s been a really good relationship—it’s nice to be a part of that,” he said.

Because of his commitment, Lanoha was honored this year as the Alumni of the Year, Goedert said. “He was instrumental in getting the Southern California group to pay more attention to our graduates. In fact, Kiewit gave a $2,000 scholarship and started aggressively seeking students from our program.”

Lanoha also is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and is enthusiastic and eager to move forward on helping with fund-raising and improving the perception of the college, two of the board’s top goals. “We need to get out and show people what a real diamond the college is and promote the opportunities here,” he said.

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Alumnus Receives Foundation's Highest Award

Win Wade (EE ’62, MBA ’65) received the University of Nebraska Foundation’s 2003 Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Service for his leadership and service to his alma mater.

College of Engineering & Technology alumnus Win Wade, left, is presented with the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Service, NU Foundation’s highest service award, by foundation board member Harley Bergmeyer on Oct. 24.
Terry Fairfield, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said he was pleased Wade was selected as this year’s recipient “in recognition of his dedication to the university and his extraordinary leadership of the foundation.”

Wade, of Aurora, Colo., was elected a foundation trustee in 1988 and has served 12 years on the foundation’s board of directors. The retired Qwest Communications chief executive was chairman of the board from 1999 to 2001 and has served on several foundation committees, including the campaign, executive and audit committees.

“Win Wade’s focus on issues of governance, volunteer involvement and staff interaction led to organizational restructuring that positions the foundation for the future,” said board member Harley Bergemeyer, who presented the award during the foundation’s annual meeting of trustees. “His understanding of organizations and their behavior, along with the foundation’s financial performance, serve as the hallmark of his service.”

The Branch Award is named for the foundation’s first full-time director, Perry W. Branch, whose 20 years of service exemplified dedication to the foundation and the university. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate those same qualities while upholding the foundation’s mission to provide opportunities for excellence at the University of Nebraska.
Robb Crouch, University of Nebraska Foundation

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Advisory Board

The Dean’s Advisory Board meets regularly with the Dean of the College of Engineering & Technology to discuss college goals and ways to move those goals forward.

Steven T. Alvine, newly elected president of the board, holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from UNL and is CEO and co-owner of Alvine and Associates, Inc. Dennis Hirschbrunner is the executive vice president and director of marketing for HDR, and holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from UNL.
Marsha L. Babcock holds a B.S. in elementary education and a J.D. from UNL. She is the executive vice president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Omaha and an adjunct faculty member in construction management. Kenneth E. Jones, founder of Automated Call Processing Corporation, Ditech Communications, and Globe Wireless, served in the Navy from 1968 to 1972 and received his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from UNL.
Robert A. Bloechle, vice president of Hawkins Construction Company, holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
Rick Lanoha received his bachelor of science in construction engineering technology and recently was promoted to president/district manager of Massachusetts Electric Construction Company, a subsidiary of Kiewit, in Boston.
Robert W. Brightfelt holds a bachelor’s and master’s of science from the College of Engineering & Technology and is the retired president of Dade Behring Inc.
John D. Lorenz, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Kettering University, the Robert & Claire Reiss Chair of Industrial Engineering, holds a BS and MS in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from UNL.
John T. Dunn, human resource manager of ExxonMobil Products Research Department in Paulsboro, New Jersey, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UNL.
David McDowell, Regents’ Professor and Carter N. Paden Jr. Distinguished Chair in Metals Processing, Georgia Institute of Technology, holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from UNL and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Brian Halla, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of National Semiconductor Corporation, holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from UNL.
Lee A. McIntire, partner and executive vice president of Bechtel Group, Inc., received a bachelor of science in civil engineering and an MBA from UNL.
Jim Hansen, senior vice president, Network, Local Telecommunications Division of Sprint Corporation, holds a bachelor of science in industrial engineering from UNL and a master of science from the University of Missouri. Richard L. McNeel, president of Lord Corporation, holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from UNL and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Roger M. Helgoth, quality manager for Jacobson Helgoth Consultants, received a bachelor of science in civil engineering and a master of science in environmental engineering from UNL.
Jeff Zvolanek, co-owner Desert Warriors Land Development Co., holds a bachelor of science in industrial engineering from UNL.
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Olsson Associates Honored as "Best" Workplace

Olsson Associates was ranked No. 12 on CE News magazine’s “Best Civil Engineering Firms to Work For” list.

CE News is issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers. This is the second year Olsson Associates made the top 50 list; last year it was No. 48.

Olsson Associates, a strong supporter of the College of Engineering & Technology, provides engineering, planning, landscape architecture, surveying and environmental sciences services. Offices are in Phoenix; Denver; Kansas City, MO.; and Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Holdrege and South Sioux City in Nebraska.

Engineering & Technology Golf Scramble

The Friends of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering & Technology presents its ninth annual Golf Scramble. In this four-person scramble, participants may sign up individually or as a group. There will be team and flag prizes, with corporate donations going to the latter. Mulligans may be bought for $5 each at registration. Proceeds will go toward student scholarships and other FUNCET Programs.

The event takes place Mon., Oct. 4, at Firethorn Golf Course in Lincoln. Registration begins at noon, with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. A banquet will follow the scramble with awards given at that time.

If you have questions on becoming a corporate sponsor for the event, contact Gretchen Livingston, (402) 323-6226 or Gretchen.Livingston@hdrinc.com. More information regarding the golf scramble will be sent during the summer.

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Class Notes

  • Timothy A. Sestak, CM, ’73, recently was appointed Military Program Manager with Boundary Layer Research, Inc., in Everett, Wash. Sestak had a 20-year career with the U.S. Navy as an aviator and has held management positions at the Research Triangle Institute, Boeing and TAS Engineering.
  • Gary Gates, MSIE, ’85, became CEO of OPPD in October 2003, and president in January 2004.
  • John D. Korff, IE, ’88, recently accepted a position with the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City as the Quality Systems Group’s lead environmental engineer. Korff writes, “If Dr. Cochran is still around, please tell him hello (he may not remember me—I wasn’t one of his best students).”
  • Leonard Mollak, CS, ’90, was promoted to vice president of Oakview Construction’s Lincoln and Omaha offices.
  • Pamela Dingman, CE, ’91, recently was named director of operations of Engineering Design Consultants, LLC
  • Stephen Scott, CSE, ’92, MS, ’94, and his wife, Andrea, welcomed a son, Thomas Nash, on Aug. 18, 2003. The couple has another son, Nicholas. Dr. Scott recently received early tenure and was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UNL.
  • Scott Kennedy, CM ’95, was appointed vice president for business development and overall coordination of Ayars & Ayars Omaha office.
  • Michael Berg, CM, ’95, was promoted to associate at DLR Group in Omaha, Neb.
  • Eric Kamin, EE, ’01 was promoted to associate at DLR Group in Omaha, Neb.
  • Brent Mencke, CS, ’03, recently was hired by Paul Davis Restoration of Omaha as an associate.
  • Gabe Kidwell, CM, ’03, recently joined the estimation department of Kidwell Cos. in Lincoln, Neb.

Upcoming College Events

Oct. 6 Career Fair
Oct. 11 Women Interested in Engineering Day
Oct. 27 Lincoln Information Night
Nov. 3 Omaha Information Night

For more information about college events, contact Ann Koopmann at akoopmann1@unl.edu

On Jan. 15, the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) Midlands Chapter awarded it’s first Walter Vogeler Memorial Scholarship to Andrew Jizba, a senior in the Industrial Systems Technology Department. The scholarship is named for Vogeler, an evening instructor who taught courses in production management and facilities planning and cost analysis for about 10 years. Vogeler died in 1991. Pictured from left: Avery Schwer, Andrew Jizba and LaVon Vogeler.