Engineering at Nebraska Fall09

Class Notes

In Memory

Rose Marie Engstrom
died Feb. 13 of cancer. She worked 16 years in the UNL Department of Mechanical Engineering. A memorial service was held February 18 in Lincoln. Mechanical Engineering’s interim department chair Jeff Shield said, "Rose was a wealth of information for faculty and students alike, and handled the chores of keeping several hundred students (not to mention all the faculty) in-line and on-track. Her quick wit and humor were always present and kept things lively in the office. She was greatly missed these past few months as she battled her disease, and she has made a lasting impression on all of us."

Clifford W. Williams, ’50 BS ELEC, Aurora, died Jan. 5. He was born in Doniphan in 1923 and served in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps with the 87th Infantry during World War II. After UNL, he founded his own companies: in 1967 Transcom, with its family of data communication terminals, and in 1972 International Sensor Systems, Inc., which manufactures custom hybrid thick film electronic circuits in Aurora.

Earlier in the 1960s, he led information systems with United Aircraft in support of NASA, and managed plans and programs for IBM’s Corporate Memory Group. He had attended the IBM Advanced Degree Program at Syracuse University.

A senior and life member of IEEE, he was appointed by the governor of Nebraska to, and served a five-year term on, the state’s first Research and Development Authority (he was reappointed in 1994). In 1987, Williams received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UNL College of Engineering and Technology. He was president of the local Rotary Club and most recently served as vice-president of Aurora’s Edgerton Educational Foundation.

Williams is survived by his wife, Loretta; two daughters and a son.

William Hanna Bowen, ’50 BS CIVE, died February 11 in Lincoln. He grew up in Lexington where he graduated from high school in 1943. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps with the 15th Air Force and was discharged in 1946. After graduating from UNL, he was elected Dawson County Surveyor and was later appointed city surveyor of Lexington. He married Beverly Jean Bates in Lexington in 1955. They moved to Omaha, where he worked for Constructors, Inc. He is survived by three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Allen Dedrick, BS AGEN ’62

Dale F. Heermann, BS AGEN ‘59 School in 1942.

George MillerGeorge R. Miller, BS MECH ’39 and MS ’40, San Clemente, Calif., died January 29. He was born October 13, 1918 at Virginia, Neb. He also earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

During World War II, Miller worked at Douglas Aircraft. After the war, he worked for the Rural Electrification Administration in the southwest U.S., where he met and married his wife, Bettimarie. The couple settled in Nebraska, where George became director of public works in Crete and later Beatrice. He worked at Beatrice Steel Tank Manufacturing and was vice president of Dempster Mills.

In 1962, George was hired as director of the physical plant at the University of Nebraska. Projects during his more than 25 years with NU included the medical school in Omaha, the dental school, law school, Love Library, Sheldon Art Gallery, Hamilton Hall, the NET- TV Building, Oldfather Hall, the Nebraska Union and several dormitories, and the Scott Engineering Center, as well as Memorial Stadium additions.

In the late 1970s, Miller was prominent in the construction of state office buildings in Lincoln and Omaha. In the early 1980s, he oversaw remodeling of the Nebraska State Historical Society and the preservation of the Nebraska State Capitol.

After retiring from NU in 1984, Miller and his wife spent time in Arizona and California. He volunteered two years of his time to design and build structures for St. Clements by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in San Clemente. His funeral services were held there February 13.

Miller is survived by four children and five grandchildren.


Donald Morgan graduated from UNL’s College of Engineering and Architecture in 1965. His B.S. in architecture ultimately led him to write a book about a special building in McCook known as the Sutton House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Morgan calls it "the only Prairie School Style home truly built on the prairie," and the book (with photography by John Altberg) commemorates the home’s 2008 centennial and includes local history as well. Original floor plans and historical photos complement the interest of Harvey and Eliza Sutton in Wright’s work, which inspired Eliza Sutton’s travel to Wright’s Chicago studio in 1903. The story shares project details during construction, then follows through the years to the current owners’ complete restoration. For more information see

Ken Jones, ’68 BS CHME, is a director with InfraReDx Inc., a Burlington, Mass.,-based medical device company. Founded in 1998, the company is developing a fiber-optic, catheter-based, near-infrared spectroscopy system to identify and characterize vulnerable plaque in the coronary arteries.


Adel Shirmohammadi, ’77MSAGEN,received ASABE’s Presidential Citation for his service to the organization.


Steve Jambor, ’81 BS AGEN, led a team of Nebraska Engineering alumni representing Archer Daniels Midland Co., at UNL’s Spring 2010 Career Fair. The group included Eric Ohnoutka (BS CHME 2009), Drew Luebe (BS CHME 2004) and Tim Schultz (BS CHME 1999). Left to right are Eric, Steve, Drew and Tim.

Yanbin Li, ’85 MS AGEN, is a professor in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Steven E. King, P.E. ’88 BS CIVE, is Road Design Leader with the Kansas Department of Transportation. A Nebraska native, he still roots for Husker athletics.

John Rada, ’88 BS ELEC, is director of engineering with Li-Cor, Inc.’s Biosciences division. He values how this Lincoln company is helping the world. One aspect includes efforts to help address global climate change, through measurement of greenhouses gases and work to help scientists understand the mechanics of carbon in the atmosphere. He notes Li-Cor also has a focus on cancer research. Rada has worked with Li-Cor for 15 years and currently leads a departmental team of 40 engineers.


Tami Brown-Brandl, ’93 BS BSEN, ’95 MS BSEN/AGEN and animal science, received an ASABE Presidential Citation and is a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees through 2010.

Eric Berggren, ’96 BS BSEN, is a program manager for HDR and lives in Chicago where he works on building HDR’s water and wastewater program.


Karen r. Lochte-Watson, ‘01 PhD BSEN, is a continuous improvement manager with ConAgra Mills, part of ConAgra Foods. She works on maintenance and methodology for work simplification projects. Keeping in touch with her former BSEN adviser, Curt Weller, has helped her connect UNL students with internships and opportunities.

Brian Thomas, ‘01 BS AGEN, recently accepted the engineering manager position at Hutchinson-Myrath, a company that designs and manufacturers grain conveying systems. Matthew Helmers, ’03 PhD AGEN/BSEN, gained the 2009 Nolan Mitchell Young Extension Worker Award. Helmers is an assistant professor at Iowa State University.

Kimberly Ryland, ‘03 BS BSEN, continues to work in project management, design, and development of arthroscopic cutters and burrs at Stryker Endoscopy in San Jose, Calif.

John P. Gilroy, ’04 BS CHME, works with Black & Veatch in the company’s Kansas City office.

Michael Fredenburg, ’05 BS MECH, is an engineer with Final Assembly operations for Altec Industries in St. Joseph, Mo. He redesigned a washer product from aluminum to steel, without adding weight, to be insourced to their plant. He has also worked on aspects of a telescopic crane used to spray-clean energized power lines in coastal areas.

Ryan Almquist, ‘06 BS CIVE, works in Kansas City for Black & Veatch’s Water Division. He served on the second of two phases for "the largest design-build project" on record: a $300M water facility in Queensland, western Australia. The work featured a micro-filtration membrane that provides for industrial purposes as well as drinking water needs. Due to the urgency of the area’s drought, the project was completed in 18 months, with a 24-hour work schedule that included expertise from the U.S., India and Australia.

Justin Speichinger, ’06 MS AGEN and ’01 BS MSYM, works for Caterpillar in North Carolina.

Chelsea Clark, ‘06 BS IMSE, works as quality supervisor for Eaton Corp., in Hastings. The company handles mechanical differentials for machining. She recently participated in continuous improvement initiatives for Eaton during a six-month project in Mexico.

Ramesh Singh, ’09 Ph.D., is a scientist and ARTS contractor with the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Construction Management alumnus Eller gains inaugural CNST alumni award Giving a talk about “Opportunities and Challenges in the Construction Industry,” Timothy R. Eller returned to the UNL Construction Management program where he earned his degree more than 35 years ago. Speaking to more than 100 CNST attendees at ceremonies in UNL’s new Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center on April 21, Eller had plenty of perspective to share from ascending to lead one of America’s largest homebuilding companies. His career experience and expertise earned him UNL Construction Management’s inaugural “Outstanding Alumni Award.”

Eller joined Centex Homes in 1973 as an assistant project superintendent. He advanced through the corporation to be named president and chief executive officer of Centex in 1991. In 2002, he was appointed president and chief operating officer of Centex Corporation and assumed the additional roles of chairman and chief executive officer in 2004.

At the time, Centex Corporation was a diversified holding company with operations in home building, general contracting, mortgage finance, title and property insurance, and related services. Eller refocused the company to its core home building operations, and was responsible for initiating the Centex merger with Pulte Homes, creating the nation’s largest builder.

Currently principal of Cordalla Capital, LLC, Eller directs investments in real estate and related businesses. He is also vice chairman of the board of directors of Pulte Group, Inc. He is a past-chairman of the Policy Advisory Board for Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and continues to serve on that board. He also chaired the High Production Home Builders Council of the National Association of Home Builders from 1998 to 2009, representing CEOs of the largest home builders in the nation. Eller is a life trustee of the National Housing Endowment and also serves on the board of trustees of the Southwestern Medical Foundation. He has previously served on the Fannie Mae National Advisory Board, the board of trustees of the Nature Conservancy of Texas, and the Executive Committee of the Dallas Opera.

Eller grew up in Omaha and currently lives in Dallas. He and his wife, Kathryn, also from Omaha and a UNL graduate, have three grown children and two grandchildren.

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