Dear Alumni and Friends,

Twice a day I drive by the corner of 11th and State streets. For years, the scene there was the same: a full parking lot across the street from the Chancellor’s Residence. Today, I pass the amazing 68,500-square-foot building that houses Missouri S&T’s chemical and biochemical engineering program. [Read more…]

Research: Not just for grad students

Missouri S&T is known for providing its undergraduates with lots of opportunities for hands-on learning, and research is a big part of that. Missouri S&T Magazine staff asked Jeffrey D. Cawlfield, vice provost for undergraduate studies, to share his views about the importance of providing research opportunities for undergraduate students. [Read more…]

A front-row seat to the history of space exploration

Ron1In 1963, Ron Epps, Phys’67, rode his 1951 Harley Davidson Panhead from Mount Vernon, Mo., to Rolla to attend the Missouri School of Mines on a Carnation Milk scholarship. When he crossed the stage as a first-generation graduate, NASA was preparing to send a man to the moon.

Making tall grass short

SamPattersonSam Patterson is one of the voices of John Deere.

A design engineer in John Deere’s rotary mower group, Patterson, ME’06, is passionate about his work — making lawn mowing easy — and it shows in the company’s latest “How We Run John Deere” video, which features Patterson.

Patterson designed the two new high-capacity mower decks on John Deere’s updated X700 tractor. He followed the project all the way through production, working on everything from computer modeling to performance and reliability testing. That breadth of knowledge made him a natural fit for the video.

“Aside from making tall grass short, my main job is to make it very easy for the customer to attach the mower deck to the tractor,” Patterson says.

There is one latch to flip in the front of the tractor, but the majority of the connection to the vehicle is automatic, which makes maintenance and cleaning simple. Patterson says the technology was first developed for large commercial tractors.

“John Deere first developed this feature for our commercial customers on larger tractors, but it is very exciting to give this flexibility to residential customers,” Patterson says. “It allows customers to mow very tall and thick grass while still leaving a manicured look, and gives them tremendous mulching capability.”

Patterson is now working on Deere’s new EZtrack mowers. When he isn’t fine-tuning a mower deck, he travels with his wife, Amy (Edwards) Patterson, Engl’07, and plays guitar in a garage band near their Beaver Dam, Wis., home. He says the problem-solving skills he developed at Missouri S&T were the foundation of his success.

“Missouri S&T gave me the skills, attitude and discipline necessary to work at an innovative company like John Deere,” Patterson says. “The faculty understand exactly what it takes to be an engineer in today’s rapidly changing workplace, and they provided me with the tools I needed to succeed.”

Outside-the-box hair care

AnitaHeinzkeAnita Heinzke, ChE’10, thinks outside the shampoo bottle.

That creative thinking earned Heinzke, a project engineer in L’Oreal’s Florence, Ky., hair care facility, a $5,000 Beauty Shakers award from the company. Her suggestion — to use corn plastic in L’Oreal shampoo packaging — took third place out of more than 900 submissions in the company’s annual ideas competition.

“Corn plastic is a 100 percent biodegradable material that has a lot of environmental benefits,” says Heinzke, who works with the lines that fill bottles with shampoo. “Most plastic is made from oil, but this type is made from corn. It could potentially save hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil annually by switching our products alone to this material.”

Heinzke is helping the company with its recent launch of the new restage of the L’Oreal shampoo line, Advanced Haircare. It required the purchase of $6 million in new equipment and the installation of four packaging lines that were modified to handle the capacity.

“L’Oreal is a company that gives its employees a lot of opportunity and freedom to be creative,” Heinzke says. “The company has a strong passion for promoting women in science. Every day there is something new and challenging.”

It started with a bed spring

RandallWoodCarthage, Mo.-based Leggett & Platt manufactures a broad array of products, so it’s only fitting that one of the company’s staff vice presidents has an equally broad resume of experience.

Randall Wood, ME’85, MS ME’87, began work at Leggett & Platt as a director of operations optimization nine years ago. He moved into a leadership role and then took his current position. Today, a typical workday begins before 6:30 a.m. Wood says the early hour gives him time to prepare for the day’s meetings and planning sessions.

Wood credits his broad experience prior to joining Leggett & Platt with his career success.

After graduation he began work for General Electric analyzing heat transfer in the engines of F-16 aircraft. He left GE to pursue a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia to “get closer to manufacturing,” he says.

While finishing his Ph.D. dissertation, Wood took a job at Joplin, Mo., based Able Body Corp., designing sleeper cabs for the heavy truck industry. After a product launch, he took on a lean manufacturing role in the company that expanded his business expertise.

Wood then took a job managing a Vermeer plant in Iowa that made stump grinders, brush chippers and large tub grinders. After a short stint as a stay-at-home dad, Wood joined Simpler Consulting to provide lean manufacturing solutions to companies like Lockheed Martin and Snap On Tool.

“My broad experience both prior to Leggett & Platt, and with L&P, has prepared me for this career,” Wood says. “I have seen a variety of businesses and manufacturing processes and been involved in virtually every aspect of manufacturing.”

Leggett & Platt itself has a broad manufacturing footprint. The company began 130 years ago with a partnership of ideas and know-how that produced the first commercially viable bed spring. The company has come a long way since J.P. Leggett and C.B. Platt first shook hands.

“Our bedding components are found in most sleep products in the United States, including fasteners, fabrics, bed frames, foundations, sheets and pillows,” Wood says. The company then expanded into home and office furniture and carpet padding and underlay.

The company also diversified into automotive seating, retail fixtures, and steel wire and tubing industries. It manufactures wire and tubing for its own components as well as those produced by other companies. It also provides lumbar support in automotive vehicle seats and engineered tubing components for the aerospace industry.

Today Leggett & Platt has grown to more than 130 manufacturing operations in 20 countries with 19,000 employees.

“I help our partners around the globe achieve success in their business and in their careers,” Wood says. “I enjoy developing the strategy for our business process development and the supporting technology, and then executing that strategy.”

Wood has a longstanding connection to S&T and the Rolla community. While he was in college, his father, Richard Wood, ME‘64, and his mother, Betty, lived in Rolla. Betty worked at the old Foster’s Bakery. Today, Wood’s son, Ryan, is studying computer science and computer engineering at S&T.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Missouri S&T and certainly gained a great education that has propelled my career,” Wood says.

A man with a plan

Do you know where you will be five years from now? How about 10 years from now? Michael Bouchard does. He has a 15-year plan for personal success and has carefully outlined every step required to get him there.

[Read more…]

Letter from the editor

Dear fellow alumni:

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you Cheryl B. Schrader, the 21st leader of Missouri S&T. Since arriving in April, she’s wasted no time getting to know the campus and its people, as well as alumni and government leaders. Now it’s time for you to get to know her.
[Read more…]

Investing in the future

(Illustration by Jake Otto)

People who give charitably do so because they are passionate about their cause. They believe in investing in the future. At Missouri S&T, that generosity — and your passion for S&T — is what keeps the university thriving for our students.

[Read more…]

Donald Hey: wetland warrior

(Photo by Rebekah Raleigh)

Donald Hey, CE’63, executive director of Wetlands Research Inc. in Wadsworth, Ill., is passionate about proving the effectiveness, sustainability and economic efficiency of using restored wetlands for water quality management and flood control. He believes wetlands are the answer because they’re good for conservation and the economy alike.

[Read more…]