The world is flat. Or is it fat?

After Columbus and before globalization, we realized the idea of a flat world was a myth. We’ve known for a long time that the world was really quite round. But, recently, we learned the world is being flattened by global competition. Or is it?

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From Beijing to Pine Street

Kim “Mac” McGinnis, ME’79, hasn’t missed a single St. Pat’s celebration since graduation – even though, for the past five years, he’s had to travel halfway around the world to get back to Rolla.

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America’s quiet crisis

William J. Daughton, chair of engineering management and systems engineering, reviewed Thomas Friedman’s book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century for the American Society for Engineering Management’s Engineering Management Journal. Friedman’s book, Daughton writes in his December 2005 review, “brings into focus trends and events that most readers would recognize but perhaps have not thought about in the larger context of flattening the world.”

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UMR in a global society

In April, UMR convened a panel of alumni and faculty to discuss a variety of issues related to globalization. The forum – “UMR in a Global Society” – was held on Friday, April 22, as part of the annual Order of Golden Shillelagh (donor society) Weekend on campus.

Panelists:

  • Bipin Doshi, ChE’62, MS ChE’63, president and CEO of Schafer Gear Works of South Bend, Ind.
  • Ralph E. Flori, PetE’79, MS PetE’81, PhD PetE’87, an associate professor of interdisciplinary engineering at UMR and Missouri director of Project Lead the Way
  • Antonio Nanni, the Vernon and Maralee Jones Missouri Professor of Civil Engineering at UMR
  • Prasenjit Shil, MS EMgt’04, a Ph.D. candidate in engineering management and former president of the UMR Council of Graduate Students
  • Joan Woodard, Math’73, executive vice president and deputy laboratories director for nuclear weapons at Sandia National Laboratories.

Moderator:

  • Wayne Huebner, CerE’82, PhD CerE’87, vice provost for research and sponsored programs at UMR.

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Ralph Flori: A jack-of-all-trades

Ralph FloriI didn’t go to college expecting to teach,” says Ralph Flori, PetE’79, MS PetE’81 and PhD PetE’87. “I wanted to be an engineer. My passion growing up was working with tools, building and creating things, and taking things apart.” Flori took his interest in how things work, his experience working in his dad’s heating and air conditioning business, and came to UMR. Today he is assistant dean of engineering for pre-college and undergraduate programs for the UMR School of Engineering, providing statewide leadership for Project Lead the Way. He also continues to teach as an associate professor of interdisciplinary engineering.

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Travis Stensby: Lucky to be swimming

Travis Stensby was swimming for the University of Minnesota when he discovered a blood clot in his shoulder three years ago. That medical condition forced him to quit the team, and he thought his collegiate swimming career might be over.

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Tuncay Akbas: It’s a small world after all

In today’s global economy, many companies outsource their service departments to countries where labor is cheap to be more cost-effective.“Since the world is getting smaller with all of the latest high-tech developments in communication technology, it is not hard to have a company work for you a thousand miles away to make you more competitive in the world market,” says entrepreneur Tuncay Akbas, CSci’98.

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A good problem isn’t hard to find

There’s nothing like wrapping your mind around a good problem, and getting your hands on it too. This requires a certain amount of trial and error. Take, for instance, wheelbarrow racing – which can be tricky. Jon Schneider, an aerospace engineering graduate, says participating in a wheelbarrow race during St. Pat’s Games was one of his most memorable experiences at UMR.

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Where the wildfires are

It inspired Matthew Gann, ECE’05, to pursue graduate school, and instilled in Michael Ellebrecht, ECE’05, a newfound love for writing. It could save the lives of firefighters, preserve countless acres of natural resources and cut the huge annual costs of firefighting.

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No beards allowed

UMR’s mascot, Joe Miner, recently swapped his traditional stubble for a more modern five o’clock shadow. The new Joe would have fit in with the freshman class of MSM’s early years, when upperclassmen forbid freshmen to wear beards.
The no-beard rule was one of many restrictions upperclassmen imposed on all male freshmen, according to Stephen Foster, a senior history major who is investigating the rituals surrounding MSM’s infamous “freshman fights,” an annual event during the first half of the 20th century.

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