It’s a flat, flat, flat, flat world

It was “a time of tremendous excitement” for engineers when Harry J. “Hank” Sauer Jr. entered graduate school at MSM-UMR 50 years ago. It had been nine years since Chuck Yeager had broken the sound barrier, and the U.S. seemed poised for even greater breakthroughs in flight. Fueled by the post-World War II economy and federal funding for research, MSM-UMR’s graduate programs were also poised for takeoff.
But a year later – as Sauer, ME’56, MS ME’58, joined the mechanical engineering faculty while continuing his graduate studies part time – something happened that further accelerated the research activities at MSM-UMR and other universities throughout the nation. That something was the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first satellite, a basketball-sized sphere known as Sputnik I.

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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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