ESD Fall Tech Tour Kicks Off

HOUGHTON — The Engineering Society of Detroit’s 2015 Fall Tech Tour, sponsored by Michigan Technological University, kicked off Tuesday at Lake Superior State University.

ESD Executive Director Robert Magee, Director of Membership Heather Lilley, and Director of Communications Matt Roush met with David R. Finley, Ph.D., PE, dean of the LSSU College of Business and Engineering.

The stop at Sault Ste. Marie came enroute to Wednesday’s Tech Tour stop at Michigan Technological University, which will be highlighted by the launch of Michigan Tech’s ESD student chapter.

LSSU has about 220 engineering students, the largest percentage, about 100, in mechanical engineering. But there are also programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering, electrical engineering technology, industrial technology and manufacturing engineering technology programs in the school, which has strong programs in robotics and industrial automation.

LSSU’s major recent innovation is the “one rate” concept — becoming the first public university in the nation to eliminate out-of-state tuition in a bid to attract out-of-state and international students.

“Over the past several years, too often we’ve heard about the ‘brain drain’ from the state as the economy soured,” said LSSU President Tom Pleger. “This is a ‘brain gain’ initiative to rebuild Michigan and the upper Great Lakes. It will have an impact on both the local and state economy and beyond.”

Pleger cited a recent economic impact analysis by LSSU finance professor Robert Boston and business alumna Katie Weckesser of East Lansing, who found that each student who attends LSSU brings in $45,000 worth of economic activity to the region, and is responsible for nearly 10 percent of all of the jobs in Chippewa County for a total annual economic impact of $113 million. The effect extends beyond the Eastern Upper Peninsula, as most LSSU graduates stay in Michigan to live and work. (Study available here.)

The ESD officials also toured Lake Superior State’s engineering laboratories and classrooms. Included were the
university’s robotics and circuit-building laboratories.

The ESD 2015 Fall Tech Tour, sponsored by Michigan Technological University, continues Wednesday at Michigan Tech. Next week, the tour will visit Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, and Michigan State University.

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