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SIUE Engineering Alum is Highland Gigabit Challenge Winner

SquareFruit Labs of St. Louis, a company headed by SIUE School of Engineering alum Chico Weber (’13, BS mechanical engineering), recently won the inaugural City of Highland Gigabit Challenge.

Created by the city of Highland, in partnership with the Metro East Small Business Development Center, the competition was designed to identify and reward start-up companies that utilize technology to develop and market products or services.

Finalists had to pitch their business concept to a panel of judges and respond to questions.

Weber and his team, currently operating in the Cambridge Innovation Center in St. Louis, are focused on developing, implementing and deploying the next generation 3-D printers. The unique 7-axis printers will enable Squarefruit customers to integrate other materials, for example circuit boards, into the standard 3-D printing process and opens up tremendous manufacturing opportunities.

In addition to a cash prize, the high-tech startup will receive professional services, including free office space in Highland, accounting, legal, marketing and branding services. They will also receive one year of a Gigabit internet connection through Highland Communication Services, at no charge.

School of Engineering Alumna Inducted into SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame


SIUE honored seven remarkable graduates at the 2014 SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 3 in the Morris University Center. School of Engineering graduate, Vicki LaRose, PE, BS Civil Engineering ’90, was among the seven honored.

Vicki LaRose began her professional career as a project manager with Sverdrup Corp. (now Jacobs Engineering) in St. Louis. In 1996, she founded Civil Design Inc., which provides responsive, quality-driven civil engineering services. She currently serves as the company’s president.

“I’m from a small town in Wisconsin, and back then, my world was quite small,” LaRose explained. “SIUE opened my world to a much bigger place and was the foundation to get me started. Today, I have 30 employees, including 10 SIUE alumni with whom I work every day. I’m very proud that SIUE has given us that foundation to be able to grow, reach new communities and make people’s lives better.”

A registered professional engineer in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, LaRose serves the SIUE School of Engineering through her role on the School’s Advisory Council.

SIUE Alum Featured in Syfy's Robot Combat League

School of Engineering alumnus Ross Mead was among the competitors in Syfy Channel's Robot Combat League that premiered Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.

Robot Combat League features tournament-style battles between eight-feet tall, state-of-the-art humanoid robots controlled by human "robo-jockeys." This extraordinary new series will feature 12 teams consisting of a fighter (a robo-jockey) and a robotics engineer (a robo-tech) from various backgrounds.

Mead was the robo-tech for Team A.X.E. He was paired with Andrew Montanez, a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter known as "The Squid."

Each team is paired with its own unique robot and will fight in a first-of-its kind competition using a high-tech exo-suit that translates the robo-jockey's movements to its robot. Each fight consists of three rounds of intense action with the winning team advancing in the competition.

Mead graduated in 2007 with a bachelor's in computer science. The Edwardsville native is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Southern California.

Jerry Weinberg, who was then chair of the Department of Computer Science and is now dean of the Graduate School, introduced Mead to robotics when he was still a junior in high school by recruiting him to a robotics competition. Mead was named SIUE Student Laureate of the 2007 Lincoln Academy of Illinois. The award recognized an SIUE senior for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

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Joshua Butcher (BS '05) was recently presented with the Boeing Space Flight Awareness (SFA) Honoree Award. The SFA Honoree Award is one of the highest recognitions given to NASA and industry employees. The Award honors employees for their dedication to quality work and flight safety. Joshua is part of the Electronic Power System (EPS) team working on the International Space Station at The Boeing Company in Houston. He has been with Boeing since his graduation in 2005. As a reward for his hard work, Joshua will visit a space facility as a NASA VIP. He will have the opportunity to attend a shuttle launch alongside NASA executives and members of the Astronaut Corps as part of his trip.

Alicia DeShaiser (BS '07) finished fourth in the women's javelin throw at the United States Track and Field National Championships in Eugene, Ore. Alicia holds the SIUE school record in the javelin throw with a toss of 164 feet, nine inches (50.23m), as well as being a 2006 first team All-American in softball for the Cougars.

Melissa Glauber (BS '03) is a patent attorney with Armstrong Teasdale, LLP in St. Louis. Melissa was recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as a member of the 2009 Top 30 Under 30 Class. Melissa represents the School of Engineering on the SIUE Alumni Association Board.

Joey Heger (BS '08) is employed as a transportation engineering designer at Thouvenot, Wade & Moerchen.

Chad Komnick (BS '07) married Kelsey Sand in Bismarck, ND. Chad is a structural design engineer with MiTek Industries Inc.

Trenton Lowe (BS '07) married Jessica Huxman on July 21 in Grand Caymen Islands.

Seth Malcolm (BS '09) received LEED Accredited Professional Certification in July of 2009. LEED accreditation recognizes professionals who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles.

Gary Mayer (MS '04) received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University and joined the computer science faculty at SIUE.

Ross Mead (BS '07) received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to work on robotics in the Ph.D. program at University of Southern California.

Miles Musick (BS '08) married Lisa Cook (BS '08) in St. Louis on June 20. Miles and Lisa met on move-in day in Prairie Hall in August of 2004. Miles is a quality engineer at John Deere and is responsible for Deere's newest product release, the Self-Propelled Windrower. Miles and Lisa reside in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Jason Richter (BS '07) will marry Nicole Keckritz on August 8 in Aviston, Ill. He currently works for Emerson Motor Technologies in St. Louis.

Tyria Riley (BS '02) holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Management and an M.S. in Systems Engineering from Missouri S & T and was awarded Six Sigma Black Belt honors by Villanova University. She is employed at The Boeing Company as an electrical subsystems wiring & integration engineer. Tyria is the St. Louis Section Chair of IEEE and is actively involved in the St. Louis chapter of NSBE.

Andy Riva (BS '09) received LEED Accredited Professional Certification in July 2009. LEED accreditation recognizes professionals who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles.

Ryan Sheehan (BS '05) married Jadrien Komnick (BS '05) July 11, 2009 in Bethalto, Ill. They reside in Naperville, Ill.

Levi Sorrill (BS '07) is employed at MiTek Industries Inc. in the research and development department.

Jenna Toennies (BS '08) received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to work on robotics in the Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University.


Mike Blakey (BS '93, MBA '99) visited the School of Engineering to speak to our Summer Outreach campers about life as an engineer. Mike is the assistant operations manager, process support for Anheuser-Busch InBev and serves on the School of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. Mike and his wife Verbal (BS '93) donate a scholarship each year to the School of Engineering. Verbal is the vice president of BHMG Engineers and has a Master's in engineering management.

Geri Boyer (BS '91) is founder and managing partner of Kaskaskia Engineering Group LLC. Geri holds a BS in mining engineering from SIUC and a MS in pastoral studies from Loyola University - New Orleans. Geri serves the School of Engineering as a member of the Civil Engineering Advisory Council.

Jim Middleton (BS '93) is the MODOT project manager for the new Mississippi River bridge. Jim has visited campus to speak to the ASCE student chapter and the Summer Outreach Program campers several times throughout the year.

Matt Pfund (BS '96) is a project manager at Tarlton Corporation. Matt and his wife, Kristen own Pfund Construction which focuses on residential projects. Matt and Kristen live in Edwardsville with their three children. Matt is the president of the Construction Alumni Association.

Larry Thomason Jr. (BS '93) received the Richard B. Teitelman Distinguished Service Award from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Larry works for the Kaskaskia Engineering Group three days a week and performs pro-bono legal services for LSEM two days a week.

Stephanie Travis (BS '95) is the manager of plant operations at Alton Memorial Hospital. Stephanie recently received her MBA from Lindenwood University.

Ryan Zorko (BS '93) is an engineering manager at Anheuser-Busch InBev. He received his MBA with a concentration in finance from the Olin School of Business at Washington University. He is married and has two boys.


Paul Galeski (BS '83) is the president and CEO of MAVERICK Technologies LLC. MAVERICK is a global engineering, systems integration and operational consulting firm. Paul is also a graduate of the GE Executive Management school and the Harvard Business School Presidents' Program. A three-time finalist for the St. Louis region Entrepreneur of the Year award, Paul was named one of Fast Forward's "40 under 40," a listing of the top young executives in the St. Louis area.

Kay Guse (BS '88) is the director of engineering, operations and technology policies at The Boeing Company. Kay holds a Master's in engineering management from Washington University. Kay is the Boeing Executive Focal for SIUE at Boeing and has served the School of Engineering in many capacities since her graduation, including her membership on the School of Engineering Advisory Board. Kay is married to Paul Guse (BS '83.)

Jim Heinz (BS '83) is the executive vice president of WPCS International. Jim is the past chairman of the Construction Advisory Council and serves on the School of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board.

Jim Roth (BS '87) is a civil engineer and senior vice president for Hurst-Rosche Engineers Inc. Jim resides in Fairview Heights, Ill., with his wife, Lisa, and children, Ali and Jake.

Paul Scheibal (BA '83, MS '90) is the president and CEO of Jaros Technologies Inc., which develops packaged business intelligence software to help companies be more efficient and effective and gain visibility into their business. Paul serves on the School of Engineering Computer Science Advisory Council and he and his wife, Mary, are consistent supporters of the Botball Robotics Tournament.

Bruce Schopp (BS '82) has been appointed president of the Illinois Section of Professional Engineers (ISPE.) Bruce is the chief structural engineer and firm principal at Oates Associates Inc. Bruce lives with his wife, Kristine, and their three children in Freeburg, Ill. Bruce is a member of the School of Engineering Advisory Board.

Raymond Walter (BS '86, MS '93) is a targeting and weapons systems engineer at The Boeing Company. Raymond is earning his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from SIUE.

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