EECS Alumni > Alumni Spotlights > 1950s

Alumni Spotlights: 1950–1959

Clement R. Arrison, Jr.

Clement R. Arrison, Jr. (BSE EE '53) was the longtime president of Mark IV Industries, a leading manufacturer of automotive components.

He received the EECS Alumni Merit Award in 1997.

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Clement R. Arrison Jr. (’53)
Eric M. Aupperle (’57)
Ted Birdsall ('50, '52, '66)
Richard Bloss (’56, ‘57)
Jack E. Burchfield (’56, ‘58)
Hsien W. Chang (‘57)
* Robert N. Clark (’50, ‘51)
Robert E. Frese (’51, ’52, ‘59)
George Friess (’57, ‘59)
* Peter S. Fuss (’56)
Thomas F. Hauck (‘51)
* Leon Jaroff ('50)
David G. Marckini (‘58)
* James R. Mellor ('52, '54)
Kurt E. Richter (‘58)
Joseph E. Rowe (’51,’52, ’55)
* Howard Sachar (‘50)
Phillip A. Sandford (‘50)
Walter F. Wegst (56)
Zack W. Zordell (‘50)

Eric M. Aupperle

Eric M. Aupperle (BSE EE/Eng Math ’57; MSE Nuc Engin ’58; IE Instru Eng ‘64) is Research Scientist Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Dr. Eric Aupperle has a long and distinguished record of education and service with the University of Michigan, and the State of Michigan. After receiving four degrees in the areas of engineering and mathematics, he was hired as an engineer in the Cooley Electronics Laboratory in 1957, and joined Merit Computer Network in 1969 as project leader. Merit originally linked U-M through a network with Michigan State University and Wayne State University, and by 1987 was considered one of the best networking organizations in the United States. In 1987, Dr. Aupperle was principle investigator on a research project that was responsible for developing and operating NSFnet (National Science Foundation Network). He worked with MCI and IBM in this effort. NSFnet, which operated between 1987 and 1995, is recognized today for being the foundation of today’s Internet. Says Aupperle, “Given that most people’s awareness of the Internet dates back only about a decade, Merit is, by any measure, a prehistoric Internet entity and a true pioneer.”

Eric was appointed director of Merit in 1974, became president in 1988, and retired 2001. Aupperle received the IEEE Third Millenium Medal in 2000 for long term service and contributions. Speculating about the future, Aupperle stated, “My opportunity to participate actively in the Internet’s development from its beginning both through our statewide Merit activities and nationally during the NSFNET era was a rewarding experience I cherish. It’s gratifying to witness the fruits of our efforts having such a lasting impact.” Aupperle received the College of Engineering Alumni Society Medal in 2003. [EECS News Spring/Summer 2004]

Eric M. Aupperle (1935 - 2015): An Internet Pioneer Leaves a Remarkable Legacy

Ted Birdsall

Theodore G. Birdsall

Ted Birdsall received his B.S.E. (Mathematics), M.S. (Mathematics), and Ph.D. (Communication Sciences) degrees in 1950, 1952, and 1966, respectively, all from U-M. In 1954 he began his service at the University as a research mathematician at the Cooley Electronics Laboratory (formerly the Engineering Research Institute), and was promoted to associate professor in 1967, and professor in 1970. He served as director of the Cooley Electronics Laboratory and the Communications and Signal Processing Laboratory. He received the Silver Medal in Signal Processing in Acoustics by the Acoustical Society of America, "for contributions to signal detection theory and development of coded sequences in underwater acoustics."

Professor Emeritus Ted Birdsall Receives Silver Medal in Signal Processing in Acoustics (2011)

Richard Bloss

Richard Bloss

Richard Bloss (BSE MSE EE ‘56 ‘57) is an independent industrial marketing consultant and writer on factory automation. After he graduated from U-M, he went to work for National Cash Register in Dayton, OH, in computer design, then worked in the area of controls for factory automation at TRW (later known as Bunker-Ramo). He moved to Cleveland, OH, in the mid 60’s, and continued a connection with factory automation first through an industrial ad agency, selling electrical equipment, and then working for Booz Allen & Hamilton as a senior associate for automation. The last several decades Bloss has worked as an independent industrial marketing consultant and writer on factory automation. He has remained in contact with his fellow alumnus and friend Chuck Hutchins since the mid 60’s. Left to right: Donnajean Bloss (U-M alumnus), Richard Bloss, Mark Bloss (son) at the Go Blue Tailgate. First time back in the Big House for 52 years!

Recently, Bloss has been back on campus to attend and write reviews of two international conferences hosted by the University.  First, the CIRP conference on automation, and more recently the Arch-Bot conference on robots used in architecture and construction.  These reviews have appeared in Assembly Automation and Industrial Robot, technical journals published in the UK by the Emerald Group. [Last updated Dec. 2014]

Jack E. Burchfield

Jack E. Burchfield

Jack E. Burchfield (BSE MSE EE ‘56 ‘58) is the co-founder and current president of Ten-Tec, Inc. ( Ten-Tec presently employs approximately 75 people, including 28 licensed amateur radio operators. At Ten-Tec, Jack encouraged and led the design and production of radio communications gear for amateur, commercial and government services. His groundbreaking work is found in popular rigs such as the Argonaut series, the Scout, the Omni series, and the Orion. He is an avid Morse Code (CW) fan and is quite active both from his home outside of Knoxville, TN and from his mobile station.

Jack told us that he and his wife (another UM alum) still come to every UM home game, driving up from Tennessee. Jack first became interested in amateur radio in high school. At Michigan, he was on the gymnastic team and cheerleading squad, and a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Vulcans, and Triangles. Jack (K4JU) is a friend of the UM Amateur Radio Club (W8UM); visit the “shack” on the 4th floor to see the new HF transceiver that he donated in action. Jack is shown here giving "Roofing Filter" presentation at the 2004 Old Timer's Picnic in Marcellus, MI. [EECS News Spring/Summer 2005]

Hsien W. Chang

Hsien W. Chang (MSE EE ‘57) is a retired software development manager at IBM. Hsien joined IBM Research upon graduation, and worked in the following areas: Automatic Language translation, OS/MVS design and development, the IBM Displaywriter word processor, Asia Pacific Operations, China workstation business development, and OS/2 software development. He retired from IBM in 1992, and then worked for the Applied Science Fiction Corp. in Austin. He retired from the work force for good in 2002. [EECS News Spring/Summer 2004]

Robert N. Clark

Robert N. Clark

Robert N. Clark (BSE MSE EE ‘50 ‘51) joined Honeywell, Inc., Aeronautical Division, in Minneapolis as a Research Engineer. In 1957 he joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at the U of Washington and developed courses in automatic control engineering and nonlinear systems. His first text book, Introduction to Automatic Control, (Wiley, 1962), was adopted by many leading universities. Following his promotion to full professor in 1966, Professor Clark spent two years at Stanford University where he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the stability of limit cycle oscillations in satellite attitude control systems. Since 1987, he has had a joint appointment with the Aeronautics and Astronautics department. This joint appointment has facilitated the development of inter-departmental courses in automatic control theory, design, and laboratory facilities. His second text book, Control System Dynamics, (Cambridge University Press), was published in 1996. In 2003 he completed his autobiography, An American Family. [EECS Profile] [EECS News Fall/Winter 2004]

Robert E. Frese

Robert E. Frese

Robert E. Frese (BSE EE/Eng Math ’51; MSE PhD EE ‘52 ‘59) is serving his second year on the board of directors of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. This utility, located in southeastern Arizona, provides residential, commercial, industrial and irrigation electricity throughout an area larger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Dr. Frese retired in 1989 from Voice of America, where he served at the highest level of the federal Senior Executive Service as the Director of Engineering and Technical Operations. In this position he managed the planning, engineering and implementation of Voice of America’s $1.3 billion worldwide modernization program while maintaining current operations. Dr. Frese resides in Sierra Vista, Arizona. [EECS News Fall/Winter 2006]

George Friess

George Friess (BSE MSE EE ‘57 ‘59) retired as Chairman of Shaw Electric Company in 2005, where he previously retired as an employee in 1995. He is a partner in both Shaw Construction and Management Co., and Shaw West Co. Shaw Electric has done the electrical wiring for many U-M projects, including the Undergraduate Library, Randall Physics Research, Weill School of Business Administration, as well as current construction projects. Friess is a former board member of the U-M Alumni Association and the CoE Alumni Society, and is helping to make the Class of ‘57 Eng. Scholarship Fund successful (in fact, they are on target to begin awarding scholarships by the 50th Reunion in 2007). He also serves as President of the Alumni Association of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, U-M Chapter. George and his wife, Maiga (‘59 Nursing), are blessed with two new grandsons, making a total of five grandchildren. All three of their children graduated from U-M, two with engineering degrees. [EECS News Fall/Winter 2006]

Peter S. Fuss

Peter S. Fuss

Peter S. Fuss (BSE EE '56) is former President of Tellabs International, Inc., which he established in 1987 as a subsidiary of Tellabs, Inc. Tellabs International is responsible for all Tellabs operations outside of North America. For 1986-1987, Fuss was senior VP, technical marketing and business development of Tellabs, Inc. He joined Tellabs in 1979 as VP, engineering. Tellabs, Inc. is a leading international manufacturer of voice and data communication equipment.

Before joining Tellabs, Fuss was director of research and development for the Teletype Corporation, a subsidiary of Western Electric and AT&T, where he was responsible for the development of electronic terminal systems, VLSI and software. Prior to 1977, he worked for Bell Laboratories for 19 years. He managed the development of operating system software and processor hardware at Bell Labs in Illinois. Earlier Fuss headed the development of digital signal processor systems for submarine detection at Bell Labs in NC and NJ.

Fuss holds 10 patents, primarily in the area of digital signal processing. He currently serves on the Boards of several companies. He received a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from New York University. Fuss received the EECS Alumni Merit Award in 1995, and the CoE Alumni Society Medal in 2011.

Short Video and Additional Information

Thomas F. Hauck

Thomas F. Hauck (BSE EE ‘51) is enjoying life. His work record includes: two years at Lockheed Burbank; two years at the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.; 37 years as systems/project engineer at Lear Inc./Smith Industries; and now 10 years as an education/sports aide volunteer. He has been married to his wife, Donna, for 44 years. They have two children and three grandchildren. [EECS News 2003]

Leon Jaraff

Leon Jaroff

Leon Jaroff (BSE EE/Eng Math '50) has been a mainstay for the Time, Inc. family of publications since he joined the company as an editorial trainee for LIFE magazine in 1951. He moved over to Time in 1954, and became its chief science writer in 1966. In 1970, he was named a Senior Editor, a post he kept until he retired several years ago. Although won numerous awards for his writing, Jaroff is probably best known as the founding managing editor of Discover magazine. [Michigan Engineer Fall/Winter 2000]

David G. Marckini

David G. Marckini (BSE EE '58) retired from a career in Information Systems, working for General Motors and EDS. "I grew up in Grand Rapids, went to the University of Michigan, graduating with degrees in EE and Eng. Math, then moved to Detroit to work.  We recently moved back to the west side of the state, living on Lake Michigan just north of Holland. At G.M., I worked on Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems and on Operations Research programs for scheduling the Design Staff model work and building assembly line work assignments.  In my final years, I moved from systems work and management to professional fields, doing Business Planning and Quality Analysis.  One of my other interests was teaching Team Development - a program for improved communication and cooperation among fellow employees.

I took an early retirement in 1996 when G.M. spun off EDS as a separate company, and went back to school at Wayne State for a Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Creative Writing. I'm currently writing poetry, short stories, and have set aside a novel that I started as my Master's thesis.  Unpublished as yet, but expect to publish later this year as part of a group effort by the Holland Writer's Group.  I have been running for about 22 years.  Do about 10 -15 races a year, from 5K to marathon.  Love to read, write, solve problems (which I see as a game), play bridge, sail, travel.  We don't go south yet, rather stay and ski.  Life is good. [EECS News Spring/Summer 2004]

James R. Mellor

James R. Mellor

James R. Mellor (BSE MSE EE '52 '54) guided General Dynamics Corporation through much of its recent history. General Dynamics has been a major asset to America and its allies, making advances in aerospace and aircraft design; in sophisticated combat systems; in information systems and technology; and in military and commercial marine systems submarines and surface vessels. He joined General Dynamics in 1981 and served in various key capacities until retiring in 1997 as chairman and CEO. Mellor received the College of Engineering Alumni Society Medal in 1999. [Michigan Engineer Profile]

Kurt E. Richter

Kurt E. Richter (BSE EE ‘58) graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1964, “after returning from three fun years as a globe-hopping engineer with Link Division of General Precision, Inc. After law school I settled into the practice of law in New York City, and I am a senior partner in the New York firm of Morgan & Finnegan, a 100+ attorney law firm specializing in intellectual property law. As you might surmise, it is an invaluable asset in my legal practice area to have the ability to understand and assimilate technology advances, and my engineering education at Michigan gave me just that. I have had a wonderfully interesting and stimulating career, with the opportunity to participate in several trend-setting, as well as routine, patent and trademark litigations and other matters. My wife Winnifred and I have four daughters (three grandchildren), all married and making their own ways in the world.” [EECS News Spring/Summer 2004]

Joseph E. Rowe

Joseph E. Rowe

Joseph E. Rowe (BSE EE/Eng Math '51; MSE PhD EE '52 '55) joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1953. He became Director of the Electron Physics Laboratory in 1958, a position he held for ten years until he was named Chair of EECS. Under his leadership, the Electron Physics Laboratory became one of the premier laboratories on campus and was the forerunner of the Solid-State Electronics Laboratory. Dr. Rowe left the University of Michigan in 1974 to become Dean of Engineering and then Provost of Case Western Reserve University. He went on to industry, where he held several positions as vice president at Harris, Gould; Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG); and the Dayton Research Institute, before founding his own company, Rowe Associates, Inc.

Prof. Rowe was a first-rate scientist who made significant technical contributions, a great visionary, and an astute businessman. He was one of the major pioneers in the area of microwave devices and, in particular, vacuum tube devices such as traveling wave tubes and magnetrons, which are still in wide use today in many applications, including high-power communication and radar systems as well as microwave ovens. His 1965 book, Nonlinear Electron Wave Interaction Phenomena, is a standard in the field. Dr. Rowe received a University Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He was a member of the College of Engineering’s National Advisory Committee, Chair of the Annual Fund, and a member of the executive committee of the Design for Impact Campaign. In recognition of his many accomplishments and service to the Department and College, he received the first EECS Alumni Society Merit Award in 1992. Prof. Rowe passed away October 23, 2002, at the age of 75. [EECS News 2003]

Howard Sachar

Howard Sachar (BSE EE ‘50) received an Emmy Engineering Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles this past September, 2007. The award, which annually recognizes a “historic contribution to television technology,” was given jointly to Sachar and his design partner, Dr. Simon Ramo, for their development of the Varicap capacitor at TRW Corp. The Varicap, which enabled electronic tuning, was patented in 1960. Today, over 40 manufacturers still rely upon the Varicap design.

Following his graduation from U-M, Sachar began his varied career as part of a top secret Infra Red project mapping Manhattan in a B-17. While wearing several important hats at TRW, he consulted with international aerospace ventures and coordinated activities with NASA. He served on the IEEE and JEDEC technical committees for solid state devices. He also worked as a Director of International Operations at Xerox and as a Vice President for three Japanese manufacturers. Between 1985 and 1995, he consulted for a number of technology corporations.

Since 1995, Sachar describes himself as having been retired (more or less). His recent acceptance of the Emmy has allowed him the chance to reflect on his Michigan education, stating “I am grateful to Michigan for the generalist engineering education for it enabled me to perform in many fields from semiconductors and computers to mining and space technology, with a little help from graduate schools around the country.” These days, he keeps abreast of news from Ann Arbor via his granddaughter, who is a junior in aeronautical engineering. [EECS News Fall/Winter 2008]

See also: Howard and Beverly Sachar - Dynamic Duo

Phillip A. Sandford

Phillip A. Sandford (BSE EE ‘50) has been “having a ball” trying to establish a few acres of prairie land, woodland, and wetland wildflowers with fruit orchards and gardens at his retirement home in northern Illinois. He began this new venture upon retiring in 1992 after a 40-year career in electronic and electromechanical engineering of consumer, space, and industrial products; thermoelectrics; automated cooking; computerized cash registers; and consulting. He worked for GE, Borg-Warner, Philco-Ford Division of Ford Motor, Northern Electric, McDonald’s Corporation, Sandford Associates, and Sunbeam Corporation. He said he invented the “world’s safest and most comfortable electric blanket concept.” He is married and has five children and six grandchildren, and is a master gardener for the University of Illinois Extension Service. [EECS News 2003]

Walter F. Wegst

Walter F. Wegst (BSE EE ‘56) has recently been appointed to the Department of Energy’s Site Specific Advisory Board for DOE/NV. This board is a citizen advisory board that provides community input to the DOE Environmental Management operations at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The current projects of the Environmental Management section of DOE/NV include cleanup of legacy wastes from the days of nuclear weapon testing, disposing of low level waste received from DOE sites across the country, and providing the necessary environmental reviews for any new projects that are started at the NTS. [EECS News Fall/Winter 2006]

Zack W. Zordell

Zack W. Zordell (BSE EE ‘50) and his wife Jean moved from Iowa to Hot Springs Village (HSV) Arkansas in 1998, primarily for warmer weather and an opportunity to play golf 12 months of the year. HSV is a gated community of 23,000 acres, 13,000 population, 9 golf courses, 700 duplicate bridge players, 8 lakes, and many trees. They enjoyed Michigania the last 3 summers - this past year with 2 children and 4 grandchildren. Zack is the managing editor for the breakfast Lions club annual residence Guidebook, and reports, “we are enjoying our retirement at 80 years young.” [EECS News Fall/Winter 2006]