Bruce Clayman
Barry Wintner
Alan Silverman
Karl Petersen
Rick Melzig
Ira Heisler
Bruce Wollenberg
Alex Hills
Bob Burns
Daniel Kruh
John Shahdanian
Karl Petersen
Peter Hollenbeck
Richard Koser
Paul Cefola

Class Notes for Spring 2012

Heard from my friend Bruce Clayman, living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, in
Vancouver. On July he reports that he started as the President and CEO of the Michael
Smith Foundation for Health Research, British Columbia's Provincial body that funds
research in this field. It's an interim position while they search for and appoint a new
President and CEO. Bruce has been on the Board of Directors since the Foundation
was formed in 2001, during which time they have awarded over $300M in grants. Get
more info from Bruce at

Barry Wintner, whom I see fairly often, called to say that he and his wife were recently
treated to a campus visit – it had been a long while since he was back on campus. He
was most impressed by the new EMPAC building, which is in stark contrast to some
of the remnants still standing in Troy that Barry remembers so well from the early
60’s. After that it was pizza at the Notty Pine, which (reports) is still alive and well,
although without the pickled eggs on the counter. All this was in the course of a week
in Upstate NY, revisiting the scene of previous adventures. These included Saratoga
Springs( and breakfast with the horses), Lake George(a beautiful lake ,then and now),
and Glens Falls (the right way to do urban renewal). He and the Mrs. attended two
remarkable concerts at SPAC, including one wuth Branford Marsalis -- a cool guy
and an excellent musician. He even tried to revisit Thatcher State Park( thanks Bill
Erskine '64) the scene of Senior Week festivities, but failed to locate it. Barry is already
contemplating events that might liven our 50th reunion – only 3 years to go! You can
share your reunion ideas with him at

Alan Silverman wrote to say that two of his sons were married within about a month -
- and acquired one instant (step-)grandchild, at long last. As result he had a wedding,
an earthquake, and Hurricane Irene all in one week! Alan and his wife Heather and
toured Civil War battlefields in Tennessee during the summer, learned that there are
no mosquitoes there -- probably all killed by the cholesterol and salt in the blood of the
locals and tourists from the fried catfish and hushpuppies. Other than that, he has been
working on some interesting stuff relating to bio-alcohols production/dehydration for fuel,
at lower cost. It’s a small job, but requires opening old texts, only to be appalled at what
he has forgotten! Find out more from Alan at

Karl Petersen reports that he is translating two books on the flash steam car pioneers
Leon and Henri Serpollet. He felt compelled to do so after finding virtually nothing on
them available in English. Karl continues as editor/publisher of the only light steam power publication in the world, “Steam Automobile Bulletin.”

Rick Melzig (EE) and wife Carol have pretty well settled in to their Bali-built post and
beam home on the Big Island of Hawaii. They are near Hilo on the windward (east)
side of the island where it's rural and rainy - nothing like Hawaii-5-0. (That's on the
Kona side of the island which is a 2 1/2 hour ride over the elevation 6000 ft. moonscape
saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa). Rick is looking for part time or contract
gigs in broadcasting or other telecom work on the island. If you know of anything, or
want more info from paradise, drop him a line at

Ira Heisler reports that his new grandson, Michael Louis Heisler, was properly launched
recently weighing in at 8 lbs 12 oz. Mother and baby and sisters and Dad (RPI '96),
grandparents and great grandmother are all well pleased. Congratulate Ira at

Bruce Wollenberg wrote in to say thanks for the note about Stan Brown in the last
issue. As a result Bruce and Stan went to lunch with promises to meet again soon. It is
wonderful to get together with other alumni who shared those agonizing days at RPI.
While looking up Stan's picture in the 1964 Yearbook, Bruce found an article on
the "phone system" we had in the quad that was removed by NY Telephone over the
Christmas break one year. We had our own phones, wire, and simple switching system
– none of which was at all acceptable NY Tel! Bruce is still teaching at the University of
Minnesota in Minneapolis, although now starting to ramp down; he expects to fully retire
by 2016. Contact him at

And, finally, if you want a quick and interesting read, I strongly recommend Alex Hills
book "Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys or Radio." Alex led the team that built the first Wi-Fi
network, and the book tells the story. It all happened before most of the world had even
heard of Wi-Fi. Details are at: Contact Alex at


The big news this time is that plans for our once-in-a-lifetime 50th Reunion are underway. Check our website where Bob Burns will have the up-to-date info. For now: keep a hold on the week-end of October 3rd – 5th (2014) and plan to join all of us in Troy. Fifty years – that’s hard to believe!

Heard from Daniel Kruh, Ph.D. (Chem. major), formerly an employee of GE and J&J
among others, who reports that he is currently President of Poly(Chem-Tech), a NJ
consulting firm that specializes in polymer applications for the industrial and healthcare
sectors. Dan is also Council Secretary and Membership Chairman for the Association
of Consulting Chemists & Chemical Engineers, a consulting organization founded
in 1928 that now operates on a volunteer basis. Email:; visit his
website at

My high school and RPI buddy John Shahdanian, alive and well in New Jersey, and still

practicing law, reports that he has a new e-mail address:

Feel free to contact him about our 50th – or anything else (ask about his grandchildren!).

And Karl Petersen reports that he has agreed to join the Board of Cyclone Power
Technologies (of Pompano Beach, Florida) as a consultant. Cyclone (OTCQB:
CYPW) is a developer of the all-fuel, clean-tech Cyclone Engine. Karl has over 45
years of experience in product development, engineering, manufacturing, and quality
control. As a result, he is busy looking for a condo on the east coast, quite a surprise
for him. He has been in the consulting area in the development of light steam power
systems for seven years, during the smog crises of the late sixties and early seventies;
now he gets to have fun with that, once again in a small research and development
environment. Karl currently runs Petersen Product Development in Boise, ID, which
has provided mechanical, chemical and manufacturing process development for
companies that include Caterpillar and John Deere. Previously, he has spent over 25
years in various engineering and management positions including Senior Mechanical
Engineer at Lockheed. Having worked on steam systems since the 1960's, Mr.
Petersen has built numerous steam systems throughout his career and has vast
knowledge of their mechanical and thermodynamic operations. Find out more from

Karl at or

On a very sad note, I received a warm letter from Peter Hollenbeck’s long-time partner
(Gayle Rose Cross) advising me that Peter passed away on November 10th of last year,
as a result of prostate cancer. Peter was a retired IBM engineer who lived in Virginia,
and had worked on NASA’s Saturn/Apollo man-on-the-moon program.

Richard Koser recently had several of his photographs on display at the North Salem
(NY) public library. I am pleased to say that a few of his RPI friends attending the gala
opening of the exhibit. Rich retired from IBM a few years ago, and has been an avid
photographer all his life. Ask him to show you some of his work by e-mailing him at

Paul Cefola was recently awarded the AAAS Award for International Scientific
Cooperation. He was one of a team of dedicated scientists who were honored for their
determination to transcend numerous limitations to collaboration, and their pioneering
work advancing state-of-the-art space surveillance in the United States and Russia
for the benefits of the worldwide astrodynamics community and the safety of human
activity in space. He received a commemorative plaque and a share of a cash award.
Since the beginning of the Space Age, the United States and Russia have maintained
separate systems for surveying space and classifying objects floating in space to
ensure their own strategic and tactical advantage. The resulting data bases, called
space object catalogs, contain regular tracks and orbital elements of the floating
objects. Beginning in 1994, Paul and the others embarked on an exceptional series of
workshops aimed at exchanging information on the mathematical methods and systems
used for space surveillance in their two countries, and ultimately on comparing space
object catalogs. They held six workshops in the United States, Poland, and Russia,
which opened communication between U.S. and Russian experts in space surveillance,
fostered cooperative research addressing common problems of space surveillance,
and led to sharing of data, exchange of catalogs, and communication between people
and organizations. As a result of these workshops, there have been collaborative
efforts in cataloging and identifying space objects, near real-time determination of upper
atmospheric density, and improved orbits of geostationary satellites. The resulting
reduction in the error associated with estimating atmospheric density led both the U.S.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. National Reconnaissance
Office to proclaim this as the "greatest improvement in atmospheric drag modeling over
the last 30 years." Find out more from Paul at