James Wernicke recently summited the highest free-standing mountain in the world and the fourth highest of the seven summits — Mt. Kilimanjaro — along with his two sons to celebrate his 70th birthday. Following the seven-day Machame route via the Lava Tower, he reached the Crown of Africa and peak of the still-active volcano around 9 a.m., long after other trekkers half his age had summited. The summit day began at midnight at 15,400 feet elevation and required navigating a steep ascent 4,500 feet up the crater wall in the dark by following headlamps. An outside temperature of 20F (the lowest reading on James’ thermometer) brought back vivid memories of Troy in the winter. He became one of less than 300,000 persons on record worldwide to achieve the feat.
Stephen Vasconcellos is on the Scientific Advisory Board of ProcessMiner Inc., an artificial intelligence platform for the manufacturing industry.
James Wernicke writes: Our 45th class reunion was held last September 27 and 28. While the attendance was not as large as the 40th, we still had a great time. There were some new faces that had never made a reunion before, like Phil Bennett and his wife, Becky. We all enjoyed dinner at Delmonico’s in Albany on Friday night and then got together at the Pump Station for some refreshments after the Saturday activities. In case you didn’t hear, RPI football won 38-0. They must have liked that score because the following week they went and beat Rochester by the same score! You can check out the reunion pictures on our Facebook page, RPI 74. Kudos to our Class Captain Claudia Seligman for all the work she put into the reunion as well as the memorabilia she brought us from New Orleans. Remember the next reunion is not only our 50th, but it is also RPI’s 200th. It should be a very memorable event.
During the dinner we tried to put the RPI brains together to figure out what technologies would be commonplace in 2024. Some of our thoughts were that self-driving cars would be everywhere; help desks would be functional; there would be no physical phone; organs would be 3D printed; cancer would be defeated; there would be major infrastructure shutdowns due to hacking or just plain computer error; the Internet of Things would be ubiquitous; medical AI would be common; there would be one EZ-pass that would work on all toll roads; and vehicles would have RFID chips so they could be tracked. Join us in 2024 when we see how well we have done.
While not at the reunion, Bob Scaringe managed to get himself selected as HVAC Insider Man of the Year. I’ve written about Bob and his company, Mainstream, in the past and it’s good to see him still getting recognition for his work. Steve Earley, president of his firm S. M. Earley, was also made a director of RG Group. Steve has served on several other boards in the past.
James C. Wernicke Are you following us on Facebook at RPI 74? We will give you the latest news about the class, RPI, and future happenings...especially our upcoming 50th Reunion in 2024...which coincides with RPI’s 200th anniversary. You can also view pictures of the 45th Reunion!
Dr. Julie Shimer, who started out with a B.S. in physics, has moved into director positions with Apollo Endosurgery and Masimo Corp. after leading Welch Allyn and Vocera as both CEO and president.
John Leimseider is getting the recognition he deserves; unfortunately it is postmortem. John passed away on Sept. 14, 2018, in Calgary, Canada. As a keyboardist for Iron Butterfly, he had his share of notoriety, and later when the stars turned to him to fix their ailing synthesizers. Folks like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, and Lenny Kravitz went to John for emergency help. Those of us who remember him never forget his John Lennon beard or his mellow temper. John leaves behind his wife, Laura, son, Noah, and daughter, Zoe. I’m sure he’ll be playing “Stairway to Heaven” next.
James C. Wernicke, P.E. states: This will be my last class notes before the Reunion. I don’t know about you but I’m planning to be there. As a retiree in Florida, I enjoy getting up north during the Florida “summer,” which seems to run until November. I even heard that the trees change color up there, but it’s been so long I don’t remember what color they change to!
Duane Covino continues to make good use of time in his now almost 11-year-long retirement from full-time work. In October 2017 he joined an “Arts and Ceramics of China and Taiwan” tour, visiting such places as Jingdezhen, the “mecca of meccas” of Chinese pottery. He continues to study and practice pottery at his local community college, and is also finishing his third semester of Spanish language studies. During spring break 2018, he joined a weeklong guided tour of Portugal. While in line in the Geneva airport to change planes for Portugal, directly in front of him was RPI Class of ’84 alum Michael Gobeli, who noticed that Duane was wearing a light-grey RPI fleece jacket. (It pays to advertise!)
When the law firm of Dickinson Wright chose to open a branch in Silicon Valley, they picked Michael Ferrazano as the member for the office of patent agents and property attorneys. Michael brings his experience in computer networking, digital signal processing, integrated circuit design, and semiconductor device fabrication to the firm. He is recognized as a “Top Lawyer” in intellectual property by Sacramento Magazine.
One of our classmates is keeping very healthy while helping others with autism. Robert “Nick” Nickerson is in the process of running 3,000 miles to raise awareness for the need to fund research to find the cause(s) of autism before it becomes the disease/disability of the century. As of April, he had passed 1,300 miles and was still going strong—or at least as strong as anyone can at 72. For more info or to donate, visit his website 3000MilesForAutism.org. If classmates don’t remember him, it is because he has never been in Troy…he graduated from the RPI Hartford Graduate Center.
George Jakobsche writes that after software engineering for 20 years he started attending law school to become a patent attorney, because DEC wanted to grow its in-house patent group. His boss said he would pay for tuition and books but halfway through law school, DEC laid off his entire department. After 18 months of “consulting,” he got a job at an intellectual property (IP) law firm in Boston. A couple of years later, his former boss asked if he was interested in applying for the company’s first-ever in-house patent counsel job. Going from being a first-year associate at a law firm to being in-house patent counsel didn’t hurt, either. After six years, he left to join a different law firm, then another, and finally ended up at Sunstein Law for over 10 years. He says he still writes code for fun (Arduino projects, and the like), and is still a ham radio operator.
George tells me he is living in Concord, N.H., with his wife of 30 years and they have two children, one a chemistry professor at Clark University, the other a photographer. “I like all kinds of beer, especially Belgian and Scottish ales. I always have at least a dozen different kinds of beer at home in my beer fridge (a dorm refrigerator, whose thermostat I modified to run at beer temperature), and about 200 bottles of wine in the crawl space under my house addition. Hobbies include photography (beginning on astrophotography now), woodworking, and electronics projects.” George can be reached at email@example.com.
Kathe Kilmer, who retired from Kodak after 33 years in their research division, mostly in clinical diagnostics, was saddened at Eastman Kodak’s demise. After leaving Kodak, Kathe spent five years refereeing high school volleyball and many years tutoring SATs part time, but reports it is not as fun since they dumbed it down.
Kathe and husband Bob Kulpinski have a metallurgist son in Ohio and a daughter living in New Zealand in business, as well as three sweet granddaughters: a two-year-old and identical twin three-year-olds. Kathe enjoys tennis, paddle tennis and a bit of pickle, and definitely traveling.
Larry Almaleh says that he has tried to make several homecomings, but has been busy traveling for work, as he is still working as a project manager at Black & Veatch, now in the Special Projects Group. Larry, who made his first trip around the world returning from Diego Garcia when delays made him change travel plans to head west to go home instead of east, has been with B&V over 41 years and thinks he set a company record by working with or in every division!
Larry still lives in the Kansas City area; his daughter Katie is getting married in Dallas and his son Ryan has now settled in Denver. After his son broke up with his girlfriend in Hawaii, Larry and his wife, Harriet, became granddog owners after adopting Don Draper, a ten-pound bundle of energy who now runs the household. In response to Larry's comment that it took some time getting used to snow last winter, classmate James C. Wernicke writes: "Larry, don’t you remember RPI winters!?" Larry welcomes other classmates to drop him some e-mail to keep in touch.
Dana Rowley, who retired back in 2013 after 32 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was elected president of the board at the Livermore Valley Educational Foundation.
Don O’Hare retired several years ago with the rank of Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army after 26-½ years of service. A Troy native and married to local nurse Gail Stevens, Don now lives in Colorado Springs with Gail and their daughter, Kelly.