Archive | March, 2012

Georgia on my mind

25 Mar

Hello from the road! Jim Heemstra and I are currently in Orangeburg, S.C., but I wanted to show you some photos he took night before last at an an alumni gathering in the Atlanta area. Doug Krohn, our ISU club leader in Atlanta, organizes the BEST gamewatch parties, and he offered to host Jim and me Friday night at the usual gamewatch location, Firebird Sports Grill in the suburb of Dunwoody.

Here are some photos. Thanks to everyone who came out to welcome us!

Dawn and Andy Crawford

Doug Krohn

Ross Bradshaw and his guest

Michelle Pierce, Doug Krohn, and Sue Graham

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A sample of our recent mail

10 Mar

Every time we send an email to a new group of states, it’s like Christmas. I get to hear from all kinds of interesting alumni — and eventually I’ll be lucky enough to actually meet some of them on our VISIONS Across America travels.

Here are some especially interesting correspondence I’ve received in the past couple of weeks:

Kristyn Mostek (’97 speech communication) writes:

“I would like to nominate Courtney Heilskov Schlichte and Jason Schlichte. They live in North Carolina. They follow Cyclone athletics, going to games when they are in the area. Last fall Jason told his daughter he would take them to Disney World if the Cyclones beat OSU in football. They are now planning a trip to Disney!” I love this!

Another great Cyclone story comes from Kathleen Saladino (MS ’70 textiles and clothing), a retired teacher who lives in Virginia:

“When my oldest grandchild (now 11) was learning to talk, his father, who is a great Husker fan, made the comment when ISU was playing a football game against the Huskers, ‘Granny and her Cyclones’ (I think the Cyclones were winning at that moment).  Little Cole picked up the Granny and Cyclones and I became ‘Granny Cyclone’ which all the grandchildren and friends now call me!”

And this touching story came from Bret Wortman (’90 math) of Jeffersonton, Va.:

“Here in Virginia, I became a volunteer paramedic in my spare time and met my wife Holley while we were volunteering at the same rescue squad. We were married on the Potomac River on a paddle wheel steamer on Sept. 8, 2001, just 3 days before everyone’s lives would change forever. Instead of taking my new bride on a honeymoon en route to our new home in Australia, we sat in a hotel in Merrifield, Va., wondering what our future would hold, and whether my new employer would wait long enough to get us onto a flight before deciding to cut me loose — with our worldly possessions packed up and stored who-knows-where.

“We did arrive in Australia in early October and began a four-and-a-half-year residency there, which saw the births of both our children. We got to experience another culture and had the unique experience of seeing America from the outside. Our love of our country just grew even as we saw its imperfections alongside its nobility.”

Finally, here’s a two-for-the-price-of-one story from Mike Risk (’04 MIS), who lives in the Washington, D.C. area:

“Here’s my story, which involves fellow alum Nick Renner (’06 mechanical engineering). Nick and I did not know one another during our initial years of undergrad. I spent most of my time at the Gerdin business school as an MIS major while Nick was doing whatever mechanical engineers do. We both held leadership roles in our fraternities, he at Lambda Chi Alpha and me at Pi Kappa Alpha, and lived at our respective houses. During the summer of 2004, however, we both accepted an internship at Maytag in Newton. And so ignited our friendship over crazy internship events and related social outings. (Unfortunately, I must add that there was a third member of our trifecta who happened to be a Hawkeye.) At the end of our internship, we tried to keep in touch. Nick and I had a saying ‘one night a week’ because that seemed to be how often we stumbled upon each other at Sips, Mickeys, Peoples, Cys, and the occasional Big Shots. (Meanwhile, the Hawkeye was wrapping up a less adequate education in Iowa City.)

“Fast forward to February of 2010.  After working for five years for Ernst & Young in Kansas City, I decided to transfer to our McLean office. My wife and I made the move and soon found out via Facebook that Nick, who had been working with Caterpillar in Peoria, also moved to the Reston area just a month later. We quickly connected and watched a number of Cyclone basketball games at Crystal City Sports Pub (the local gamewatch location).  While Nick and I still hang out “one night every few months,” this story probably wouldn’t be as ironic and unique had the Hawkeye not also moved to D.C. to work for the Redskins! So far in the past two years we have celebrated Mexican Christmas, partied with Russian lifeguards, cheered on the U.S. in the World Cup, attended Redskins games, participated in the Hawkeye’s surprise birthday party, played 18 holes, watched the Super Bowl, and are planning our next gathering as we speak.”

Keep these stories coming, folks. They are so much fun to read! And be sure to post your own stories on your state pages – linked from this website.

Telecommuting in paradise

7 Mar

Endless summer.

That’s part of the reason Garret Pick moved to Hawaii. That, and the culture, the natural beauty, the diversity, the people, the food, and the music.

“I like just about everything” about Hawaii, Garret said.

The 6-ft., 6-in. electrical engineering grad first experienced Hawaii as a layover location between his travels to Asia and his home base in Chicago, where he was a field engineer for Motorola – a job he landed right after graduation in 1993. He traveled the world but “kind of fell in love” with Hawaii and jumped at the chance to take a Motorola job based in the Honolulu area in 1997.

When that job ended, he moved back to Chicago but tried to figure out a way to get back to the islands. After a couple of years, he went to work for a friend who founded a start-up company in San Diego. The company was open to telecommuting.

Garret moved back to Hawaii full-time about 10 years ago, luring his then-fiancé (now wife) Janet with the prospect of a Hawaiian wedding. The couple now has two children, Kanoa, 8, and Makela, 6, both born on Oahu.

Telecommuting in paradise sounds ideal, but Garret admits it can be challenging at times.

“It’s hard to get away from work,” he says. “My office is basically the bedroom, and it’s pretty easy to mix work and personal life. It’s easier now that the kids are in school. Now it’s nice and quiet. I actually get more done here I think than if I was in an office. There aren’t people stopping by your cube to ask questions, pull you into meetings.”

Garret builds and maintains software for his company, Packetvideo. He communicates with his co-workers in California through frequent conference calls and the Internet.

College campus tour of the Deep South

2 Mar

Our next VISIONS Across America trip is really shaping up to be a tour of college campuses in the Deep South. We’ll be in Orangeburg, S.C., home of South Carolina State University; Auburn, Ala., home of Auburn University; Tuskegee, Ala., home of Tuskegee University; Birmingham, Ala., home of the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Oxford, Miss., home of the University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss (above). I am looking forward to seeing some seriously beautiful college campuses! The photos I’ve seen online show lovely, traditional southern architecture on each of these campuses, and we should be there when flowering trees are in bloom, so it should be a very pretty time to visit.

Besides these traditional college towns, we’ll also be visiting alumni in the cities of Atlanta, Ga., and Memphis, Tenn. It looks like we’ll be visiting no fewer than nine alumni in these five states — and I’m hoping to be able to add a couple more in the weeks before we hit the road.