Class Notes


Ed Dennett writes, “Just to let you know that my wife, Kay, passed away on Nov. 4, 2019. We’d been married 62 years. I retired in 1987 as Vice President, Sales. after 31 years at Schlumberger Industries.”


Joseph Bronzino (PhD EE) says, “I remain busy. The key to adapting to a wide variety of challenges is EXERCISE. With this in mind, I have established an exercise program that includes riding a stationary bike and several walks. This low-key exercise regime is worth trying. BE WELL.”

Dave Farmer (center) with his parents at their 2019 birthday celebration.

Dave Farmer (center) with his parents at their 2019 birthday celebration.

Robert Farmer (’69 cert: SIM) and his wife, Bev, received a special, unexpected treat in February as they celebrated their birthdays (his 90th and her 89th). Both are “not only rabid BattleBots fans, but WPI blood runs through both of them,” notes their son Dave. “They’ve been quarantined here in Westborough, but thankfully are able to watch BattleBots religiously every Thursday night. I’ve already purchased BattleBots t-shirts for their birthdays, which they’ll love.”

Through Brad Miller, associate director of WPI’s Robotics Resource Center, Dave sent out an appeal to David Jin ’20, team leader for the WPI-sponsored robot Ribbot, one of the competitors in the current season of the Discovery channel program, to see if the team might record a birthday greeting for his parents. “Given the train wreck of a year they had in 2020,” Dave says, “a Happy Birthday video like this would lift them sky high.”

The team happily complied, and the video reached the team’s loyal fans on time. Dave notes that his dad “graduated from WPI with a mechanical engineering degree, Mass Maritime with an electrical engineering degree, and served our country as a US Navy Officer. Mom (Bev) worked for many years in the WPI ‘Personnel’ (a.k.a. HR) department.”

Bill Rabinovitch recently wrote, “OMG, I just won the 2020 Van Gogh Museum Art Competition in Amsterdam. It’s a very big deal with thousands of entries worldwide. My art won for both still art and animation. In my ‘Vincent—The Field—Animation,’ I coupled Vincent with his field in a new way and then animated it.

“In other news, I still live in SoHo and am extremely active on Facebook with art lovers, artists, and writers. My feature film about Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and de Kooning is being expanded into a longer version before its release.”


Bill Krein writes, “My wife, Lee, and I moved to Duxbury, Mass., in 2018 and, thanks to the excellent Duxbury Marine School, I have become an avid sailor and I am learning to row a single shell. Looking forward to our 60th reunion next year. Now in my 26th year as an adjunct in the Foisie Business School.


Milt Dentch writes, “I recently had a book published: The Rise and Impending Demise of ISO 9001: An Auditor’s History of the International Quality Management System Standard (2020). It’s a 30-year history of ISO 9001 and my experiences in the last 20 years of providing auditing, training, and consulting for hundreds of companies throughout the world.

“My writing started as a hobby after I took early retirement from a 27-year career at Polaroid, and has resulted in the publication of four other books: The ISO 45001:2018 Implementation Handbook (2018); The ISO 9001:2015 Implementation Handbook: Using the Process Approach to Build a Quality Management System (2016); The ISO 14001:2015 Implementation Handbook: Using the Process Approach to Build an Environmental Management System (2016); and Fall of an Icon: Polaroid after Edwin H. Land: An Insider’s View of the Once Great Company (2012).

“I hope to publish my ‘great American novel’—an autobiography of a local 1960s basketball star—by my eightieth birthday!

“My wife, Susan, and I live in Shrewsbury, Mass., and enjoy spending time with our seven grandchildren. Our son Jonathan is WPI ’88; his son Peter is WPI ’21; and our grandson Ryan Kennedy plans to join the WPI Class of 2025 in September.”

portrait of Gary Goshgarian

Gary Goshgarian ’64

the front cover of the book, "Choose Me," by Gary Braver and Tess GerritsenGary Goshgarian (under his pen name Gary Braver) has teamed up with New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen—their book, Choose Me, will be published in July. The “he said, she said” mystery murder thriller (set in Boston, where Gary is based) features a police detective who is determined to find out what happened between a popular college professor and his student. According to the press release, “… and what is discovered is NOT what you might expect.”

An award-winning and bestselling author, Goshgarian, professor of English at Northeastern University, has published eight mysteries and thrillers and five college writing textbooks.


Kenneth Gminski writes, “2020 Low Point: I lost my wife, Ruthanne, of 47 years a week after her 72nd birthday in April. A combination of a four-year battle with Alzheimer’s and a fall where she broke her hip ball off that got infected needing a second operation that was too much to overcome.

“2020 High Point: A week before Christmas, my son, Stephen, and his wife, Julianne, had their first child, Maddison Anne Gminski, who is also my first granddaughter—joining Colin (10) and Jacob Kenneth (6) by my daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Brian. Happy New Year: 2021, at last.

“Looking forward to May when I join my classmates who also will be turning the 3/4-century (75)—the first of the Baby Boomers. I’m actually slightly older than our three Baby Boomer presidents (Clinton, Bush, and Trump) also born in 1946. Who knew back in the ’60s with Viet Nam, the Beatles, JFK/MLK assassinations, Woodstock, a walk on the Moon, and the rest of the craziness that we would be dealing with Covid-19 that could affect our lives and the way we live as no other problem has. “Wear your masks, get your shots, and keep your social distance so we can get together in 2023 for our 55th reunion.”


Linda Rogers, widow of Stephen Rogers (ME), writes that he passed away on July 10, 2020, while at their summer home in Corolla, N.C. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He was employed by DuPont in the Industrial Chemicals division for 38 years. After retiring in 2007, they moved from New Jersey to DeLand, Fla., where he enjoyed being with his children and grandchildren, playing golf, and traveling.


Domenic Forcella is continuing his retirement and trying to relax during the COVID-19 pandemic. He writes, “In my past life I worked as Director of Environmental Health & Safety and Director of Sustainability for Central Connecticut State University. I was the first person in the position and also directed the campus Fire Marshal. Before that position I was Director of a quasi-public agency, the Connecticut Hazardous Waste Management Service. I also spent five years with the National Governors’ Association. All of which has faded into the past.

“During my time at the CCSU, AEDs were added across campus and the Fire Marshal was recognized for his efforts by the Connecticut Heart Association. I also led the school’s effort in adding a number of EV stations. In addition CCSU was recognized by the EPA as the top college in the nation for waste minimization during the EPA Football Challenge for three years.

“I have been writing a newspaper column, Blues Beat, which started at my local paper around 20 years ago. Since then it was picked up by Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the largest local news operation in the state. It is composed of eight daily newspapers (New Haven, Middletown, Danbury, Torrington, Bridgeport, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk) and 14 weekly newspapers including The Darien Times, Fairfield Citizen, New Canaan Advertiser, The Greater New Milford Spectrum, and Westport News.

“I have been active in the state and national blues community. I received a Keeping the Blues Alive Award in Journalism from the Blues Foundation. I served as president of the Connecticut Blues Society and a member of the Board of the Blues Foundation in Memphis. During my time at CCSU, I was a Blues DJ (aka The RoadHog) on WFCS 107.7. I continue my interest in photography with my photos appearing in the Blues Beat column—some have appeared in national magazines and on CD covers. Photos from my time at WPI can be seen here.

“I have documented my blues activities on my blog, which has been curtailed due to lack of blues shows during this pandemic time.”


Joel Loitherstein in a decorated t-shirt and blue shorts stands behind a bicycle and holds a large check Joel Loitherstein has always enjoyed fixing and making things—that’s why he wanted to become an engineer. He says that since he and his wife (Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka) love working on cars, they put a lift in their garage when they built their house in Ashland, Mass. He also loves long-distance cycling, but during the initial surge of the coronavirus he did not want to risk having an accident and possibly have to go the hospital where he may take the bed from someone who really needed it—or get himself exposed.

After doing a few home repairs to occupy his time, he looked for another project and remembered a bamboo bike kit he’d bought several years ago but hadn’t put together. Now having some spare time, he used one of his road bikes as a template and—working with Karen—cut the bamboo, which he then put together with epoxy and covered with fiberglass “cast” tape. He started riding again and in August participated in his 26th Pan-Mass Challenge, raising $15,155. The photo at right shows him with his bamboo bike and a PMC check for that amount, which results in a lifetime fundraising of over $220,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Joel and Karen have lived in Ashland for 35 years; they have two sons: Scott, a history teacher in NYC, and Jake, WPI ’11, a management engineer. Joel is a Principal LSP at Tighe & Bond in Worcester and a part-time bicycle mechanic at Landry’s Bicycles in Natick, Mass.

Thomas Szymanski was presented with ASTM International’s highest recognition for individual contributions to developing standards—the Award of Merit, by ASTM board chair Taco van der Maten. The prestigious award also includes the title of ASTM Fellow. He was honored for outstanding and dedicated service to the ASTM International catalysts committee (D32), with a commitment to establishing new and advanced catalyst characterization methods, and for esteemed technical expertise, leadership, and professionalism.


John Thurber received the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the highest award the Chief of Naval Operations may bestow on a civilian employee. The award recognizes contributions that are exceptionally high in value, innovative, and that demonstrate outstanding leadership in highly successful programs that have had a wide impact in the Navy. When presenting the award during the virtual award ceremony, the Command Admiral stated that everything he knows about military construction he learned from John, who has been with Navy Facilities Engineering Command (currently at the Washington Navy Yard) since 1974. He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife, Diane. He says retirement is not in the cards for a few years yet.


Mark Cosenza writes, “In June of 2020, I retired from Atrenne Computing Solutions, a Division of Celestica, where I served as VP of Operations. I still live in Shrewsbury, Mass., where I now get to spend more time with my three grandchildren. I remain active as a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha House Corporation and director of the chapter’s fundraising arm, the Pi Zeta Fund.”

Bob Cummings retired in April 2020 from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) as Senior Director of Engineering and Reliability after 45 years in the electric power industry. He spent 14 years in electric system planning and operations in Vermont and New Mexico before joining the East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement (ECAR), then one of the NERC regions, in Canton, Ohio, in 1989. He moved to NERC in 1996 in Princeton, N.J., where he held several engineering positions over 23 years.

He was one of the principal investigators of the August 2003 Northeast Blackout, working with experts from the electric industry and government to produce the technical analysis supporting the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force report, which pointed out the need for mandatory and enforceable standards for the electric industry. He created and directed NERC’s Event Analysis program for five years, leading and working on 12 major bulk power system disturbance analyses.

Cummings also was the principal investigator on the September 2011 Arizona-Southern California Outage and the Washington, D.C., Area Low-Voltage Disturbance Event of April 7, 2015. His work in event analysis led to his nickname of “Blackout Bob.” In 2018, the Department of Energy (DOE) appointed him to its Electricity Advisory Committee, which advises DOE on technical and policy issues. He continues as a member, serving on all three of its subcommittees. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of CURENT (Center for Ultra-wide Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks), a National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Engineering Research Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He started Red Yucca Power Consulting LLC three days after he retired to keep his hand in the industry. Bob and his wife reside in Albuquerque.

the four members of Holdin' Back band; from left, a man holds an electric guitar, a woman wears a starts and stripes top hat, a man wears a blur shirt, and Craig Smith holds an electric bass

Holdin’ Back band at Dean Park, Shrewsbury, Mass., July 4, 2019 (Craig Smith is at far right).

Craig Smith, following a successful career path directing the Manufacturing and Engineering Operations of Stanley Bostitch, Hasbro, and New Balance, continues to play bass/keyboards with one of Central New England’s more popular Festival/Outdoor bands, Holdin’ Back. Craig is happily married to the former Cindy Dickman, who worked in the Bursar’s Office at WPI in the late ’70s. They have two daughters and two grandchildren and reside in Holden. He can be contacted through the band’s website.


Stephen Walz says, “I have retired as Director of Environmental Programs at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments—using my WPI engineering training to support local, regional, and state governments address air quality, water quality, energy and climate policy, and green infrastructure challenges in metropolitan Washington. This came, among other jobs, after serving 30 years with Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, most recently as agency director. Now is time to use my experience personally to advance environmental quality and equality.”


Steven Fine writes, “As of January 2021, I have retired from Laticrete International, where I worked for 35 years. The company manufactures chemicals for the construction industry. My last position was manager of R&D Services. The R&D Services team did product support and managed the R&D infrastructure in our Bethany CT R&D lab. I earned my MS in chemistry from Texas A&M University in 1980. My wife of 15 years, Eileen, is a 6th grade science teacher; when COVID is over, we plan on traveling. I also plan on doing some volunteer work.”


John Haponik’s child Stacy writes, “I regretfully inform you of his passing to COVID-19. He was a wonderful man and we’re all very sad for his loss.” Read the full obituary.

Steve Hull died November 19, 2019. After leaving WPI he earned a PhD from Michigan State University in physiology. He investigated causes of sudden cardiac death and taught physiology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In 2000 Steve left academia and began raising alpacas and teaching other alpaca owners about animal and pasture management. He leaves his wife, Kathy Reilly, three children, two grandchildren, and a brother.

Chris Wilmot writes, “I recently retired in late 2019 after 40+ years in the Aerospace and Defense Industries at varying levels of responsibilities. Retirement has been great thus far and I have recently gone back to work in a part-time consulting position. I currently live in Virginia with my wife, Adelaide; we plan to move permanently to our retirement home in Delaware in the coming years. We have three daughters and two grandchildren, who all live nearby. Hope all of my ATO classmates are doing well.”


David Drevinsky began his 32nd year working with the General Services Administration (GSA) as a Senior Civil (Structural) Engineer in Boston, specializing in Natural Disaster Preparation and Recovery throughout 11 regions within GSA. He writes, “I am grateful to have acquired unique project-based skills under the WPI Plan (especially at Alden Research Laboratory in Holden, Mass.; Department of Environmental Quality Engineering in Lakeville, Mass.; and North Andover Textile Museum in Merrimack, Mass.) enabling me to leverage a ‘diverse team approach’ within our challenging global climate. Many schools attempt to copy the WPI blueprint—however, there is *ONLY ONE* WPI Plan!”

Mark Lefebvre writes, “After retiring from IBM in 2017, I’ve continued to spend the majority of my time consulting for NH and Maine nonprofits that focus on addiction prevention and recovery. I recently completed a two-year term at Southern NH Services as the statewide program director for NH Works for Recovery, a US Department of Labor–funded program that offers education and workforce development services for individuals and families impacted by the NH Opioid Crisis.

“I’ve also become licensed as a master trainer for ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and Trauma-Informed Care and offer free training for communities and organizations working on the front lines of substance misuse. I’m also the director of community engagement for Pinetree Institute in Eliot, Maine, and work on developing roadmaps for communities to become ‘recovery ready.’

“I still live on the seacoast of NH with my wife of 37 years, Vivian. During COVID we’ve enjoyed having our adult children Joey (26) and Selena (24) at home with us. I still sit on the board and host a weekly punk/garage rock radio show on WSCA Portsmouth Community Radio ( Check it out—Pirate Friday with Scurvy Dog on Fridays, 1–5 p.m.”


Mark Scott retired from Sikorsky Aircraft in March 2020 and now works part time as a contract engineer for the U.S. Army. He spends considerable time flying his homebuilt airplanes and is working on pilot ratings to become a certified flight instructor.


portrait of Henry Skinner

Henry Skinner ’85

AMR Action Fund has tapped Henry Skinner as its first chief executive officer. He says his mandate will be “to acquire or invest in small companies with the ultimate goal to develop two to four novel antibiotics by 2030, thereby replenishing the global supply chain with much-needed weapons against these resistant superbugs.”


John Niedzielski was reappointed as a member of the Westfield, Mass., Water Commission. With 30 years of project-related experience, he holds licenses in the field, has extensive experience in water management, and has authored many articles on bacteria and heavy metal removal in water.

Anne Marie Riechmann says, “In 2019 I moved from Oregon to Charlotte, N.C. It’s great to be back on the east coast! Last year I joined the faculty at a local two-year technical school teaching engineering courses. It’s been fun brushing up on statics and strength of materials!”


Lisa (Anderson) Barton has been named EVP and COO of American Electric Power.


David Hanlon has been appointed Vice President, Strategic Collaboration, at NanoView Biosciences, the leader in single exosome characterization. He most recently served as Vice President of Strategic Collaborations at Quanterix. He earned his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1993.

Massachusetts Tech Collaborative, a Westborough-based state agency focused on technology and innovation, has named Christine (Poirier) Nolan director of its new Center for Advanced Manufacturing. She oversees all CAM programming, including a $100-million Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative launched in 2016 to co-invest in projects supported by the national Manufacturing USA network.

Diane (Brissette) Pauer was recently elected to the New Hampshire State Legislature to serve as State Representative for Hillsborough District 26, representing the towns of Brookline and Mason. She writes that she is already busy in the N.H. House as prime sponsor on two bills and co-sponsor on four bills, and is serving on the House Committee for Municipal and County Government. “My husband of 30 years and counting,” she says, “is Col. Eric Pauer, USAF (ret)—also Class of ’88.”


portrait of Joseph Barbagallo

Joseph Barbagallo ’91

Joseph Barbagallo has been promoted to President of Consulting at Woodard & Curran. He has more than 30 years of experience serving public and private clients on a wide range of civil, geotechnical, and environmental engineering projects. He joined Woodard & Curran in 2005, assumed the role of civil engineering service line leader in 2007, and in 2014 was promoted to Municipal & Institutional Business Leader. The business unit, which includes drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, community development, urban revitalization, solid waste, and intelligent technology practices, has seen notable growth in revenue and expanded to a national footprint under his leadership.

Frank Christiano, at Chevron for 29 years, has been promoted to Manager of Design Execution. He and his wife and two kids live in Sugar Land, Texas.

After 27 years of running his own Fire Protection Engineering & Code Consulting business out of Chicago, Michael McGreal has switched gears and is now a Fire Protection Engineer with the Denver Fire Department.


David Cortese is chief commercial officer at Simbe Robotics in Los Angeles.


In August 2019, Mike Caprio took a full-time position at Discovery Communications as an API services software engineer—he worked with his team to design and build a global scalable platform for direct integration of the discovery+ streaming service with MVPDs. In 2020 he became the first integration specialist for Discovery and helped launch integrations in eight countries, including discovery+ on Sky Q in the UK last November and US integration with Verizon in January 2021.


Max Cergneux is now chief development officer at Louvre Hotels Group in Paris. He most recently served as Head of International Corporate Development for Choice Hotels based out of London where he was tasked with setting up focus on international expansion, acquisitions, and investment strategy.


Bhairavi Parikh (PhD) has been named Chief Operating Officer at Wildflower. An experienced healthcare technologist and product development leader with specific expertise in maternity care, integrated care management, and medical diagnostics, her background has centered on leveraging technology to drive improvement in health and economic outcomes. In her new role, she is responsible for companywide operations, including client services, clinical operations, and data analytics for evaluating the clinical and economic impact of Wildflower’s solutions.


Alejandro Solà (MS, System Dynamics) is now Director of Global Portfolio Management at Teva Pharmaceuticals.


portrait of Funmi Ayobami

Funmi Ayobami ’11

Olufunmilayo (Funmi) Adebayo Ayobami joined the WPI faculty in January as assistant teaching professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Previously, she was assistant dean for inclusion and engagement in the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has studied orthopedic biomechanics, mechanobiology, contact mechanics in human joints during activities of daily living, and the persistence and success of traditionally underrepresented populations in higher education.

portrait of Arnold Ndegwa

Arnold Ndegwa ’11

Funmi earned an MS and PhD in biomedical engineering at Cornell University, where she received the 2014 Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biomechanical engineering at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Arnold Ndegwa, a test engineer at Textron Systems, has been honored with the Modern Day Technology Leader Award from the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM Conference 2021. After completing his secondary education in Kenya, he moved to the United States to study aeronautical/aerospace engineering. Since joining Textron Systems eight years ago, he has supported various teams across the business and has moved into roles of increasing responsibility.


a large group of WPI alumni crowd together; a WPI pennant is seen at rear; Juliana (Wakeman) Boucher, in her wedding gown, and Mike Boucher are front and center

Juliana (Wakeman) and Mike Boucher at their wedding; at least 50 WPI alumni, among the many graduates who were guests, hopped into this photo.

Juliana (Wakeman) and Mike Boucher were married in October 2019. They celebrated with many WPI alumni—at least 50 of whom hopped into this photo. They’ve recently moved back to Massachusetts and say they love being close to WPI, where they met 12 years ago.


Josh Croke sends an update on his organization, Action! by Design, with news of its new #PublicHearingPodcast. The intent is to give voice to those impacted by broken systems, and to learn from people who are using community-centered design to fix them.

He writes, “From getting families internet access to keeping kids out of prison, we’re imagining ways to build inclusive, equitable, and prosperous communities. Before COVID, Action! by Design was helping organizations facilitate community conversations through 75+ person think tanks, design charrettes, and hackathons. We’ve now taken our work virtual.”

Zach Tomkinson is Area Sales Manager for the Eastern U.S. of Universal Robots.


Kyle Cederberg is a Quality Engineering at Larson Tool & Stamping. He has worked on several computer-based systems that supported the network and communication systems, blockchain technology, and cyber defense systems for the U.S. military overseas.

Keirstan Field (’18 MS MG) has been promoted to design manager at Petersen Engineering. Founder James Petersen said, “She is a great ambassador for the firm, having helped us recruit many of our recent hires. She’s also been instrumental in developing effective onboarding processes for our staff at all levels. This promotion is nothing more than a formal recognition of much of the work she had taken on through her own initiative.”

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