People You Know, March - May 2001


Dr. Rudolph (Rudy) Jacobson (57, BS, metallurgy; 64, MS, metallurgy; 71, Ph.D., geoscience) writes, "I live in Austin, Texas. All my children and grandchildren live 'down the street.' I am vice president of engineering, for a solution mining company in the United States and Malaysia, Solution Mining Sdn. Bhd., a large "experimental" biomining project in Malaysia. We will leach and precipitate metals biologically. My colleagues and I have been in the solution mining of uranium in the United States since the early 1970s. It was a wonderful time to develop this technology and our plant designs and groundwater systems to recovery the leached uranium were successful and had no waste products.

"We will be mostly into creating and operating humanitarian mining projects in third world countries, but mining projects will not be all we are supposed to accomplish. We have solar power projects, antibiotics, biobatteries, huge waste cleanup projects, and the production of natural gas from depleted oil fields with a bacteria that is quite at home is salt water. Our target is those countries that have the resources, but no cash, and no technology. We intend to make and sell solar cell panels very cheaply"


Dr. Zane Spiegel (62, Ph.D., hydrology) is a member of Santa Fe's Water Quality Task Force. He is the principal author of a petition to the EPA on "La Cienega Valley Area Sole Source Aquifer, Santa Fe County, New Mexico." from October 2000 to March 2001.

Dr. Raul A. Deju (66, BS, math; 1969, Ph.D., hydrology) is president and Chief Operating Officer of ISG Resources, the world's largest company for the processing, transporting, and marketing of coal combustion products used in the manufacture of building products (mortars, stuccos, block, and cement substitutes.) The company has production facilities in 91 locations and is the leading recycler of coal combustion products in the U. S. A., with sales exceeding $220 million per year.


Dr. Daniel Blodgett (71, BS, geology; 73, MS, geology) (he also has an MD from UNM) writes, "I have moved to Oakhurst, Calif. After two years teaching family medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch medical school in Galveston, Texas, I decided to open my own solo practice here in California. I do an office-based family practice but emphasize alternative methods of healing. I offer medical acupuncture, chelation therapy, craniosacral therapy, nutritional therapy and advanced energy healing. I brought my fiancee, Tracy Weyant, from Galveston to join me here, and she is developing her massage practice. Oakhurst is in the Sierra foothills only 15 miles from the southwest entrance to Yosemite National Park. It is green and moist after the winter rains. I invite my old friends from Tech to visit us if in the area."

John Ennis (74, BGS; 77, BS, geology) writes, "By the end of summer, I will have earned a master's in geography with an emphasis in geographical information technologies from the University of New Mexico. I plan to start work on a Ph.D. in geology. I am working in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department with Lou Scuderi, a well known climatologist. We will be designing and implementing a comprehensive GIS model which will include environmental, ecological, hydrological, and economic parameters for the northern half of the Rio Grande Watershed." John and his wife Bonnie Ross live in Albuquerque.

John I. Ajie (79, BS, mining engr.) works for The Washington Group and has just been promoted to general manager of Powder River Operations, which includes mining operations in Montana and Wyoming. He has moved from Boise to Hardin, Mont.

He adds, "My first daughter, Beverly Ajie, born in Socorro, (mom Sandra Nordman) will graduate from the University of Oregon in Eugene, this June 2001 with a bachelor's degree in biology. We have two other wonderful kids: Whitney Ajie, 14, and Austin Ajie, 9."


John Hingtgen (85, BS, geology) writes, "After working as a geologist, environmental scientist, and natural-resources planner, I returned to school to pursue a master's in energy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I will do my thesis research in renewable energy. Friends can reach me at jsh_uu@yahoo.com."

Ward Herst (86, MS, hydrology) and his wife Debra are executive officers of Herst & Assoc., a firm they founded in 1998. The firm was recognized as the Number One Service Provider in the United States by the National Business Incubator Association. The Hersts received the award on May 20, 2001 in San Jose, Calif.

Herst & Associates, Inc. is a hydrogeologic, hydrochemical, and general environmental consulting firm located in St. Louis, Mo. Herst & Associates, Inc. was formed after clients and potential clients consistently commented on the need for increased responsiveness and client awareness by consultants. Ward provides his home telephone number to his clients, and regularly receives calls as early as 3:30 a.m., and on Sunday nights as the clients prepare for their next work week. The recognition as No. 1 Service Provider is a validation of the extra effort that the Herst & Associates, Inc. staff have placed on client services.

Dianna K. Justis-Fairhurst (86, BS, geological engr.) was appointed administrative director of the Hill Country Montessori School (grades 1 - 4) in Boerne, Texas. Dianna is married to David Fairhurst, who is a technical sales manager with Schlumberger in San Antonio. They have two children: Caitlin, 7, and Hannah, 4.

Miguel R. Sanchez (86, BS, petroleum engr.) writes, "I am currently working in Venezuela for Exxon-Mobil, as an engineering supervisor for a new production facility which is currently producing 170,000 bopd. I started working in Venezuela in April of 1999 as the startup supervisor for this project and stayed on in my current capacity upon successful completion of the startup. I also do some ranching on the side in New Mexico in my time off."

Dr. Cynthia Sisson (88, BS, physics) writes, "My husband Dr. Paul Sisson (87, BS, math & physics) and I are both associate professors at LSU-Shreveport, Paul in mathematics, and me in physics. We have slightly new job descriptions: Paul will be chair of the Mathematics Department and interim chair of the Computer Science Department starting in August. I will be the Elmer N. Simon Distinguished Teaching Professor for the next two years (though any who know me know that I'll have a hard time living up to the 'distinguished' part)."


Dr. Julie Bongianni (91, BS, chemistry) (she also holds a master's and Ph.D. in biochemistry from New Mexico State) writes, "In 1997, I headed out to New York for a post-doctoral fellowship in voltage-gated ion channels. This evolved into a post-doctoral fellowship in the area of retinoid biochemistry and metabolism. As luck would have it, I wound up returning to the West: the lab I was in re-located from New York to UC Berkeley in California. Recently, I finished my post-doc and joined a start-up pharmaceutical company, OPTIME Therapeutics.

"Currently, I live in Sonoma, with my fiance, Scott Wylie. Scott is a psychologist with the state of California. We recently announced our engagement, and are planning to be married October 6, 2001."

Craig Hier (92, BS, computer science; '94, MS, computer science) is pleased to announce, "My wife, Edi, and I gave birth to our first child, Christopher, on April 9th, He weighed in at a healthy 9 pounds, 14 ounces. You can check out the pictures at my website www.hierview.com.

James W. Perea (93, BS, electrical engr.) and his wife Rachel welcomed the birth of their first daughter, Katrina Paige Perea, on Feb. 6, 2001. James is the deputy program manager for SAIC on the Rapid Test Support Contract for the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center.

Lauren Hurtgen (96, AGS) and her husband Bryan welcomed Samantha Taylor Hurtgen, weighing in at 8 lbs, 11.5 oz, on April 29, 2001. Baby pictures are available on their webpage at http://www.expage.com/page/laurenhurtgen.
Jonathan Reiner (97, BS, mineral engr.) is working for the U. S. Navy as an engineer in Tucson.

Rebecca (Ideus) Taylor (99, BS, technical communication) and Nathan Taylor (99, BS, technical communication) were married at The Southern Plantation in Missouri City, Texas, on March 31, 2001. Both continue to live in Spring, Texas, and work for Compaq Computer Corporation. At the end of last year, Rebecca transferred to a new position as the lead Information Manager for a server solutions group, and is currently serving on the planning committee for the Society for Technical Communication (STC) Region 5 conference. Nathan, who works as a multimedia engineer, recently received a promotion, as well as local STC competition awards for several of his projects.