People You Know, Nov. 2007 to Feb. 2008


Joe P. Martinez (BS, math, 62) has stepped into a new career. He writes, "I broke into community theatre by accident, in 1994. They needed a guitar player for one scene but also put me into a character role, and to my amazement, I discovered I liked it. I have been in Shakespearean plays, comedies, etc. since then. Unfortunately community theatre does not pay its actors, so it's all for the love of the art!"

Joe's most recent role was that of Galileo in the Bertolt Brecht play of the same name, at the Explora Theater in Albuquerque in January 2008.

Chia-Li Wei (BS, metallurgical engr., 69) was promoted to chief technology officer of AXT, Inc., a leading manufacturer of compound semiconductor substrates. Wei joined AXT in May 2007 as senior director of technology. Wei is principally located in AXT's manufacturing facility in Beijing. Wei has more than 30 years of engineering experience in compound semiconductor manufacturing


Patrick A. Rodriquez (BS, metallurgical engr., 70) was named the recipient of the 2007 Department of Defense George Linsteadt Technology Transfer Achievement Award. The award recognizes the efforts of individuals who are involved in technology transfer from DOD to industry.

Rodriquez is Director of the Technology Transfer Support Group of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate. As stated on Rodriguez’s award announcement, from Deputy Under Secretary of Defense John J. Kubricky, “He is being recognized for his career achievements and impact on the Department’s Technology Transfer through enabling legislation, as well as his leadership in commercializing the results of the Partnership for Optics."

Dr. Lawrence C. Allen III
(BGS, 76) is working as a project engineer, building flyable computer systems for military and space applications for GE Fanuc Embedded Systems. He lives in Albuquerque.

Dr. Van D. Romero
(BS, physics, 77; MS, physics, 79) has been appointed to the board of directors of the Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management in Carlsbad, N.M. The center, a nonprofit organization established in 2004, is probably best known for its research and development in turning algae into oil. The center has traditionally been funded through U.S. Department of Energy earmarks, but is in the process of receiving funding through state grants and other DOE sources.

Romero is the vice president for research and economic development at New Mexico Tech. One of Romero's job duties is to act as an external advocate and representative for Tech's research activities.

John Yater (BS, petr. engr., 82; BS, geology, 82) opened his own business, Mustang Springs Oil, LLC, offering prospect analysis and geologic engineering consulting in June 2007.

Jeff Corey (BS, petr. engr., Dec. 83) writes, "After living abroad for most of the past 15 years (in Dubai and Venezuela), my family and I returned to the Southwest last summer. I am working as the asset development manager for ConocoPhillips' San Juan Business Unit. I work in Farmington, NM, and live in Durango, Colo. This May will be my 25-year anniversary with ConocoPhillips!

My wife, Caroline, and I are love living in Durango - certainly a lot to do! Unfortunately, a knee injury on my third day skiing this year has wrecked my ski season, but I'm hoping it is just a temporary setback. Our 19-year-old son, Alex, is following me into the oil industry, studying petroleum engineering at that traitor school, Colorado School of Mines! Our 17-year-old daughter, Tatiana, is a junior at Durango High School and is hoping to attend either Duke or Rice once she graduates."

Diane Y. Hattler
(BS, technical communication, 85; BS, geology, 85) writes, "I just became a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Virginia. I am working as a counselor for girls who are in the foster care program and were abused at their home and can no longer live there. It is a long way from my geology days in Nevada, and although I miss being a geologist, I love working with these girls. If anyone from my Tech days would like to get in touch, my email is dhattler@comcast.net."

Donald M. Pearl (MS, math, 85) is now academic vice president at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Ill.

Zachary R. Waltz (BS, metallurgical engr., 87) works for IBM’s Global Business Services as a business process improvement consultant. He lives in Arlington, Va.


Garret Ross (BS, geological engr., 90; MS, metallurgical engr. 92) writes, "I left my position as water operations group chief with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Albuquerque Area Office in September 2007 to be a stay-at-home dad with our 18-month-old daughter and 7-year-old son. My wife, Gina (Age) Ross (BS, 92, mineral engr.), has returned to work as a slopes engineer with Freeport-McMoRan's Sierita Operations south of Tucson, Arizona. Everyone's fine and the weather is currently great, but I am kind of dreading the summer heat!"

Dennis Reda (BS, math, 91; MS, math, 94) writes, "In November of 2007, my wife Clare and I finally left the rustic and slow life in Ridgecrest, Calif., for the urban chaos of Denver, Colo. I'm working now at Raytheon after 14 years at the Department of Defense. Jumping to private industry after so much time in civil service has turned out to be a good move so far, and we're looking forward to all the amenities of living in a big city. I hope to get back in touch with old friends in the area, since I hear that there are a lot of Tech alumni around here. Anyone is welcome to drop me an email at dmreda@aol.com. Cheers!"

Stephen Smoogen (BS, astrophysics, 94) wrote in to update some out-of-date information in the last Gold Pan. He writes that he worked at Red Hat, Inc., from 1997 to 2001 when he left to take an extended vacation. That ended on September 11, and he went to work for Los Alamos National Laboratories in various computer security groups. After finding too many disk drives behind coffee machines, he left to work for Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor, and then to the University of New Mexico to focus on getting a Ph.D. He hopes, if he gets the Ph.D., to be able to return to NMT to teach even if it's only on a soapbox outside of the Cap. "

Roslynd Ellvinger
(BS, biology, 97) writes, "I'm living in Santa Fe with my three beautiful kids, Sam, 9, Katelynn, 5, and Zoe, 3 and my significant other, Gene and his kids, Amber, 12, and Diego, 7. We are a pretty big and pretty busy family! I am certified as a specialist in cytogenetics and worked in a cancer cytogenetics lab for eight years. Recently I made a pretty big career move and now work at New Mexico Department of Public Safety in the Crime Lab, DNA unit. I love my new job!"


Michael Smith (BS, petroleum engr., 07) is working in Bakersfield, Calif., as a production engineer for Chevron.