Full Length Featured Newsletter Stories

Brian Perry

June 2016 Newsletter

I was a bit reserved in writing for the Mechanical Engineering newsletter since I have been outside of the applied profession for most of my career and I did not want to distract from a profession I hold in high regard.    After conversing with Professor Kinsey and Tracey from his office, I agreed to share my career choice and key aspects I have learned along the way.

I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1985 and assumed my first job working for what was AT&T Submarine Systems in Newington, NH.  This is where AT&T purchased underwater telecommunications and sonar systems from Simplex / Tyco just prior to being loaded aboard ships.  It was interesting work being assigned as an ME in a predominantly EE universe, but it was the physical rigors of deploying state of the art systems in upwards to 8,000 meters of water that brought the two fields together.  The journey took me away from my home state and instead of a stint in Australia as promised, I spent the next four years working with Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ (lesson 1 – large companies and the military do not always have the capacity to follow through on what may entice one to move).  This is where I had the privilege of working with some of the world’s premier scientists in the field; this is also where I received a career wake up call.

It is a bit humbling to work alongside scientists who managed not only their  full time jobs at AT&T, but taught at nearby universities as well; in the Labs, an undergraduate degree is not table stakes but a prerequisite to getting a Masters or PHD.  For those who may not be aware, Bell Labs has over a 90 year history of invention and innovation which includes: six Nobel prizes in physics, nine U.S. Medals of Science, seven U.S. Medals of Technology, two Draper Prizes and a Grammy award (yes a Grammy but in one of those technology categories the masses fast forward through).  This is besides having been granted over 32,000 patents and key inventions, including the transistor, laser, and solar cells.  So needless to say, the undergrad who gained his degree in four years, but split time between putting himself through school and heading up a fraternity was finding the bar set extremely high.

It was here that I got to experience challenges associated with the effects of sharks on new fiber optic cable systems where it was a unique species only found off the Canary Islands.  (A colleague of mine actually got to go fishing with curators from the Museum of Natural History to catch the little buggers who were causing shunt faults in a cable that could cost us $1M a day.)  We also solved how to continue laying tension sensitive fiber optic cable in high seas by using dynamometer based rollers to manage cable tension. Although there were a number of great projects and industry leading work being done, what I found fascinating was how the team worked and felt rewarded.  Pay was interesting to the team, but being recognized by peers was far more rewarding.  Having flexibility to pick the projects you worked on was a blessing and if the work could be performed in an academic type atmosphere, even better.  The crowning example for me was that the best and brightest who may not have been suited for management, were promoted to Distinguished Members of the Technical Staff (DMTS) which gave them the rights of a very large office, their own admin staff (secretaries in the day) and get this – the ability to choose their projects regardless if it immediately or directly benefited the business.  Absolutely fascinating and hence, why I chose the path of management and pursued my MBA.

My journey since then has taken me through multiple roles, including network engineering where I designed and deployed services throughout the AT&T network, product management where I managed $100M+ P&Ls (best job); consumer marketing, corporate strategy (flashiest job); finance managing our corporate capital budget (biggest job); and program management where I manage large complex initiatives or areas of the business that draw on my General Manager experience (toughest jobs).

Through this journey, there are a few learnings I have picked up along the way that are my business “truths”:

Learn how to effectively communicate (write and verbally “pitch”) early in your career.  (Nothing worse than losing the audience or the concept because it was not presented well.)
You cannot always plan the journey, but if you take advantage of new challenges, you can discover interesting things about yourself and other areas that open up new opportunities and insights.
It is not who or what you know, but who and what you know.  (Those with great networking skills excel – sometimes in spite of themselves but oftentimes because there is extreme value in relationships and leveraging a broader support structure.)
Never underestimate the potential of people – it is amazing to witness an empowered team that pursues the ideal objective and overcome what would otherwise appear as unsolvable challenges.
Be willing to let go of perfection and expectations of how the work gets done.  (Other than business controls and integrity / how to deal with people, for the most part it is the “what” and not the “how” that matters.)
Perhaps a hypothesis that I would love to prove wrong, but pick the top three, (maybe five max) priorities and focus.  (Oftentimes we are faced with up to ten priorities and my experience so far has yielded diluted sub-optimal results.)

The last learning may be more personal than more generally applied, but I have found extreme value in leveraging my broad skills and experience to addressing today’s challenges (this could also be a function of a large corporation).   It takes at least 6 months to step into a new role and really start adding value; one to two years to really own and make significant sustainable change; and two to three years to start to experience the long term impact of the change.  By years three and four, it is time to move on to experience new challenges. 

Although I do not use my engineering skills any longer, the logical thinking and understanding of technology is still at the core.  I’m “left brain” dominant, so I take a logical approach to problems and break them down into more manageable elements.  For example, I use the term “physics problem” to communicate that we are more challenging the laws of science instead of facing a creativity challenge.  A timeline or resource challenge is different from us developing a recommendation from a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis that has many open ended options.   I still chuckle that my business major colleagues could never understand a team of four engineers having the answers to the problem and still needing to collaborate for hours on how to develop the equation to solve it.  In general though, it is not lost on me that although my focus is on managing people, we are all about technology and innovation.  Whether a team is challenged with improving Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or pivoting to cloud based solutions, one can best support their team by having at least a general knowledge of how the technical solution meets the customer needs.  I do not believe I would be the business manager I am today without my academic and applied experience in technology and engineering.


Wade Bartlett

I was BSME class of ’89 and MSME class of ’94. These days I’m a self employed engineering consultant, doing a lot of accident analysis work these days. I’m also a part-time officer for the Town of Middleton. I recently received the Congressional Law Enforcement Award for Dedication and Professionalism at a ceremony in Concord, attended by the entire NH congressional delegation.

Wow, feels pretty haughty to type that stuff out about myself. <shrug> Anyway, that’s the latest news from me.

Here’s the WMUR coverage:


The announcement, as read by Chief Biochetti at the ceremony is here:

“Calling the roles for the Middleton Police Department - Ofc. Wade Bartlett.  Ofc. Wade Bartlett holds a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire. Ofc. Bartlett, a self-employed consulting engineer and an Accident Reconstructionist since 1996 has also been a part-time police officer for the Town of Middleton since 2003. Ofc. Bartlett specializes in the analysis of motorcycle, heavy truck, and passenger car crashes, evaluation of automobile event data recorders and other highly technical aspects of crash investigations and by his peers, is one of the most recognized and respected Accident Reconstructionists in the United States, teaching and lecturing all over the country, participating in numerous conferences and seminars. While Ofc. Bartlett makes his living as an accident reconstructionist in both the criminal and civil arena, he is one of the most sought after experts by law enforcement accident reconstructionists in the State of New Hampshire, providing free training and lending his expertise to any police officer or department in the State that asks him. He volunteers on both the Belknap Regional Accident Investigation Team and the Strafford County Accident Reconstruction Team, teaches in-service classes to police officers, regardless of their department and the reconstruction teams and has been doing this for years.Ofc. Bartlett selflessly shares the knowledge and experience that he gains from around the country and helps ensure that New Hampshire crash investigators are kept up on the latest and most correct information so that these investigators and reconstructionists can better serve the people of the State of New Hampshire.
It is with the highest level of commitment to all members of the New Hampshire Law Enforcement community that Officer Wade Bartlett is awarded the 2015 New Hampshire Congressional Law Enforcement Award for Dedication and Professionalism.”

Wade Bartlett's CV

Twofour Broadcast (U.K.) films TV segment on USS Albacore at UNH

When UNH media services passed along an inquiry from the British production company TwoFour Broadcast regarding the USS Albacore, current and former members of the ME Department went the extra mile to help out. TwoFour was going to be filming at the USS Albacore in Portsmouth, and wanted somebody to help explain the hydrodynamics and set up a model demonstration. Oh, and they will be here next week.

“Clearly, ‘next week’ was going to be a bit tight in light of the fact that we didn’t just have a scale model of the Albacore sitting around for this purpose.” said M.E. associate professor Martin Wosnik. “But I have always been intrigued by submarines so I started asking around.” (ME IT/technologist) Sheldon Parent remembered that (retired ME Instructor) Gerry Sedor was involved with Albacore Park. Sedor put Wosnik in touch with Ken Herrick, a board member at Albacore Park who worked on the USS Albacore at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the late 1950s and early 60s.

“The submarines that were in service in WWI and WWII were essentially based on surface ships – they were designed to move fast on the surface but were very slow and easy targets under water” explains Wosnik.

“The USS Albacore was the first submarine whose shape was optimized for hydrodynamic performance under water. The Albacore program continued a development that began with the ‘Type 21 (XXI)’ sub that Germany developed towards the end of WWII. The Type 21 program came out of the heavy casualties the German U‐boat fleet experienced. A captured Type 21 sub, the U‐3008, was actually overhauled and stationed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for a couple of years after WWII ended.”

“The USS Albacore took hydrodynamic performance to a new level. The main idea is that the Albacore hull shape, with its elliptical nose shape and length over beam ratio, minimizes total drag‐‐ which is the sum of viscous (friction) drag and pressure drag. The Albacore’s drag coefficient was significantly lower than that of previous subs, down to about 0.1, and it was the first sub that was able to go faster than 30 knots below water.”

“The basics of these advanced hydrodynamics are pretty straightforward to explain. You have to ‘streamline’ the sub shape to reduce pressure drag, but the more you streamline it, the longer it becomes, and the more you increase the contribution of friction drag. There is an optimum ratio, which at the time was already understood in aerodynamics, but these concepts hadn’t been applied to submarines yet. You do sacrifice performance on the surface with the more hydrodynamic Albacore shape, but if you can do 30+ knots submerged – who cares? Essentially, a modern submarine with its short, stubby wings is the underwater equivalent of a large aircraft, and can ‘fly’ similar maneuvers. Now if you combine this with propulsion that does not require air intake and exhaust, such as nuclear power, then you can both go fast and stay submerged for a long time. This fundamentally changed submarine warfare”

Photo caption: drag on submarines – t he diagram that explains it all. (ok, this is a bit silly J - we can put in a photo of just the diagram, or just leave it out)

Wosnik and his graduate students met with Ken Herrick at Albacore Park for a personal tour of the sub, and to continue the “hunt” for a model that could be used in the tow tank or in a wind tunnel. Herrick, who started working at PNSY in 1959 when Albacore was in its Phase 2 stage, explained that the USS Albacore was developed by scientists and engineers at the US Navy’s David Taylor Model Basin (DTMB), which was unusual. The unconventional shape and lack of a deck was made palatable to Navy command admirals by pitching the project as a “fast target” that other submarines could hunt for practice.

Photo caption: A tour of the USS Albacore with Ken Herrick (ret. from PNSY), from left: Pete Bachant, John Turner, Greg Taylor-Power, Martin Wosnik and Ken Herrick.

Photo caption: On the bridge of the USS Albacore, from left: Ken Herrick, Gregory Taylor-Power, Pete Bachant, John Turner. Hidden behind the periscope: Ivo Nedyalkov.

Photo caption: Ivo Nedyalkov (recently appointed as lecturer) “driving” the USS Albacore.

DTMB focused on the hydrodynamics and tested over 30 hull shapes, most of them as 9 ft wind tunnel models, to explore the effects of the shape of nose, hull, tail, and location of maximum diameter on overall drag. The “Barbel” class submarines were the first in‐service submarines based on the Albacore shape, and then the USS Skipjack first combined nuclear propulsion with the new hull shape, and the rest is history.

For engineers to get a tour of the USS Albacore from someone who had worked on her was quite the experience. Also, the museum at Albacore Park actually has a beautifully executed 1:129 scale model in a showcase; unfortunately, this model was *not* available for wind tunnel testing! Ken Herrick had brought a set of the original blueprints for Albacore Phase 4 (more or less the way she is sitting in drydock at Albacore Park right now), and the filming was delayed by a couple of weeks, so a new plan was formulated: build a model from the original drawings.

First, in a “mythbusters”‐type experiment in the UHH tow tank, Wosnik and graduate students  debunked the legend that the US Navy towed “balloons” in a tank to come up with the optimal shape. It was later reconstructed that this legend likely had its origins in the fact that DTMB scientists based the initial Albacore candidate shapes on U.K. research on dirigibles, or airships (=“balloons”).

Ph.D. candidate Pete Bachant brought the USS Albacore to life in a 3D model using section drawings on the old, difficult‐to‐read blueprints. Wosnik ordered 1:144 scale models of other submarines – a WWII German Type‐VII (think “Das Boot”), a Type XXI and the USS Seawolf, to be compared in experiments – and assembled them. Sheldon Parent rapid‐prototyped a 1:144 scale version of the Albacore on the M.E. 3D printer and fabricated mounting rods for the 18” x 18” (student) wind tunnel’s force balance

Photo caption: A 3D model of the USS Albacore created from the original blueprints of Albacore Phase 4.

Photo caption: The 1:144 scale model of the USS Albacore coming out of the 3D printer.

Photo caption: The assembled 1:144 scale model of the USS Albacore, with sand grains glued on near the nose to trip the boundary layer.

Ph.D. candidate Michael Allard put together a “USS Albacore” virtual instrument panel. John Turner and Allard helped with instrumentation. Ivo Nedyalkov, Ian Gagnon (who also assisted with the drawings) and Turner helped with experiments the day of the filming. “It was a team effort”, commented Wosnik “the most nerve-wracking moment was when I had to bake the model parts in our kitchen oven at low temperature for several hours to dry out the liquid from the solvent bath, so the model could be glued together.” The model was painted and first data with the drag balance was acquired just hours before the TV crew was due to arrive on June 21, 2015.

Photo caption: The 1:144 scale model of USS Albacore in the 18” x 18” test section of the Mechanical Engineering “student wind tunnel”.

Photo caption: The 1:144 scale model of USS Albacore in the 18” x 18” test section of the Mechanical Engineering “student wind tunnel”.

Photo caption: Filming the TV segment with Twofour Broadcast (U.K.): Segment host Matt Werner of Webb Institute, Twofour Producer / Director Tim Williams and Martin Wosnik.

 Photo caption: Filming the TV segment with Twofour Broadcast (U.K.): Segment host Matt Werner of Webb Institute and Martin Wosnik.


Photo caption: Graduate students John Turner and Ian Gagnon Filming setting up a fog nozzle for flow visualization.

The model test was tested approximately at 1:1000 dynamical scale (Reynolds number), accounting for differences in size, velocity and fluid viscosity (air vs. water). Due to the small model scale, drag coefficients measured were somewhat higher that for the full scale, but the data still showed about a threefold reduction drag coefficient when comparing the Albacore to a WWII submarine. It should also be noted that the blockage ratio was less than 3%, which is good, and that drag measurements were sensitive to alignment of the submarines. The support strut was not streamlined, and hence the drag on the support strut was a large fraction of the total drag measured.

“Clearly, the models were too small to obtain accurate results. But we were able to show trends and demonstrate significant reduction in drag for the Albacore – good enough for TV,” said Wosnik.

The show that TwoFour Broadcast was filming is titled “Impossible Engineering”, and it is broadcast in  the U.S. on the Science channel. This subject of the episode is the British nuclear submarine HMS Astute, pride of the Royal Navy, with a brief segment explaining the origin of the HMS Astute’s shape and hydrodynamics via the USS Albacore.

Of course, according to Ken Herrick, the HMS Astute is just a “knock‐off of the U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles class subs.”

If you have questions about the Albacore model or the experiments, or are interested in obtaining an

*.STL file to make you own model Albacore, please contact Prof. Martin Wosnik.

Prof. Yannis Korkolis' talk at Pusan National University on August 20, 2015

Yannis presenting at a conferenceProf. Yannis Korkolis  presenting Pusan National University









Professor Yannis Korkolis co-edited a special issue in the ASME journal 

Prof. Korkolis edited a Special Issue of the ASME Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering (JMSE) on “Forming and Joining of Lightweight and Multi-Material Systems”, along with Prof. Jingjing Li (Univ. Hawaii – Manoa), Dr. Blair Carlson (GM Research & Development) and Dr. Edmund Chu (Alcoa Technical Center). The Special Issue can be found online here: http://manufacturingscience.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/issue.aspx?jo...

Also, starting in July 2015, Prof. Korkolis will serve a 3 (+3) year term as one of the Associate Editors of JMSE.


Tamir Blum's Summer in Japan

During this past summer I lived in Sendai, Japan, where I conducted space robotics research on the Google Lunar X-Prize team Hakuto rover alongside an international team while also exploring nearby areas and attending festivals and holiday events where I was able to learn about Japanese culture and lifestyle.

As a note, the photo was taken in Fukushima where I went with a small group to learn about the effects of the nuclear plant blasts following the Tsunami in 2011. We explored several areas in Fukushima, learned about the fruit farming industry and spent half a day in an elementary school sharing about our countries, hearing about theirs and learning about the Japanese schooling system.







 Sital Khatiwada's Intership at NASA

My name is Sital Khatiwada, and I interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center during the Summer of 2015. During my time there, I performed data analysis on data for in-house build spacecrafts to establish a benchmark for product nonconformance and supported an electronic process-based information system through extensive beta testing of new applications for the information system.


James Petersen named Granite State ASHRAE Chapter Engineer of the Year
by Ken Johnson

PORTSMOUTH - James Petersen, principle engineer and founder of Petersen Engineering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was named the 2015 Engineer of the Year by the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE.

In a recent release, the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE said they are, "pleased to present their Engineer of the Year Award for 2015 to James Petersen with our thanks for his outstanding works. We hope that others in our profession will see him as a role model for others to follow."

In the nearly three decades he's worked in the industry, Petersen has forged a reputation as an engineer concerned with quality and sustainability for every project he's done.

"I've been working away for 29 years trying to make buildings better," Petersen said. "And most of the time it is hard work and when you get a surprise recognition like this it feels pretty good."

ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers) is the primary professional organization for people who work in HVAC engineering. Petersen has been a member with ASHRAE since he started working in HVAC in 1986, and has been a member of the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE since its inception in 1987.

Petersen's nomination for Engineer of the Year was endorsed by his clients, organizations he has done pro-bono work for, and his employees. Petersen holds a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and is a registered professional engineer in seven states and Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1992, Petersen Engineering began with HVAC and plumbing design and has since grown to include building science, enclosure design and integrated design. A primary focus of Petersen's when designing a project is to reduce dramatically the amount of energy needed for heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water. The engineers that work at Petersen Engineering have a common passion for improving energy efficiency in buildings.

"It feels like I was born hardwired to be a steward of the environment," Petersen said. "As Petersen Engineering has grown our reputation as sustainability experts has spread beyond my expectations."

In his own right, Petersen is a strong advocate for green and environmentally sustainable practices. Petersen Engineering is a corporate business partner with the Portsmouth-based Green Alliance, a union of environmentally conscious businesses and individual members, which works to educate the public about sustainable business and buying practices.

Petersen has even converted his company's offices, located on Maplewood Avenue, in a historic 1804 federal-style building, into a space that can compete with any new building for energy conservation and environmental stewardship, while keeping it to the strict standards of the Portsmouth Historic District Commission.

Petersen and Petersen Engineering are presently hard at work with their ongoing projects and new projects that they are just starting. Among other projects currently Petersen is working on the upgrades to the Portsmouth Waste Water Treatment Plant at Peirce Island, a 100,000 square foot addition to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts, and the Lewis Gathering Center corporate retreat, located in Kensington, New Hampshire, and designed to meet Passive House Certification.

"Passive House certified designs reduce the energy required for heating by 85% less than that necessary to heat an equivalent a code compliant building," Petersen said.

Petersen is also working on Avesta Housing's 28 unit affordable senior housing project which is currently under construction in downtown South Berwick, Maine. And the firm just completed the construction documents for the occupied rehabilitation of a 12 story building, built circa 1900, located on Chauncey Street in downtown Boston featuring 88 units of affordable apartments and ground floor retail.

Some of the pro bono projects Petersen is working on are an expansion of the Seacoast Waldorf School in Eliot, Maine, to expand the school to pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade, and replacement of the facility mechanical systems at the Portsmouth Indoor Pool.

"It is very rewarding to play a meaningful role in creating better buildings now totaling hundreds of thousands of square feet each year," Petersen said. "With each passing year we have greater influence in elevating the performance of buildings on behalf of our clients, building occupants and the planet, and that keeps me going."


Eric Corum, president elect of the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE presents the Engineer of the Year Award plaque to James Petersen
Photo Courtesy of the Granite State Chapter of ASHRAE