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February / March 2013

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Arthur Greenman and spouse

Arthur Greenman; determination presents opportunities

“You don’t need to be the shiniest apple in the basket to succeed. You just need determination and a ‘don’t give up attitude’ to have an opportunity for fulfilling career and life.”

That’s the mantra by which Arthur L. Greenman, BSCE 1966, of Brooklyn, Mich., has lived and he has plenty of evidence to prove his point.

After two years at Northwestern Michigan College, Greenman transferred to Tri–State College because it was closer to home, and courses in humanities were not required for graduation. He credits Tri–State with helping to develop his skills to handle complicated situations – something he accomplished on more than one occasion.

During his first semester, he developed mononucleosis and had to drop all classes except for calculus III. Thanks to Professor Ross A. Butler, one of his favorite professors, he aced the class and earned his only A at Tri–State. In a later semester, with a Mrs. Wilcox as an instructor, he was able to overcome his fear of public speaking by volunteering to be the first in his class to give a required teaching presentation.

Though he walked at commencement in December 1965, he had to return to winter quarter ’66 because he failed thermodynamics. Greenman had to call his future employer, Consumers Energy in Michigan, and ask if his position could be held until March; Consumers agreed. He was able to complete one more quarter thanks to the support of his parents and the will to complete his degree.

While employed at Consumers Energy, he experienced two of his proudest accomplishments, both in hydro projects. First, he managed a project using a Landsat satellite (a satellite that gathers information about Earth from space) to determine ground cover and soil types for the AuSable River Basin. His goal was to find ways to reduce the most severe possible flood of the river. In the past, a satellite had not been used for determining soil types.

His team learned the type of soil and ground cover for every 30 square feet in the 1,800–square–mile AuSable River basin. Their success resulted in more than $10 million in savings for upgrades to emergency spillways. 

Another top accomplishment came when he was using the DAMBRK program (used to determine the actual or hypothetical flooding from a dam failure) to learn all the flooding characteristics of a dam failure, such as flood depth, areas of flooding and timing of flood wave. He then met with representatives of the state of Illinois and local agencies to share information to help inform residents who lived downstream. He repeated the process for each of the 13 dam sites.

Armed with this information, he wrote the Emergency Evacuation Plan for each of the 13 hydro plants. His plans were the first to be approved by the Chicago Regional office of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

On the personal side, Greenman’s wife died of cancer when she was 39, leaving three children, ages 13, 11 and 19 months. For three years, he was both mother and father to the children until he married again. He and his second wife also have a child.

While some folks might have given up, Greenman again dug deep to find the willpower and strength to move forward. He and his wife reared four children, put each through school and saw each one enter the job market with employment in their fields.

Thus, his words to live by could serve as sound advice.

Success at Trine a starting point for Ashley Weyenberg

Ashley A. Weyenberg, a 2007 graduate of Trine, credits Trine for planting the seed that grew into a law career that allows her to excel in her dream job each day.

Alumna Ashley Weyenberg

She graduated from Trine with honors when she double majored in criminal justice and psychology, and took advantage of opportunities to work and intern in the Angola area, including stints at the Steuben County Jail, the Fort Wayne Police Department – Victim’s Assistance Office, the Steuben County Sex Offender Therapy Group and RISE, Inc. Those experiences solidified her plan to go to law school, intending to practice criminal law with a focus on domestic violence. While her focus changed, her love for learning and the law did not.

Weyenberg graduated with high distinction in spring 2010 from Ohio Northern University, Pettit College of Law and passed the Ohio bar exam that summer. Subsequently, she attended Georgetown University Law Center and completed the LL.M. in Taxation and Estate Planning Certificate with honors in spring 2011.

She works in the Individual Global Tax Planning Group of Ernst & Young LLP in Washington, D.C. Weyenberg specializes in providing international estate planning advice, focusing primarily on cross–border transfer taxes (gift, estate and generation–skipping transfer taxes) and matters relating to foreign trust classification, planning and taxation for ultra–high net worth, business–connected individuals. She also handles some international income tax matters, including residency classification, pre–immigration planning, expatriation and matters related to inbound/outbound investments. She began work in the National Tax Department of Ernst & Young LLP immediately after graduation.

“After my first semester of law school, my eyes were opened to a multitude of other avenues open to law graduates. As my understanding of the law developed, I began to take an interest in trust work, which naturally led into estate planning and taxation,” she said. “Upon entering the LL.M. program, the courses further expanded my horizons to the concept of cross–border issues within that field.  Long story short, courses at Trine planted the seed of law school, but subsequent years of schooling developed my niche and ultimately allowed me to succeed in my dream job each day.”

As she enjoys her established career, she recalls her days and experiences at Trine with fondness.

She selected Trine because it met her primary requirements to provide a well–rounded education experience, while remaining in relatively close proximity to her family.

“First, my dream was to obtain a strong college education from a small school with professors who knew my name and would realize my absence, while still being able to experience real college life,” she said. “Additionally, I wanted to have the chance to explore social organizations, most especially Greek life and participate if I later chose to do so. After my initial visit meeting with faculty and athletes, I realized all three were possible at Trine.

“Second, I wanted to have the chance to move away from home and experience life without a safety net. I truly wanted to explore my independence, make friends and develop myself. Being from Kalamazoo, Mich., Trine is about an hour and a half from home — the distance was perfect,” she said. “I was far enough to have to rely on myself as an adult, but close enough for a visit when I wanted.”

 “While at Trine, I was a proud and active member of Zeta Theta Epsilon sorority, and participated on both the basketball and cross country teams,” she said, adding that she also participated in Circle K and Trine’s chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association.

While the activities were a big part of her positive experience at Trine, she’s quick to point out some of the memorable individuals on campus.

“One thing I always remember is just how much President Brooks was interested in the school and the students. When I saw him, he always remembered my name and acknowledged me. That personal, genuine attention and recognition reflects the experience Trine offers, in my mind,” she said.

While she easily remembered the president, she found it more difficult to choose just a few of the professors who had an effect on her.

“I recall appreciating many professors for many reasons,” she said. “You can′t leave the criminal justice program without a sincere love for Professor Craig Laker and Professor John Milliken. Likewise, you cannot leave the psychology program without admitting just how much Professor Michael Blaz taught you and how much he made you laugh. Also, I really enjoyed Professor Steven Shoenefeld, because I thought for a long time that I should be afraid of math. He made me realize that I actually liked math ... with limits and use of excel, of course.”

Connect with Ashley on Linkedin.