Meet the New Faculty and Staff

Robert B. Austin, P.E., Ph.D., construction management assistant professor, is a seasoned industry professional with over 30 years of engineering and construction management experience in major domestic and international projects across the full range of project delivery systems. He earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Building Construction with a minor in Civil Engineering in May 2016. He earned his Master's in Civil Engineering with concentrations in structures and material science from the University of Texas (1991) and his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut (1979).

Austin’s industry experience entails service in multi-faceted roles in engineering and project management across a broad spectrum of industrial, building, and transportation projects. His project roles included service with contractor, engineering and owner’s organizations. Notable roles included service as the first resident engineer for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Light Rail System, a comprehensive reconstruction/revitalization of Central Connecticut State University, the Flash Track Delivery of 450MW of new power plants in NYC to avert a power crisis.

His Ph.D. research subject “Flash Track Project Management” was sponsored by the Construction Industry Institute. Flash tracking is an accelerated project delivery method, or more predictable, faster fast- track. This research subject offers opportunities to explore improved methods of conventional project management techniques, as well as bringing forward innovative approaches that can enable breakthrough improvements. The American Society of Civil Engineers recognized and sponsored his masters level research titled “Connecting Structural Plastics.” As an educator, he sees his role as a gatekeeper and coach with the joint responsibility of maintaining high standards and encouraging students to perform to their potential. He plans to incorporate memorable, lessons-learned in industry service in class discussions.

Austin spent his early childhood at the United State Military Academy, enjoys history and biographies of historical figures, as well as traveling. His wife accepts his interest in history and shares his interest is traveling.

Katie Boyle is the new senior secretary in the college. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from BGSU. Her past experiences include working for WBGU-PBS as the distance learning specialist. In that position, she facilitated videoconference connection with partnering institutions, while working with academic departments at BGSU to advance their recruiting and retention goals. In her personal time, Katie is an avid seamstress, executive director of the Boyle family and enjoys spending time with her amazing husband and three children.

Sean Burres is an instructor in the Department of Visual Communication Technology.

Heidi Hakel returned to the college in May 2016 as the senior administrative assistant to the dean. After ten years on campus, she has worked in the Graduate College, CTAAE, and the Departments of General Studies Writing and Computer Science. She has worked for the Department of Engineering Technologies and more recently the Department of Construction Management. She has an Associate of the Arts and a Bachelor’s in Advanced Technology Education, both of which are from BGSU. Heidi is thrilled to be back in the college.

Kip McDowell is the new assistant director of laboratories and facilities. Kip is a graduate of BGSU with a degree in education. He enjoys spending time with his four children at sporting events and working with their 4-H animals. Kip is excited to be a member of a great team to provide a positive and productive learning environment.

Melissa Partin-Harding is the new assistant director of cooperative education and career accelerator. She earned a Masters of Education in Learning Design from BGSU. Her past experiences include working as a co-op coordinator and academic and career adviser in various content specialties. Melissa has worked as a freelance photographer throughout Northwest Ohio, taking photos of weddings, sports and special events. She also has more than 14 years of experience as an adjunct instructor, teaching introductory and intermediate photography at Owens Community College. Prior to her career in higher education, she served as executive director of the Henry County Arts Council and worked as an art enrichment instructor. Melissa has exhibited her award-winning artwork nationally and has a passion for black and white silver gelatin printing, mixed media and alternative photographic processes. 

Lori Schultz began working as an academic advisor in the college on March 1, but she has worked for the college for more than 20 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Technology and a Master of Education in Learning Design from Bowling Green State University. Lori has more than 30 years of experience working at BGSU in various positions throughout campus. Her passion is working with students and she is excited about her new position as an academic advisor. While she works with all students, Lori is assigned to students with majors in Visual Communication Technology, Learning Design and Technology and Quality Systems.

Mikhail Shilov, engineering technology instructor, obtained an undergraduate degree in automotive engineering from Saint-Petersburg State Polytechnical University in Russia and a Master’s in Technology Management with the specialization of Quality Systems (QS) at Bowling Green State University. Currently he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Technology Management with a QS specialization from Indiana State University with BGSU as his home institution. In addition, he has eight years of automotive industry experience, two of which were in quality as a Quality Control Engineer. He also taught engineering Technology and Quality System undergraduate courses at BGSU as a Ph.D. fellow for two semesters. In his spare time, he likes reading, watching movies, and seeking outdoor adventures.

Melissa Webb is a new academic advisor. She earned her Masters of Arts in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University. Her past experiences include working in Residence Life, advising student service organizations and assisting with community conflict resolution organizations. Most recently, Melissa served as a residence hall director at BGSU, working with residential learning communities and serving in variety of advisory roles for student organizations. Melissa is passionate about traveling – learning about and experiencing new cultures. So far, she has been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in five different states, traveled to 27 states, lived in Spain for one year and traveled to 14 different countries. Next on the agenda is a trip to get married in Ireland while visiting her younger sister. Melissa loves to share her passion for traveling and cultural exploration with students while helping them to explore their passions and dreams for the future.

Interim Chairs Named

Alan Atalah earned his Doctor of Engineering in 1998, Master of Business Administration in 1996, MS in Civil Engineering in 1991 from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA. He also got his BS in Civil Engineering in 1982 from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. He joined BGSU in 2000, appointed as the associate dean for Graduate Affairs in August 2010, and promoted to professor in 2014. He will also serve as interim chair for the Department of Construction Management.

He has been involved in the construction of water and wastewater projects since 1982; 24 years of this period were in trenchless technology construction. He worked for several American and British companies on the construction of wastewater projects in challenging conditions in Cairo, Egypt and the United States. These challenges included high ground water table, very soft soils, stratified soils, unknown utilities, congested streets, and nearby high rise buildings. 

He wrote ten peer-reviewed-journal papers and 27 peer-reviewed-conference papers. He made hundreds of trenchless technology and construction management presentations in many national and international conferences and educational seminars. He was a board member of the Great Lake Trenchless Technology Association for 11 years and board member of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology for six years. He served as a chair and committee member charged with developing several American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Manuals and Reports. ASCE recognized his service to the construction industry by granting him fellow membership, which is a significant honor by his civil engineering peers. 

Sudershan Jetley will serve as interim chair of the Department of Engineering Technologies and is currently an associate professor in the department. He has over 30 years of experience in teaching a wide variety of courses at both undergraduate and graduate level. He has published many articles in technical journals and conferences.

His Ph.D. dissertation was on developing a radiometric sensor for tool wear in machining; his general research interest is in the field of manufacturing, and he has conducted/supervised numerous projects in the wide area of manufacturing.

Andreas Luescher, a Swiss architect and writer who is currently professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design, will be the interim chair for the department. He has written more than 80 papers for presentation at national and international conferences and for publication in leading international academic journals such as The Journal of Architecture, Journal of Design Research, International Journal of Art and Design Education, and ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research. His first book, The Architect’s Portfolio (2010), has been translated into Chinese. His second book, The Architect’s Guide to Effective Self-Presentation, was published in 2014. He has authored two chapters published by Ashgate Publishing, and edited a special issue for Urban Design International entitled “Shrinking Cities and Towns: Challenges and Responses.” His most recent book (with co-author/ editor Carolyn Loeb) The Design of Frontier Spaces: Control and Ambiguity, was published by Ashgate Press.