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Google picks engineering grad

Aug. 17, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Internet giant Google tapped a recent Western Michigan University graduate as one of 20 people from around the world and only four from the United States to work with a software development team on its next version of Internet mapping and architectural modeling software.

Jonathan Rumohr of Ishpeming, Mich., an April graduate in mechanical engineering, received an all-expense paid trip to Google's Colorado complex earlier this month to work with the team on the next version of Google Earth and Sketchup. He joined professionals from Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium and Spain.

A mechanical designer and LEED--Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design--accredited professional for the Kalamazoo firm TowerPinkster, Rumohr was part of a seven-member WMU team in 2007 that placed ninth out of about 350 entries from across the United States and Canada in Google's Build Your Campus in 3-D Competition. Rumohr also played a key role in the addition of WMU's high-resolution imagery, which can be seen on the Google Maps and Google Earth applications. It was his previous work with Google that piqued the software company's interest in having him at the Colorado summit.

"It was very much an honor to be asked to come out to Colorado and a great networking opportunity to be able to sit and talk with people from around the globe," says Rumohr. "The trip really opens up a lot of possibilities for work in the future."

Rumohr cannot reveal specifics about the new software because it has not yet been released, but he says he was encouraged that the group had similar observations and goals for the software, adding they might gather in the future to follow up or for further work.

While at WMU, he worked for the Physical Plant, now Facilities Management, from 2006 to 2009 in maintenance services, where he specialized in developing 3-D campus utility materials.

"Jon was an excellent student who contributed a lot to our facilities management team," says Peter Strazdas, associate vice president for facilities management. "We are pleased to see one of our alumni be selected among the few in the world by Google. It's a tribute to his abilities and his education at WMU."

Media contact: Deanne Puca, (269) 387-8400, deanne.puca@wmich.edu

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