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This profile was last updated on 11/25/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Pasi Lautala

Wrong Dr. Pasi Lautala?

Assistant Professor and Director ...

Michigan Technological University
630 Dow Environmental Sciences And Engineering Building 1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton , Michigan 49931
United States

Company Description: Michigan Tech ( is ranked among the top public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The university has one of the largest...   more

Employment History


  • bachelor's degree , civil engineering
    Tampere University of Technology
  • doctorate , civil engineering
    Michigan Technological University
  • master's degree , civil engineering
    Michigan Technological University
32 Total References
Web References
Les Brand, CEO, appointed to the Michigan Commission for Logistics Collaboration | Supply Chain Solutions, 6 Nov 2013 [cached]
Dr. Pasi Lautala, of Hancock, is an assistant professor and director of the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Technological University, where he has worked for 10 years. He previously worked as a transportation engineer with CH2MHill in Chicago, as a design engineer with CTE Engineers and as an engineering trainee with VR Track Ltd, in Finland. He has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Tampere University of Technology in Finland, and both a master's degree and doctorate in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University.
"Our vision is and, has been, ..., 9 Dec 2013 [cached]
"Our vision is and, has been, to provide a service to both the rail industry and our students," explained Pasi Lautala, director of Michigan Tech's rail transportation program.
Lautala says the school is also putting great emphasis on getting its undergraduate students to work on externally-funded real-world problems through its Senior Design and Enterprise programs.
The school has students working with Union Pacific to develop a sensor system to display the sand level in locomotive traction sand tanks; Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific to investigate development of intelligent railroad crossing signal maintainer; Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad to repurpose an existing centerbeam rail car for a new life in the rail car fleet; the Michigan Department of Transportation to develop recommendations for inspection and construction of highway-rail grade crossing surfaces and the Technical Expert Network to provide marketing and system operations information to a client interested in the developing train control market.
These projects involved students from the school's electrical, mechanical and civil engineering programs and also students from its business programs. Lautala says the school believes in hands-on education and is continuously looking for opportunities to partner with the rail industry in projects like these.
"We have excellent relationships with the Class 1 railroads in the U.S. and Canada, as well as with industry consultants, manufacturers and suppliers," Lautala noted.
As the rail workforce ages, the need for bringing in new, highly-qualified personnel is exploding, explains Lautala and he says the industry also needs a new breed of employees to handle all of the high-tech communications and systems integration equipment.
"At the same time, our prospective student base is becoming more diverse and is coming from a wider region," he noted. "Online learning may prove an effective way to provide some of our educational and training requirements. We piloted a test online rail learning system ( with the support by the Federal Railroad Administration this year to help establish a platform where some of that learning might take place."
Lautala says Michigan Tech is exploring some of those opportunities within the NURail consortium.
Moreover, the department is developing a ... [cached]
Moreover, the department is developing a new certificate program in rail that would be offered to undergraduate and graduate students, says Pasi Lautala, Michigan Tech's RTP director and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
"We're definitely seeing an increase in students who are interested in rail," says Lautala, adding that not all those students are enrolled in the engineering program.
When the RTP was launched seven years ago, about 10 to 15 students took a course or were involved in a rail project or extracurricular activity through the school's American Railway Engineering and Maintenance Association (AREMA) chapter; today, that number is closer to 75, Lautala says.
Through NURail grants and matching funding from the rail industry, Michigan Tech students completed senior design and enterprise projects over the past two to three years, Lautala says.
Also under NURail, the coalition has worked to share rail course content online with other colleges and universities, now known as "NURail affiliate" campuses. About 14 universities are involved in the program, resulting in more campuses offering a full course in rail engineering or at least integrating a few sessions on rail into their basic transportation programs, Lautala says.
"There's no doubt there are many more universities interested in the rail field" as a result, he says.
Another way to gauge the interest: the increase in AREMA student chapters. Michigan Tech was among the first schools to establish one.
"There's been an explosion in interest in forming AREMA chapters over the last three or four years. And starting a new chapter requires more than just student interest; you have to find a faculty member who's interested in advising the chapter," says Lautala.
Pasi Lautala, director of ..., 15 Oct 2014 [cached]
Pasi Lautala, director of the Rail Transportation Program at Tech, said Rail Day was created for students like Owen to get a better understanding of what the industry is about.
Lautala said he began to put the idea of the Rail Transportation Program together about 10 years ago, and the university began to offer it to students seven years ago.
The Rail Transportation Program is not a degree program, Lautala said, but rather it is a preparatory program for students interested in the rail transportation industry. The program also provides some research for the industry.
For nine years, Lautala said Rail Night was part of other events at Tech.
"This is the first time we split for our own event," he said.
Also Tuesday, the Rail Transportation Program sponsored Rail Night, which included a "Meet the Industry" session, a dinner and a speaker.
Lautala said the rail industry is growing, in both freight and passenger aspects.
"There's more traffic that wants to be moved on rail than there is capacity to move it," he said.
Although passenger rail is also growing, Lautala said it's not at as great a pace as freight.
The number of Tech students interested in the Rail Transportation Program is increasing, Lautala said.
"We've had a kind of upward trend," he said.
Since the program started, Lautala said about 100 Tech students have been placed in rail industry positions, either as interns or full-time employees.
"We've been pretty steady putting students into the industry," he said.
Pasi Lautala, director of ..., 9 Feb 2008 [cached]
Pasi Lautala, director of the new program at Tech, said it costs three times as much to move a ton of material by semi truck as it costs to move the same amount of freight by rail.
Lautala said the new program at Tech covers skills applicable to both sectors.
He said the seeds are in place to generate growth in passenger rail, as well as freight.Lautala said Americans recognize passenger rail has the potential to reduce congestion and increase sustainability in urban areas, and he believes a broader cultural viewpoint shift could soon bring wider popularity to passenger rail.
"Maybe U.S. people are finally starting to realize that taking the train to work instead of sitting in traffic for an hour is a quality of life issue," Lautala said.
Long distance rail travel has advantages, too, Lautala said, pointing to problems of congestion, cost and security associated with air travel.
"These are all things that are hopefully going to push this country to build some high-speed rail lines at selected locations where it makes sense," he said.
Since high-speed passenger trains require more intensely-engineered rails than those currently in existence in the United States, Lautala said the necessary rail construction would spur more job creation in the industry.
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