Close

Amusement Rides, Stadiums, and Telescopes

Cory Lindh ’08 and several other Bethel graduates and student interns help lead one of the Twin Cities’ premier engineering firms.

By Monique Kleinhuizen ’08, GS’16, new media strategist

May 23, 2019 | 8:30 a.m.

Bethel physics graduate Cory Lindh

As vice president of Uni-Systems Engineering in Minneapolis, Cory Lindh leads teams that design highly customized engineering solutions for high-risk applications, like amusement park rides, mechanized sports architecture features—including seven of the last nine retractable roof projects in North America—and enclosures for high-end telescopes.

Cory Lindh grew up blocks from Bethel’s campus. One of his grandfathers worked at Bethel; another went to Bethel Seminary. His parents Dan ’75 and Jeannie ’78—and brothers Jordan ’05 and Grant ’11—were Royals. His dad eventually became a member of the Board of Trustees. It’s safe to say that the Bethel lexicon and culture were firmly interwoven with his family’s.

But he didn’t want to take the assumed route, and made a point to explore other universities. When Jordan was to receive a leadership award from Bethel, Cory even showed up on campus wearing a sweatshirt from one of them.

Then-president George Brushaber, a friend of the family, called him out on the faux pas with a chuckle—and a Bethel sweatshirt was hand-delivered to his parents’ house the next week.

“That amplified the decision,” Lindh says. “But what really brought me to Bethel was that I was was considering the sciences. I also appreciated the liberal arts, and I wanted a Christian foundation. Bethel had all of that, which gave me more time to make a decision on what I really wanted to do.”

Once on campus, Lindh declared a physics major and a math minor and got involved in a men’s small group led by President Jay Barnes, who was provost at the time. “It felt like such a unique experience, that the provost of the school would be that interested in students individually,” Lindh says. “Just like in the physics department ... there was camaraderie between students, and small class sizes, and I just felt like everyone was investing in me in a holistic, rounded sort of way. The professors each brought their unique perspectives about what would be a good fit for me, but they always had my best interests in mind.”

The summer before his senior year, Lindh did a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in materials science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and he realized that he had what it took to hold his own with some of the top researchers in the country. He decided to pursue a graduate degree in civil engineering at MIT, specializing in high-performance structures, something he hoped would be broad enough to serve him in a variety of settings. A free summer had him thinking back to a Bethel classroom visit from an alumnus and engineer at Uni-Systems Engineering in Minneapolis, a connection that resulted in an internship and eventually a full-time position. 

Today, Lindh is vice president, with a team of more than 50—half of whom are structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers. Dan Krzmarzick ’02 and Michael Slotman ’08 are two of them. Uni-Systems designs highly customized engineering solutions for high-risk applications, like amusement park rides, mechanized sports architecture—including seven of the last nine retractable roof projects in North America—and mechanization for custom telescope enclosures.

The World Trade Center Transit Hub features a retractable seam down the middle of the roof that opens each September 11, when the sun lines up directly with it.

One of Lindh’s first tasks at the company was to manage the design of retractable skylights for the World Trade Center Transit Hub. The innovative building features a seam down the middle of the roof that opens each September 11, when the sun lines up directly with it.

In 2012, a prominent amusement attraction company approached Uni-Systems Engineering about designing a confidential, one-of-a-kind ride concept. The team worked closely with the customer from concept development through final testing of the ride, which has since been widely recognized as a new benchmark for the amusement ride industry. 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Uni-Systems Engineering was also contracted to design the kinetic roof for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The venue hosted the Super Bowl this year.

“There’s no doubt that Bethel provided a strong technical backbone, but the development of soft skills has been just as instrumental in my carrying out the responsibilities of my job,” Lindh says, adding that his lasers class with Professor Chad Hoyt was hands-down the most challenging one he’s ever taken, even at MIT. “But presenting skills, writing, communication—all the things that are foundational to the liberal arts education—are essential in leading teams.”

At first, Lindh wanted to become a physics professor, inspired by the profound impact Bethel faculty had on his life. Instead he’s at the helm of a highly-technical team where science meets industry and each day brings new challenges. But even there, he finds opportunities to build into the next generation of engineers, including six Bethel interns in the last three years.

“There’s no doubt that Bethel provided a strong technical backbone, but the development of soft skills has been just as instrumental in my carrying out the responsibilities of my job. But presenting skills, writing, communication—all the things that are foundational to the liberal arts education—are essential in leading teams.”

— Cory Lindh

“As my role has changed and I’ve had more opportunities for team development, mentorship, and thinking about our culture, I’ve started to develop those things in my firm that I thought I might find in an academic setting,” Lindh says, adding that if his team is facing a tough analytical problem that might take a long time to solve, he’ll give it to the team of Bethel interns to try to figure out. “I’ll just see what they come back with,” he says. For telescope observatories, the mechanical system that allows the dome to rotate is usually the most complex and most-used mechanical system. Bethel students have worked on home-grown software to do probabilistic analysis of how that system will respond to environmental factors like high winds or seismic events.

“No two days are the same, and I never pictured doing what I’m doing,” Lindh says. He adds that the friends he met at Bethel are still among some of his closest, and have proven to be a valuable sounding board in personal and professional decisions. Many of his peers from the class of 2008 have gone on to graduate school to specialize after completing physics degrees, but he’s excited that Bethel has launched several specialized engineering programs since. He hopes the programs will give students a more direct path through Bethel and into roles like those at Uni-Systems.

“Bethel fosters Christ-like character, which brings along with it integrity and honesty. Those are the types of individuals that I would like to work with: people I can trust, not just technically, but to make good decisions, period,” Lindh says. “In my field, where we do often have unique custom applications, we need people who can think from the ground up. The codes and design manuals that are typical of engineering practice don’t always apply directly. We have to interpret what does and doesn’t apply, so we need to understand the fundamentals well.”

Pursue Engineering at Bethel

The physics and engineering department ranks in the top 15 undergraduate departments by size nationally, in terms of number of physics graduates, and underwent an expansion and renovation in 2017. Another expansion is on the horizon to make room for new engineering majors, including Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Software Engineering

Learn more

Publications

Bethel Magazine

Read the current issue.