Just call me Joe.
I was born ten months after Pearl Harbor. In the early 50’s, my brothers fed me books on space travel by the likes of Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun. I immersed myself in science writings by Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, and others. By high school, I was an avid amateur astronomer and dreamer of technical things. Sputnik went into orbit near my 15th birthday. I took a degree in physics from Texas A&M University. My education included 14 hours of electives in astronomy. In addition to the degree in physics, I took an extra ~24 hours in secondary education to become a science teacher.
After college, I taught high school physics for three years at MacArthur High School in San Antonio. Here, I developed a love of teaching science to bright young minds. I was a very visual teacher. I believed that the key to learning was often a good illustration or effective demonstra-tion. Then I took a 43-year sabbatical as an aerospace engineer.
There, working for one company, I enjoyed careers as (1) a weapons delivery analyst for the A7 aircraft program, (2) an air-to-air gunfire/ missile expert, (3) an electro-optics engineer working on sensors to intercept vehicles above the atmosphere, (4) a controls and displays engineer for the OMV (a free-flyer concept to be launched by the Space Shuttle), and (5) a camoufleur.
In my time as an Aerospace Dilbert, there was one common thread throughout my work. I used skills I developed as a science teacher to document and teach our customers how our complex systems worked and how they would answer their needs. I found my aerospace audiences were much like my physics classes, smart high-achievers who wanted to know the new subject at hand. Only momentarily were they uninformed, and it was my job to change that. Often, the key to a successful presentation was one or more clear illustrations.
Finally, in 2011, I retired, and my thoughts returned to my first technical love – helping young minds to begin connecting with some of the more technical aspects of the world they live in. I’m currently working on a Solar System board game to help young students hone their math skills. And I’m working on clock dials and calendar formats to help kids latch onto the ideas of tracking and telling time.
Aerospace Career: 42+ Years; One Company, Three Names … LTV-Loral-Lockheed Martin
Specific experience: Weapons engineer for A7 program, air-to-air guns/missiles expert, EO engineer for development of exo-atmospheric RV seekers, Space Program (OMV) controls and displays engineer, camoufleur.
Secondary School Education Career: 3 Years at MacArthur High School, San Antonio
Specific experience: Taught physics to three of the finest collections of people you could ever wish to know.