I was born in Warrenton Virginia in February of 1954. My parents lived in the country where we had plenty of room to play. It seems I always had this knack for taking things apart to see what makes them work. I have to admit I did get into trouble a few times for doing this. Hey Dad you ought to see what's inside our lawn mower. Not so funny at the time but the things I learned from all of this have been a stepping stone to my career. During that time I played with mini-bikes, go-carts, motorcycles, modified lawn mowers, electronics, TV's and just about anything that moved or that required some form of power. At fifteen my parents moved us to Florida.
In high school I took auto mechanics class and have to say I knew more than the teacher. While attending high school I started working at a local Ford dealership as an apprentice auto mechanic. During my seven years there I did every thing except for automatic transmission and align front ends. My main job there was engine repair, tune-ups, trouble shooting and electrical. Also during these years I was into drag racing and motorcycle dirt bike riding. In 1976 I sold my sixty five Mustang Fastback 2+2 to my best friend to get into the hobby of radio control aircraft.
In 1978 I decided it was time to try something else, so I went to work for Mercury Marine Test Division at Lake-X Florida. This was a fantastic job, going to work in shorts and tennis shoes. There I became a outboard mechanic and high speed boat driver. Outboards were clean to work on and much simpler than cars. The high speed boat driving was a blast. Because of the high concentration level required for driving at such speeds the day passed very quickly. Well after two years of being there the energy crisis hit and Lake-X was shut down.
From Lake-X I went to Disney World working in WED Show and Ride. I got a job in tree fabrication, yep making artificial trees for EPCOT. My biggest achievement working there was developing artificial grass for the sets. We made over twenty thousand square feet of grass while I was there. So the next time you're at EPCOT going in the Land Pavilion you will know where the grass came from.
After being there for a year I decided to move on once again. Its now 1981 and this time to Martin Marietta now known as Lockheed Martin. I work for the Missile Systems and Fire Control Division. I started working in the Labs doing epoxy coating on the Navy CO2 re-breathers. What is great about working here is there were many different Labs in our Department. My background allowed me to pursue these new areas. I went to composites doing lay-up and running autoclaves to mechanical test Lab where you get to break stuff. From there to conformal coating electronic PC boards, electrical assembly of wiring harness and control boxes. About this time is when I jumped into computers. The VIC 20 was my first computer, this is before the IBM XT PC. Being curious wanting to know how these things really work I taught myself assembly language from a book. Wow was this a new world. I soon started modifying the operating system burning ROM's to do things the way I wanted. From there to a Commodore 64 to a IBM PC. All of this background led up to my present position in the Materials Failure Analysis Lab. My background in mechanics and computers allowed me to pursue this position. I operate a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). This instrument allows us look a failures at a very high magnification (many thousand times and more) to determine the mode of failure. I've been doing this since 1984. Its like being a detective and every job is different.
My hobby in radio control aircraft had expanded my knowledge and skills. From formation flying with 9 foot F-15 Jets, designing radio control skydivers. Designing a flying witch on a broom and a flying Superman. Today I still continue doing demo's with a high performance aircraft I designed in 1982. If you get time check out my Cloud Dancer Web page and the history behind it.
So now you know a little more about me.