Part Four - Our Careers

God gave us memories that we might have roses in December. ~J.M. Barrie

Sue and Paul were blessed with parents from the "old school" thattaught us the American Work Ethic.

Work Ethic

Work ethic is a set of values basedon the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. It is also a belief inmoral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. Workers exhibiting a good work ethic in theory (and ideally in practice)should be selected for better positions, more responsibility andultimately promotion. Workers who fail to exhibit a good work ethic maybe regarded as failing to provide fair value for the wage the employeris paying them and should not be promoted or placed in positions ofgreater responsibility.

One central concept that forms part of the basis of the conservativeeconomic theory of western capitalism is that workers who work hard andplay by the rules will be rewarded (eventually) and will move ahead, andthat those who do not should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their ownpoor performance.

It worked for us!  We are retired and have the next thirty years toenjoy the fruits of our efforts!

The Early Years

Space Shuttle

Sue used her culinary skills and on a part time basis while going to school, worked for the Gas Company showing people how to cook on the new gas bar-b-que.  She worked in the campus book store at CSULB to help pay her way through college.  After school was completed she taught high school for two years and began to work as a summer hire at Rockwell where her real skills in programming and management enticed her to stay for 35 years! we retied in 2006.

Primary among the constituents of Rockwell International were the Rockwell Spring and Axle Company (itself a merger of a number of automotive suppliers), which formed into Rockwell-Standard, then merged with North American Aviation to form North American Rockwell in 1967. They then purchased or merged with Miehle-Goss-Dexter, the largest supplier of printing presses, and Collins Radio, a major avionics supplier. Finally they merged with Rockwell Manufacturing, run by Willard Rockwell Jr., and formed Rockwell International in 1973.

The Ruptured Duck!

Paul worked in a ham radio store while in high school and college as he was licensed as WA6CJC in 1957. During the junior and senior year, he worked at North American Aviation as an electronics test technician assisting with checkout of Apollo Display and Control Panels. Upon receiving the degree and using the ham radio skills, he began working as a test engineer on the Apollo program!! North American Aviation was a major US aircraft manufacturer. The company was responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, and the X-15 rocket plane, as well as Apollo Command and Service Module, the second stage of the Saturn V rocket, the Space Shuttle orbiter and the B-1 Lancer. Through a series of mergers and sales, North American Aviation is now part of Boeing.  See some NAA legacies!

76 Years With NAA, Rockwell, and Boeing

Space Systems

We both worked for Boeing doing aerospace related work and between us we had over 76 years with the company!

We have since retired as of 3/21/2007!   It was a good run but times have changed and us old timers had to move on. Like most everything else, the company is not now what it once was... and not for the good!

Maybe we will consult ??? Right now, no! We are having too much fun!


We worked on Apollo, Apollo-Soyuz, Space Shuttle, B1-B, Space Station, GPS and more recently on the "infrastructure" side of the business . . . Information Management!

Sue's Specialty Was Software Engineering And Management

Sue joined Rockwell for a summer job as a software engineer and she was so good at the task, she stayed for 35 years.  Sue worked on Shuttle test software writing an operating system for the Space Shuttle test facilities.  After the Space Shuttle, Sue became a supervisor on the B-1 Program responsible for the Ground Testing Facilities.  Then she was promoted to Manager on the B-1 responsible for the entire test facility software and control systems. Sue moved back to Downey, California where she was Director on the Space Station Program proposal for Rockwell .  If we had of won the proposal to the NASA, she would have been senior Director of Avionics Software Systems but alas, we lost. 

Moving to GPS, Sue ran the ground station software program with about 800 people reporting to her.

At the end of our time with Boeing,  Sue was deputy program leader on the Ground Segment of a big system Boeing is building.

Paul's Specialty Was Project Engineering And Business Systems Software

Paul was Director of Program Support for the Satellites Programs Business Segment of Boeing and does "odd jobs" ranging from facilities and capital planning, running the Configuration and Data Management Departments as well as the Information Systems activities.... and of course the Webmaster!  Paul retired as he could not stand the mismanagement and neglect the company represented.  Boeing was too big!

Paul started in 1965 as a test engineer on the Apollo Spacecraft and then moved into the Engineering Project Office and led a team of engineers in developing the Apollo J-Series scientific experiments carried aboard Apollo 15, 16, and 17.  He was the Project Engineer for Lunar Sounder, a synthetic aperture radar operating in the VHF and HF ranges to enable us to see beneath the surface of the Moon.

He then moved to the Space Shuttle Program Office as Project Engineer for all electronics and software systems. After that, we ran the Avionics Development Laboratory and Flight Control Hydraulics Laboratories for several years. As the Shuttle matured, Paul moved back to the scientific side of the program, assisting experimenters, satellite launch organizations and others to "get aboard" the Shuttle. After working on the Space Station Proposal, he worked three years implementing Manufacturing Resource Planning system (MRPII). He then decided to change emphasis and work on the new PC technologies including implementing a division e-mail system, installing LAN/WAN systems, and now the "Intranet".

He then became Chief Of Staff for the Boeing Satellite Systems Division for several years before moving to a new large program at Seal Beach.

Boeing, A Great Company That Perhaps Got Too Big

Boeing Legacy

Boeing is a great company. The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA, TYO: 7661 ) is a major aerospace and defense corporation, originally founded by William Boeing.

Its international headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Boeing is the largest global aircraft manufacturer by revenue, the second largest by deliveries and the second-largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world.

Boeing has long been one of the world’s largest civil aircraft companies. In 2006, it took 55% of global commercial aircraft orders for the first time since 2000.

The largest exporter in the United States, Boeing’s stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Products

Two Heartbreaks

I have had two heartbreaks in my career. The first is the evening wegot the news that the astronauts were killed in the Apollo Onespacecraft. We knew those people and dealt with them on a daily basis,they were part of our team. The news broke late in the day and we weredevastated not believing the reports.

The second heartbreak is when Rockwell sold their aerospaceactivities to Boeing. Boeing was so big and disconnected that we feltlost for years. Culturally so different, my career was never the same. Boeing made life pretty miserable for those of us who had the leadershipprovided by Rockwell. 

I retired early as the Boeing Company was just too poorly run to stay any longer.  The flavor of the month mentality (activities dreamed up by people not involved with making the products to try to help) just became more than most sane people could take.  The once proud leadership which I also admired began to leave and we were left with people who just had no drive, no experience, and no leadership!  We had "Program Managers" who were beyond inept... Like kids playing grown ups!Time to leave!  We did and are happy!