My Career Saw The Greatest Programs In History!
Have I had a career or not? I have... Working on the most exciting programs of the modern age, I was fortunate enough to see the Apollo Moon Program up close and personal, the Space Shuttle program, the Global Positioning Satellite, and the some sensitive satellite programs.
What Did I Do? - Started in test engineering, worked on the Apollo program as a project engineer, ran the Shuttle avionics development labs and Iron Bird, worked classified research, and gravitated toward information systems... It was always kind of a hobby anyway!
The Apollo Program - Exciting beyond belief! Things we work on daily going 250,000 miles to the Moon and back!
Space Shuttle - We are doing something special.. A flying machine and a spacecraft and a history maker!
Satellites Became A Hot Ticket - I was on the periphery of the GPS activity and watch Rockwell build the GPS Block II spacecraft... lasting ten years longer that the design called for and providing our world an amazing benefit! Worked as major domo to the VP & GM of the Satellite Division of our company... and then we were bought out by a bigger company!
But What Happened??? - - Oops, stepped on a duck! I cannot believe that I am dealing in the same industry that brought us Apollo and Shuttle and GPS. Somewhere about ten years ago, we took a left turn. Teams proud of their products who dedicated their energies towards a goal became groups of people loosely connected with little leadership! The leaders of yesteryear are gone and they have been replaced with staff that in the hay-day of aerospace wouldn't have been considered for first line management! It's pretty bad!
Leadership Became Just A Word
After Boeing took over Rockwell and McDonnell-Douglass was acquired the business spiraled down hill. The place was too big and the leadership styles diverged leaving a group of gas-bags running the company. We suffered through almost seven years of a satellite program that was so poorly managed that I was embarrassed to be associated with it. The customer (military) was dysfunctional (with the exception of a female Lt. Colonel who retired) to the point of being a laughing stock. No one at Boeing had a clue about how to run a program... They went through the motions but the management never looked under the hood! "Delegation" and other useless buzzwords replaced hard damn work and it showed. Half the program was canceled after billions was spend on it to produce nothing. We were unhappy trying to fix a very broken organization. Unqualified people rotating in and out, it was a disaster. We ought to write a book!
I (We) Pulled The Plug
Forty Years Of Labor
- So, after
, I am going to throw in the towel! Can't fix the problems because its not broke!
The industry is sick from the top and that can't be fixed with any amount of energy I could apply!
Management is so wishy-washy duped by buzzwords and useless activities... To busy doing metrics to do the real work at hand.
Our last program was terrible. The "leadership" was the weakest bunch of lazy people I had ever seen. 9-5 does NOT make a program go!
I found people on this program that Rockwell had removed from Management years earlier because they were horrible.
It's kind of like the rest of the country including our Congress and political leaders! Too bad as it was a fun ride for a long time!
Charlie Feltz Was A Great Leader And No-Nonsense Engineer