UWF degree and year of graduation:
BS System Science and Control Engineering, ’92
As you look back at your days at UWF, describe your best memory.
My best memory is of my senior project. A classmate and I reverse-engineered the communication protocol between the Motorola 6800 microprocessor (these used to be in the old Real Time lab) and an Intel 8080 microprocessor. The Intel 8080 microprocessors were an integral control component, the brain if you will, of the Engineering department’s robotic arms (i.e., servos, encoders and limit switches). There was no documentation and this was long before Google or Wikipedia. Over the course of our final spring term, we wrote thousands of lines of code, all in assembler, to control the robotic arms. With help from our instructor, we built a conveyor belt system out of old printer feeder drives. Our design worked well, but it certainly was an exercise in determination and creativity!
While you were at UWF, what did you think was its most outstanding and/or unique quality?
The sense of camaraderie among fellow classmates, faculty and staff was remarkable. There was always someone there to lend a helping hand or words of encouragement when concepts were difficult to grasp or times were hard.
As you reflect, did your education at UWF have an impact on where you are today? If so, how?
Absolutely! Two months after graduation, I was working for General Dynamics Land Systems, analyzing the turret control and stabilization system of an M1A1 tank. At the time, there was an issue with turret chatter at slow slew rates. Without my education from UWF, I wouldn’t have figured out a specification issue in the third stage spool of the tank’s turret control system. Sound complicated? It was.
Without my education from UWF, I would never have had the opportunity to demonstrate a tracked vehicle-driving simulator to Roger Penske; work for the Air Force Research Labs, building and fielding unmanned ground systems (robots) that support unexploded ordnance personnel; design and build air traffic control simulators for the United States Navy; or receive a Military Challenge coin, which was passed to me in a hand shake with Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.
Describe what you do/did professionally including the type of company you work for.
Professionally, I classify myself as a systems engineer. I am presently the vice president of Technology Strategies for a local start-up company called KTM Strategies. KTM Strategies’ services are system/software engineering, program/project management, business development support, strategic planning, risk analysis and security operations support.
What advice would you give students today who were looking at studying one of the disciplines in the School of Science and Engineering?
While you’re on your academic train ride, stay focused on your end goal—your destination. At the same time, savor the stops along the way, take stock in all you learn and experience and foster inspiration in all whom you meet. When the challenges before you look insurmountable, remember this quote from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Share one thing about yourself that would give others insight into your interests, hobbies, etc.
One thing? That’s tough, because I’m what you would call a “Jack-of-All-Trades and Master-of-None.” I grew up in a small, Northern town—the same one as Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan). I was the kind of kid who would take apart a watch to figure out how it worked, and build a model without looking at the instructions. I could never stand being cooped up in the house or idle. I was always doing something - working, playing, hunting, fishing, tinkering or learning something new. To this day, the same holds true!