UWF degree and year of graduation:
BS System Science, ’85
Why did you choose to attend UWF?
The Navy brought me to Pensacola. When I left the Navy, my wife was working in Pensacola. UWF was the only university in the region and I was thankful it was right there.
What were your goals as a student?
I wanted to design electronic circuitry.
What is your best memory from your days at UWF?
I worked at WUWF 88.1 FM as a student and I made many friends there. I had to babysit the equipment through the night and I remember the station’s chief engineer who would do the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) checks in the middle of the night. I tried to pay attention to what he was doing and was able to pick it up pretty quickly due to what I was learning in the classroom and my Navy electronics background. I eventually became the assistant engineer for the station while I attended UWF.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Royce Harbor. I took three semesters of calculus classes with him, all focused on how to apply math to mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems. He was so good at making it real. He always explained everything thoroughly. I remember this one instance where I was really struggling to follow along while he was talking about z-transformations and I raised my hand and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m just really not getting this for some reason.” He asked the class if anyone else was having a hard time and when two or three others raised their hands, his response was, “Well, then it’s not your problem. It’s mine.” And he worked to explain it all over again.
What do you do now?
I work at Boeing at the Enterprise level projecting network traffic using a system I invented thanks to the math skills I gained at UWF. When I started at Boeing, none of the computers were on a network. No one else was doing it at the time, but today, more than 160,000 computers are on the network. I’m in a job that I invented using software that I wrote. We could have sought a patent on my method, but Boeing isn’t interested in software patents for networking.
How did UWF help you progress to this point?
In the 24 years that I’ve worked for Boeing, there have been four rounds of layoffs. I know for a fact that the math skills I learned at UWF helped save my job with Boeing in at least two of those instances. I just can’t say enough about how much math has helped me in my career.
Outside of working, what activities and organizations are you currently involved in and what are your hobbies?
I love music. I play the flute, the bass and the keyboard. I also like to sculpt and write short stories. I tutor local high school students in math. Sometimes the students will ask, “When am I ever going to use this in life?” And I can give them concrete examples.
How do you stay connected to UWF?
I’ve only been back to campus once since I graduated. So, I stay connected through phone calls, e-mails and the alumni magazine, “Connection.” I really do miss Pensacola at times; it’s such a friendly place.
What advice do you have to current and future UWF students?
Learn as much math as you can. Math skills will make you a step above the crowd. If you can apply it in new and unique ways, you will always be employable.
What quality makes UWF special or unique?
The small class sizes really make a big difference. I knew everyone in my program and we worked our way through it together. It was really a great learning environment.