An uber-engineer, who was my motivation for completing my engineering degree, just contacted me after it being almost 20 years since last seeing him when I left the Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Annapolis, MD. For the sake of this post, I'll call him Jim (and, because that's really his name). Jim was (is) the kind of guy that seems to know just about everything about just about everything. He knows digital, software, analog, RF, PCB layout, testing, manufacturing, mechanical, like I said, just about everything. Accordingly, he was wanted by every project manager to work on projects.
Jim was also a jokester par excellence, and shunned the status quo. He was the first engineer I can remember who dared to not wear a tie all the time, but kept a supply in his desk drawer for meetings or customer visits.
Westinghouse traditionally gave out token gifts to all engineers on staff during Engineer’s Week, with items like calculators (the early TI jobs with LEDs) and jackets being typical fare. Well, in 1983 or 1984 - I can’t recall exactly which year – management decided that a sporty set of cuff links and a tie pin with a bust of George Westinghouse would be a welcome addition to all engineers’ wardrobe. Needless to say, the gifts immediately became the basis of much sarcasm.
Westinghouse expected (just short of mandated) that all recipients of the gift at least wear the tie tacks for the entire Engineer’s Week. In true Jim form, he attached the tie tack to the cover of his pants zipper and wore it there for the week. Well, he wore it for as long as he could get away with it, anyway. It was a riot!
Jim is now semi-retired, and does consulting when he’s not racing sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay. Jim: thanks for the memories!
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster