My Journey With Nature

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

— Lao – Tzu

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Benthic Study at Crystal River Florida.

I have had several careers during my journey. As a child, every chance we had, my brothers and I would be found in the fields and woods near our house. We went fishing whenever we could. We loved being outdoors. So I think it’s only natural, (pun intended), that I went to college at the University of Miami and have a BS in Biology. I am a biologist, an ecologist, a naturalist. After graduating college I worked as an ecologist for many years in the ’70s and ’80s.

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“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

— Henry David Thoreau

Next, I created and ran a small mail-order bookshop on the natural sciences. This was in the mid ’70s through the mid ’80s. I contemplated expanding the bookshop to sell items related to nature other than books but decided on a different career path instead. It may be of some interest that Amazon started in 1995. I would say I was a little ahead of my time, but I certainly did not have a vision for mail-order products like Amazon.

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Me at our home in Rock Oak, WV where my Naturalist Bookstore was opened.

In the mid 80’s I took an entirely new path and started work in electrical controls design for a contractor for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center. This was a totally new endeavor for me that provided many new challenges. A great opportunity to learn new things and be part of something much bigger than myself. This was a time in our space program that work was just starting on the support efforts needed for our Space Station. Very exciting work indeed.

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Hypergol Scrubber Electrical Control Panel:

They didn’t know what title to give me at first with my degree in biology. They settled on a Technical Specialist. However, I worked my way up the engineering ladder quickly and went progressively from an associate engineer to engineer to senior engineer and finally principal engineer for Boeing and then into management. I worked at the Kennedy Space Center for 26 years.

On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress and proposed the outrageous goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

The Irish writer Frank O’Conner wrote about how as a boy he and his friends would challenge one another by tossing their caps over a wall that seemed too high to climb. Then, in order to retrieve their caps they had no choice but to follow.

In his dedication speech at the Aerospace Medical Health Center in San Antonio on November 21, 1963, the day before he was assassinated, President Kennedy referenced this story and concluded his speech with:

“This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space and we have no choice but to follow it.”

John F. Kennedy

After that run, I moved on to a management position for a large, prestigious Architecture and Engineering company in Orlando. I wore multiple hats there. I was hired as their Manager of Quality Assurance but soon started and oversaw their project management program. I instilled a total quality management approach to their work products like that used at the Kennedy Space Center that was managed through the project managers.

“It’s not enough to do your best; you must know what to do and then do your best.”

W. Edwards Deming

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Reclaimed lumber projects Gleman & Sons, Custom Woodworks

During this time I started a custom woodworking shop. What started out as a backyard pole barn that we closed in and furnished with three pieces of woodworking equipment has grown into a 53,200 square foot facility over the years. We have provided many unique and extraordinary crafted items for individuals as well as companies such as Disney, Universal Studios, Darden Restaurants, and Foxtail Coffee Shops.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

So let’s see if we can change the world a little bit together and hopefully have a little fun doing it.

Let’s all throw our cap over the wall!

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