By Michael Hughes
It's not all about me. Really
Honestly folks, saving and enhancing the life of the gentleman on the left is not a prerequisite to becoming one of Industrial Engineer magazine’s Engineers Who Make a Difference.
But sometimes it turns out that way.
You see, Jack ReVelle sort of kind of saved my life. And Ronald Johnson has helped improve one of my favorite entertainment options. And the cover story that starts on Page 23 features those gentlemen as the 2013 Engineers Who Make a Difference.
Let me explain. I was born in Raleigh, N.C. My mother and father met there, and much of Mom’s family resides in surrounding parts and on the coast. Smack dab in the middle is Goldsboro, N.C., where in 1961 a B-52 Stratofortress jet disintegrated in the air, losing a pair of 3.8 megaton thermonuclear weapons.
ReVelle led the Air Force bomb squad that found and deactivated the devices, except for one secondary nuke that remains buried – safely, according to government officials.
Without ReVelle, years after Mom and Dad got hitched – if they made it that far – I might have arrived on the scene – if at all – with various radiation-induced deformities.
Also in Raleigh is the North Carolina State University basketball team, one of my first lifelong infatuations. Even today, basketball – NBA, college, intramural, six dudes hooping it up in a gym – remains my favorite spectator sport.
After a successful military career, Johnson was tapped by NBA commissioner David Stern to run the league’s refereeing operations after a much-publicized gambling scandal. Johnson’s IE toolkitseemed made especially for the project. In this role, he was responsible for recruiting, training, developing, performance measurement and integrity.
He also heads back to the “bad neighborhood” on the West Side of Chicago, where he grew up. He works on community and charity projects to benefit veterans and to help children there have a better chance at emulating his career. A scholarship at West Point and two at Georgia Tech are named after Johnson.
So take a look at this year’s Engineers Who Make a Difference. Maybe you can draw inspiration and have them benefit your life as well.
Michael Hughes is managing editor of IIE. Reach him at email@example.com or (770) 349-1110.