Some Tributes

(people I've worked for that I've liked)


My hero: "The constellation that has always seemed to shine the brightest for me".  I've written a little about him somewhere.  Perhaps I shall write a little more someday.
Some others I've liked and why:

David Moon told me to get a technician to do that job he found me working on one day.  Thanks for telling me that you respected me.  Before you left.  Seems we hardly had a chance to say 'hello'.

Frank Shah came by one day to shake all our hands.  It was the only time I ever met Frank.  He didn’t say a word as he took my hand in a gesture of respect I will never forget "a message that’s there when you need it".  Thanks for caring that much about me personally.  I didn’t know.

Harold Wooldridge (perhaps there's a slim chance he's still with us and can read this):
"He knows EVERYTHING" I gestured expansively to Page Frechette in her office privately one day.  She just smiled.  And proceeded to tell me something I didn’t know (perhaps it was a secret or something).  That Harold was probably the best engineer they had.  And gave me some background as to why.  All I knew was that he was brilliant, a Ph.D or something.  No, she told me, he was completely self-taught.  I couldn’t believe it.  She always smiled at me.  I don't know why.

Ken Cocksedge was nice to work for too.  Very bright and with a great sense of humor.  But Page was right: "Harold was the best".  I didn't even know what a file in a computer was when I started and never learned so much so quickly from anyone in my whole life.  I remember the tears in his eyes when I left.  It was so out of character for him and so touching and heartwarming.  What a compliment!  Thanks for the tears Harold.

Günter Heine

Not a big demand for "Phase Plane analysis of Stepper Motors" on "Disk Drive" anymore.  Yeah, I still got that old hard drive somewhere around here collecting dust with that stepper in it "noisily" seeking and "grinding away" that Günter designed and manufactured for them back then.  There's a story.  And seeing how they ramped up production on those motors.  I couldn’t believe how fast I saw it all happen before my eyes.  Those huge manufacturing machines and bobbin winders appearing like mushrooms and spinning it all into production.  Training everyone with their "green cards" and then moving it all offshore back with them.  And being a part of it all .. "from ground zero" .. "the chosen one".  What an honor.  I like Günter.  He treated me well "stuttering and all".  You know when someone likes and respects you.  Anyway, turns out they're all *mechanical* engineers.  Oops!  I had walked into the wrong room.  I think Ray noticed the mistake.  Anyway, it was fun to get to know Günter personally while I was there.  And am glad I had the pleasure to do so.

Indeed, I seem to have this peculiar honor of being the second person Günter hired into his team when he arrived out here in '84.  A complete unknown.  I knew of Günter only from the technical papers I had seen with his name on them.  "I stutter" I told him in my interview at that restaurant in the redwoods wondering to myself "are you sure?".  He told me how he also struggled with this English language of ours coming from Germany (might as well have said "you think you’ve got problems?").

We chatted a bit through dinner and all and at the end I heard something that excited me.  And sheepishly inquired if I could be a part of it commenting "I could learn much from some of Dr. Taft's graduate students".  His response absolutely floored me.  I couldn’t believe it.  And then he asked me how much I wanted.  I told him I didn’t think it would be a problem.  This must have confused him.  So he asked me how much I was making.  And then he said "How does that sound?".  "It sounds very nice" I told him in a state of intoxication.  But the amount was increased in the letter I got.  Confused, I later queried about it and heard something like "we think you're worth a bit more than that..".

Günter always treated me well.  And I'll always remember him with a smile.

"And it flies high overhead"

By the way, no one tops "The one that has always seemed to shine the brightest for me".


Then again, I don't think anyone ever will.