I couldn’t find this anywhere online, so here it is. I bought it on nomorerack.com!
I couldn’t find this anywhere online, so here it is. I bought it on nomorerack.com!
Zackery Simon Ward is my third son, after Leonard and Luke. He was the result of his mother feeling a little sick and me rapidly calling the midwife over her objections. He was born a few hours later.
Zack, like his brothers Luke and Dusty, was born at home on January 13th, 1984. When I first saw him I laughed, because he was the first one of my boys, and the only one, that looks like a Ward- a bald Ward, at that.
As a baby, Zack would always get out of his crib. It had high sides and he was so little. We could not figure out how he did it. We suspected his brothers were letting him out, but they denied it. Finally, I put a video camera in his room and waited. When I heard him crying under the gap in his door, I went in and looked at the footage. This 9-month old little baby was doing a chin-up and dropping to the floor. It soon was a common noise in the house when he made that thump. We knew Zack was out of his crib, again.
I have many regrets about the way we dealt with that. He would get out of his crib and then lay on the floor where he could look under the door. When he saw feet he would start crying and screaming. I would often open the door and put him back. Eventually, we would just wait until he fell asleep crying and I would go in a put him to bed. His face would often be stuck to the floor with tears and snot. I feel so badly about that, today. I just didn’t know better as a father. Now I would get up and keep him with us until he fell asleep naturally.
Zack was, and is, a daredevil. He was always doing things that made butterflies in my stomach. He would slide down the stairs, even as a little baby, on his butt bouncing on each stair as he came down. It was hilarious! He would also climb on things and was always falling off. Once, when his mother and I were in L.A. for the weekend, he went running in our bedroom and tripped and fell into the corner of her night stand, slashing his cheek. We rushed home and took him to see a cosmetic surgeon, at her insistence, and he sewed him back up. Even today, he has a scar that makes him look as if he had been in a sword fight. Cool!
Zack also got whooping cough. It was awful! I had installed a video camera and red light in his room to be able to rush to his aid when he started whooping and coughing up gobs of phlegm. I was the one who always rushed into his room at all hours of the night and pull the phlegm out with a paper towel and get him settled down. Eventually we took him to the emergency room to be seen by a doctor, although we had read that there wasn’t much to do. He just had to go through it. When I told the doctor that he had whooping cough, the doctor told me, “I’ll be the doctor here. What makes you think he has whooping cough?” I explained his symptoms, which were obvious to me, but Zack did not whoop. The doctor looked pompous and doubting. The Zack started whooping, and the doctor said, “My God! This boy has whooping cough!” I thought to myself, “Duh!” (A pre-Homer Simpson Duh). But there was nothing to do but what I was doing. I made sure Zack did not choke to death, which was a possibility with whooping cough, and he eventually recovered. We think a Mexican maid I hired once a week had passed it on to him.
Zack always held a special place in my heart after that. I was so worried for his life during this time that it really had an effect on me.
Zack tried everything. He was quite an athlete. He was an expert on roller blades, skate board, bike, and anything else he set his mind to.
He is also very intelligent. He picked up things quickly.
The boys and I used to do “boy trips” each summer. Once or twice we drove to Texas to see mom and dad. I would take them to the beach to play and to fish. They always caught fish!
Once we did a boy trip to Pike’s Peak in Colorado. It was just Luke, Zack, and Dusty that went with me, but we had a really great time! It snowed on top of Pike’s Peak when we were there, and it was just after the 4th of July. On the 4th we went through Vail, CO and it snowed then, too.
Several years we all went to Family Camp in the Sierras for a week. It was a great experience. Each family had to do one thing- teach a class, baby sit, etc. and the rest of the time was free. We spent one day at one of the Edison lakes. We toured the power plant. I don’t know if Zack remembers that.
And Zack is really funny. He and I would often play off each other.
When I was still married to his mother, she didn’t share the same sense of humor as I did. Not by a long shot! So I got an angry call from her at work blaming me for Zack and Dusty getting in trouble at elementary school where he and Zack both attended. I asked what happened. She told me Zack had told Dusty that girls didn’t get their brains until they were 10. When a girl at school said something in class he didn’t agree with he told her, “How would you know, you don’t get your brain until you’re 10!” He got called to the office. I thought it was hilarious!
When I married again, Zack would always find ways to trick my new wife, who was from England. One day we were driving down the road and I was playing with the radio or something but I left a big gap between my car and the next. She asked me why I left such a big gap. Zack in the back seat said, “Stealth cars.” I immediately picked up on it and explained that in America we had stealth cars that were painted in such a way that you could not see them. We explained many people were killed each year because they didn’t see them, but their insurance covered it. Zack and I went back and forth telling about stealth cars. She was getting quite angry about how our politicians could allow such a thing. She said she didn’t think they had them in England. Zack said, “How would you know? You can’t see them!” She was getting so upset I finally had to tell her there were no such things.
I used to get the boys on weekends. Then Monday morning, I would have my partner from work take them home, so I could go into work very early. One Monday morning I get a call from my wife exclaiming that she didn’t think it would be a good idea for the boys to go to school today. I asked why not? She said she thought it was barbaric what the kids did today. I said, “OK. What did Zack tell you?” She told me that he had told her about “Beat-Up Day” where the older kids could beat up on the little kids and the teachers would do nothing about it. She thought it was just terrible what we Americans did to each other! I told her it was baloney and there was no such thing.
I had a good laugh.
Very recently I had the opportunity to interview with a really wonderful company that makes devices for heart surgeons. Having dealt with the eyes for nearly 30 years, working with the heart was going to be very exciting. As an engineer, what I do is very important to me. I really want to make a difference in this world.
So, after reviewing my resume and a few telephone calls I was asked in to their office for a face to face interview. They flew me into Detroit, had a car pick me up, and then take me to a hotel near their facility.
I have to admit I was quite nervous and anxious as I had not interviewed with a company in nearly 30 years! But the car picked me up at the appointed time to take me to the company. I found that my reading glasses had broken during my flight, so I had the driver stop by a pharmacy so I could get new ones. Not a good way to start the day…
But I finally got to meet the woman I had been talking to from HR and she was delightful. I am a natural kidder, as having 10 kids means you are constantly in the entertaining business, so I had been having fun talking to her on the phone, but now in person I had to tone it down, which was hard. I already felt that we were good friends. And, she looked like my Aunt Monette! It was hard looking at her and not seeing Monette. My Aunt Monette was my mother’s only sibling, and she was fun to tease. And she was a riot to be around and I had a lot of fun as a kid teasing Monette.
But eventually I had to meet the hiring managers. Here’s where I got a bit nervous.
I am not a nervous guy, generally. I am quite confident. Being from Texas I talk to everyone and make friends quickly. But, since this was so important, and I really wanted this job, I got fuzzy headed. And I never get fuzzy headed. Maybe it was because of a long day of travel and a later night than I am used to, but I was not at my peak, to say the least.
They brought in an engineer who showed me a schematic of a simple non-inverting opamp circuit. Actually, it was very similar to one I have used myself to test a new employee who claimed they knew opamps. And because it was drawn upside down, I could not see it for what it was. The only thing different was that it had a couple of diodes. The drawing had a flaw. Because it had been drawn upside down from what I was used to, I didn’t catch the flaw. The input diode went to the non-inverting input which is near infinite input impedance, and the diode had no way to conduct! It needed a resistor to ground so current could flow through the diode. Bummer! All night long afterwards I could see it in my head and kept kicking myself.
The rest was down hill from there. They asked me a question about a faulty device put in and out of a test oven, which had several possibilities, but I knew I had blown the circuit test and couldn’t get past it.
So, I came home with my tail between my legs. I have an amazing amount of experience in my life, as an engineer, and don’t know if I can find some company who wants to take advantage of it. I learn quickly, adapt to new technology quickly, and make a great employee. But to work for a great company like this one would really cap off my career. I would never leave
And, what did I learn from this? Well, don’t be afraid to put things into terms that you are familiar with. I could have redrawn the circuit and it would have been apparent then.
Plus, I need to ask more questions, as it was silly to think I could solve a problem only knowing two things in a device I had never seen. There is no shame in asking questions.
And, I need to just be myself and not try to sell myself. They would find out the real me anyway, and I certainly would want them to be happy with the real me.
There’s always next time, if there is a next time in today’s economy.
This the first blog I have every written, and I hope you find it interesting and of some use to you. If you have questions, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you enjoy it!
This is my first real blog. I attempted before, but after paying for search engine access, they just took the money and ran.
I have things to say from time to time, some fiction to post, a picture or two, and some opinions that matter to me.
My name is Warren W. Ward and I am an Electro-optical Engineer- the original geek without the computer connotation. I am a Mormon, father of 10, married to a knock-dead gorgeous girl, and captain of the football team at Harvard. Well, not Harvard. Or a captain. Nor do I play football. But I did play in the marching band at Brazosport High School, Clute Jr. High, and the University of Houston. I was the only recipient of the Red Star Award of the Imperial Order of the Slidoneous Tromboneous (I.O.S.T.), which explains why all the girls in High School were after me. I think they were after me…
I have written and directed five Road Shows for the youth of my church. And I was on a TV game show (Concentration) in 1975 and won a car. And a year’s supply of glue.
In my career I design and build medical research instruments for Ophthalmology and Neurology (see my website at www.fourward.com). I love being an engineer and wanted to be one since I was 9 years old. In Cub Scouts we built a crystal radio the first year, and then I built a one-tube and then the two-tube radio the third year. I was hooked! Very few people can say they knew what they wanted to do when they were only 9 years old! I was very blessed.
When I was 10 years old we took a family trip to Oregon from Texas to see my uncle Ervin. When we got to Pikes Peak my mother threw out the trash in a bag. Later when my dad tried to find the bag of Polaroid film he brought we realized mom had thrown it out by mistake. Dad yelled for an hour! But we had a good trip and saw a lot of things. Dad took us to the top of Pikes Peak on the tram. Uncle Ervin was the sheriff of Salem Oregon for many years.
In High School I played in the band. My best friends were Ray Sanders and Harry Sechrest. Ray befriended me the summer before we started High School at a seminar we went to together. A famous Baritone player taught a class on vibrato. From then on we were best friends and did lots of things together. The three of us would serenade our girlfriends or someone else late at night on their lawns. We would go to the marina pool and play songs in the pool while people would throw in money. Our dates would gather the money and we would go out for pizza. It was a lot of fun.
I dated a girl several times in High School that lived in Lake Jackson. I would call her up at random and we would go to the movies. One time I called her up for a date and she told me she had a date that night with my younger brother, Cliff. That was the last time I ever asked her out. I wasn’t going to get in the way of my little brother.
Cliff got his ham radio license while in Jr. High. I had always wanted to, but I didn’t know how. But he figured it out and had his General license before any of us knew what he was doing. I was proud of him. Then I followed in his footsteps and got mine. He was WA5LVG and I was WA5OFG. He went on to get his Amateur Extra and used it a lot as he went to sea as a radio officer. I haven’t used mine much, as it was too much like work.
My work for many years was as a marine electronics technician. While still in the navy my brother, Cliff, who had gotten out of the navy a year or so before I did, had gotten a job with ITT Mackay Marine. He had gotten his Radiotelegraph 2nd Class license which allowed him to work on ocean-going vessels with radiotelegraph equipment and a radar endorsement to work on the radars. So I practiced my code in the early morning on the ship and took my test in L.A. before I got out of the navy. I got a job with ITT MacKay as well.
After a year, I went to San Diego, California after I got married. I got a job with Marine Electric where I learned the equipment on the tuna boats. They have a lot of equipment as they are at sea for many months at a time, often. It was an exciting business, and Marine Electric was the only company in town that serviced them. I started doing some jobs on the side for a company owned by Ed Gann and eventually started my own business, Aqua Electronics. Later I formed a new company with Lyle LaRosh. We took over the industry, but I sold my shares and went in other directions.
I went to school continuously. The Bicentennial Year, 1976, I went to Law School at Western States. I did alright, but it wasn’t for me. So I continued to finish my Electrical Engineering degree at San Diego State University. It took a long time going at night and summers, but I finished in 1982- 15 years after I graduated from high school.
The year I graduated was the year Jimmy Carter chased the tuna fleet overseas, so I lost my business, as well. Then I was able to get my first engineering job at SAI, Inc. in San Diego. I was only there a month before I got my job with Coopervision Diagnostics.
Coopervision was a great place to work! They were building their AutoPerimeter, which was a great success. I was hire to work on a new project- the AutoRefractor. It was exciting with a lot of all nighters. However, there was a basic design flaw that could not be overcome with the method they were using. When I went to the president of the company with a plan to fix it, he assigned me as a project manager for a new project- the Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope.
The SLO was a great technology developed in Boston at the Eye Research Institute (ERI), now known as the Schepens Eye Research Institute. Robert Webb, Ph.D., had developed and built the first unit, and Coopervision bought the technology. I went right to work. It was exciting times. I hired Simon Rizk, my best friend from college, and a physicist named Tom McMahon, Ph.D. as my team. We worked hard and got the first unit using acoustic deflectors as the horizontal sweep. It was exciting!
Then we built the first unit using a polygon. That was even better.
But about the time things were really rolling, Coopervision got bought out by Alcon, Inc. and they closed us down.
The technology was acquired by Rodenstock, in Germany.
But it was a blessing in disguise. As I approached ERI to unsuccessfully acquire the technology, I was discovered by Stanford Research Institute. Hew Crane, Ph.D., had developed for NASA technology for precise, non-contact eye tracking. The market was too small, and the technology too complicated, for a large company to purchase. But I had the experience and background. It fit me perfectly!
So I bluffed my way through and they agreed to license me the technology. I worked for them for 9 months transferring the technology and building some units they sold. It was a great experience!
Then I was on my own. This business lasted from 1988 until now. Now it is dying. Again, bummer!
In 2001 I was able to buy out Canon, USA, who had the rights to sell the SLO that Rodenstock had built in the States. I spent three weeks in Dusseldorf, Germany to transfer the technology. It was a great experience. They had never designed a test and alignment plan, so I did! Then I made an optical drawing, of the whole system, which they hadn’t done.
Then I went back to the States and rebuilt, sold, and maintained the units in the USA. It was a good business for 10 years, then it, too, died.
So I am back trying to find something to do again. So far it isn’t going so well…
But more on that, later.
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