This was a tough question to answer when this senior was writing his StoryWorth memoir.
There are two “best jobs I’ve ever had”. I am unable to distinguish between the two. The first was from 1964 through 1965.
By the time I had graduated in 1963 from The Ohio State University in Industrial Engineering, I knew that I wanted to work in Project Management/Engineering in industry. I still had to complete a tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force in payment for my R.O.T.C. College scholarship.
When asked to give my preference for Air Force duty location and job assignment, I selected the southwestern United States and Project Engineering. Since one rarely received their first choice in 1963, it seemed a miracle when I received an assignment to Vandenberg AFB in California about eighty miles north of Santa Barbara at Lompoc, California. In addition, my job would be in the Atlas/Agena Project Office.
The Project Office had the responsibility of approving the Atlas Booster from General Dynamics Corp., the second stage Agena from Lockheed Corp. and the nosecone from General Electric Co. The officers in the Office approved the Company’s in-house engineering tests and shipments to Vandenberg AFB. At that point in time, the Air Force repeated the tests, and then sent the boosters and satellite fastened together to the Launch Pad where the tests were repeated a third time and the launch chemicals were loaded into the boosters. We launched about one/month with no failures during my tour there. A lot of our enemies had their pictures taken from 100 miles in the air.
The reasons for a best job category for this job include the fact that I thought I was doing a service for my country. I thought that I was learning a lot about dealing with both our government and our civilian industry. I was living in southern California in the early 1960’s. I married my college girlfriend during that tour and we had twin boys. What’s not to like?
When I chose to get out of the Air Force in 1966, we returned the Midwest, specifically Indianapolis and Eli Lilly and Co. (a pharmaceutical company).
I retired at the end of 1999, but during that time at Eli Lilly, I had the opportunity to work on many production projects and lead several of them. Some of the projects involved the launch of a new product if manufacturing was involved.
The other work involved production forecasting, production scheduling, and plant to plant liaison. The last five years that I worked at Lilly, I had achieved enough seniority that I was able to truly make some things happen. One of the keys to that was having a great management team. The Company produced and scheduled product based on the marketing/ production forecast, not somebody’s wish list. No two days were the same. That plus the liaison work made for a great last five years.
When you work with pharmaceuticals, you also feel like you are helping society. I stayed one extra year at the Company’s request; was asked to stay another but chose to retire while the Company still loved me.
Contributed by: Bruce Hume
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