Students have been being told for years now that their working lives will almost certainly take twists and turns, some of which they could never have anticipated during their college years. Lest any of today's undergraduates challenge that argument, perhaps my own experience will make believers of them.
I have always had eclectic interests but during high school I was especially drawn to the natural sciences and mathematics. Thus, a career in engineering seemed to be a good fit for me and, with that in mind, I enrolled at now Trine University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (1967) degree. Immediately thereafter, I began what would be a thirty-year career with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Akron, Ohio), intent from my day-of-hire to retire in 1997 and pursue 'something else' if interest and opportunity should allow my doing so at that time. The Company's Research and Development Management Training Program prepared me for many subsequent opportunities and I went on to work a number of assignments, most of which involved in one way or another materials science as applied to various tire product lines. As an early proponent of computerization, I later became a Computer Programmer and, eventually, a Certified Systems Analyst (Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals) in the Technical Computer Operations Division. Experience gained in these various capacities led me to Project Management where I headed up teams that, on the 'Management side,' restructured Corporate Headquarters operations and, on the 'Technical side,' implemented a series of innovations that reduced 'Concept-to-Market' cycle time by half. I was also privileged to serve as one of a ten-member team that developed a Strategic Plan designed to guide the Company through the year 2040.
Much of my later career at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company drew upon additional education I achieved on a part-time basis through evening programs offered by The University of Akron. Indeed, it was there that I earned my B.A. (1972), M.A. (1979), and, Ph.D. (1993 - thanks to a Company-sanctioned leave arrangement for completion of doctoral residency) degrees in Sociology. In 1983, immediately after completion of my first Master's degree, I was fortunate to have been recruited to the Adjunct Faculty of The University of Akron for the purpose of offering a wide range of undergraduate courses in Sociology through the University's Evening College. It was in my capacity as a teaching Professor that my appetite was whetted for a second career track in higher education which, as it turned out, was the 'something else' mentioned above. Indeed, as my retirement from industry approached in 1997, fortune smiled at me yet again when I was encouraged by my former Department to seek appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. Proceeding on that recommendation, it was again my good fortune to secure one of two such positions being offered under a three-year contract. Still, I had found the managerial aspects of my industrial career satisfying. With that in mind, I had previously positioned myself for a possible administrative role - rather than a Faculty position - in higher education by earning a postdoctoral M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration degree (1997) during my last several years with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. When my contract as Visiting Assistant Professor neared completion the time seemed right to 'test the administrative waters.' Yet again the stars aligned and I set sail to join Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio) as its Director of Evening, Weekend and Summer Programs. While there I worked primarily with adult learners, developing and implementing as a programmatic growth strategy an innovative Baccalaureate degree completion program for holders of Associate degrees. Experience gained as Director provided solid bedrock for my last administrative position as Dean of General Studies and Public Service Technologies at what is now Stark State College (North Canton, Ohio). In that office, I had leadership and academic oversight responsibilities for the Liberal Arts and Sciences Departments; Humanities Departments; applied programs in Fire Science, Early Childhood Education, and, Human and Social Services; a Program in Biotechnology; and, an Accelerated Learning Laboratory featuring state-of-the art on-ground and web-based technologies. Obviously a strong advocate for lifelong learning, it was during this period that I led by example in pursuit of my last degree, a B.A. in Art History (2012) earned on-line at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. At the end of the 2008/9 academic year I retired from the Dean's office but, with 'gas still in the tank,' returned on the Faculty side that next Fall semester as Associate Professor of Sociology. After a three-year stint in that capacity I retired (a third time!) and moved to Arizona in March of 2013. Not yet ready to 'hang it up' completely, I shortly thereafter joined Estrella Mountain Community College as an Adjunct Faculty member in the Behavioral Science and Cultural Studies (BSCS) Division.
As for academic recognition, I am proud to have been tapped by Alpha Kappa Delta (Honorary in Sociology), Phi Alpha Theta (Honorary in History), Kappa Delta Pi (Honorary in Education), Omicron Delta Kappa Society (Scholarship and Leadership), Golden Key International Honour Society, and, Tau Beta Sigma (Honorary in Band). My profile appears in Who's Who in America and, in 2012, I was honored to receive the Omega Chi Epsilon Award at my alma mater, Trine University, in Angola, Indiana.
On the personal front, the smartest, luckiest and best thing I ever did was marry Anna, my wife of nearly forty-eight years. As mentioned earlier, we left our home, family and friends in 2013 to escape the harsh northeastern Ohio winters to live out the remainder of our days in the marvelous climate for which Arizona is so well known. Currently residing in Surprise, we enjoy what is euphemistically called an 'active Seniors lifestyle.' I like outdoor recreation in nearly all its forms, especially road cycling, golf, swimming and hiking in the White Tank Mountains. Playing the saxophone and flute is one of my favorite past-time activities as is 'free reading' for further edification and enjoyment. A great evening out finds my wife and me taking in one of the many outstanding concerts that the Musical Instrument Museum in nearby Phoenix schedules throughout the year.