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Donald L. Harwell

Vice President of Sales for PowerStream, Inc., Donald Lyle Harwell was born on January 19, 1946, in Los Angeles, California, to Andrew L. Harwell and Veronica Rodrigeuz. As a youth, Harwell attended 42nd Street Elementary School in Los Angeles. He went on to graduate from Susan Miller Dorsey High School where he was a member of the football and track teams. Harwell attended East L.A. Junior College before receiving a football scholarship to attend California State University in Los Angeles.

After completing a course in scuba diving, Harwell became a certified scuba diving instructor and earned a position with Pacific Diver Supply in Long Beach, California. He served in that capacity, instructing high school students in Orange County and Los Angeles County until 1971. Then, in 1974, Harwell founded California Concepts providing wooden aquarium stands to department stores in southern California. In 1978, Harwell was hired as a salesman for Rotron Fans and designed the cooler for the SR 71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. Harwell later moved to Colorado to work for Howard Fans in 1980. While in Colorado, he was recruited as an independent sales representative and later worked for Component Well until 1995.

Harwell moved to Utah and served as chaplains’ assistant at the Utah State Prison in 1986. In 1992, he served on the corrections advisory council. In 1996, Harwell was influential in the reemergence of the Genesis Group, a missionary group that works to provide spiritual strength to its members. He went on to become the organization’s president in 2003. Harwell also served as the director for the Adult Probation and Parole Citizens Review Board helping to promote integrity and accountability in ex-cons.

Harwell is Vice President of Sales for PowerStream, Inc. and serves on the Stake High Council of the Midvale Utah Union.

Harwell lives with his wife, Jerri, and their six children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Accession Number

A2008.052

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/15/2008

Last Name

Harwell

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Susan Miller Dorsey High School

42nd Street Elementary School

East Los Angeles College

California State University, Los Angeles

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

HAR29

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

1/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ambrosia Burger

Short Description

Sales executive Donald L. Harwell (1946 - ) was vice president of sales for PowerStream Technology. He was influential in the reemergence of the Genesis Group, a missionary organization affiliated with the Mormon church. He also directed the citizens review board for adult probation and parole in Utah.

Employment

Component-Well Inc.

PowerStream Technology

California Concepts

Pacific Divers Supply

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald L. Harwell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald L. Harwell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald L. Harwell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald L. Harwell describes his mother's childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his maternal grandfather's mortuary business

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Harwell describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his father's U.S. Navy service during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald L. Harwell describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald L. Harwell describes how he takes after his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald L. Harwell describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald L. Harwell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald L. Harwell talks about his identical twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Harwell remembers his neighborhood in Compton, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald L. Harwell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald L. Harwell describes his education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his activities as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald L. Harwell remembers African American professional football players

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald L. Harwell talks about segregation in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald L. Harwell recalls running track at Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald L. Harwell describes his interests in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald L. Harwell remembers the Watts riots in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his senior year at Susan Miller Dorsey High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his U.S. Army service in Germany, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his U.S. Army service in Germany, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald L. Harwell remembers California State College, Los Angeles

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald L. Harwell recalls defusing riots on his U.S. Army base in Germany, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald L. Harwell recalls defusing riots on his U.S. Army base in Germany, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his work as a high school diving instructor

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his first diving experience in the Caribbean

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his aquarium stand business

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his work for Rotron Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald L. Harwell remembers moving to Denver, Colorado

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald L. Harwell recalls founding Component-Well Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald L. Harwell describes the priesthood of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald L. Harwell recalls his introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald L. Harwell remembers his calling to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donald L. Harwell describes the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donald L. Harwell talks about the finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald L. Harwell describes the community involvement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald L. Harwell talks about African Americans' inclusion in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald L. Harwell describes the challenges faced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald L. Harwell describes his employment with PowerStream Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald L. Harwell talks about scripture interpretation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald L. Harwell describes his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald L. Harwell describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald L. Harwell talks about 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donald L. Harwell talks about the Iraq War

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donald L. Harwell reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donald L. Harwell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donald L. Harwell talks about his children, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donald L. Harwell reflects upon his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donald L. Harwell talks about his children, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donald L. Harwell reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Donald L. Harwell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Donald L. Harwell narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
Donald L. Harwell recalls his work for Rotron Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Donald L. Harwell remembers his calling to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Transcript
What did you do next?$$Started doing odd sales jobs, selling this, selling that, and then I was reading in the paper and this company called Rotron [Rotron Manufacturing Company, Inc.; AMETEK Rotron] had an ad in there for a sales engineer, so I called the guy and said, "What's a sales engineer?" And (laughter) I did.$$That is a good question, though, what is it?$$What is a sales engineer, and he explained it to me. A sales engineer is somebody that goes into a company and designs-in their equipment for the company to use to build their stuff. So, I said, he said, "Why?" I said, "You got an ad in the paper. I'm a good salesman." And he says, "Do you know anything about electronics?" I said, "No." I said, "But you can teach me, can't you?" And he said, "Yeah." So, I went over there and convinced him to hire me. And they hired me, stuck me in the office for six months and trained me how to do the engineering. And what it was in those days was the big electronic cabinets. The computers were the size of this room, and a lot of the cabinets needed to be c- cool, so I'd go in, take the temperature, figure out the math, and tell them what size fan they needed, install the fans and move on to the next one, and we got pretty good. A fr- this kid, (unclear) and I, the first year we were there, sold $3 million worth of cooling fans in Southern California and we had broken the record, and he was an engineer and he had helped teach me and I was a salesman, so I taught him sales techniques, and we rock and rolled, and we set the world on fire and I stayed there for, 'til '78 [1978], and something missing, I'm missing something somewhere in there, and, boy I cannot think.$$So something else is in here that you did before 1978?$$What was that?$$I don't know. You said you're missing something (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, I'm missing something. There's something missing there. I cannot remember what I did.$$Oh, what about, it has something to do with SR-71 Blackbird?$$That was Rotron.$$Oh, that's Rotron--$$Right.$$--okay.$$I, David [ph.] asked me, and I said the thing I remember the most was going to the Skunk Works at Lockheed Martin [Martin Marietta Corporation; Lockheed Martin]. The Skunk Works were top secret. You had to have, not a top secret clearance, but you had to have clearance to even get into the place, and that's when the SR-71 was the high altitude, very, very fast plane that took all the pictures. If there was a country they wanted to see what was going on in, they'd send the Blackbird in there, you know, like at a hundred thousand feet. They couldn't be seen and they were moving so fast they were shooting pictures the whole way, so a lot of the intelligence that was going on at that time was, was done by the SR-71. And I'll never forget (laughter) the guys after it became unclassified that it was the ricketiest thing in the world it got up to Mach 1 and then everything just tightened down and they were just saying how easy it was to fly at such, you know, tremendous speeds. There's one out here at the Hill Air Force Base airplane museum [Hill Aerospace Museum, Utah], quite a plane. But that was my claim to fame with Rotron. I was a hero because it was our fan that was cooling the gyros (laughter).$$That is, that is a big deal.$$Yeah.$$So, so in--that's 1980 it says here (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Moving up to '80 [1980], yeah.$$Okay.$So, she comes running up and I'm looking at--this guy's name was Gary Walton. This is twenty-four years ago and I still remember his name. And, he just touched me really, you know, and I felt more welcome there than I was feeling in the bars, and so the next class was Sunday school and she had to go do something, so she pointed to a Sunday school class I could go into. So, I walk into this class. Now you gotta picture this, and there's five rows, right? The four rows behind the first row filled. In the very front row was one guy, and his wife is the teacher, so she's standing up in front of that front row. So I looked in there. I went and sat down next to him. I was sitting there about two minutes and he feel asleep on my shoulder. He had narcolepsy. And, so I just caught him and held him, and he woke up and he sat up and he was just fine for five minutes, and so I played catch with him the whole first, my whole first Sunday school. His wife was so happy that somebody would sit there and, you know, just take care of him so she stepped back and really got into teaching the class. I didn't understand anything 'cause I didn't know anything. At the end of the class, everybody's walking by, patting me on the shoulder, you know boy, "You're a really good guy. That was really good of you to take care of him." I'm like, why didn't you guys take care of him? But they had been at it for so long, I think most of them were just tired of it, but it didn't bother me. So, I really felt welcomed there and I was thinking about, you know, if I feel this wel- this good here now, what would it be like if I started going regular? And so, I did. When I went back home to Colorado, I started attending church there, but I wasn't baptized yet. And then I called over and asked to have the missionaries come because before you can be baptized, you have to go through some lessons. So the missionaries came over and we became good buddies and I'm gonna tell you something; I'm not sure you're gonna understand this, but I'll give it a little explanation if I can: if the church [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is true for you, the Lord will give you a burning in your heart. I had no experience, but I had been told that. So, on the third lesson, they couldn't come out to the house, so I said well I'll come in to see you, and their office was over the gymnasium at the University of Colorado in Boulder [University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado]. So, I went in. We were doing the third lesson, and then they got called out for something. I walked up to this window and I said, okay, talking to the Lord, I said okay, is this the true church? And I got such a burning that I dare not ask again. I mean, it was really strong. And I thought if I ask again, I'll be a crispy critter because the second one--if it was any stronger, it would just cook me.$$Your heart actually felt like it was burning?$$Yeah. I had a burning, it was not, not a bad burning but a real warm, sincere answer to a question. You know, this, I asked the question and I got the answer immediately. So then, I knew this was where I was supposed to be. And they came back in. I told them what happened, they did the next few lessons and then called to see if the mission president would give permission for me to be baptized, and he did and I had a friend over here, so the next time I came over here to work, I called Mike [ph.] and had him baptize me and I was baptized up at the Ensign Stake [Salt Lake City, Utah]. But people always ask, "How do you know if this church is true?" Well, that's how I knew.