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Peter Delfyett

Research scientist Peter J. Delfyett was born on March 8, 1959 in Queens, New York. He received his B.E. (E.E.) degree from the City College of New York in 1981 and his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983. Delfyett then returned to the City University of New York and went on to graduate from there with his M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in 1987 and 1988, respectively.

In 1988, Delfyett joined Bell Communication Research (Bellcore) as a member of the technical staff where he focused on generating ultrafast high power optical pulses from semiconductor diode lasers. His research findings resulted in a number of important developments, including the world’s fastest, most powerful modelocked semiconductor laser diode, the demonstration of an optically distributed clocking network for high-speed, digital switches and supercomputer applications, and the first observation of the optical nonlinearity induced by the cooling of highly excited electron-hole pairs in semiconductor optical amplifiers. Delfyett has published over six-hundred articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings; been awarded thirty five United States Patents; and, is the sole proprietor of a license agreement which transferred modelocked semiconductor laser technology into a commercial product.

In 1993, Delfyett received a dual-appointment as a professor in the School College of Optics and Photonics and the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida. From 1995 to 2006, he served as the Associate Editor of IEEE Photonics Technology Letters; was Executive Editor of IEEE LEOS Newsletter; and, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics. In 2008, Delfyett was elected to serve two terms as president of the National Society of Black Physicists.

Delfyett has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Faculty Fellow Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, which is awarded to the nation’s top twenty young scientists. U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine recognized him in 1993 as “Most Promising Engineer;” and, in 2000 with the “Outstanding Alumnus Achievement.” In 2010, he received the Edward Bouchet Award from the American Physical Society. Delfyett is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE Photonics Society.

Peter J. Delfyett was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 4, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/4/2013

Last Name

Delfyett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

John

Occupation
Schools

City University of New York

University of Rochester

Martin Van Buren High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DEL10

Favorite Season

Christmas, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

As you are walking across the path of life, if you come to a bump, step up.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

3/8/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Asian Food

Short Description

Electrical engineer Peter Delfyett (1959 - ) University Trustee Chair Professor in the College of Optics and Photonics and the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers at the University of Central Florida, is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE Photonics Society.

Employment

University of Central Flordia

Telcordia Technologies

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Peter Delfyett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes his mother's family background pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett describes his father's family background pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett talks about his parents' relationship and separation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes his family's personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett talks about growing up in an extended family household

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Peter Delfyett talks about the Delfyetts

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett talks about attending church during his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett talks about his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett talks about his childhood interest in paleontology and his questions about religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes why he chose to become an electrical engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett talks about fifth grade elementary school teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett talks about his mentors in elementary and middle school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett talks about his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes how he learned to play the drums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett describes his band in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett describes graduating from high school and choosing to attend the City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes his time as a student at the City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett describes when he chose to specialize in optics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett talks about his undergraduate optics class

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett describes why he came back to the City University of New York for his Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes photonics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett describes being hired by Bell Communications Research

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes his time at Bell Communications Research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett describes how he broke the world record for the shortest and brightest light pulse

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett describes how he solved the clock distribution problem

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett talks about how it can take decades for an invention to be implemented

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett explains why he chose to become a professor at the University of Central Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett talks about his teaching and research at the University of Central Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett talks about research funding and mentoring students

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett talks about the future of technology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett talks about the future of holographic technology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett talks about his latest patent

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett talks about his accomplishments at the University of Central Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett talks about his involvement in professional organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett gives advice to African American students

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett reflects on his life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Peter Delfyett talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Peter Delfyett describes his hobbies

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Peter Delfyett talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Peter Delfyett describes when he chose to specialize in optics
Peter Delfyett talks about his teaching and research at the University of Central Florida
Transcript
You said when you were a sophomore, that's when you decided to get into the field of lasers.$$That's right.$$And what was it, again, that got you involved?$$And so the thing, you know, the thing which happened was--you know, you're going along. You're taking your classes, your physics, your calculus, your differential equations. And then you start taking your engineering core--circuit theory, digital systems control, communications, whatever it is. But then they allow you to take some, some elective classes, you know, within the discipline. And so, there are so many electives. How do you choose? And then my thinking is I want to sort of choose an elective where I'm going to have, like, a focus. I want to choose all of my electives in a certain area, so I can get a real strong expertise. So, I'm just sort of looking through the course catalog. It's like looking at the menu, and just kind of reading what the different courses are about. Some are about computer architecture. Some are about, you know, circuit systems and digital systems. But then I saw this one course about "Introduction to Lasers." And then you kind of read the description, and everything is fine. And you read the last line and it says, you know, "The fundamentals and introduction to fiber optic communications will be covered in this course." And you know, what occurred to me, is that there are sort of other areas within electrical engineering that are--at that time were not growing. And one in particular might be sort of power systems. How do you deliver power? Con Ed [Con Edison], and this and that, and the other thing. Not super high-tech, not saying it can't be. But then I'm thinking, you know, "Gee, if an area in engineering is so mature, you know, there's not a lot of area for growth and expansion." And so I'm thinking, "If I want to get an expertise in something, I want to pick an area which is very, very new and futuristic, so there's going to be a lot of chance for growth and expansion." Because as that field grows and expands, I can basically evolve within that, and manage to make my way through an entire career. That was my philosophy. Because if the field is too narrow and not growing--if things get tight and there's nowhere to grow--you know, where do you go? It's not clear. And it wasn't clear to me at that time. And so, that's how I started. And so, the other thing which really got me going, I took a look at the elective classes. It said electromagnetic theory. So I said, well, I'm already taking that. But another class was, you know, 'Introduction to Optics,' you know, physical optics. So I said, that was a prerequisite, not necessarily--excuse me--it wasn't a requirement, but it was sort of nice if you had taken it. So, the next semester I went and I took the optics class. And the guy who was teaching that is a famous laser physicist, who literally--you know, after having the class with him--that was it, I'm going to school to get a Ph.D. There was no turning back at that point. They had me hook, line and sinker.$$Okay.$How was your, I guess, your time split here [University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida], in terms of research and teaching responsibilities?$$Sure. And so, every faculty--we teach graduate courses. Or at least when I first came to CREOL [Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers], it was primarily an academic institution and research institution that focused on graduate training and education. So, all faculty teach graduate level courses in the area of optics, and we're all expected to do research. We're expected to go out and hustle for contracts and grants, of which from that money we then pay the graduate students' salaries, their tuition. We use the money to buy the equipment to allow us to do the job. So we're like standard faculty in most other departments. We have to teach, we have to do research, and we have service. Your service duties are either related to the department and/or college, and your professional service as a scientist with professional societies, etc. So, we're like just like normal faculty--teaching, research and service.$$Okay, okay. So, what have been some of your research projects here at [University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida]--?$$So here, what I've done is I've tried to build a research group with a vision that if we want to make an impact on areas of application-- that what I wanted my philosophy to be is not what I'll call, device push-- like "Oh, here's a device, I think you need to use it." Well, like I'm pushing it on you. I prefer to have the application pull philosophy, meaning that let's take a look at what applications are out there that need some kind of advance. And then see if our research can play a role and allow our research to be pulled in that direction, so that if we're successful in our research, we can make some headway in that application. And so with that in mind, I've tried to divide my research area up into three groups--what I'll call sort of the fundamental physics--where we like to use, you know, short pulses of light and see how they interact with matter. That's the fundamental physics. We do that in semiconductors. And what we try and look for are new physics, so we can perhaps see new effects. So, we can then use that knowledge and then go into the clean room and make devices which can exploit these interesting effects, so these devices will have new functions. So, I study physics based upon the new things that we learn. We go up step up into the clean room. We fabricate new devices which are going to exploit those physics. So, these new devices will exhibit new functionalities. And with these new functions, I then take these devices that can show you functions, and I apply it in systems. And the systems are related to its communication and signal processing, making the internet go faster, etc. And when I see these new systems work faster, I say, "Great, we're successful." We patent along the way, we write papers, we give talks. And then once we do that, we say, "Okay, great, we solved that problem. What's the next problem?" And then we go back down and study new physics, to make more devices to make better impacts. So, instead of this thing being vertically integrated, I like to sort of say we're cyclically integrated between fundamental physics, devices and systems. And at each level there needs to be good communication back and forth between the fundamental physics and the systems area, between the systems and device area, and between the physics and device area. So, everybody knows what they're doing, and talking to each other so we can all learn from each other and push the overall vision of photonics forward. That's sort of my philosophy. That's how I do it. And again, we've made impacts in the area related towards secure communications, compact laser systems that are useful for material processing or drilling holes in walls, making lasers operate with more precision in atomic clocks, etc.

William Evans

Research physicist and research manager William J. Evans was born on September 16, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois to Billy Joe and Allie Bell Evans. He received his B.S. degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology. Evans went on to attend Harvard University, where he earned his S.M. degree and Ph.D. degrees in physics.

In 1995, Evans was hired as a full-time staff researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). At LLNL, Evans works with scientists from multiple academic disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics to solve global problems. Although Evans received his education in physics, his work at LLNL encompasses aspects of physics, chemistry, and materials science. Such an interdisciplinary approach allowed him to understand the complex behavior of materials under high temperature and pressure conditions.

In 2008, Evans was promoted to research manager at LLNL, where he managed the research of all staff scientists in the high pressure physics group. The group’s research focused on ultrahigh-pressure diamond anvils, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray scattering among other things. Evans and his team of LLNL research scientists built an anvil, or pressure device, using flattened diamonds as the pressure surface. These diamond anvils allowed Evans to determine what happens to other materials as they get “squashed” by the diamonds.

Evans has published numerous scientific research articles in journals such as, Physical Review, Nature Materials, and the International Journal of High Pressure Research. Evans is also a member of several academic and professional societies, including the American Physical Society (APS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Optical Society of Americs. He serves the community by judging youth science fairs in Livermore, California where he works and lives.

William J. Evans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.238

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2012

Last Name

Evans

Maker Category
Middle Name

J

Occupation
Schools

Harvard University

California Institute of Technology

Martin Luther King Elem. School

Angell School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Ann Arbor

HM ID

EVA07

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

By Any Means Necessary.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/16/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Livermore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cookies

Short Description

Physicist William Evans (1965 - ) was the head research scientist of the high pressure physics group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Evans' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Evans lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Evans describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Evans describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Evans describes where his father attended college and graduate school

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about his father's career as a scientist

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Evans describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Evans describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Evans talks about his growing up near the University of Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Evans talks about his study routine

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Evans talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about his experiences while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about having access to his father's chemistry lab as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about living in Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Evans talks about his family as well as his brother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Evans describes how he chose to attend the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Evans talks about his growing up during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Evans talks about his accomplished parents

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Evans talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Evans talks about some of his professors at the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about the physics program at the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about the impact of emerging information technologies on physics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about his studies at California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Evans talks about his decision to attend Harvard University for graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Evans talks about his experience at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Evans describes his dissertation about the behavior of hydrogen

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Evans talks about his dissertation and Carl Sagan

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Evans talks about his work at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Evans describes his work with beryllium

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Evans talks about his experience working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about the lack of minority representation in the physical sciences

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about the work culture at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Evans talks about the uses of metalized hydrogen

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Evans talks about his desire to support underrepresented communities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Evans reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Evans talks about his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Evans describes his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about what he would like to see accomplished in the future

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
William Evans describes his dissertation about the behavior of hydrogen
William Evans talks about the work culture at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Transcript
Okay, now, could you explain your dissertation to us, I mean just state it again, and kind of explain what you were actually doing?$$So, so hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and, in fact, it's what drives, you know, our sun, fuses hydrogen together generates energy in a helium atom. And so what we were studying was what does hydrogen do? So under normal conditions, hydrogen is a gas. But if you cool it or you compress it, it turns into a liquid, and if you continue to compress it, it turns into a solid. One of the early predictions of quantum theory was that hydrogen would metalize. So it would go from being an insulator, you know, the plastic cladding on a wire is insulators, the electricity doesn't, it doesn't pass electricity. But compressing it would force the electrons on the different atoms together. And they'd start being shared, and you can now pass a current through this material. And so it becomes a metal. And so the goal of the thesis work was to metalize hydrogen. That was the kind of ultimate goal of my thesis advisor. I worked on that for several years. It's a very challenging problem that, to this day, hasn't been adequately solved. But we did, we made some good progress on it, although we did not metal hydrogen. But we made some measurements along the way of how the index for a fraction of hydrogen changes under pressure. So the (unclear) [index?] fraction tells you, I mean one simple way to think of it, it's a, it's an indicator of the electronic properties of the materials, but effectively, it, in common experience, it'll tell you how light gets bent when it goes, passes into it. So, for example, when you look at a prism, if you have a white light coming into a prism, it hits the prism, and the different colors of light get bent different angles, different, depending on index of a fraction. And that's kind of a layman's explanation of what we measured, but we measured the (unclear) fraction of hydrogen high pressure, which--so this data helps you understand when it might metalize. It also allows you to valuate theories that predict how hydrogen is behaving at high pressure. So it's experimental data that's very important in the sense that it lets you understand if your theories are even close to being correct, and once, and also quantifying the quality of various theories to explain properties of materials.$Okay, okay.$$Livermore [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory] is actually, Livermore won an award, I think last year for being one of the best employers for African Americans. I find Livermore very supportive, but I'm, I'm kind of saddened that Livermore is, is--I think Livermore is doing a solid job. I would have hoped there were people doing even better job than Livermore is doing at, at engaging, encouraging, utilizing underrepresented groups. So I'm, it's kind of, kind of--I'm glad Livermore got an award, but I wish the bar were a lot higher.$$Okay, so the general landscape is--$$Yeah, yeah. You know, and there are little things. I mean when I went to Livermore [California], when I first went there, I was coming from the East Coast. East Coast people wore a tie and coat to work. And, you know, there was, one told, a bus driver, told me, you know, what are you doing wearing that stuff? You don't wear, you don't need to wear that here, as if, you know, I mean I was a staff scientist. Early on in the, within the first year I was at Livermore, we have rooms where we store supplies, like, you know, pens, binders and things. And I was in there getting, I had just started so I was getting stuff for my office, and one of the scientist walks by and says, you know, we, we're running out of pens. Can you get some more pens? You'd think that if you're wearing a tie and coat, it's kind of a sign that you're not part of the support staff. But, you know, these little comments, for me it didn't, it didn't--I would like to think that in my case, it doesn't bother me. But I have little doubt that for someone who's much more junior, let's say a graduate student, who's working at the lab, if someone comes in and treats them like they're a maintenance person, they're not gonna be, you know, it's not the kind of environment that is conducive to keeping people there and advancing their careers. Now, none of this came from the management. The management's always very constructive. And it has been always very supportive. But I think it's really more an indication of kind of societal prejudices and biases that we need to work on.$$Okay, okay. So you've been there your whole career, so--$$Yeah.$$--you really don't have another place, I guess, to compare it to--$$Right.$$--in terms of that, but you said, Livermore [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory], according to reports--$$Yeah.$$--is--$$And they had been very supportive. I mean, you know, when I, when I served on the APS Committee on Minorities, there had to be an account to pay for my time when I was doing that work. And the management was, it wasn't even an issue for them. They were, definitely do it, you know. They've always been very supportive of hiring underrepresented staff members. So the management at Livermore has been very, very supportive, but I think there are, there're, you know, our society still isn't where we think it is (laughter), where we'd like for it to be.

Percy Pierre

Electrical engineer Percy A. Pierre was born on January 1, 1939 in Welcome, Louisiana to Rosa Villavaso and Percy John Pierre. Pierre graduated from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans in 1957. Reverend Matthew O’Rourke, the school’s founding principal and president, served as one of Pierre’s mentors. It was in his senior year of high school that Pierre first decided to enter the field of engineering. Pierre received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1961. He stayed at the University and received his M.S. degree in 1963. Pierre went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from John Hopkins University in 1967. He is the first African American in the country to earn a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering.

After graduation, Pierre began a series of successful posts in government and higher education. In 1969, Pierre was selected to serve as a White House Fellow and Deputy to the Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs. In 1971, he joined the faculty of Howard University as Dean of the School of Engineering. As dean, Pierre was instrumental in the founding of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). In 1977, he left Howard University to serve as Assistant Secretary to the United States Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition, where he managed a $12 billion budget. Pierre started his own consulting business, Percy A. and Associates in 1981. He returned to academia in 1983, serving as President of Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University, and later as Honeywell Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Pierre came to Michigan State University in 1990 as Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. In 1995, he became a professor of electrical and computer engineering. Pierre has taught courses and participated in research in the areas of signals and systems, random processes, and signal detection and estimation. He believes his greatest achievement in his field to be the exploration of linear functions and their properties. In addition to his research, Pierre has also created numerous programs to increase the financial support and mentoring opportunities available for minority graduate engineering students; most notably creating the Sloan Engineering Program in 1998. Pierre has served on many boards, including the National Security Advisory Board and the Defense Science Board. He was honored with the Founders Award from NACME in 2004 in celebration of the organization’s thirtieth anniversary. He also received the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. Pierre is married to Olga A. Markham and they have two grown daughters, Kristin Clare and Allison Celeste.

Percy A. Pierre was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2012

Last Name

Pierre

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

St. Joan Of Arc Elem School

St. Augustine High School

University of Notre Dame

Johns Hopkins University

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Percy

Birth City, State, Country

Welcome

HM ID

PIE02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

1/3/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

East Lansing

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Electrical engineer Percy Pierre (1939 - ) was known for his work in signal processing, as well as for creating programs to increase opportunities for minority graduate engineering students.

Employment

Michigan State University

Prairie View A&M University

Department of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition

Howard University

Percy A. Pierre & Associates

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

White House

RAND Corporation

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3376,41:4366,56:5554,70:16690,260:17600,274:18860,294:19490,305:27932,412:28724,423:37768,536:49315,649:55187,742:56764,778:67030,921:73920,1020:77316,1052:77588,1085:78336,1095:79356,1171:79628,1192:88216,1288:91072,1315:97675,1417:98000,1423:106440,1532:109792,1595:112054,1632:118767,1759:122184,1844:125861,1870:127034,1900:128207,1925:132347,1997:132899,2007:133934,2030:135314,2061:135935,2071:137108,2104:137384,2109:155880,2292:156176,2297:160394,2345:162230,2369:165142,2384:165326,2389:180345,2428:198560,2666$0,0:9392,179:10596,194:13110,202:13638,207:16954,227:17451,236:18374,253:19510,269:20149,280:23604,346:24162,356:24472,362:25216,376:26084,392:26766,419:27386,430:27944,441:30730,451:33990,462:34390,467:35890,487:37790,524:40090,600:41190,618:44160,628:48160,667:48760,676:49560,685:51060,729:51960,741:53060,753:57228,771:60542,793:61334,805:62302,819:62742,825:65645,843:66302,854:66667,860:67324,871:69460,880:69816,885:70439,895:71151,904:72308,919:72753,926:75735,945:76255,957:76580,963:76970,971:77880,993:78400,1005:79050,1017:79570,1028:82820,1040:85214,1056:85846,1065:86320,1073:89050,1082:90206,1103:90478,1108:91800,1114:92250,1121:92850,1130:94125,1150:94425,1155:94875,1162:100274,1199:104462,1231:105476,1248:111212,1283:114470,1299:116045,1331:116420,1337:117620,1357:120020,1401:122730,1410:123500,1422:125449,1436:125821,1441:126844,1453:127495,1462:127867,1467:128425,1474:136174,1558:136650,1566:138334,1580:141042,1598:143460,1627:144135,1638:145260,1664:146010,1676:146310,1681:157806,1820:159834,1837:161960,1857
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Percy Pierre's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about his mother and his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre talks about the benevolent societies established by freed slaves in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre talks about the Reconstruction Era in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre talks about his father's family in Freetown, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre talks about his father's education and carpentry skills

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his family's life in Gulfport, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre talks about his family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Percy Pierre describes his childhood neighborhood and house in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Percy Pierre describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Percy Pierre describes his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre describes his interests in science, math and basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre tells the story of Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre talks about learning problem-solving skills

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about watching television as a teenager in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre talks about his mother teaching him to read

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes his experience and mentors in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre talks about his interest in basketball and music in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre talks about preparing to enroll in college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre describes his decision to attend the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his studies and his mentors at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about religion and science

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his interest in signal processing as a master's student

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre talks about the events in the Civil Rights Movement and politics in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre talks about his Ph.D. advisors and dissertation research at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre talks about being the only African American in his graduate program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre talks about becoming the first engineering postdoctoral trainee at the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his decision to join the Rand Corporation in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at Rand Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his experience as a White House fellow in 1969

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes how he became the dean of engineering at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre describes his contributions as the dean of engineering at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre talks about affirmative action and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre describes his impact on minority engineering education

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at the Pentagon as the assistant secretary for research and development

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his experience in consulting and as president of Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at Michigan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre talks about his wife and daughters

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Percy Pierre talks about becoming the first engineering postdoctoral trainee at the University of Michigan
Percy Pierre describes his impact on minority engineering education
Transcript
All right, so now, you did post doctoral studies at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan], right?$$Yes.$$1967 to '68 [1968]. How did you manage to choose the University of Michigan?$$Well, that's an interesting story. It turns out I'm told I'm the first postdoc student ever at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Here's how that happened. I was doing my research, loving it, loving it, loving it. My advisor said, "It's time for you to go, write it up and leave." I said, "I want to keep doing my research." And the thought of getting a job and not doing research full time was not what I wanted to do. So I decided well maybe if I get a postdoc, I could keep doing my research. I don't want to be a professor, because then I'd have to teach, I just want to do my research. So my advisor says well, "Let's go to this conference and talk to people and see if we can find--if any university is looking for postdoc, so we went to the Princeton [University, Princeton, New Jersey] conference and talked to people from [University of California,] Berkeley, from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts], from [University of] Michigan, etcetera. There was man at the University of Michigan, his name is Bill Root, who is really the godfather of my field. So we approached him and said, you know--. My advisor approached him and said, "Percy Pierre would love to do a postdoc; do you have a postdoc?" He said, "No, I don't have one, and we don't have postdocs in engineering, but I think we should, and maybe you could be the first one." So he created a postdoc position. He went back to the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan and talked to the dean; the dean created a position for me, and I went to Michigan as a postdoc. I was the only postdoc in the college.$$So you were the first and only postdoc in the college?$$Yeah.$$And the first African American postdoc--$$Yeah.$$--To be sure.$$But I loved it, because I spent all day doing my research. There were a couple assistant professors who were hired at the same time, and they had to teach. Now, eventually, I did teach. I taught the second semester. They asked me to teach a course, I thought one course. But my postdoc year was one of the most satisfying years of my life, because I was very productive; I published five papers in that year.$$Okay, and what are the journals that you published in as an electrical engineer?$$Half of them were math journals, probability theory journals, and the other half were engineering, 'Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering' [IEEE].$$You were there until 1968-$Okay, around 1977--$$Can I go back to the--$$Oh, sure.$$--the NACME [National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering; Pierre was instrumental in establishing NACME in 1973] thing, because this is very important to me. I told you that through the academy, we put together a committee of CEOs [Chief Executive Officers] who were going to do something about minorities in engineering and then the [Alfred P.] Sloan Foundation decided to invest in programs. They asked me to run the program, but I said I didn't want to quit my job at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia]; I was only dean for two years. I agreed to do it half time. So for two years, I commuted between D.C. [District of Columbia] and New York to the Rockefeller Center to run the program. And one day early in my tenure at the Sloan Foundation, I was walking up Fifth Avenue and thinking that this is a fabulous opportunity to make a difference. I had reached the point where I thought I was putting myself in a position to make a big difference, because all the elements were in place to create organizations that would change minority engineering for the next thirty years. And I realized that that was that opportunity. And what I'm saying is I knew this was it. And it took a lot of work; we had to create organizations, we had to guess what to do, but the results have been fabulous; the increase in minority engineering graduates has been spectacular over the next thirty years, and both at the bachelor's and master's level, so, if I looked at one of the biggest impacts of my life, it's that. That's the fulfillment of my promise to Father Grant when I was a freshman in high school [St. Augustine's High School, New Orleans, Louisiana].$$Okay.$$It's a big part of it.$$And, of course, NACME is still in operation, still doing good work?$$Right.$$Okay.

Arnold Stancell

Chemical engineer and corporate oil executive Arnold Stancell was born on November 16, 1936 in Harlem, New York to Maria Lucas, a seamstress and Francis Stancell, a musician. He lived with his single mother and was focused on his education throughout his youth. After passing competitive exams to attend Stuyvesant High School, Stancell went on to City College of New York where he graduated magna cum laude with his B.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1958. Stancell was awarded a graduate fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and became the first African American to earn his Ph.D. degree from MIT in chemical engineering in 1962.

After graduation, Stancell worked at Mobil Oil Corporation from 1962 to 1970, researching new chemical and plastic products. During this time, he was awarded eleven patents for new plastics processes and plasma (ionized gas) reactions for new products. In 1970, Stancell took a leave of absence from Mobil Oil to teach at MIT. He started a research program on plasma reactions at surfaces and his student, David Lam, went on to found Lam Research, the preeminent company worldwide in plasma etching of circuits into the surface of silicon chips. In 1971, Stancell declined a tenured professorship position at MIT to return to Mobil Oil. He continued to excel at Mobil, becoming vice president of Mobil Plastics in 1976 and led the commercialization of a new plastic film that revolutionized packaging and replaced cellophane. In 1982 he became vice president of Mobil Europe Marketing and Refining based in London. He then progressed through a number of additional executive positions becoming vice president of oil and natural gas Exploration and Production in 1989 responsible for finding and developing oil and natural gas reserves in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Stancell initiated, negotiated and launched the now $70 billion liquefied natural gas production joint venture between Mobil and Qatar which sells natural gas to markets worldwide.

In 1993, he retired from Mobil after a thirty-one year career and a year later accepted George Institute of Tecnology’s invitation to join its faculty as professor of chemical engineering. He became the Turner Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2001, and in 2004 retired as Professor Emeritus. After the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, Stancell consulted and advised the United States Department of Interior. In 2011, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Science Board.

Stancell has received numerous recognitions including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers National Award for Chemical Engineering Practice, Career Achievement Award of City College of New York, Professional Achievement Award of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and in 1992 was named Black Engineer of the Year. In 1997, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and in 2009, was elected to its Board. In 2010, he was appointed to the Governing Board of the National Research Council. He has also received numerous outstanding teacher awards. Arnold Stancell is married to artist Constance Newton Stancell.

Arnold Stancell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.090

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2012

Last Name

Stancell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F

Occupation
Schools

Stuyvesant High School

City College of New York

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arnold

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

STA07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

Everything comes to he that waiteth, if he worketh while he waited.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

11/16/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Stamford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beef Tenderloin

Short Description

Chemical engineer and corporate executive Arnold Stancell (1936 - ) had a thirty-one year career with Mobil Oil starting in research and rising to vice president of Exploration and Production. He served on the National Science Board and advised the United States government after the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill.

Employment

Georgia Institute of Technology

Mobil Oil Company

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Arnold Stancell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about meeting his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell describes his earliest childhood memory and his childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Arnold Stancell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Arnold Stancell talks about his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his junior high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his involvement in the church and youth organizations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his junior high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about his high school experience and his decision to go to City College of New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his experience at City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about social baggage

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about living in Harlem during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his interest in polymers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his first professional job at Exxon and his decision to pursue a doctoral degree

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about his perceptions of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his experience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his mentorship at MIT

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell describes his dissertation on improving crude oil recovery

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work at Mobil

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about the poetic qualities of thermodynamics

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work with plasma

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Arnold Stancell talks about his professional relationship with NOBCChE and how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his marriages

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work at Mobil Chemical, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work at Mobil Chemical, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell considers the environmental impact of his work

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about his progressive roles at Mobil, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his progressive roles at Mobil, part 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about David Lam

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his international work with Mobil

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about Mobil's drilling activities and drill technology

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about the Quatar Deal

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his retirement from Mobil

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about the BP Oil Spill

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his perceptions of U.S. education

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Arnold Stancell talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Arnold Stancell talks about his progressive roles at Mobil, part 1
Arnold Stancell talks about his international work with Mobil
Transcript
Okay, alright. Now, now in 1980, you were in the management of Mobil Corporate Planning in New York?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Ye that's--$$How did that come about, first of all?$$Well, I must have done a good job on the vice president of plastics, so I think the president of Mobil heard a presentation from me on our plastics business. And so this particular job, when you come now to New York--I came from the Rochester area, Macedon, New York, down to New York City headquarters. Now you're in a position where you're handling planning for all of Mobil, and you report to the senior vice president for planning of Mobil. And he's on the board. So now the board directors, the presidents of Mobil's major divisions and the chairman and the president of Mobil all get a chance to see you up close. You make presentations, you make points regarding strategies of the different businesses and so on. And I guess I could have used a little mentoring more at that time, so that now I've been with Mobil for awhile, I mean, I just, I'm coming right out--first I was in research, then I ran a business--I'm coming into world headquarters. I mean I don't know the rules of the game, and I'm in a very visible position, being this manager of corporate planning, making presentations to the board and so on. So, you start picking up on what's the way things are done. I always called it the way I saw it, though. And so I must have done pretty well with that, but that was a very exciting time, because Mobil made a bid for Marathon Oil, and I started getting more into the financial aspects of Mobil, of course through the business of my prior job, running the film business, plastic film business. So with corporate planning, you get heavily into financial matters, but a president asked me to head up a task force within a small group, and he wanted to keep it quiet. To select the target, Mobil was ready to make an acquisition that we would be an oil company, and of the various oil companies, what's our recommendation? And so, that was really exciting. We worked, obviously, secretly and so on, and we chose Marathon Oil. We thought they were heavily undervalued compared to their real underlying value. I came up with estimates of their underlying value, and we had experts from the financial houses worrying about how you structured a deal, and it was a heady time. we mounted our offer. It was on the low side, and Marathon rejected it. Now, Marathon's another oil company, so they knew that if Mobil takes them over, you know, we didn't need their whole super structure. So, they held us up and they filed an antitrust suit. We increased our offer. We kept increasing our offer. But they were successful, as you might expect, really, that they filed an antitrust. That takes time, and people had started at sixty dollars a share and it got up quickly to 70 dollars a share, 80 dollars a share. We finished putting our offer out there at 120 dollars a share, and people didn't take our offer, they took the 120 dollar a share offer from U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel joined in, and U.S. Steel bought Marathon. And of course, there was not going to be antitrust issues that Marathon had some refineries, they had some service stations, and if Mobil and Marathon got together, it would restrain trade. There were no issues, because U.S. Steel is a steel company. So they quickly closed their deal and we were locked out. So, people thought we would never close on our deal, it would take too long. But here's a guy who was 120 dollars a share right now. So that was very disappointing that we missed out on the Marathon acquisition.$Okay, alright. Now, when we broke, you were in London as a vice president for Mobil Europe, right?$$Yes.$$And the '80's [1980s] were a time, I was thinking about this during the break, that British Petroleum started, you know, making inroads into the U.S. market in the '80's [1980s]. I don't know if they were doing that when you were there, but it was--$$Yes, they were, they had a presence in the U.S. market through Standard Oil Ohio. and their exploration and production, they were active in the Gulf of Mexico and other areas of the U.S. They were not aggressive, but they had a presence. The early '80's [1980s] in London, Europe was going through where like Margaret Thatcher was putting in her conservative policies in Britain, and there was a big fight with the coal unions. And it was a time of transition in Europe to more of a market economy, even more of a market economy, so--$$Okay. I know that was the beginning of it. That was, Standard Oil of Ohio was basically taken over by BP.$$Yes, that's right.$$By the end of the '80's [1980s], they had not only Standard Oil of Ohio, I think, but Standard Oil, period, right?$$They had Standard Oil of Indiana, Amoco. They ended up merging with--around late '80's [1980s], like '89' [1989] or something like that, yeah.$$So, what were you doing? So you're in London, and what were some of the highlights of what you're--$$It gets a little--my district--the advantage of having a technical background, and you're also running a business, I think you can maybe see some issues. And in terms of when you build a refinery, it's not just saying I'm going to run some crude oil through here and get some products. You've got to be concerned about the location of those products, because the transportation costs of those products to the different markets can be considerable. So, people recognize that, but then also the configuration. What hardware do you put in a refinery? If you just put in simple hardware--so, you got a refinery, it takes crude oil and gives you some products, but it's the type of products you get. You want to maximize gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil and diesel. Those are the products that have the value to them. The heavy part, after you get through refining, has low value. So, you really want to take the heavy part that has low value and put investment in to convert that up to these higher value products. So you want crude oil to come into the box, and out just comes gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, and diesel. And if you don't have that, your refinery is going to be uncompetitive. You won't have the margins to survive against refineries that have all that hardware. So, we cut through all the issues of in terms of what refineries you should keep, which ones we should invest in, by having this simple picture, and we use that very powerfully. We ended up as negative, but we ended up shutting four refineries. But we invested heavily in the remaining ones to make them only produce G and D, and overall we were more profitable. So that was very exciting. I had a strategy that made sense. The, just the different countries, I'm trying to think of any particular issues-France--we had a lot of union issues because we were trying to make our operations more efficient. But the laws of the country gave a lot of strength to the unions, and you couldn't close, you couldn't shut down... As I mentioned, some refineries you want to keep, some you don't. And so it was difficult, very difficult. In France we tried to shut down a refinery which was a negative, but it made economic sense. We were going to continue with the workers in other operations, but we couldn't move them. See, the mobility of workers in Europe wasn't, isn't like the mobility here in the U.S. If you have an operation and you say, look you can be more efficient, you can have your job, but you'll have your job over here. I know it disrupts your family, but, et cetera. But people, a lot of people will do that. But in Europe, they won't. And so we had union people bust into our offices in France and Paris armed with bats and threatening the general manager. So I got a call from the general manager, the president of Mobil France, and he says, "Arnie" (laughter), because they call me Arnie, "We got a problem here. The workers are rioting here, threatening and so on." So, I said, "You've got to call the police." (laughter). Cooler heads ended up prevailing, but you know, they took to the streets on that one. We ended up convincing enough workers to take the deal and things calmed down, but it was a trying time.$$What was the deal?$$The deal was that we had another refinery location and a refinery we thought was competitive that had the kind of hardware that I was telling you about. And we were going to expand that. We could move a bunch of those jobs up north. So they were down in this lovely area near the Mediterranean, charming restaurants, charming hillside, and we were going to move them up to Ravensheugh, north, and they didn't want any part of that. So, and then for those who didn't want to move at all, they agreed in negotiation with the union on a payout. But a bunch did take it, and moved up to Ravensheugh. There were those kinds of things in Europe.$$Alright. So you were there for--$$I think it's almost three and a half years, or four years, three years.$$Okay, so you arrived in '82' [1982], right?$$'82' [1982] and left in '85' [1985].$$'85' [1985], right.$$Yes three years, yes.$$So you became vice president of Mobil Global Marketing and Refining Planning in New York.$$Yes so that's Mobil's deal of, now you've finished an operating job, and now you go back to world headquarters and now back into planning, but now for broader knowledge and strategy for a major division. I had the corporate planning job, but this is a way now of getting more familiar with the marketing and refining. I had not been in marketing and refining. So, with that job--I mean, I was in marketing and refining, operating--now I'm getting marketing and refining, a broad overview.$$Okay, alright. So what are some of the highlights of that?$$That was, I'm trying to think of the, at that time, now we were, in terms of the particular operation, you know, it really was a continuation of this thought that I started in Europe where now I could apply it to Mobil's global marketing and refining, where you look to your refineries that are going to be your keepers, because you're going to invest heavily in them with this upgrading to make more valuable products, and less investment going into closure of the office for overall better efficiency. And we applied that worldwide. of course we operated-- marketing and refining, you know, we had Japan, we had, you name it. We were marketing and refining throughout the--well, Singapore, Australia. I didn't start it, but we started in Saudi Arabia with marketing and refining, mainly refining. So it was a continuation of the strategy that we started in Europe, but now applying it more broadly [unclear].

Renaldo M. Jensen

Aerospace engineer and military officer Renaldo Mario Jensen was born on June 29, 1940, in New York, New York. His parents, Octave and Doris Davis Jensen, had roots in St. Croix and Antigua, respectively. Jensen attended St. Charles Borromeo School and graduated from Harlem’s Bishop Dubois High School in 1952. He served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at North Carolina A&T State University, then transferred to Howard University where he graduated in 1958 with his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. After enlisting in the United States Air Force, Jensen and Horace Russell became the first two African Americans to earn their M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering from the United States Air Force School of Technology at Dayton’s Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1966. In 1970, Jensen received his Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering, specializing in supersonic combustion, from Purdue University.

While serving for twenty years as an officer in the United States Air Force, Jensen was stationed in Florida, Colorado, and Germany; he also worked on the Minuteman missile crew at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Jensen, a combat crew commander, participated in the first successful launch of a dual mode intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base. He joined the faculty of the Air Force School of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1967 and taught at the school until 1974. In 1978, Jensen resigned from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel having received the Missile Combat Crew Award and the Air Force Commendation Medal. Jensen taught at Howard University and worked at the Pentagon before joining Ford Motor Company as an aerodynamics engineer. He became the director of minority supplier development in 1987, and in 2004, he awarded $3.7 billion of the $90 billion in Ford supply contracts to 309 minority suppliers.

Jensen is a member of the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Minority Business Development Council, the Combustion Institute, the Military Operations Research Society, and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Also a member of the Minority Suppliers Hall of Fame, Jensen lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan with his wife Alicia, with whom he raised two children.

Accession Number

A2005.101

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/8/2005

Last Name

Jensen

Maker Category
Middle Name

M.

Schools

Bishop Dubois High School

St. Charles Catholic School

St. Charles Borromeo School

First Name

Renaldo

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

JEN05

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't spend maximum time with minimum people.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

6/29/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork, Potatoes, Grapes

Short Description

Military officer and aerospace engineer Renaldo M. Jensen (1940 - ) was one of the first two African Americans to earn their M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering from the United States Air Force School of Technology at Dayton’s Wright Patterson Air Force Base. During the course of his career, Jensen worked with the United States Air Force, Howard University, the Pentagon, and Ford Motor Company.

Employment

United States Air Force

Ford Motor Company

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:6185,112:22130,364:24748,403:26116,432:35365,568:52500,851:60440,956:66468,1053:70492,1091:80264,1322:83150,1439:83462,1444:84554,1468:90692,1538:115494,1859:115986,1918:138587,2046:149479,2170:152955,2242:162435,2337:162810,2343:163185,2349:165060,2386:166335,2418:172920,2525$0,0:1510,11:2374,23:2806,30:3526,48:6262,114:6622,123:8638,153:12780,204:13056,209:13815,214:14229,221:16782,267:17265,275:18369,299:19266,316:19611,322:19887,327:20232,333:20508,338:20853,344:21129,349:22923,401:23820,417:24096,422:24579,430:25407,444:25959,453:29440,462:30050,475:30538,548:41992,743:42672,754:46412,835:46956,846:55412,999:56072,1023:61088,1098:62210,1113:62870,1140:63596,1159:64718,1186:72173,1249:74010,1262:74250,1267:86063,1550:87523,1583:88910,1615:89494,1624:89786,1629:90297,1637:92195,1688:100663,1896:101028,1908:101393,1914:107256,1934:107576,1940:108408,1960:108792,1967:109688,1985:110072,1993:110584,2002:114145,2020:117216,2077:117797,2085:119872,2127:120287,2133:125692,2172:129710,2219:130220,2232:130985,2237:137300,2329:142980,2489:143300,2494:144420,2514:144740,2519:145140,2525:146420,2545:147620,2563:148020,2620:158214,2735:158678,2744:163420,2795:163736,2800:165632,2855:168091,2869:169035,2894:169330,2901:170333,2926:170805,2935:174830,3029:175140,3034:175512,3040:187928,3202:201106,3414:202066,3460:203026,3481:203474,3486:207122,3577:207762,3595:211920,3643:212480,3657:213320,3673:213880,3682:214650,3700:215210,3709:216470,3732:222520,3804
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Renaldo Jensen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his mother and childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Renaldo Jensen describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Renaldo Jensen describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his mother and growing up without his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his relationship with his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his Catholic school experience and childhood interests

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his experience at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen discusses his experience in the United States Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen talks about the challenges and responsibilities of being in the United States Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen talks about working at the Pentagon

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about the Defense Readiness Condition system and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen talks about U.S. Military testing and experimentation, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen talks about U.S. Military testing and experimentation, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen discusses going to work at Ford Motor Company

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his work with the Ford Motor Company Design Center

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about becoming Ford Motor Company's Director of Supplier Diversity

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Renaldo Jensen talks about Ford Motor Company's Supplier Diversity Program

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on his opportunities and accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen discusses the successes of Ford Motor Company's Supplier Diversity Program

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen talks about the challenges and responsibilities of working with suppliers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on his work with Ford Motor Company

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his concerns for the African American Community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his love of motorcycles

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on what he has learned and how he wants to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Renaldo Jensen talks about his decision to attend college
Renaldo Jensen talks about the challenges and responsibilities of working with suppliers
Transcript
So, from what it sounds like, you pretty much knew you were going to college, I guess?$$Oh, yes, there wasn't a question. When I, came time to go to college, my mother [Doris Davis] had saved money. And it wasn't a question of are you going to college? She said, which one are you going to?$$Was it the same for your sister?$$Yes, yes. I tell you. She was an amazing woman who really believed that education was the key to the future. And that's the West Indian upbringing. You know, you work hard, but you will be educated. You "will" be educated. There was never a question of us not going to college.$$Okay, so how did you decide on which college you were going to when you were a senior?$$A couple of ways. I wanted to go to Cornell [Cornell University], Ithaca, New York, at the time. But they wouldn't, they were kind of reluctant to accept African Americans at the time, okay. So my sister college before me. She went to North Carolina College in Durham [North Carolina]. And--$$Was that a black college?$$Yes, a historically black university. And I wanted to, I guess being her sibling, I wanted to be closer so I went to, I wanted to go into the Air Force. I wanted to go into ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps]. And Howard [Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia]--and A and T College in Greensville, North Carolina [North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University] had an Air Force ROTC program, one of the few black colleges that was available to us at the time, had an Air Force ROTC, Reserve Officers' Training Corp, a program. And I went to A and T. And interesting enough, at A and T, I got into the Air Force ROTC, and I majored in science. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I just wanted to be in the Air Force, I guess. So I just picked something that I could use if I had to fall back on it in the Air Force. And I picked science, and at that time, general, really, first year especially, take the basic math, English, whatever. And interesting enough, the classes were so easy, and I took this as a function of my Catholic school upbringing and teaching and learning. But I never bought books (laughter), never. The money I'd use to buy books, I used it for something else and excelled in all the classes. I never really had to study because they were three years behind in what I had already learned from coming out of the Catholic school. So I excelled and I said, this is not for me. This is not--so I transferred to Howard University.$You've had calls where people call to ask like, what can I make to--$$Yeah, exactly right. And you know, you can laugh at them [suppliers] and say, oh, this is ridiculous, but I believe they're sincere, that they really want to have a business. They really want to provide something and here's an opportunity they think that maybe they could take advantage of, and here Ford [Ford Motor Company] is reaching out to this diverse community for whatever reason. They may not know, but they say, here's an opportunity, and why don't I just ask. So they call me and say, you run the program for? Yes, I do. He says, well, I'm an entrepreneur. I wanna start a business. I wanna supply Ford because you guys are doing such a fantastic job in developing suppliers, and you won the award. So what can I do and what is it that you need that I can help you by providing? Okay, and, of course, we say, you've got to be in business to do business with us. We are not in the business of putting you in business. We're in the business of doing business with you. So you have to have a business. You have to have a skill. You have to have a product that is of value to us now and in the long run. So once I explain it to them, they understand. And then you get some really irate guys who says, well, you're a prime contractor to the federal government. Yes, we are. Oh, you're, being a prime contractor to the federal government, you have a contract with the federal government. I said, yes, we do. Well, the SBA [Small Business Administration] says that you must be doing, you must, as a prime contractor, do business with diverse groups. I say, yes, they do. Well, I'm a diverse group. I said, okay, what do you provide? He says, I provide furniture, and I know you're sitting in a chair in your office, and you have a desk there that you're writing on. I said, yes, we do. He said, well, I'm a small business. You're a prime contractor. I sell office furniture, so you must do business with me. I said, really? He says, yes, because you serve as prime to the federal government, and you must do business with small businesses by law. I said, okay. How many types of furniture do you have? How many models? How many models and brands do you stock? He said, well, I stock four. I said, okay, who are they? Steelcase and a couple of others, three others. I said, okay. How many are out there? He said, what do you mean? I said, how many are out there besides the four that you stock, how many other models or brands of furniture are out there that you elected not to stock, except for the four that you do stock? He said, well, there're about seven others. I said, so you're making a decision on who you do business with, right? He said, yeah. I said, well, bingo, same thing we do too. You're a small business. We must do business with small businesses, but we make a distinction of who we do business with, and your approach is, I don't believe, is in the best interest of Ford Motor Company or Ford Motor Company doing business with you. Bam. Then that's it, conversation over. But that's the type of calls you can, you get. And, you know, and it can get kind of sarcastic, but because they're trying bogard (ph.) your way in to say, hey, if you don't do business with me, you're a racist. Or if you don't do business with me, you're not obeying the law so therefore, I'm a small, and you've been discriminating against small businesses all your professional life, and I'm a small business. You're gonna discriminate, be discriminating against me, I'm a take you to task. (Unclear) deal with it. But again, in the long run, we do business with those who we feel add value to our long-term process of satisfying our customers, the people like you and the public.