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Lockport, Illinois

b. 1936

A summer job

I had three great summer jobs in the mid 50s. In the summer of 1956, between JJC and Purdue, I worked in the Engineering department at the Caterpiller plant in Joliet. My job was redrawing drawings. I got this job because I had taken a drafting course at JJC. I think there were six of us from JJC that summer.

Roy Batozech was my boss. I liked him. He was friendly and businesslike. The drawings had to be "just so," and there was a Checker who would send them back if there were problems. A big deal was the printing. You had to "fill the lines" with the letters. If one letter was off you had to do it over.

For the second half of the summer we were given a design project. This was great. It felt important. My project had to do with redesigning the "shieve" assembly that was mounted on the back of the tractor pulling a scraper. The shieve assembly controlled the cables to the scraper. I remember I spent a lot of time researching bearings. At the end of the summer we each made a presentation to a group of executives. That was actually pretty scary.

I must have done OK because I was subsequently invited back for the next summer. But I was headed toward electrical engineering, so I decided not to do it.

Later on, my experience at Caterpillar served as inspiration for the summer program at KineticSystems. It was a good combination of dues-paying grunt work and responsibility.