Mission Possible - Ted Beach

Mission Possible - Ted Beach

Mission Possible Ted Beach

Ted Beach                                                                                                                                          
VCHS Graduate 1984
Career: Electrical Engineer

My Mission Possible:  Growing up, I was science-oriented and fascinated by the Apollo moon landings.  By late elementary school, I became interested in electronics when microprocessors were just starting to impact our daily lives.  In junior high, the principal arranged for me to shadow the broadcast engineers at WOUB-TV in Athens for a day.  Until then, I had not really heard of an engineering career and the flexibility was appealing.  You could work in science or space with an engineering degree, and I have done a little of both.  I attended Ohio University and earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in electrical engineering.  After OU, I was an officer in the Navy, teaching in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.  I returned to Vinton County to investigate the takeover of a tool and die business with a high school classmate.  The conventional business-loan route was not promising, so I made plans to return to graduate school and pursue space research.  (Incidentally, the owner offered a better takeover option after I had committed to school, and the tool and die shop is still going strong.)  I earned Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Cornell University and then worked as a civil servant for the Air Force.  With the Air Force, I had roles as a satellite program manager, scientific researcher, and a remote field instrument engineer.  For example, the photo is from a summer instrument maintenance trip to northeast Greenland.  When Base Realignment and Closure impacted our research site, I returned to the private sector at a small business where we develop new technology for clients like NASA and the military.

My words of advice:  (1) Bend but don't break.  It doesn't mean just go with the flow, but take advantage of the opportunities you are given.  I still haven't walked on the moon, but nobody has in nearly 47 years, and there are a lot of related interesting things to do.  (2) Be willing to get back on that horse.  It took two tries to be admitted into a Ph.D. program in a school on my list, three applications to the Air Force to be hired, and two applications for my current job.  Sometimes it is just a matter of timing, and sometimes you learn how to improve your approach.
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