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Extraordinary People

April 12, 2014

Filed under: life — Terry Wohlers @ 07:54

I have had the privilege of meeting some high achievers in the past. They have provided inspiration to me and many others. A number of them have been affiliated with NASA space program.

Alan Shepard was the first American in space, and he walked on the moon. I was lucky to be seated next to him on a flight from Denver to San Francisco in 1995. We talked about the space program, the Vomit Comet, and the Apollo 13 movie, which was released two weeks earlier.

Jim Lovell is the former astronaut that made the line “Houston, we have a problem” famous. Lovell and Gene Kranz, flight director at NASA Mission Control for the Apollo 13 mission, presented at SolidWorks World 2011. I did not get to meet Lovell, but I met Kranz. The guy, then 77, carried a look that was as tough as nails.

Former astronaut Mike Mullane flew on three space shuttle missions. He is also the author of the book Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I met Mullane at SME’s RAPID 2003 where he served as keynote speaker.

Others that I’ve been fortunate to meet:

  • James Cameron, producer of Avatar, Titanic, Aliens, The Abyss, and many other films
  • Roy Disney, longtime executive of The Walt Disney Company, which his father and uncle, Walt Disney, co-founded
  • Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group that includes more than 400 companies
  • Joel Orr, brilliant speaker, futurist, writer, and friend of 30 years
  • Tony Fadell, considered by many as the “father” of the iPod and leader of the team at Apple that developed the iPhone

I have met others, but these people are among those that stand out. In the 1980s, I had the chance to meet Steve Jobs, but didn’t, and I regret it to this day. I have never met a U.S. president, but I hope to one day.