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Big, white phallic engineering symbol

water tank

Cottage Hill Water Tank

Today as I walking at Cottage Hill Park I could not help but notice the large white water tank. It is almost impossible not to see the tank as it dominates the park from almost every part of the park, save in the depths of the trails through the wooded areas. Just looking at the tank brings back many memories for me, memories of a good earlier life as an environmental/civil engineer. In fact, that tank was one of the last true civil engineering projects I worked on before I left the civil design department to lead the nascent environmental group that would come to dominate the work of the company.

How I came to be a practicing engineer is a long, convoluted story. I had never thought of being an engineer when I was young. I had only one engineering role model in my life. That was Polly Parrott, (more…)




This is Cisco, aka Mike Francisco. He was a fellow member of the Air Force Academy class of ’67. After graduation, we split directions as Cisco had eagle eyes and was bound for pilot training. Me, my eyes had deteriorated during my four years at the Academy and I flunked the pilot’s eye exam four times, each time getting one eye or the other to qualify but unfortunately not both at the same time. By the slimmest of margins, I found myself qualified to earn the wings of a navigator instead of becoming the fighter pilot I dreamed of.

At first, I thought I would instead take the non-rated route in the Air Force, but my squadron officer convinced me that earning navigator wings might open the door for the Air Force to grant me a waiver on my eyes and let me go to pilot training after a few years of flying. So we packed our bags and headed to Mather Air Force Base in California where I did (more…)