Passing the Torch: The ASM Materials Education Foundation

By Dan Shea

I’m writing this in the first person for a reason; I want to speak to our readers as directly as possible about a great influence in my life that I hope they can share in. After my Army time I went back to college in the mid-1970s—a much more serious young man than I had been in the 1960s. Courses in business and mechanical engineering were started. Unfortunately, I never finished—necessity was that I had to go to work, then wanted to start a family and finally start into business. The work I did included electrical and electronic. I integrated the first PCs into a robotic production line for one company and designed controls for DuPont’s robotic plywood manufacturing. This was all pioneering tech. My company did alternative energy homes and business construction, and it became a good-sized electrical contractor in New Hampshire. All the while, I was studying and working on weapons—military weapons. I designed my first suppressor in 1981. This is not a brag sheet; the readers have a general idea of the work I’ve done for military, governments, industry and the historical record.

What it is about is that I’m a guy who never completed my college degree. I’ve been offered honorary PhDs a number of times and didn’t take them because, well, I didn’t do the doctoral thesis to earn a PhD and didn’t believe I was really qualified anyway. I felt like I would be insulting people who spent 10 years excelling in academia while I was essentially in the dirt and working manual labor.

So, here’s a guy who was an Army grunt and then a cook, didn’t finish college, and yet over 45 years, I was able to work inside several complex technical industries and work at top levels. No subterfuge; I’ve always been upfront about not having a degree. Aside from all the other reasons for this success, such as having a loving wife/partner and great family, there has always been an organization I could turn to.

That is ASM International. It started in 1905 sharing...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N4 (April 2019)
and was posted online on February 22, 2019


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