Oral-History:Westinghouse Electronic Systems

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Westinghouse Electronic Systems Oral History Project

In 2009-2010 The IEEE History Center undertook a joint project with the National Electronics Museum of Linthicum, Maryland to use oral history to document the history of the Westinghouse Electronic Systems Division of Baltimore, Maryland.  Westinghouse Electronic Systems provided research, development, and manufacture of a range of electronic equipment for the United States Armed Forces and other U.S. government agencies from 1938 until it was sold to the Northrop-Grumman Corporation in 1996. Northrop-Grumman continues to operate the division  today.

Among the products developed by Westinghouse Electronic Systems were a wide range of radar systems, air traffic control systems, airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) and the lunar Apollo-TV system.

The Westinghouse engineers interviewed for this project include:

Robert Dwight - Manager of administration for Westinghouse’s defense center who was instrumental in starting the National Electronics Museum.

Gene Strull - An administrator at Westinghouse, serving as the head of the Molecular Electronics Division, the general manager of the Advanced Technology Division, and Vice President for Technology.

Wayne Fegely - Served in many departments, including the Air Arm Division, Radar Development Section, and Advanced Development Engineering, and worked on many projects, including radar, stealth and EAR.

Ben Vester - Started in the Air Arm Division, where he working on the BOMARC radar, and later became manager of Electrical Design and then General Manager of Aerospace.

William Jones - Worked on projects such as AWACS, Overland Radar Technology, and phased array. He later became Electronic Warfare General Manager and headed parts of the commercial division.

Walter Ewanus - A career-long Westinghouse employee, he worked on many projects including Bomarc, satellite communications, B1B, F-117 and transcontinental communications.

Gwen Hays - Worked on computer-aided design, helping design computer languages such as Ada, and was also involved in radar development and was program manager of projects such as High Energy Laser Radar and Acquisition Tracking System (HELRATS).

Ted Foster - Had many positions and worked on many projects, including thick film technology, surveillance radar systems, and Very High Speed Integrated Circuits.

John Gregory - Worked in many groups, including the Digital Systems Group, Control Data Systems and Computing and Data Systems. He also worked on many projects, including AWAC, AN/AYK-8, millicomputers and BORAM.

Herb Nunnally - Began in the Field Engineering and Services Department and became marketing manager of FE&S and then for the Communications Division. He worked on various projects such as Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO), Communications Technology Satellite and teleconferencing.

Naomi McAfee - Began as an Associate Mathematician in reliability engineering and became the first female supervisory engineer and Section Manager at Westinghouse. Worked on various projects such as airborne radar, APQ 120, AWACS, lunar camera and CAALS.

Robert Baim - Worked in many positions, including as a test supervisor, positions in sales engineering and program management and as Director of Business and Technology Development. Projects he worked on included BOMARC, Minute Man Missile, Univac, F-15 radar, APQ-120, MIFASS and Comanche.

William Smanko - Held management positions in Military Requirements, Marketing for Corporate Market Research, Defense Company, the Systems Development Division and Ground Radars. Projects he worked include AWG10 Pulse Doppler, F15 bid and UKADGE.

Kenneth Plante - Worked as an engineering manager and then chief engineer for the Electronic Warfare Division. Projects he worked on include B70, ULCER, Pod programs, RWRs and ALQ-165.

Charles Denton - Worked on many important projects, including UK2 satellite, ECM programs, physical countermeasures pod, ALQ-131 and A-10 CFF – and held managerial positions such as engineering supervisor, program engineering manager, program manager and investment manager for commercial systems.

Lou Meren - Worked in management positions in the Power Generation Section, Equipment Design Engineering, Tactical Radars, the Surveillance Radar Division, Westinghouse Airships, and the CCCI&M Division. Projects he worked on include BOMARC, Deep Submergence Systems, FAA Scan Converter, ARSR-3/ARSR-4, Hawk Digital Processor, TPS-70 and NAAWS.

William Gretsch - Worked in several management positions and on projects such as AWACS, Apollo lunar TV and airships.

John "Jack" Nieberding - Worked in the software development section and was involved in many projects, including NASA Goddard contracts, AWACS and Peace Shield.

Mel Hotz - Worked on field test equipment and electronic warfare and countermeasures and was involved in projects such as ALQ-119, ALQ-153 and DIDS.

John Staehlin - Worked in the Antenna Advanced Development section on projects such as AWACS, APQ-72, AWG-10, B-1B, DIVADS, F-22, EAR and GATOR.

Wallace "Wally" Hoff - Worked in various groups, including the Advanced Technology Lab, Advanced Radar Development, Surveillance Radar Division and the Air Force Avionics Division. Projects he worked on include solid-state design, dead reckoning backpack system, radar projects, VHSIC, F-22/F-23, F-35, AWACS and SBIRS.

Charles Harper - Chemical engineer who was involved in many projects, including Aero 13 and VHSIC, as well as in the progress of electronic packaging and plastic. He has also written and taught extensively and been involved in professional groups.

Jack Spangler - Worked on many important projects such as BOMARC, Typhon, SPADE, Deep Submergence Program, and a meteorological satellite.

Herman Blinchikoff - Worked on electronic filters that were used in a wide range of Westinghouse projects.

Len Svensson - After spending the first part of his career working on radar systems, he played a leading role in the design and production of the lunar TV camera that was used by the Apollo 11 astronauts to send moving images back to Earth.

William "Bill" Skillman - Skillman played a leading role in the development of pulse Doppler radar systems.

F. Suzanne Jenniches - Over a 36 year career at Westinghouse and its successor Northrup-Grumman, Jenniches worked on a wide range of projects, ranging from highly defense classified work an automated sorting system for the U.S. Postal Service. She retired from Baltimore in 2010 as Vice President and General Manager.

Ralph Strong - Strong spent much of his career working on BOMARC. Later, he worked on several projects including the Gemini Rendezvous Radar and modifications on the radar system of the B-57 bomber.