Difference between revisions of "Oral-History:Richard Schwartz"

 
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Perhaps most notably, Schwartz was Rockwell’s GPS Satellite Program Manager and part of the team that developed, built, and launched the first GPS satellites in 1978. Along with his team, Dr. Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr. and Hugo Fruehauf, Schwartz received the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for their work on the Global Positioning System (GPS).
 
Perhaps most notably, Schwartz was Rockwell’s GPS Satellite Program Manager and part of the team that developed, built, and launched the first GPS satellites in 1978. Along with his team, Dr. Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr. and Hugo Fruehauf, Schwartz received the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for their work on the Global Positioning System (GPS).
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This oral history was made possible by support from Richard and Nancy Gowen.
  
 
== About the Interview ==
 
== About the Interview ==

Latest revision as of 12:53, 23 March 2020

About Richard Schwartz

Richard Schwartz is an aerospace engineer and executive who played a pioneering role in the development of Navstar GPS, the satellite-based navigation system. Born in New York City, Schwartz graduated from Brooklyn Tech, received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Cooper Union, in 1957, and an MBA from Pepperdine University, in 1972.

After graduating from Cooper Union, he drove across the USA with three college classmates, and started work at Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation (1957-1965). He went on to hold engineering, management, and executive positions with many leading aerospace companies, including the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International; Hercules Aerospace, and Alliant Techsystems. He led the development of many space and satellite programs, including the Rocketdyne X-1 engine and other rocket propulsion systems, the space shuttle Orbiter program, the Saturn V program, the Saturn launch vehicle, the NASA Space Shuttle’s main engine, an atomic clock, and antennas.

Perhaps most notably, Schwartz was Rockwell’s GPS Satellite Program Manager and part of the team that developed, built, and launched the first GPS satellites in 1978. Along with his team, Dr. Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr. and Hugo Fruehauf, Schwartz received the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for their work on the Global Positioning System (GPS).

This oral history was made possible by support from Richard and Nancy Gowen.

About the Interview

RICHARD SCHWARTZ: An Interview Conducted by Michael Geselowitz for the IEEE History Center, January 7, 2020.

Interview #841 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA or ieee-history@ieee.org. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Richard Schwartz, an oral history conducted in 2020 by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA.

Interview

INTERVIEWEE: Dick Schwartz

INTERVIEWER: Michael Geselowitz

DATE: 7 January 2020

PLACE: Westlake Village, California

Introduction

Geselowitz:

This is Mike Geselowitz from the IEEE History Center. I'm here in the LA area interviewing Dick Schwartz [Richard Schwartz], who recently was one of the co-awardees of the Queen Elizabeth II Engineering Prize for his role in GPS. Dick’s wife Ardath is also here. Well, Dick, what I'd like to do—I hope we have time to get to GPS, since that's what you're most noted for—is to start with your beginning, where you're born, your education, and how you chose engineering as a career.

Education

Schwartz:

I was born in New York City. My brother went to Brooklyn Tech, and he's the elder brother, older. I think that's what got me to Brooklyn Tech. You probably understand, Brooklyn Tech, you had to pass a test. It's one of the—at that time three—schools in New York City that was citywide. The rest were neighborhood schools. The three schools were Brooklyn Tech, Bronx School of Science, and Stuyvesant. I went to Tech. I actually took architecture at Tech, but I couldn't afford to go to an architecture school. Cooper Union was a free school at that time. I went on to Cooper and took engineering at Cooper. So that's how I got there. I went to grade school in Queens, high school in Brooklyn, and college in Manhattan. I thought New Jersey was out west.

Geselowitz:

Like the famous New Yorker cover.

Schwartz:

Right. Right.

Geselowitz:

You never got to the Bronx or Staten island?

Schwartz:

Oh, just for visiting.

Geselowitz:

Since you were sort of coming from a general interest in science and engineering, how'd you decide what to study at Cooper?

Schwartz:

I actually got into Cooper as a civil engineer and then I decided I wanted to be a mechanical engineer kind of midway through. I went, I think, to Columbia and took a couple of courses so I could change, and I changed to mechanical. I thought mechanical was a more wide-open field.

At both of those schools, the main thrust I see is Brooklyn Tech had some really smart kids and Cooper had some really, really smart kids. I kind of have said I got to play with all-stars while going to school and some of it's got to rub off. That's what I see about Cooper. The students were just outstanding. One of the guys I graduated with wound up being the chancellor of UCLA. We had a little reunion. He came back and he says at Cooper the students are so good you could just put them in a room, throw the books in, and close the door. He was pretty close to right, I think. The students were outstanding.

Geselowitz:

Right. And probably self-motivated also.

Schwartz:

Oh, absolutely. Then kind of around the start of GPS, I had worked for ten or twelve years, I decided to get an MBA and I got it from Pepperdine, out here.

Geselowitz:

We'll get back to that. We'll cover that piece.

Schwartz:

Okay. Yeah,

Geselowitz:

Before we move on, any particular faculty members stand out from your years at Cooper?

Schwartz:

Not really. Not really. The students stand out, but not the faculty so much.

Geselowitz:

Interesting.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

What happened when you graduated from Cooper?

Road Trip to California and Early Career

Schwartz:

I got in the car with three other guys, I think it was probably a week after graduation, and we drove to California because we all had jobs out here.

Geselowitz:

You'd already lined up a job here?

Schwartz:

Oh, yeah,

Geselowitz:

What was that first job?

Schwartz:

It was at the Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation which later became Rockwell International. People ask me how I got to California. They took a bunch of kids to Detroit to interview at an automotive company, I think it was Chrysler, but I'm not sure. The guy running the tour has ten or twelve kids there. As we're leaving he says we really do great technology here, but those airplane companies on the west coast, they blow your mind at what they do. So that was encouragement.

Geselowitz:

That wasn't a good recruiting tool, I would say, for the auto industry. In general, did the recruiters come to campus or take you to their place?

Schwartz:

Oh, yeah. In fact, North American Aviation had a New York guy stationed in New York who went around interviewing people. He came back, when I later become president of Rocketdyne, kind of pumping his chest, saying you know I hired that guy. Then the other thing was, too, in those days before all the deregulation at Ma Bell, it used to cost me about four bucks [dollars] in quarters when I called home from here for a three-minute call. All of a sudden, I got a person-to-person call from California from this guy wanting to talk to me and that kind of blew me. It was a guy at Rocketdyne, one of the key managers. I think those are the two things that did it. Then one of the guys that I went west with had mapped out an AAA [American Automobile Association] tour. We really did a tour of the United States. Four kids who had never been out of New York City. We saw the west coast, Yellowstone Park, and all that stuff. We had a Studebaker that I think he bought the Friday before the Monday we left for about 150 bucks [dollars]. We drove 4,400 miles and burned thirty-eight quarts of oil.

Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation

Geselowitz:

Wow. That's amazing. Where were they based? Where are they headquartered? Rocketdyne?

Schwartz:

Oh, Rocketdyne's headquartered in Canoga Park, California; the west end of the San Fernando Valley.

Geselowitz:

So very close to here, really.

Schwartz:

Well, probably fifteen miles or so.

Geselowitz:

Relatively speaking, yeah.

Schwartz:

Yeah, and the reason Rocketdyne was headquartered there is that the North American had purchased and leased some land in the Santa Susana Mountains, which is a mountain range at probably 1,800 to 2,000 feet. It had a whole bunch of canyons that they could build test stands in. I went to work up at Santa Susana. I think at that time there were eighteen test stands working. It was booming all the time. You have big rocket engines firing.

Geselowitz:

What year was this?

Schwartz:

1957. That was probably one of the heights at Rocketdyne. They were building for the buildup of ballistic missiles. ICBMs were liquid propellant in those days. They were building for other things. They started building for the Apollo Program. It was a lot activity and it was hands on. I worked with the test stands with these technicians and I would say it was kind of dirty-hand engineering work. It was good.

Geselowitz:

What was the first project they put you on?

Schwartz:

First project I worked on, I was in an experimental engine group and I worked on an engine called the X-1, which was developing new techniques for starting and operating. It was a 150,000-pound engine and derivatives of the X-1 wound up on one of the first Saturn vehicles. Not the final one, but one of the first ones. We were trying new things and they didn't always work. Every day was different. That's sure.

Geselowitz:

How long did you work for them?

Schwartz:

I worked for Rocketdyne from 1957 to 1965. In oh, the early 1960s, I got sent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to analyze some classified material and I spent a year locked in a room analyzing classified material. When I came back, in 1963, I worked again at Rocketdyne. I worked on the Lance Missile, which was a liquid-propelled tactical missile. Then I transferred down to our space division to work on the Saturn II booster.

In 1965, I transferred to the Mississippi Test Facility which is now [NASA’s] Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, which had really big stands. We were going to test—we did test—the second stage booster, 100 foot tall, 33 foot in diameter. Five liquid hydrogen engines on the bottom of it. We worked there from 1965 to 1968.

Marriage and Frequent Relocation

Geselowitz:

Now, when did you get married?

Ardath:

1959.

Schwartz:

1959.

Geselowitz:

How did your wife feel about moving down to Mississippi? I understand she was a native Californian?

Ardath:

I wasn't turning loose of him.

Schwartz:

She has really been great. We have moved, I think, seventeen times. She has taken every move kind of as an adventure. Something different. We've lived in Mississippi. We've lived in Ohio. Our first son was born when I worked in Ohio. We've lived in Minnesota. Where the heck else did we live?

Ardath:

Florida.

Schwartz:

Oh, we've lived in Florida, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. We've moved around quite a bit. Every one's been different and fun. Would I go back to some of them? No, but it was fun.

Geselowitz:

So, was Ohio just a one-year assignment?

Schwartz:

Yes, it was from June 1962 to June 1963.

Geselowitz:

Has it been declassified? Can you tell us a little bit about that project?

Schwartz:

Well, it was analyzing the other guys' rocket data. Some of the other people who had an interest in rockets in those days.

Geselowitz:

Okay.

Apollo Projects

Schwartz:

We came back in 1968 and I became the chief engineer in a program and then the Vice President and Program Manager as it was winding down. I was back there during the moon landing, and we were technical support for all the launches. Then we gradually tapered down the activity. We're ending a program, and I acquired all the advance program material where we did some unmanned satellites which again led to the GPS. So that's where it was. We came back and we lived in Orange County.

Geselowitz:

In terms of what was—you mentioned the Apollo Program. We and a lot of other historians and the services were paying attention last year because it was the fiftieth anniversary of the actual moon landing.

Schwartz:

Yeah, yeah.

Geselowitz:

What was Rocketdyne's role in the support of the Apollo Program? You mentioned the early Saturn Rockets.

Schwartz:

Rockwell had three roles on the Apollo Program. They built the capsule, the second Stage, and the engines. Rocketdyne built virtually all of the big engines for that. They built the first stage, the F-1s, which are 1.5 million pounds; five of them. They built a second stage, five hydrogen-oxygen J-2 engines that were 200,000 pounds. They built, for the third stage, one J-2 engine, hydrogen. So, they built all of those to the moon. The smaller engines were built by other people.

Then Rocketdyne also—and I wasn't there at the time. There was an ascent and a descent to the moon. One of those got in big trouble—the engine. I'm not sure if it was built by Bell or somebody else. NASA came in and took it away from Bell and gave it to Rocketdyne and the guy became a hero. He took the program that was in trouble and then it was very successful.

Geselowitz:

Was that on the lunar excursion module?

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

That was the module that was largely built by Grumman.

Schwartz:

Right. Right. But the engines were built by Bell and then Rocketdyne.

Geselowitz:

Grumman built the electronics.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Oh, wow.

Schwartz:

In my judgment, when I came back, Rocketdyne had to fight a thing of technical arrogance. We've been to the moon. What do you want? We'll see if we want to deal with you. So we've had to overcome that.

Geselowitz:

Do you remember watching the moon landing?

Schwartz:

Oh, yeah.

Geselowitz:

Where were you, in the Rocketdyne offices, at home?

Schwartz:

The first landing was in 1969 and I was managing the second stage program (Saturn II) located in Downey, California. I believe I was at home watching the landing.

Geselowitz:

Everyone watched?

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

And cheered, I assume?

Schwartz:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah,

Geselowitz:

What happened next in your career?

Rockwell Space Division, Satellites, and GPS

Schwartz:

Well, at Rockwell we had very few programs, but they were gigantic. The Apollo, the Saturn. The head of that program was the vice president. I was the vice president of the Saturn II program. Then we put the advance program stuff together with it, and I started working on advanced things along with winding the program down.

Then along comes GPS and we went through a little analysis and said that we should propose somebody who's actually been a program manager and did something. It turned out we had two, one on Apollo and one on Saturn. So kind of maybe you could even say organizationally I stepped down to do the GPS program. It was the best thing I ever did. But that's what I did.

Geselowitz:

How did the NAVSTAR—which became GPS—people, how did they approach you or how did that happen that they approached Rocketdyne and said we need you to launch satellites?

Schwartz:

No, no, not Rocketdyne. When I moved to Downey, it was to the Space Division.

Geselowitz:

It was the Rockwell Space Division, which was separate from the Rocketdyne Rocket Propulsion Division?

Schwartz:

Space Division. Yeah.

Geselowitz:

They approached Rockwell?

Schwartz:

No, they didn't approach us.

Geselowitz:

Oh, they put out a call for proposals?

Schwartz:

Yes, they called for proposals. The sequence of events was the GPS program was preceded by a 621-B program. It did a lot of analysis and had some ups and downs. Finally, in 1973, they set up a joint program office that Brad Parkinson ran in the Air Force with Navy and Army participation. In late 1973, he was fighting the battle in the Pentagon to get it approved. Mal Curry, who had come out of Hughes, was the head of DDR and third in the Pentagon hierarchy. In December it was approved and Dr. Malcom Curry approved it with an atomic clock in space so you could have cheap clocks on the ground. Except, the atomic clock didn't exist at that time. And so it was left to the student, us, to go develop, build it, and deliver it. The RFP came out, I think, in January of 1974. We submitted a proposal, I think, in April and it was awarded in June. It was pretty rapid.

Geselowitz:

That's pretty quick.

Schwartz:

Pretty rapid fire. Yeah. The happenstance of it. We enjoyed camping as a family. I had a little vacation trailer and we were actually camping on the Kern River, which is in the Sierras. A beautiful little river. There were no cell phones in those days, so I used to ride my bicycle down every day and call in and see what's happening. They announced it on a Friday afternoon, as usual, and said the Air Force wants to meet you in your office on Monday morning. There's only one steak house on the Kern River, one little one. We went there and all the kids had steaks, we had a steak, and Ardath and I had a bottle of wine to toast it. It was great.

Geselowitz:

I imagine there's still no cell service up there, though, from what we were saying before. Anyway, those days there was no cell service anywhere, which is interesting because I guess we'll get to the story. I mean when people think of GPS now they think of accessing it through their cell phone. Right?

Schwartz:

Right, right.

Geselowitz:

But that wasn't the original idea.

Schwartz:

GPS has nothing to do with the cell phone.

Geselowitz:

Right. About how many people were on your team working on that?

Schwartz:

It was small. It probably started out with maybe thirty or something like that. Rockwell, in hindsight, was the ideal company to award it to. Rockwell was a very decentralized company. I always thought of Boeing as a very centralized company; all decisions are made in Seattle. But, Rockwell Space Division had its charter. It could make all the decisions there, so I could set up the GPS program virtually any way I wanted. I made all the decisions on GPS. I was the Rockwell of GPS. If anybody wanted anything, they'd come see me. They didn't have to go see anybody else. It was really good. I was responsible for design, development, testing, getting the procurement going, customer contacts, and things of that nature. That's where I met Mal Curry in his office in the Pentagon.

I think that was great for GPS because we could do our thing. I moved everybody to a new building. It was actually a converted warehouse, where we put up some partitions and all the people come to visit me had to go across the loading dock. I wanted people so they could touch and feel each other every day. I selected what I believe were the best people available for the individual pieces of the satellite. They were really very, very smart people. Parkinson had some smart guys in the Air Force and he had some smart Aerospace guys. You put three smart groups of people together—there was no politics in it all. We just wanted to put something up that worked, and it worked very well.

I built the team around the engineers. The engineers were really mini-program managers for their thing. They did the analysis. They did the design. They put out the procurement specs. I gave them a procurement guy, like a contract guy to work with them. Then they'd monitor their subcontractors. They reviewed his data, and when it came in, they tested it. When we went to launch, I used to shut down—we were working at Seal Beach, but we launched out of Vandenberg, so I'd shut down the operation for two days, and the people would go up to Vandenberg, because we didn't have enough people for Vandenberg. They became responsible for that.

After launch, several of us would jump in a car and we'd drive up to Sunnyvale, which was the initial control station. We used to call it the blue cube up there. It was a blue building, I don't know, four or five stories high. It was square. Then we'd monitor the satellites and do our thing there. The guys really took the responsibility great, and they really picked it up.

You're probably not ready to talk about GPS yet.

Geselowitz:

Well, it sounds like we're up to GPS.

Schwartz:

Yes.

Geselowitz:

So yes, when were the initial satellites launched?

Schwartz:

Well, the start—the contract was awarded in June of 1974. Around that time I went to Pepperdine to get an MBA. It had three elements of it. The financial part, but the part I got the most out of was the people part. In engineering, three beats two, four beats three, but there's people in the middle of that. The key is to get the people involved, so that was the engineers. We used to have a Monday morning meeting on GPS which started at 8:30 and had to end at 11 o'clock because we didn't want to spend all day in it. Each guy would get up and go through what he did last week, what he's going to do next week, and what were his problems. Those days we had view graphs, three view graphs and they had—some of them hand done and all that kind of stuff.

When we first started the Air Force would come see me Monday afternoon and I'd have to go through the whole thing again. Then my boss up in Downey, California had a staff meeting on Tuesday morning. I get to Tuesday noon and I said, I haven't done a tad bit of work yet; this is stupid, so I talked to the Air Force and said you can come to our meeting on Monday morning. I only have one criterion, you cannot speak. You can listen and take any notes you want and then you can come see me right after the meeting and say what you like or what you don't like, but you cannot interrupt the meeting or I'll have to have a meeting before that meeting.

Geselowitz:

Anyway, which is what you're trying to avoid.

Schwartz:

That's right. Yeah, and they did. They wound up loving it. We had a reunion down at the Air Force base recently and one of the guys talked about it. He said that when I told them they couldn't speak, he was in shock, but he said that it really was the right thing to do.

Geselowitz:

Did Brad ever come to any of those meetings?

Schwartz:

Oh, yeah. The way we did it, it started at 8:30 A.M., but the Air Force should show up at 8 A.M. We'd meet in my office with some of the financial stuff because the meeting was meant to be technical and schedule related. He'd come to those and he'd sit through at least the first part of it. We had a monthly meeting with the Air Force, which would start the same time. He would come early, but that meeting would go on to 7, 8 o'clock at night, so he'd stay for the first part of it and then leave. I told the Air Force, we'll have one meeting a month, one day. I don't care what time of the day it ends, we're not coming back the second day, and that was good for everybody. You know everybody's tired at the end of the day, but we were done with that kind of stuff. That's kind of the thing.

We launched the first satellite forty-four months after the contract was awarded. Then we launched four in nine months, starting February 1978 and finishing in December 1978. We had four satellites up and it proved that for the navigation accuracy we need four satellites. The GPS was off and running. They passed their Defense Acquisition Review, number two. Then it was just a question of funding to get up to the twenty-four satellites and as now over thirty flying. It was good. The program also instituted the high reliability parts for the first time, so-called S parts. It took a while to get the parts, but they didn't fail once we got them. That was great. We also had a test program and new test spec. that emphasized to test as you are going to fly with some extra stress added. This helped to produce satellites that did not fail in orbit.

We had some guys in the Aerospace Corporation who had worked on the classified satellites and they obviously couldn't tell us mission specifics, but they could tell us individual things that they did in the Spacecraft systems. One of the things that they came up with or suggested was because of where we were located, we could go factory to pad, so we did all the final testing like we were on the pad at the factory. We put it on a truck, left at 4 in the morning, and got to Vandenberg by noon. Then we picked it right up and put it on top of the stack right then. We want the factory to check it. Nobody messed with it at Vandenberg. The only thing we did is hook up subordinates the day before a launch. It was the right thing to do.

Geselowitz:

Who was the third? You had Brad Parkinson in the end, trying to handle the government and DOD from the Navy side.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Then you were the launch side. You said there was a third group, the aerospace group.

Schwartz:

Aerospace Corporation.

Geselowitz:

Who was that and what was their role?

Schwartz:

They are the technical arm of the Air Force at El Segundo. They've got really a lot of the corporate memory because they've worked on classified programs and unclassified programs, so they bring a lot of that to the table. The Air Force officers have a certain time when they transfer to different things, transfer out, and that kind of stuff. We happen to have a really good guy from the Aerospace Corporation. His name was Rezpnick and he had a lot of hands-on experience. He brought a lot of good stuff to the table.

On the GPS, we did a lot of work in the pre-proposal area. We really had a three-axis satellite design and this was going to be a tiny satellite because they were using Atlases out of the silos. The satellite itself weighed 850 pounds and was probably four foot in diameter and five foot long. We had a kick motor that we put on it; the way we launched the Atlas. Somebody's kicked stage put us in a gigantic elliptical orbit. The top of the elliptical orbit was like 12,000 miles at the apogee. We kicked her off that and I put us in a circular orbit at 12,000 miles. The idea of that was we'd be at a 12-hour orbit. Once a day, we'd pass over the continental United States. This was the Cold War period. We didn't know if we'd have stations in the other part of the world. The satellite could be updated in the United States, but for that you needed an atomic clock, and that didn't exist when we started. That was a big chore and I think you get to talk to Hugo Fruehauf tomorrow.

Geselowitz:

Yeah.

Clocks and Antennas

Schwartz:

He's the expert on that.

We looked around and the clocks being worked out in the labs at different places were thirty, forty pounds and no way could we handle that. Well, one of our guys found this little German clockmaker who had a plant in Munich, Germany and one in Costa Mesa, California. He had a little five-by-five by five thing that weighed a couple of pounds; less than five pounds, I think. It was performing on the ground, performing very well, but he didn’t know anything about performing up in the Van Allen belt. We wound up teaming him with our electronic people from Anaheim and Hugo was helping guide the two. We built a hardened clock that made it to the first satellite and we put three on the first four; a set three on each of the satellites.

The guy who ran that company was a fellow by the name of Ernst Jechart and he was a genius, an absolute genius. He works like geniuses work, in my opinion. They work when they want to, so he worked from noon to midnight. That was his work day. I’d go see him at 7, 8 o’clock at night, and his wife would bring around German white wine and cookies at 9 o’clock while we were meeting. One time he took me out to his lab and the rubidium clock has got a little vapor glass cell, about the size of my small finger, and it’s kind of rusty color gas in there. He goes out and picks one up, looks at it, no good; so he picks the next one up and he said that’s good. He’s going through his sorting of cells. I say Ernst, what are you looking at? In his broken English he says, only I know, Dick, what I’m looking at. That’s where we started.

Geselowitz:

If only one guy knows what he is looking at, that’s not good for replication in a billion-dollar program!

Schwartz:

We got that. The clock performed well. Then, the cesium was thought to be the clock for the GPS, but it wound up having some problems with drifts and all. Today, they're flying only rubidium clocks on it. They've gotten a little bit more accurate, but they're good. He did a superb job, superb. I can't say enough about him. He was kind of one of my heroes.

The other key thing that we did technologically was you get up to 12,000 miles, you look down at the earth, the middle of it's kind of close to you, but the edges are pretty far away. We had our antenna team design an antenna that subtracted the power in the middle and spread it out to the edges, so we provided essentially equal power, edge of earth to edge of earth. It worked. They all worked. It's the antenna that's up there today. The signal structure that was designed and Spilker had a lot to do with, that's still a signal structure today. It survived forty years with all the technology going on. It's kind of amazing, the quality of workload that was done at that time.

Geselowitz:

Especially if you think about how much terrestrial technology has changed. Like right here in that time.

Team Approach, Management, and an MBA

Schwartz:

Yeah. I believe very, very strongly in the team activity. Everybody talks about teams, but the team is stronger than the sum of the parts. If you get half ideas building on half ideas, you really wind up superior. Parkinson had a good team, the Aerospace Corporation had a good team, and we had a great team. That's the way it was, just one supporting the other. We could do our thing and that kind of stuff. We had a great guy who did altitude control and a great guy that did the payload, so every one of them was smarter than I was. They were very smart in their own specialties.

Geselowitz:

I would think with all your experience you would not need more education, but you decided to go get the MBA and you said you thought it really helped. That is interesting, because some people say it's more of a natural thing and other people say it could be learned. So, you really felt that the business school at Pepperdine had actual advice or courses on how to manage complex programs that helped you.

Schwartz:

Well, I went to get an MBA for bad motives. I wanted to be able to write MBA after my name, that was my only thing, but I got there and I wound up learning something.

Geselowitz:

That's always good.

Schwartz:

I read all the stuff on people and I began to assess that all this engineering and computer stuff is good, but you got to get the people working together. I did the MBA at nights which is a chore in itself since I was working long times during the day. The people and I read almost every management book there was at that time. I used to read them walking so I wouldn't fall asleep, It was good. It said the value of people and I was not shy to look for people that could help us.

GPS had to be designed for an electronic pulse—a nuclear pulse because of ground testing going on at that time. Some of the subcontractors we had didn't know from sour apples about that. Says how can we price it in and I could've just written a spec and just let it happen but I said, I'll tell you what. You price it in forty hours of your best designer's time. We'll send somebody to meet with him and if that guy, our guy—creates cost for you, you send me a bill. We got a guy who had worked on the Minuteman Missile, an electronics guy, Norm Rudy, who's just spectacular on this. So he'd go meet with these people and he'd design the front end of their boxes. Not only didn't they charge me, they fell in love with him because he helped design the thing and he went around and he was the expert. We all just had to say, well, Norm Rudy says, and everybody says that he's got it. He's got it coldcocked. I didn't get one bill from a subcontractor, not one. And they really thought it helped them. You can do those kind of things, if you got the people.

We built redundancy into the satellite. We had three clocks, two power amplifiers, and two digital circuits, and we didn't use a lot of them. You know, and one of the stories—if you read that thing I wrote is that I think maybe after the second satellite was up and they were working like a jewel, one of the Air Force officers come up to me and says, why don't we turn off the main system and see if the redundancy works? And here we are trying to show navigation. I said, over my dead body are we going to shut off a working system. I said, we'll shut it off if we have to, but not before then. We didn't shut it off, obviously. It was like it was going to be a college physics experiment. I said, you know, physics experiment, you're a screwdriver away. I'm 12,000 miles away from that son of a gun.

Geselowitz:

And billions of dollars at stake.

Schwartz:

Yes, and perfection was the name of the game. We wanted to do things better and right; whether it be the parts or the testing.

Geselowitz:

Okay. So now we have GPS.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

What next for Dick Schwartz?

Rocketdyne Division President and Work for NASA Space Programs

Schwartz:

That's kind of a story. I worked to get the four satellites up and prove we can navigate and after that I went on to do other things. I became the second-in-control of the Shuttle program. Rockwell built the Orbiter, but they also did the integration. We were responsible to integrate all the elements in that. I moved back to the Downy area to do that and then I went to the Cape in Florida to work on a proposal for the running the Cape.

Then I went back to Rocketdyne twenty years after I left to become president at Rocketdyne Division. We grew. Rocketdyne was thought of as a component house and it was doing $400-$500 million a year business, so it was healthy and the best in the world for rocket engines. But, I decided we had a lot of talent that could do some more system-oriented work, so we grew some more. I was there for six years, from 1983 until 1989. We grew the division from $400-$500 million a year to over $1 billion a year in sales and more than doubled the profit. We did it by winning additional expendable large vehicle rocket engines and also the Space Station power system which was a $1.6 billion job to build a power system and it was kind of a quirk. Rockwell was in the nuclear energy business, but nuclear energy was headed toward zero, you know, everybody didn't want nuclear energy.

Geselowitz:

Now, what year was this? After Three Mile Island in 1979, I suppose.

Schwartz:

Yes. Probably 1983, 1984 timeframe. Rockwell couldn't sustain themselves, and they said, just stick it into Rocketdyne so you can handle the overheads and all that.

This Space Station power job comes up and we got guys who understand power systems and you got me and other people who understand the space side and the customer, so we put together a team made up of that. I said, my job is to get you introduced to all the NASA people—it was a NASA program—and your job is to design a good power system. I went around teaming with the best in the industry. I teamed with Philco-Ford, who later became Loral, and Lockheed to build solar arrays and that kind of stuff.

It was two phases in it, if the first phase it would go to award two contracts to do design work. We won one of those, just barely. I said, we only got to finish second there and in the third phase we want to finish first, so we had these teaming arrangements and the design got better. Our program manager was a power guy and we'd go around to meet all the NASA people and it was good. It was him and me. I said, hey, you ought to meet him. And he came to me one day and said, shouldn't I meet Joe? I said, by God, I forgot about him. Let's go. So, he became known as our guy.

NASA was building the space station bigger and bigger and bigger and needed more and more power. It turned out the only way you could get to it is if you put a turbine system in it with a fluid that boiled and ran a turbine and condensed. There were two outfits who did it, Garrett and Sundstrand. I signed a teaming agreement with both of those people and we could build a space station to satisfy NASA. Our competition was TRW. In my judgment, the contract was set up for TRW and they went to NASA and tried to break my teammate agreements, but NASA wouldn't break them. So what they did is they quit. We're not working on it anymore. So we submitted the only proposal for a $1.6 billion job and I told all the people, this is one time in your lifetime. Don't ever expect this again.

We performed very, very well on it, very well, so that's what helped Rocketdyne grow. When I left Rocketdyne, I left to go to another company in 1989. We had a $1 billion and $ 50 million of sales and $3 billion of backlogs, so it was a real healthy place. Then I went on and took over this space part of Hercules Aerospace which built solid propellant, motors, and all, and worked on that.

Hercules Aerospace

Geselowitz:

They were also here [California]?

Schwartz:

No, they were in Wilmington, Delaware.

Geselowitz:

Oh, okay.

Schwartz:

My lovely wife went to Wilmington, Delaware and we actually lived in Pennsylvania.

Geselowitz:

Like New Hope or one of those areas?

Schwartz:

Well, we lived in Chadds Ford.

Geselowitz:

Chadds Ford.

Schwartz:

Right. Wilmington is ten miles away from Chadds Ford. Wilmington is right, smack, at the top of Delaware. I worked there and we had a real tough problem that we got in deep mud on a big program we had. I went to the Air Force and said, the Pentagon, said, can you help us or we can't help you? They said, you got to go across the street, and they pointed to Congress, so I said, okay, you don't have to tell me twice. We went over to Congress and we got a bill to Congress to provide money so we could solve the problem. It was amazing. The Air Force used to complain that if we give you this, everybody's going to line up at the door. A year later, we went back to see the General who said that, and I said, did you have a big line at the door? He said, no. I said, how come? He said, they couldn't figure out how you did it.

Geselowitz:

But wait, they're headquartered in Delaware?

Schwartz:

Yes.

Senator Joe Biden

Geselowitz:

So presumably, the Delaware Senators had something to do with it?

Schwartz:

That would have been Joe Biden.

Geselowitz:

It was Joe Biden still at that time?

Schwartz:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Joe Biden.

Geselowitz:

Well, he's a very smart politician.

Schwartz:

Yeah. Oh, yes. Oh, he was a smart politician then, too. Delaware is a very small state.

Geselowitz:

Yeah. It is, when you think about it.

Schwartz:

Everybody kind of knows everybody else.

Geselowitz:

Do you know Joe Biden?

Schwartz:

I knew him then. I don't really know him anymore. But no, we talked at—in fact, he stepped out of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg hearing; he was the head of the Judiciary Committee.

Geselowitz:

The Judiciary Committee, right.

Schwartz:

He stepped out of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg hearing, when she was getting confirmed, talked to us, kind of behind the lectern there, on our issues. No, and he's a good guy. Very talkative, a good guy. He can carry on three different conversations at the same time and be cogent.

Then Hercules decided they wanted to just be a chemical company and they wanted to shed the aerospace, so they sent us to Alliant Techsystems, which was a munitions company spun off of Honeywell. It turned out there was a hostile takeover by some financial guys and they wanted a new CEO and they appointed me CEO of the new company. I worked there until I retired in the year 2000.

Working on GPS and Satelites Again

Geselowitz:

Where was that? Where were they headquartered?

Schwartz:

Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Geselowitz:

Minnesota?

Schwartz:

No, no, they were located, I guess—they were just on the outskirts of Milwaukee. No, not Milwaukee…

Geselowitz:

Minneapolis or Saint Paul?

Schwartz:

Minneapolis, yeah. Yeah. I'm on a board of a company in Milwaukee, that's why I stumbled there. So that was it. And everything's been different, and that kind of stuff. So I've dealt with Congress, I've dealt with the Pentagon, and this guy I talked about, Mal Curry, he was really smart. I'd go to see him occasionally and he one time told me; he said, Bob Anderson was the CEO of Rockwell and they knew each other. He said to me, and I’m down a few pegs from Anderson, he said, go back and tell Bob Anderson he can screw up any program he's got with the DOD, but not GPS.

Geselowitz:

That's interesting.

Schwartz:

Then we did this thing with the Congress on getting a bill passed for the Hercules people. So that all adds interest and re-expansion to the whole thing and it was good. I just jotted down a few things. Oh, I want to compliment the Air Force on GPS. They put out a spec that said, we're going to fly this high, we want this much signal on the ground, and we can lift this much weight. The rest of the problem's yours. They didn't change. They did not change. A lot of these programs are sunk by changes. It didn't change. We had done the design and the proposal and we made essentially no changes from proposal, start, to launch. We were working on the details and it was really good.

Geselowitz:

Now, how much do you think your decision to tell them, you can come but you can't talk, helped with that? Because on the one hand, you are a hundred percent transparent, but they couldn't interfere—I mean, they could come to you afterwards in the afternoon and complain. But they saw everything and so they knew what you were working on. Do you think that was a piece of the success?

Schwartz:

Well, that helped because, although I was not trying to hide a thing, they heard it from the horse's mouth. They didn't hear my interpretation of what the horse said to me in the morning and they thought it was great. They got to be able, or they could hold their mouth closed, that kind of stuff. It worked out just great. In fact, Ed Lassiter, who was the head Aerospace guy, we saw him four, five months ago or something like that. That's one of the things he wanted to talk about. He said, well, you told us we couldn't talk and he said, that turned out to be really good. Though that helped, that helped.

The Air Force also had a creative spec. and Gaylord Green was probably the architect to that. He was, I think, a captain at that time. He kind of ran the Air Force Space segment. It was fixed price incentive, which means you could overrun up to 25 percent and then it went to zero, it was all on you. You then shared the profit up to that. It had an award fee element in it where they'd come in and say, well, you could do this better, you could do that better; you know, just management. It had an additional incentive feature where we got so many dollars a day that it worked and we pay them so many dollars a day if it didn't work. It was more favored in times of working. We could earn more than $1 million, if it worked perfectly. It was, I don't know, $300,000 - $400,000 a day if we didn't work.

We made money on that, it was good. There was a negative feature, if you can't get the satellite up in the right place the first time, you owe us $500,000; the Air Force. He set up, I think, some pretty creative things. I'm sure you know that we had a pretty proficient designer on GPS too. His name was Albert Einstein. We had to use his relativity to make the sucker work.

Geselowitz:

[Laughs.] Right. Then Jim Spilker did a lot of the mathematical stuff.

Schwartz:

Yeah, oh, yeah.

Geselowitz:

A little bit, right?

Schwartz:

Yeah, he did the mathematical stuff with the code structure and all. Hugo could tell the story better than I, so Gaylord Green was having lunch with, I think, Edward Teller one day and Teller just said, well, you guys have taken into account relativity, haven't you? They hadn't, so as soon as lunch was over, the relativity wheels starting turning. It's about six miles a day that you'd have an error if you didn't take that in. I think this might be the only program that's ever practically used Einstein's theory because the clocks are moving and all that kind of stuff.

Geselowitz:

Right. You're moving so fast.

Schwartz:

Yeah, yeah.

Geselowitz:

Like, you wouldn't need it on a train—even a high-speed train, you wouldn't have to worry about going—

Schwartz:

Yeah. Right, right. Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Right?

Schwartz:

Yeah. But this thing is moving a heck of a lot faster than that. I think of some of those management things and wonder why they're not better. I've talked to Parkinson about it. Why not just copy what you did? Everybody's got the room and the bureaucracy has gotten tougher with people checking, and checking, and checking. People have told me, they couldn't do what I did. You know, guys who are running the programs today, and I don't know why.

Oh, the other thing we did implement too, was a common buy of piece parts. We got each subcontractor to give us a list of parts, we picked out all the common ones, and we'd go to National Semiconductor and say, give us 3,000 of these parts. And “Joe, Pete, and Mary” companies will come buy them from you. If you got any left over at the end of the game, we'll talk about negotiating. Then these guys will pay you from when they come. It was a lot of work, but it worked like a jewel. It lowered the costs, upped their reliability. It was the right thing to do. Again, the guy you're talking to tomorrow, get a lot out of Hugo.

Oh, and the life of the satellites. People talk about different numbers, but from my perspective, it was designed for five years of life. It had a four years' worth of incentives, these thousand dollars a day. I said hundreds of thousands; that might have been thousands of dollars a day. I got a table here. The first satellite—oh, I used to tell the Air Force, I do not know how to design a satellite that will fail at five years and one day. I just don't know how to do that. So the first one—satellite one—lasted seven years and five months. The second one, nine years and eight months. The third one, thirteen years and seven months. The fourth one, ten years and ten months. They outlasted what the Air Force was planning on and that lowers the total cost of the program. If you had to put up a satellite every four years…

Geselowitz:

Getting your five years in.

Schwartz:

We don't have to put up three or four satellite—and, I think, the Russians' were failing after a year or two. You almost couldn't keep a constellation, a 24, a 30 supply to that. Now, they're lasting, I think the spec might be fifteen years or something. Once you get it up there and get through all the shake, rattle, and roll, and all; it's a very stable environment. You know exactly what it is, you know how hot it's going to get, how cold it's going to get. And through it all, the thrashing around, it's great. You just got to keep it glued together until you get up there. And that's what we did. I think, they were both records at the time. Launching forty-four months after the contract was awarded and four of them in nine months. Parkinson and I talk, just occasionally now, and he says, yeah, they all worked.

Geselowitz:

He was counting on some of that failure money back in his budget probably, right? That's amazing. I wanted to ask you a little bit about what you did after you retired. Because for one thing, so you've lived a lot of time in California, your wife is a native Californian. You've been in Mississippi, you've been in Florida, and you’ve been in Delaware. But now, you're retiring, you're in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, so…

Schwartz:

Came back here.

Geselowitz:

That can't be an ideal place to be, so what did you do?

Return to California, Family, and Retirement

Schwartz:

Came back here. We bought this house and in1987 we bought a cabin in a National Forest, actually between Sequoia Park and Yosemite Park, but in a National Forest. It's on the lake, Huntington Lake, and there are not a lot of lakes in California. We bought that in 1987 and it's been a family reunion place up there.

Ardath:

It's my home.

Schwartz:

When the kids were young, they used to come around the 4th of July and around Labor Day, for a week or two. We had a ski boat, so they all learned to water ski and all that kind of stuff. We got kayaks and sailboats. It was kind of a dream place. I call it my place in heaven.

Ardath:

Yes.

Schwartz:

We go there and we'll go there this summer, again. We're there and I like to oil paint as a hobby. I've done more painting since I've been retired. And that's kind of what we've done. We've done a little bit of traveling, but not copious amounts like some people do. We did enjoy the trip to London, England; we did enjoy that. And this is still the meeting place at Christmastime for our family. And so we just kind of enjoy the weather. Like I tell everybody, I do nothing now and I enjoy every minute of it.

Geselowitz:

Do you golf? Because you live next to a golf course.

Schwartz:

No, actually I don't and the reason is simple. I would like to play respectfully—that's great, but it takes a whole Saturday to do it. I just didn't want to give up that time. I kind of said I worked when I worked, then the time off, I played with the family. We have a local cabin in the San Bernardino mountains and we live down by Seal Beach, in a town called Fountain Valley. I could work Saturday morning, get in the car, and we'd be up in an hour and forty minutes. There was a ski area close by and the kids learned to snow ski. It was just like a switch. You're in another world and it's just totally different. We could ski on Sunday, bring them back, have dinner while all the traffic's going off the hill, put them in their pajamas, throw them in the back of the station wagon, and drive home. We’d get home by 10 o'clock at night and throw them in bed. It worked out great. If I went up Friday night, we'd have two days to do that kind of stuff, so it was good. It takes a little longer, from here, to get there now, but that's what I've been doing and I enjoy every minute of it.

Geselowitz:

You enjoy it? That's great.

Schwartz:

I do little do-it-yourself kind of stuff.

Ardath:

Does a LOT of do-it-yourself stuff.

Schwartz:

So—what's it say? When you're retired, you get up with nothing to do; when you go to sleep, you're only half-done.

Geselowitz:

What kind of do-it-yourself projects do you like to do?

Schwartz:

I paint the outside and the inside of the house. I construct a few little things. Well, yesterday, my big construction process was I did—unusual, I did five paintings for the family for Christmas. I had to ship two of them off to Pennsylvania. The way I ship them is I build the wood box with plywood and screw it together. It was the talk of the post office when I walk in—look at that box. The paintings were 24 [inches] by 18 [inches], so it's a pretty big box.

Geselowitz:

They were able to handle it, the post office?

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Once they got over their surprise?

Schwartz:

Yeah, for forty-eight bucks [dollars], they were happy to do it.

Geselowitz:

Great. Well, that's an amazing story.

Ardath:

He's a keeper.

Geselowitz:

Is there anything else you want to add, that we didn't, that I forgot to ask, or that we didn't cover? Because I want to make sure we do.

Schwartz:

Let's see—

Geselowitz:

And again, you'll get the transcript, if you want to add something you forgot to say, you can do that.

Schwartz:

Yeah, yeah. I just jotted some notes.

Geselowitz:

I'd love to hear it.

Hands-on Manager and Management Philosophy

Schwartz:

I have a kind of a management philosophy. People would call me a hands-on kind of manager because when I worked—when we built the satellites at Seal Beach, if I walked slowly, I could get to the clean room, from my office, in twenty seconds. I often finish up work and go walk, putting on a gown and going in the clean room. Every once in a while, they'd be troubleshooting something and I'd spend a couple hours with them. The guys that come in, in the morning, say I see you were troubleshooting again last night. It was a way to keep in contact with the people and it was a way to feel like I knew it.

When I went back to Rocketdyne, the second time, it was twenty years since I'd been there, one of the guys who I'd known the first time talked to me and we started to blow the roof off things, on everything. He said to me, when you came back, Dick, I said, oh my God, we've got a nitpicker for a president, but it's working. So nitpicker, hands-on, micromanager is what it has to be and I think it worked well. I had some guys come in and analyze me; some management consultants at Rocketdyne. They said yeah, you're a micromanager, but you're only micromanaging the guys who are in trouble. That's what my job is.

Geselowitz:

Right. And like you had said earlier, if you hire the right people, then you have to do less of that.

Schwartz:

Oh gosh, yes. Yeah, the secret is people. The secret's people. And what—that's it and perfection—and this is something that people don't understand. When you design something, the designer gives you the high-low of any measurement. That's his best guess, at that time. Then you qualify a unit and you hit right here—right there. You don't want to go to those high-lows, you want to repeat the one you did, and that becomes statistical process control. How many sigma off are you, and that kind of stuff.

In the solid propellant world, that's monumentally important because it's chemistry. They used to say they couldn't do it. I used to say here's all the non-quality words. Yield, that's non-quality. Manufacturing fallout, that's non-quality. We don't believe in that. They ought to be right the first time, and we ought to repeat it because the solid propellant, you just try to pile the molecules together the same way each time.

I used to tell the story, my father's parents come from eastern Europe and a lot of those countries bake a yeast bread around the holidays. And we bake one. My grandmother, she made it—that was that—she made it great. Oh, my mother made it okay. Ardath couldn't make it worth a darn. Then my daughter got involved and she's more process control-oriented; she would say it’s about how to heat the yeast.

Geselowitz:

She's also an engineer?

Schwartz:

Ardath said you didn't tell that, did you? I said I told it to them all the time. Sometimes telling those stories are good. Like I told my son—lived on the other side of town, which is like sixty, seventy miles from when we first moved here. He said can I come on out, Dad, I want to work on the brakes of my car. So we changed the brake shoes; we changed some of the cylinders, we rebuilt them; and then we bled it out. We did all the right things. I told that story to some people at work, and I said would you like to know how many times I checked to see if what I did was right before I put that kid on the freeway system again? He repeated that story back to me three or four years later, he said well you told that about your son. It means something. I said yeah, like on the Apollo, we're flying guys—people; that's important. So what we do could affect their lives and all those things.

When the shuttle went down for a while, Rick Hauck, was the first command pilot back. We had a leak when we were doing the engines, at the aft end some place, and the engines got all the hydrogen. We met in the Center Director's office and Hauck just leaned forward and said, hey guys, we don't want to blow the ass-end out of this thing. He had just gotten off the top of it. That means something, you hear somebody say that. That means something.

Geselowitz:

Wow.

Schwartz:

That's kind of the story of my life.

Geselowitz:

That's a great story. Do you want to add anything else? Did we forget anything?

Schwartz:

The one other story, it was at a speech I gave when I was first working on the GPS. Afterward, I was visited by Curtis LeMay, big bomber pilot during World War II, Commander. He was kind of a crotchety guy, he said to me, who needs it? We'll just drop a bigger bomb. That was the Air Force, in those days, they thought that way.

Geselowitz:

Well, he was very influential. I mean, he was famous for that—or infamous for that philosophy, right?

Schwartz:

Yeah. Oh, absolutely.

Geselowitz:

He became the head of the whole thing.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Yeah. You had a different approach. Again, well, thank you very much.

Schwartz:

Let's see if I've got anything else here for you.

Geselowitz:

What I thought was interesting actually was that you went to management school because in those days if engineers, wanted to get ahead, to move to the next level, they had to be able to be a manager. You went not expecting to learn something, but you learned something. I thought that was very interesting.

Schwartz:

Well, what I used to do is I had a tape recorder, I taped the lecture, and then I'd play it in my car as I drove. It was a trimester thing at Pepperdine and I was allowed to miss, I think, three sessions, so every trimester I missed three sessions. I was flying to places and that kind of stuff for legitimate reasons. Can I give you something to remember me by? I made this up. That's the very first satellite in the test chamber before we launched it.

Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Geselowitz:

It says it's about the Queen Elizabeth Prize.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Right. Did you give a bunch of these to Brad and Hugo also?

Schwartz:

Yeah. What I wanted to do was give Prince Charles something and I talked to the people who run this about an engraved Rolex watch or whatever

Geselowitz:

But he's like the richest guy in the world or whatever—his family, but anyway.

Schwartz:

The Crown Jewels, yeah, we saw those. Sorry, I was going to give him a wine glass with something inscribed on it. Then I thought that would be awkward there. Made those, and I gave him two. I said here's one for you, one for the Queen, and he took them at least.

Geselowitz:

I think it's great that I don't know who in her entourage, who had the idea, but I think it's great that there's a prize now for engineers instead of just Nobel Prizes for physicists. A prize for engineers to recognize what we do. I think that's great.

Schwartz:

They've got a very noble motive. It's estimated that there's five to six billion people in the world who in some way interact with GPS timing or navigation. There's only seven billion people in the world. They also want to promote for young people and that prize was designed by a sixteen-year-old boy from Hong Kong. We're trying to help them get more known. They're not as known as they should be.

Geselowitz:

Because it just started. Well, I’ve had this discussion for a while. So you came up with mechanical engineering, propellant side—

Schwartz:

Yep.

Geselowitz:

But, Brad who's coming up with electronics side, so he won the - - IEEE Medal of Honor a few years ago, for GPS.

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

But no one outside the technical world no one knows what the IEEE Medal of Honor is, right?

Schwartz:

Right.

Geselowitz:

No one knows. But everybody knows what the Nobel prize is.

Schwartz:

Right.

Geselowitz:

What do you have to do to get that kind of recognition? I mean, well they've been around. First of all, it's big—money attracts people's attention, right? So I think, the IEEE Medal of Honor is $50,000. When you give someone a million dollars or a million pounds, right, it sticks in people's head. But they've been around for 120 years or whatever. At least now you have Queen Elizabeth's name on it.

Schwartz:

Right.

Geselowitz:

She's probably the most famous person in the world. So at least that should help build up the recognition of it, I hope

Schwartz:

Yeah.

Geselowitz:

I was having this conversation a few years ago. There’s nothing we have that's close, the only thing we have that's close—and the trouble is that it's U.S. only is—is the Hoover Medal. And even a lot of people don't know about the Hoover Medal, right, which is given collectively by all of the American engineering societies to an American engineer. It's similar to the new prize because it's based on impact. Albert Einstein was the most brilliant scientist of the last 200 years, maybe ever, right? And only one project ever actually found a practical application for relativity…your GPS!

Schwartz:

I think you’re right there.

Geselowitz:

That's what you said earlier, right? So whereas engineers even, just that you mentioned—even like just the guy who improves the car engine, the guy working in Detroit, an engineer for GM, and he builds a more efficiently—, he gets thirty miles per gallon instead of twenty miles per gallon or something. He has a huge impact on society.

Schwartz:

Right. The Queen Elizabeth people, they've got a crew of people from all over the world. I met a guy from Brazil, a guy from Indonesia. They somehow pick out the projects because you cannot self-nominate. They have to pick it, and they go through a pretty excruciating process and they've picked their awards—the first one was for the internet. The second one was for the molecules used in medicine. The next one was digital photography and then we were the fourth one. If they've picked good things and we're doing whatever we can to help them get it known. Like, I'm trying to work right now with the Tau Beta Pi people because Tau Beta Pi has almost the same charter - young people help humanity and that kind of stuff.

Geselowitz:

I mean, that's the thing. There is also the United Engineering Foundation. That's another possibility, right? So, relatedly, I didn't ask before—what were your professional affiliations over the years? Were you a member of ASME or any of those things?

Because the—so there's the United Engineering Foundation—so trying to do a long story short. I'm not good at short stories. So Andrew Carnegie gave a building for all the American engineering societies in New York.

Schwartz:

That's the name of the guy. Andrew Carnegie. He's the guy who gave money to Cooper Union. Yeah.

Geselowitz:

Right. He also gave money to Cooper Union. Andrew Carnegie was the big Scottish-American railroad baron and he screwed a lot of people so that later in his life, he felt guilty and he founded all this—the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, right? He's a big philanthropist. He gave a building in New York City to the five American engineering associations; the chemical engineers, the mechanical engineers, the electrical engineers, the civil engineers, and the mining engineers. It's this nice building and there's over—next to the UN. Actually, it was called the United Engineering Center and they had a joint council to manage it. Back in, I guess, the 1980s—it's a little embarrassing—they sold it to Donald Trump, or at least a group fronted by Donald Trump, and he built the first Trump Tower, the biggest apartment building and everything. There was huge protests of the people on the East Side, living around there. So anyway, we got out of it, but from the sale from that building they created a foundation called the United Engineering Foundation, and they're headquartered in New York. They give grants for young people—education that are—that's stuff that's across engineering disciplines. So, there's a foundation that looks for projects, the educational projects that are across all engineering disciplines. There might be a tie-in thing; might be in there with that. Yeah.

Schwartz:

Well, the obvious advantage to me going to Cooper—I had to pass a test and then it was free in those days.

Geselowitz:

Right.

Schwartz:

They're charging a little bit of tuition now.

Geselowitz:

Didn't they back off again? I thought I read that somewhere.

Schwartz:

Well, they're trying like the devil to get back to free. It was free for me, and I think I paid fifty bucks [dollars] a year for fees. I always said it was for the test tubes I broke or something like that. For a poor kid in New York City, it was a pretty darn good education. I guess that’s all I have to say.

Geselowitz:

Well, thank you so much for your hospitality.

Schwartz:

Well, thank you. Thank you. Hope you got what you wanted.

Geselowitz:

I’m sure I did.