About Us

I started in the generator business as salesman in 1977. I needed a job! I applied for a sales job at a major distributor looking something like this.

(I looked like Herb Tarlek! I no longer look like Herb. I look more like The Big Guy Mr. Carlson)
Long hair, green leisure suit, and thick soled plastic shoes. The fools hired me!
I was assigned to learn from their top salesman; one of the finest gentlemen I ever met. He did not have time to fuss with me right then, so they gave me a set of manuals, including technical manuals, and told me to familiarize myself with them. I studied those manuals for two weeks before my training began.
I do not think they expected me to learn much from those manuals. They were wrong. Reading technical manuals is one of my favorite things! I still have them and refer to them regularly. The technology has changed but the mathematics, heat transfer, gas flow, and mechanics have not changed.

For example:
All automatic generator start system in 1977 used two relays: run relay and start relay.
All automatic generator start systems in 2020 use two relays: run relay and start relay.
A lot has changed, but a lot stayed the same.

The Origins

I have been interested in technology since I was a kid and repurposed my electric train transformer to recharge flashlight batteries. It didn’t work, but I learned a lot about how to put out small fires.

I was smart enough in high school that I didn’t have to work hard and thought I could carry the same strategy over to college. I was wrong. I started college in 1968 during the height of the Vietnam war. I had a 4 year college deferment. I thought things were going just fine until my counselor called me in to say if I didn’t improve in algebra my next class would be in the Mekong Delta. I got better fast!

I received a really good education at SWBC though I didn’t know it was happening at the time. I thought they were just being mean. My teachers expected me to work.

I took the required 5 hours of chemistry. Wish I had taken more. Our professor was a retired chemist from Monsanto. He not only made me learn something about chemistry, he taught me how to research scientific data to find answers. Many years later I do not remember much about chemistry but I do remember how to find the answers. Take a look at my paper on how a battery works.

My English teacher said she was going to make me literate if it killed me. I thought that might be illegal, but if she wanted me to go litter something I would. I have since enjoyed more books than I can count. (I told you I did not do well in math) I even stole that joke about littering from one of my favorite writers, Patrick F McMannus. Go buy any book by Patrick F McMannus. He will make you happy.

All of my professors evilly conspired to teach me to be resourceful. They assigned term papers! They would not wait for Google or the internet. No, I had to go to the library and use microfiche (tiny little fish that are really hard to see) and the dreaded Dewey Decimal System! You kids have no idea.

I have always been a chronic procrastinator. After spending an evening parked under a bridge on the Pomme De Terre river with my girlfriend, I would race back to my dorm around 11 to start on a term paper that was due in the morning. I would begin banging away on my portable manual Royal typewriter. (An antique you kids have never seen. PCs had not been invented) I had to come up with at least 3 pages single spaced with footnotes. This was creative writing at its most desperate.

I was allowed no more than 3 errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. This was a problem since I could neither spell or punctuate! My grammar was nothing to write home about either. The Mekong river delta lurked in the background.

At about three AM I would take my paper and drive over to the girl’s dorm where I threw gravel up to a third story window where my girlfriend lived. She would throw her purse down to me tied to a string.

I put my paper in her purse. She would pull it up and re-typed it. Thankfully she could both spell and punctuate. Together we would push the delta away for another night.

That’s being resourceful.

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