This article is the first of a seven-part series on my experience as an educator in the City School District of New Rochelle where I worked for 8 1/2 years. Part I is here.
For the next 20 years, my professional focus was in two areas: the international marketing of technical products (solar-assisted heat pumps, overhead ‘center pivot’ sprinkler systems and ultra-high speed current and voltage sensors), and in graduate and secondary education (applied physics, educational technology, and STEM).
While in Colorado, I earned a Masters of Art summa cum laude in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Technology from Colorado University in Colorado Springs; and a Masters Certificate in Applied Physics summa cum laude from Colorado University in Fort Collins.
As an international marketing account executive for manufacturers of solar-assisted heat pumps and large overhead sprinkler irrigations systems (center pivot and linear systems), I worked closely with the Regional Director of the U.S. International Trade Administration in Denver, CO to define new territories.
From the ITA Director I learned a protocol for interacting successfully with the U.S. Embassy Commercial sections abroad. This translated into multimillion dollar deals. For instance, in Saudi Arabia I landed multimillion dollar contracts with GM of the Middle East-Agricultural Division (The Al-Jomaih Company based in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam) and also with The Al Rajhi Banking Group’s Agricultural Division (based in Riyadh). These relationships were cultivated into sales of over $45 million dollars over a five-year period.
In Jordan, I was the Account Executive to the Royal Family in Amman. Supplying overhead sprinkler irrigation systems to the King’s Farms at Wadi Araba; where the Peace Accords were signed a few years later between Jordan and Israel. However, all formal business transactions were handled in Amman where I interfaced, and became good friends with HH Sharif Hussein bin Nasser—the cousin to the reigning HM King Abdullah II and HM Queen Rania.
In Morocco, I established a joint venture agreement with the largest Massey-Ferguson distributor in the world. This was in large part through close coordination with the USDOC-ITA Regional Director in Denver, CO and the Senior Commercial Specialist at the American Embassy in Casablanca.
I traveled extensively to these accounts providing account management, product sales, contract negotiations, negotiating international letters of credit, technical and sales training, and warranty support. Trips were made solo, four-to-six weeks in length and several times per year.
Back in the USA, I led a project team that retained the services of Dr. Les Sheffield, one of the leading agronomists in the world and a Senior Professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Making several trips to meet with Dr. Sheffield, we developed multimedia presentations on “The Benefits of Mechanized Irrigation Systems in Meeting Global Food Demand”. Together we made presentations to the country economists and country development experts at The World Bank, USAID, and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. I handled all direct communications with these organizations from initial contact, to project proposal and then presentation delivery.
Following my years in international marketing, I taught applied physics, technology, CAD, computer applications, project management, and instructional design at both the graduate and secondary levels. I wrote and landed several corporate grants to education that focused on Science and Technology, and gender equity in engineering and science fields.
Most notably, I worked closely with Dr. Arnie Berger, a physicist with Hewlett Packard in Colorado Springs. Together, we taught students about project management and the application of physics to solving a problem: the acoustical characterization of a real-life, rescue hovercraft. Dr. Berger coauthored a grant with me to Hewlett-Packard, Tektronix, SCAT Hovercraft and FedEx that led to an awards of cash, data analysis equipment, computers, a rescue hovercraft, spectrum analyzer, and the in-kind contributions, exempli gratia: FedEx Corporate in Memphis picked up a $7,800 air freight bill to move the hovercraft from Miami to Denver! Also, a team of 5 Hewlett-Packard scientists and engineers—both men and women—mentored students in the project. The United States Air Force Academy Aeronautical Engineering Department also played a major role in this project, as well. Together, the combined value of the assets to the project totaled $160,000. The school year was 1991-92 and a National movement in education titled, ‘America 2000’ was driving curriculum development that eventually morphed into what we know today as ‘Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM).
I graduated at the top of my class from his Master’s program in Curriculum & Instruction Educational Technology, and as a result of my proven performance was appointed by the unanimous vote of the Graduate Faculty as an Honorarium Professor in the School of Education where I taught Curriculum & Instruction and Instructional Design at the Graduate level. I held this position for two years teaching evenings at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
While still teaching physics and technology at the secondary level, I was hired in 1999 by NASA to be the Curriculum Director for a Global Classroom Science Project. This project titled ‘The Wright Flyer Online’ connected 220 schools worldwide in a study of aerodynamics and the 13-year development process the Wright Brother’s went through leading to their first flight at Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Using the World Wide Web and an online team of educator-advisors, I directed the online instructional delivery while my colleague, Jan Wee, a teacher in Madison, WI also hired by NASA handled the logistics.
As a hands-on focal point in the project, each student had to construct a hand-launched bass wood glider. Thorough my strong long-term relationship with USAF Colonel Yechout Director of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Aeronautics Lab, I worked to expand the project by having the best glider from each participating school shipped in and tested in the specially designed glider wind tunnel used by the cadets. Jan Wee arranged for a Web camera crew to broadcast the test process live over the Web—a novelty at the time.
In 2000, I moved back to New York to be closer to aging parents and the rest of my family who all live in the northeast.
NEXT: Part IV coming soon.