‘I excelled at math from a young age, and so I knew that I was going to be a mathematician.’
“I was always good with numbers and I loved formulas. I like how precise math is; there is no interpretation or gray area. I excelled at math from a young age, and so I knew that I was going to be a mathematician. What I didn’t expect was that I would end up helping mankind’s journey to the moon!
“I earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in mathematics at St. John’s University. In 1965, when I was 22, I was hired by Sperry Gyroscope as an applied mathematician to develop software for the Polaris submarine’s ballistic missile guidance systems. Then in 1967, I was hired by Grumman Aerospace, and I developed software for the Apollo 11 moon mission’s Lunar Excursion Module [LEM].
People here are good people trying to do the right things.
“I learned a tremendous amount from my time with that project, and I met the most interesting people. I remember driving to work on the morning of the moon landing, and the LEM’s landing was being counted down on the radio. I was sitting in my car wishing for everything to go well, and I was so relieved when I heard it had landed safely! This was in 1969, and the odds were so against a successful mission; the potential for something to go wrong was enormous.
“The detail and complexity of that project was astounding, and its success is a testament to the team’s expertise. I was inducted into the Cradle of Aviation and Aerospace Museum Honor Roll in 1995 for my contribution to the mission. I then worked on Wall Street for 35 years as a senior IT executive. I designed and implemented the first real-time stock trading system in the world for Citicorp’s Citibank. I have been inventing for the last 20 years with multiple patents awarded; the Twist Lock Grommet has been my biggest success.
“I look back on my experience at Sperry and Grumman and feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to work on two of the hottest projects at that time, especially at the very start of my career. My wife, Pat, and I love Long Island and appreciate all that it offers. It has given us and our three daughters a good life. People here are good people trying to do the right things. It has been decades past, but as I recall, all the people at Sperry and Grumman lived on L.I. and loved the lifestyle as well.”
Interviewed by Meagan Meehan