Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘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