Granby High School Alumni

Norfolk, Virginia (VA)

Alumni Stories

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Russell Theisen

Russell Theisen

Class of 1955

(1) Ann Theisen nomination Speech for her husband’s induction into the Granby High School Hall of Fame in 2003

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to thank you for accepting my nomination of RUSSELL EUGENE THEISEN for the Granby High School Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Granby High School in 1955, Russ attended the VPI Extension and William and Mary Extension until he became active in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. After attending basic training and several electronics schools, he returned to VPI then transferred to Old Dominion College where he earned his BSEE.

On one of his tours of duty with the Marine Corps at Millington, Tenn., we met in 1962 and were married in 1963. It will be forty years on May 30th 2003.

Russ accepted an electrical engineering position with IBM in Endicott, N. Y. He helped design the first [SLT] Solid Logic Technology computer the IBM 360-20.

While working at IBM, he attended the University of New York at Binghamton where he gained his Professional Engineering License.

Russ left IBM to become the plant manager of Compton Industries. There he established the electronics repair facility and metrics calibration center for upstate New York, with plants in Vestal, New York, Morristown, New Jersey and another in Research Triangle, Raleigh, North Carolina.

As Program Manager and Test Technology Manager at General Dynamics, Longwood, Fl., he designed automatic testing standards for Satellite Systems. He engineered designs relating to the Trident Submarine, the Global Positioning Satellite and FLEETSATCOM Satellite Systems and several more.

In 1966, Russ joined Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) Orlando-Aerospace and was able to introduce computer technology to an airplane company trying to get into missiles. During his 27 years with Martin Marietta, Russ helped design some 27 defense systems for the military before his retirement in 1992. He worked a lot of long hours. The Martin Management Association had a cartoon of Russ with a brief case in one hand and a plane ticket in the other - always on the go. One night he called and said he was on his way home at 11:00p.m.. At 2:00 a.m. I called security and asked if they could find him. He called me a few minutes later and said he got involved in the project and forgot to come home. He finally made it at 7:30 the next morning. They sent him to Minneapolis every week for about 18 months. That was rough in the winter. He would leave Orlando at 75 degrees and arrive in Minnesota in 20 degrees below. He was supposed to come home weekends, but sometimes he would call from Chicago and say he was snowed in.

In 1992 Russ and I moved to Huntsville, Alabama where he worked for SCI Systems, now Sanmina-SCI. He was Documentation and Control Manager, Apache Helicopter Software Development Manager, and Customer Ordering Transactions System Developer and later Software Quality Manager for the Technology Division, until his retirement in February, 2003.

While with SCI, Russ obtained the designation of Certified Professional Manager from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers, through James Madison University, Harrisburg, Pa.

During his career, Russ has helped develop the engineering technology and bring it to everyday use. He helped bring Computer technology to where it is today, through professional work with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE], standards and technical conferences; as a governing board member of IEEE Computer Society [IEEE-CS], the National Computer Conference [NCC] and American Federation of Information Processing Societies [AFIPS] and of the Association for Computing Machinery [ACM] organizations.

He was instrumental in bringing the internet Worldwide Web into existence through his work with ARPA-NET, Advanced Research Program and Network and [AFIPS] American Federal of Information Processing Societies and the IEEE Computer Society.

As a matter of fact, in the early 1970’s we had e-mail. No one that I knew, had ever heard of it. I had problems explaining to friends why our phone was busy for a couple of hours at a time. The children were too young to be on the phone. We had this gizmo called a modem that he put the phone receiver in and it went “zzzzzz”. He was receiving and sending e-mail from Computer Society Headquarters in Washington, DC.

He was instrumental in introducing computer technology and web mail to the executive offices of the White House during the Carter Administration as a member of AFIPS and the IEEE Computer Society Board of Directors. Also, introducing e-mail and establishing Congressional Committee TV monitoring and electronic voting in Congress and providing technical support and advice for satellite communications development to congress, as a member of the [ACS] American Communications Society-Astronautics Committee.

He was one of the founders of the predecessor to the Computer Systems Annual Conference (COMSAC), the National Computer Conference (NCC) and the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS).

Russ has been a key member in the development of several Defense Systems. Many were demonstrated in the 1991 Desert Storm and recently deployed in the Iraqi war: [ADATS] (Air Defense And Anti-Tank System), Apache Longbow helicopter, F-15 LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation Targeting Infra Red for Night) which you saw recently during Iraqi Freedom coalition-activity.

During Russ Career he has been a member of many civic and professional organizations, and held offices at the local, regional and national level. He has been listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, Who’s Who in Science and Technology, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, the International Who’s Who and American Men and Women of Science.

One thing I have learned is never to ask him -What Time is it? - He will spend the next hour telling you how the watch works.

I will say that throughout his career, he also managed to make a good life for his family. He never missed an art show in which our son was competing or a dance recital for our daughter.

I wish to thank you again for this unique honor bestowed upon my husband.
Russ Theisen is listed in most of these Professional publications. You can find them in any good Library.
Who's Who in America
Who's Who in the World
Who's Who in Science & Engineering
Who in Finance & Business
(formerly Who's Who in Finance & Industry)
Who's Who in the South & Southwest
Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America

During Russ Theisen's career, chances are that he has made an impact in your life. Russ has, if you use the Internet, or use a Personal Computer, or use a cell phone, or use a product from Microsoft Windows, or fly on a Boeing 757 or 767 or 777 airplane, or watched the landing of the astronauts on the moon, or received a package from UPS, or scanned your groceries at a supermarket, or had an X-Ray or MRI at a Hospital, or viewed the precision smart bombs impact during the [100] hour Iraq war in 1991, or recently in Afghanistan, or flew in a C_130J transport, or a V_22 Osprey VSTOL, or a F_15 Eagle Fighter, a F_16 Falcon Fighter, or an AH_66 Comanche helicopter, or an F_117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter / bomber, or a C_27J military transport airplane, or saw the "Flying Tank", e.g. the AH_64D Apache Longbow helicopter, or if you used [OPAL] Operational Performance Analysis Language, or [MOTEL] Modular Test Equipment Language, of [ATLAS] Abbreviated Test Language for All Systems, or [POSIX] Portable Operating System for Information Exchange programming Languages, or used Automatic Test Equipment, or used the IEEE_488, or MIL_STD_1553 interface bus, or SCSI bus, or S-100 Bus, or were influenced by any of the other two dozen technical innovations, that Russ Theisen was able to help bring into existence.

Russ Theisen is listed in "Who's Who in the World" 2002-2006.

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