Don Cooper

After six years and with a master's degree I returned to the desert as an engineer. Being older than other new hires and native to tough stuff like overbearing heat, ill tempered people, and frustrations, I did well with step promotions ahead of schedule. My transfer from manufacturing to research was a turning point in my career. Don Cooper supervised one of the other sections of the laboratory and soon became the lab manager and my direct boss. But I was in over my head, I was doing physical metallurgy with only an extractive background. Yet I learned the key things and tread water among my peers. I was doing better than I knew. One day I casually mentioned to Don that my training was inadequate for what I was doing and we talked about it a bit. Within a few months Don cleared my way to return to Stanford and seek a Ph.D. in Materials Science, the fancy new name given the the descendants of blacksmiths.

Don taught by example and had empathy for those less fortunate, even as he had the eye of an insightful businessman. He also had perspective and a strong memory

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