Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 5 (May 21, 2010) - II

Every once in a while you come across a human being who makes a special impression on your mind. Because he or she is special. I came across one such person - Ward Barney.

Ward W. Barney is the Chief Operating Officer of our subsidiary Company in Salisbury. The fact that he reached this position in his professional life, already hinted at the fact that this man is an achiever. Also, speaking with him for ten minutes was enough to make me conclude that he is the 'man in charge' and the person responsible for the successful show.

We struck a chord, and there was a natural tendency for both of us to know a little more about each other's life. And what Ward told me about his life, in probably less than ten minutes, left a mark on my mind.

Ward finished high school and got drafted into the army. The Vietnam war was on. He served the Army as a 'Helicopter Door Gunner'. Those are the guys we see in war movies who are sitting at the entrance of a helicopter when its flying in combat, with both legs dangling down, and firing a huge gun.

During his tour of duty, Ward got shot thrice. But he survived. On all those occasions, and through his tour he survived. When he returned, he had only a School graduation as a qualification. But he decided that he needed to do something better with his life. So he decided to get a job that would pay for his education, and study further.

Sometime around then, he met a girl who soon became his wife. Ward got a job as a mechanic in a bottling plant and started studying electrical engineering. Those days were extremely difficult, he recalled. He would work by day, and study at night, only to be disturbed frequently because there were breakdowns at the bottling plant.

Ward decided that enough was enough. He quit his job, and found another one - that of a draughtsman. This job paid half as much, but there was peace of mind. He did complete his engineering, but got a job in a completely unrelated field - Pharmaceuticals !

Achievers they say - keep achieving. They have a streak. This electrical engineer went on to file more than 10 patents in his own name. I would have thought that they would be 'process patents' since engineering was his core competence. But no - all of the patents were 'product patents' So here was a man a production engineer, who excelled in drug discovery.

Today, Ward is still happily married, to his first wife. They have two sons. Ward made his own life good enough to finance his son's' education. But he decided to help instill the same values in his own children. To make life a success - the hard way. Both his sons work to pay for their education. One is studying engineering, and the other - Bio Technology. Both study at theUniversity of Maryland.

Inspiring? Well certainly to me !

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