Reflections from a ’73 SIU Alumnus

radio frequency
“In the early 70’s, I graduated from SIU with an Associates Degree in Electronics Technology. The college was called VTI at that time – which I think later merged with the engineering and schools. In those days we were on the quarter system so we had opportunities for a wide exposure to the field from vacuum tubes to integrated circuits to binary fundamentals. I even earned a commercial FCC radio telephony license as a result of an RF and Radio class.

It wouldn’t have been possible without that great foundation I received at SIU.

I felt I had an excellent understanding of the fundamentals of electronics even though it was packed into 2 years. My thinking was verified when I was hired by GE to work in their Advance Development Lab to assist in the development of quadraphonic FM. I was fortunate to have worked with the inventor of stereo FM for a couple years. After GE, I moved to Caterpillar Tractor Co. where I worked at their technical center. I was assigned a job to apply Radio Frequency FM transmitters on moving engine parts to transmitted sensor information such as temperatures to external recording devices. Later, computers were moving from the DP (data processing) mainframes to more powerful and smaller units. I moved to an area to work with a team to design and build an integrated measurement and control system to automatically hot test diesel engines. The test would run the engine through a number of performance cycles and measure the various temps, pressures, torques, fuel rates, etc. Later, as the Internet developed, I was blessed to move to a team in the early stages of network security (firewalls).

I finished my 40+ year career and I’m now retired. Over all I had a long and blessed career in the industry with fascinating jobs. It wouldn’t have been possible without that great foundation I received at SIU. I write this not to brag about my background, but to encourage future students to pursue technical degrees; you never know where they will lead. Some days I couldn’t believe they paid me to work there!”
– Rick, ’73

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