SPOTLIGHT ON: IEEE-USA SENIOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE--JOHN TWITCHELL

Posted: 1 Jun 2012

Q:  Tell us a little about you and your family, John.


A: My wife Susan and I are native Floridians, and did not live outside of the sunshine state until 2001. We have been married 37 very short years, and have two adult children. Our daughter, Elizabeth, lives in Chicago, and our son, Charles, lives in the California bay area.


Q:  What's the best thing about living in Charlotte, North Carolina?

 
A: We have been very impressed with our friendly neighbors, and our house has a beautiful yard--complete with a herd of deer. I also work for a great organization that has electric grid reliability, and the provision of a critical service to the economy and to the public, as its primary goal.

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

 
A: Flying our plane in blue skies, with an unlimited amount of gas.

Q:  What is your greatest fear?


A: Flying our plane with an empty tank of gas!

Q:  What misconceptions do people have about engineers?

 
A: Engineers get a bad rap for being dull. Actually, nearly every engineer I know is interested in many things; they are a reservoir of knowledge and experiences far beyond the technical issues of our profession.

Q:  What did you want to be when you grew up?


A: I quickly concluded that I would not be the next Chuck Yeager, so engineering was the next best thing. I’ve just assumed I would be an engineer since I was in junior high school.

Q:  Describe your most favorite journey or adventure.

 
A: A number of years ago, we spent a week in London, on a canal boat with some friends. It was fascinating to navigate a 72-foot boat, only seven feet wide, along 200-year-old canals. The canals were not as wide as the boat was long, and we had to manually operate the locks. We tied up at a dock in London near the zoo, and took the tube everywhere. The trip was great fun for the adults--and a real learning experience for the kids.  

Q: What is your favorite household chore?

 
A: Washing cars, because you have a sense of accomplishment when you are finished.

Q:  If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?


A: Three things for the island include my wife, a crate good of books to read until rescued, and a pile of fishing tackle.

Q:  What's on your reading pile?


A: There is a pile of books by the bedside, including a civil war history book, a WWII history book, a book on leadership, and an action adventure novel. I hop from book to book.

Q: What is your greatest regret?


A: I should have diversified my power engineering career much earlier than I actually did. I have had the opportunity to be in responsible charge of nearly every electric utility function during my career. However, I spent too many years with one firm doing the same thing over and over again. I should have widened my horizons at a younger age.

Q:  Leave us with your motto, John.

 
A: My wife claims my motto should be “Yes dear,” but it is really “Keep the lights on.”


Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA’s Publishing Manager; Manager and Editor of IEEE-USA E-BOOKS; and Editor-in-Chief of IEEE-USA in ACTION.

 

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