The History of InfoAge Science & History Museums

Oral Histories - Oral History RAY MCKIRNAN

Interviewer: Michael Ruane
Date: 1998?
Place: Camp Evans – 9039
Media: NTSC Video
Summary: Mr. Irv Bauman

TAPE 8A RAY MCKIRNAN
He was a Program Analyst in the Program Analysis and Integration Directorate at CECOM Hq. Before that assignment, he worked for 10 yrs.as a Position Classifier for Evans Personnel. He recalls to the more interesting and accomplished people he interviewed like Dr. Kronenberg, Stan Danko & Irv. Reingold. Ray always felt welcome, going to Evans which he referred to as a college campus atmosphere. There were few bureaucrats to contend with. Ray visited 3 Mile Island. Dr. Kronenberg insisted that the work area of his laboratory was nuclear radiation neutral or harmless; others wondered.

An outstanding engineer he interviewed was Elliot Schlam, ET&D Lab, ERADCOM, involved in wet panel technology, which only the Japanese had the technology at first. Eventually, the Japanese superiority in this field was surpassed by our laboratories. Elliot left the labs to form his own company. Dr. Kronenberg was involved in Unclear Hardening Effects and appeared very happy in his work. Though he became a Supervisor, he preferred to return to the bench. He became the image of a “Mad Scientist” by reputation, but was actually a warm and decent man.

The Evans collegiate atmosphere was enhanced by its cafeteria in the mid-1950s. It contained vending machines; there weren’t any hot cooked dishes available. Most employees brown-bagged their lunch and enjoyed chewing the rag with their fellow employees. Ray performed desk audits and wrote job descriptions. Most scientists and technicians dressed very informally, working with instruments and /or apparatus. Ray classified different jobs. Evans performed basic research, experimental and advanced development, test and evaluation, production follow-up to fielding. Nelson Wilson & Elliot are alive and well today and may be contacted for supplementary information. Position classification had to be reviewed every 2 years. Technicians would be transferred from one project to another depending on need and priority. Evans always appeared to be an active and busy environment. The work of one team impacted on others, so cooperation and friendliness were important attributes of the project success. Ray visited and met men in all positions and found enthusiasm among all. He indicated that though some teams weren’t aware of their role in a program, he, having seen others, could see the rosy whole picture and the manner in which all the pieces would fit together.

28 min.

Page created August 2, 2002

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