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I am happy to share my last 50 years with friends and schoolmates of the class of 1965. It was a different world back then but I find that I remember classmates, who I only spent three or four years with, more clearly than friends, neighbors and associates who I have spent much longer times with. It must have been an impressionable time and I am looking forward to catching up with everyone during the reunion this fall.
After high school, I attended MSOE in Milwaukee and earned an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. During that time I also married my high school sweetheart Rita Soucy. Most of you will probably remember Rita better than me. She knew more people at Lincoln than I did. I am proud to say that we will be celebrating our 47th anniversary in July. In 1970, after graduation from MSOE, we moved to the Minneapolis area where we have lived ever since. Rita is still a Packers fan but the rest of our family have long ago converted to Vikings, Twins, Wild and Timberwolves fans. We have as much fun complaining about how badly our teams play as we do when they are winning. Rita still wears the green and gold on game days and makes excuses for the Packers.
I started my career in 1970 With Northern States Power, now Excel Energy, the local power company. In 1979, I moved on to Honeywell and worked as a facilities engineer and manager until 1990. During that period I went back to school and earned an MBA at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business. Shortly after that, I transferred to Alliant Techsystems, a spinoff of Honeywell and worked as director of facilities and construction until 1997. In 1997, after a merger of the company, it was decided to outsource my whole department. During that period I was contacted by an engineering firm named Williams Engineering. The Founder, Tom Williams, wanted to retire and knew I was going to be available. I needed a job and the offer sounded reasonable. After working as an employee, I purchased the company in 2000. It is unclear if the Founder brought me on board because of my last name or because of my capabilities.
I continue to work as the President of Williams Engineering and I keep looking for a reason to retire. I basically like what I am doing and we are involved in some interesting projects including work on the new Vikings Stadium and solar power installations around the State. I now work out of my home 2 to 3 days a week and go in to the office only after rush hours. With Rita retired in July, we plan to travel and I am set up to work virtually wherever I can find an internet connection.
I would say that our greatest accomplishment has been raising our two sons Nick and Blake. Nick is 41, and works as regional manager for a company that installs and maintains cloud data centers. He and his beautiful wile Anna have two children – Maria 10 and Miller 9. Blake, our younger son, is 32 and is a HR manager for Target. He and his gorgeous wife Bre have one child – Louie 1. We are blessed that both families live in the Twin Cities area so we get to see them often.
Through the years, I have had several hobbies including motorcycling, camping, sailing and more recently golfing and attending our grandkids soccer and hockey games. I have not ridden motorcycles for many years but I still keep my motorcycle drivers license rating. In the 1970's I competed in off-road motorcycle events called Enduros. My motorcycle adventures started with a Honda 150 that I bought from Steve Heide when I was home from college. The off-road motorcycling evolved to camping with the family until Rita announced that she had had enough of camping except at motels. After that the kids and I carried on the tradition until they got too busy with youth sports. Sometime during that period, I became hooked on sailing while spending time with Rita's parents in Door County and ended up going through several boats and racing on Minnesota Lakes through the 90's. I still sail casually with friends and have chartered in the Apostle islands. While I am still, more or less, working a full schedule, my main extracurricular activities now are biking, golfing and attending our grand kids events. Both Rita and I are looking forward to more travel while we still can.
I have signed up for the golf outing, but as it was on our Shipbuilders football team, do not expect too much Pat. I have told the story for years that our football team’s greatest accomplishment was when Bob Reseburg broke Head Coach John Heineke’s leg while Coach was demonstrating how to defend against a down field block during practice.
As I write this, I find the years fading away and my spirit back at Lincoln High in 1965. “If only we didn’t know now what we didn’t know then” - Bob Seger – “Against the Wind” 1972. Rita and I are both looking forward to seeing you all this fall. We hope you can make it.
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