What did you do on 11 SEPT 2001?

I was still employed then, after surviving a massive heart attack on 2 FEB 2001 and I was trying to find a new pace for my life at something less than the 110% I used to enjoy.

I was working at my foreman’s desk on my desk-top drafting machine when Paul Hoecker, President of Paul Hoecker Precision Products Corporation and a transplant from New York City came into my (his) toolroom and quietly told me that a small Cessna had flown into the side of one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I continued putting my thoughts to paper for some new piece of mechanism I needed to build. Paul came back and told me that it had been an airliner and that the other tower had been struck. He was clearly in shock as any New Yorker would be and I stuck my head back into the task at hand as he went on about his business. Then I covered my drawing and went and did something mindless with my hands, cutting stock to length and beginning to prepare that stock for shaping into my finished thought. And soon I saw what might happen and I went looking for Paul.

I found Paul talking with his brother Richard and after getting their attention made my pronouncement.

I told them they needed to go back to their old jewelry, sewing machine and screw customers and fill the machines with that less than work. The Hoeckers really liked their automotive contracts. Then they asked why they should do as I suggested? Easy. We manufactured parts for cars by the millions. Someone higher up the food chain than we were assembled those parts into components, sub-assemblies and sent them to the auto makers to be assembled into finished automobiles. I love cars. I love the engineering, the art, the technological breakthroughs over the decades and yes the dead ends and whereas I drive automobiles that interest me, the vast majority own and operate automobiles out of ego.

People became fearful after 11 SEPT 2001 and fearful people become cautious and cautious people don’t buy new cars they keep the one that they already own. Paul and Richards response to my suggestion? Not to worry, we have contracts!

14 December 2001 Lynn and I became unemployed. Six years later PH Precision was auctioned off.

About Art

55 years old. By training, ability and experience I am a master toolmaker. My most recent projects include designing and building a process to grind a G rotor pump shaft with four diameters and holding all four diameters within plus or minus 4 microns of nominal. This was an automated process using two centerless grinders refitted to my specifications using automatic load and unload machines plus automatic feedback gauging. I also designed and built an inspection machine to check for the presence and size of a straight knurl on a hinge pin using a vision system for non-contact gauging.
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