50th Reunion

William H. Kumm

1. In mid-1947 my father, a Public Health Doctor, headed a Rio De Janeiro tropical disease research laboratory operated by the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) of New York City. On one particular occasion he was hosting a visiting RF VIP (Very Important PC150n), Warren Weaver. The three of us were sightseeing at the famous Statue of Christ on the summit of Corcovado Mountain, located high above downtown Rio. At lunch Dad asked Warren Weaver, which US College he would recommend for me to consider. Warren said, unhesitatingly, AMHERST.

2. In the spring of 1948, having been accepted by both Amherst and Yale, the choice was made for Amherst I was not disappointed, and am proud to have been part of the Sabrina Class of '52.

3. There is also another reason why Amherst turned out to be the correct choice. In 1950 my sister, also from Rio, was accepted at Smith College, just 9 miles West of Amherst. She then played the role of "Cupid"' by finding my wife-to­ be, Anne (Nancy) K. Gibson, Smith '53, who also lived in Morris House at Smith. Our wedding was in June 1953. John followed in 1955, Elizabeth in 1958 and Katharine in 1963. Later years have given us four grandchildren.

At Amherst my technical bent pointed to a degree in Physics. I did part time work at various TV/electronic businesses, and in the senior year, at the General Instruments Co. plant in Chicopee, MA. Upon graduation Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh, PA, offered me an engineering position, under their corporate Graduate Student Orientation Program. During the early Korean War period there was suddenly a national need for engineering graduates and Westinghouse bad decided to interview at Amherst.

1952 - 1966: There followed a part of my 26-year career with big business. In the mid-1960s I headed a new business development team of 4 engineers focused on the Navy's Deep Submergence Systems Program (DSSP). This team was able to successfully win a large amount of very important Cold War US Navy business, about which we could not elaborate. However, some 30+ years later books have been written about parts of this Program, including the 1998 NY Times Best Seller "Blind Man's Bluff', by Sherry Sontag et al, and "The Silent Wai' by John P. Craven, in 2001. Between 1952 and 1966 I was awarded six US Patents, of a total of seven, so far.

1966 - 1978: In this period the most important assignment, for which I was nominated by Westinghouse, was as one of 34 persons in the US selected by the White House in 1971, to be "Presidential Interchange Executives"', from Industry to Government, in my case. Over 2 years three assignments were carried out at the Department of Commerce, one at NOAA, one with an Advisory Committee (NACOA) and one at the Maritime Administration's Research and Development Office.

1978 - 2002: Resigned from Westinghouse in 1978. Started and led, as President, four small consulting businesses. These have included two in MD, one in Canada, and the most recent one, doing business as (DBA) MA-Rl-NE Fuel Cells Ltd, in RI, in 2001. The focus of these companies has been on the "Green Technology" of fuel cells power systems applied to marine/naval applications/needs from ships to submarines, as well as for remote i.e. Polar applications.

My "Most Gratifying Accomplishment" was in testifying, in November 1981, before a House Congressional Oversight Committee, on a "Methanol Alternative" to the then very heavily lobbied $45 Billion "Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System" (ANGTS). This Alaska North Slope to lower 48 state gas pipeline scheme did not make economic sense then, and does not make sense today, but that is another story. I was also pleased to be selected, in the 1970s, to be biographically included in Marquis' 'WHO'S WHO IN FINANCE AND INDUSTRY", in "WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA", and later, in "WHO'S WHO IN THE WORLD". My e-mail address is: whkwhoswhoworld@aol.com.

My Other Interests or "Curiosities and Appetites" include:

  1. Serving as the Trustee (since 1991) of a family trust devoted to the maintenance of the Kumm family "homestead" in Chocorua, NH, which has a vista of Mt. Chocoma from the front porch.
  2. Fully restoring a 30-year-old ROVER 2000TC car, which has recently won some antique British Car Show awards.
  3. Reflections on, Amherst's Influence: Taught me more self-confidence; inte11ectual skepticism; approaching complex issues with 8 "top-down world view; and the importance of being able to evaluate and articulate the reasons why a recommended course of action is going to win/succeed.

Future Plans: No plans to retire because there are so many opportunities to excel out there. I plan to stay trim, healthy and active in the Professional Engineering field.

William H. Kumm