GOD’S GRACE, IN STORY
Bob Dingman ’50 loves to tell a good story — especially the ones that showcase God’s grace. The retired executive search consultant and World War II veteran is engaging and humble, lively and funny, and for the past 12 years, has been the guest speaker in the World War II history classes at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, Calif. “Each semester, I speak about my World War II critical wounding, how the Lord saved my life, and how that has impacted my entire life since,” said Bob. “The kids need to know about World War II, but even more about God’s intervening in the lives [of] His own.”
He goes on to tell the students, “I was in combat only 28 days. My wounding came just two weeks before the end of combat in Europe, so my timing was awful, but God’s hand was on me.”
Bob’s experiences leave a lasting impression on many students who hear him speak. On a card thanking him for his visit to their school, students from Oaks Christian School poured out their appreciation:
“You have such an incredible story! Thank you for coming to share it with us. You are truly an example of God’s good grace!!”
“I was incredibly honored to be able to meet you and hear your amazing stories. Your humility was incredibly inspiring. You greatly encouraged me to appreciate the life God has given me. Thank you for your time and for serving our country.”
When Bob is relating his war experiences, his humility is evident. “I am only a grateful survivor who never led anyone, never had any rank above the entering one, and did not last long in the job I was given,” he says. “I just followed orders and now thank the Lord for His grace.”
Though he signs his notes “Still on the move, but slower,” Bob and his wife, Irene, live a full and busy life. He writes, “Jan, my Houghton sweetheart and wife for 47 years, has been with the Lord for almost 15 years now, and wonderful Irene has brightened my life since then.” The couple stays active by hosting a weekly Bible study in their home, going to the symphony, and vacationing annually on Maui. They make their home in Newbury Park, Calif. 01
HOPE AND HEALING WITH BIG DATA
Data Scientist Carmen McKell ’87 turns data into action. “Data is power; it is the new currency that drives companies and countries to compete,” says McKell, the co-founder of BaseMetrics, a full service Value Add Analytics and Software Development company. “The future IS data,” she says. With staff in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and India, BaseMetrics is on the cutting edge of an emerging global field called “data science.”
Five years ago, the job title “data scientist” didn’t exist, and today it is one of the fastest growing careers in the information technology industry. “Data science is a combination of statistical analysis, computer science, data engineering, business, psychology and communication,” explains McKell. “At BaseMetrics, we take data and make it useful.”
While her company has worked with clients in the public sector — health care for instance — McKell’s real passion lies in the nonprofit sector. “Nonprofit organizations often struggle to collect program data needed for sustained funding,” says McKell. Close to her heart is the city of Pune, India, where BaseMetrics has been working to secure funding for rural health research since 2006. McKell continues, “Like many places, there is a shortage of evaluation experts in India. As a result, programs that deliver quality health care, education and social services are simply not getting funded. The data necessary to demonstrate success are simply not being collected. This is where I fit in. I build inexpensive mobile data collection and reporting tools for the front line workers so they can collect the program data on the spot.”
Before the introduction of the iPad, this kind of immediate data collection would have been an expensive proposition. “Now, with the iPad and a host of new data collection and reporting technologies, cost is no longer a barrier,” explains McKell. “Each year I return to India with a renewed hope, a handful of iPads, and a step closer to helping very well intended organizations achieve their goals.”
SERVING IN CHEMISTRY
“The Lord has truly directed me on a path that I could not have imagined 64 years ago,” says chemist, research manager and consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and the Israeli Ministry of Defense Don Roy ’49. Roy’s work in optical ceramics has made a significant contribution to the safety and security of our military — and our nation.
Don was hired as chemist in 1952 in the optical division at Eastman Kodak. At that time, infrared technology for optics in missiles, night vision weapons and high altitude surveillance was in its infancy, and the optics materials required were unavailable. Kodak began a program using hot press technology to densify compounds which the physicists predicted would be transparent in the appropriate wavelengths. Don joined a materials research group where he and his colleagues developed a series of six polycrystalline infrared transmitting materials with the trade names Irtran1-6. Three of them were commercialized: magnesium fluoride was used as the nose cone on the sidewinder missile for twenty-five years; zinc sulfide is the most widely used material for night vision weapons and goggles; and zinc selenide was used for high altitude surveillance photography on the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
Problems with allergies led Don to leave Rochester for Coors Ceramics (Coors-Tek) in Golden, Colo., in 1967. At Coors, Don began developing optical quality magnesium aluminate (spinel) as a potentially valuable material for transparent armor (bulletproof windows), infrared windows, and radomes. “Spinel is two times more effective in ballistic protection than glass,” says Roy. It was used on the Stinger missile during Operation Desert Storm and is currently in use as a critical element in some military aircraft optical systems. “Simply stated, it has far exceeded my expectations and is being produced and assembled on combat vehicles, VIP vehicles and is in consideration for windows on future spacecraft, as well as many other classified applications,” stated Roy.
“As I reflected on my career, I could not quite believe what accomplishments the Lord had permitted me to be involved in,” says Roy. “The Houghton community deserves to know that Houghton has made a significant contribution to our freedom and security in terms of optical materials.”
Don also credits his success to his “wonderfully dedicated wife,” Marty (Bowers ’49) Roy. “The Lord has directed our path in a manner far beyond my wildest expectations.”