Jobs ListEvery job I've had that lasted more than a month

Driving Range and Dolphin Show Attendant

(1965 to ‘67, age 10, 11) My father built and operated a golf driving range in the mid 1960’s in Hampton, Virginia. As a ten-year-old-child I wasn’t a big help during the construction but I was there every day moving as much dirt and driving as many nails as I could for 25 cents an hour. We built a pool on the property and operated a dolphin show for two summers and sometimes I joined the show holding fish the leaping dolphins would snatch from me. The feed fish were smelt and it was amazing how the dolphin could leap ten or more feet high and just touch my lips with theirs as they took the fish that I held by their tail in my teeth. Once or twice I received a mild punch and bruised lip but usually, if I didn’t move, they would take the fish and not touch me or give me a gentle kiss.

Steam Heat Plant Maintenance Mechanic

(1971, age 15) Dad’s plan was to convert two coal and oil burning steam heat plants in west Philadelphia to garbage incinerators, an idea that wasn’t quite ahead of its time in 1971 but on the leading edge. My brother David and I spent that summer grinding and painting tanks, packing valves and generally preparing the plant for the next heating season. David and I worked in two different plants and before we started Dad warned us about how we we would be treated as the boss's sons. Dad said our fellow workers and the foremen would either suck-up to us or resent us. David's supervisor was a suck-up and mine was not only resentful, he abused me. For example my first job was to remove the rust from the inside of a 5000 gallon tank and the only tool that he gave me to do it was a file. He was kind enough to grind down the end to make it something that was a little more effective than a chisel but it was not the right tool for the job. I discovered that to be a fact when he gave me a large angle grinder with an abrasive wheel to remove the rust from the inside of a 20,000 gallon tank. He also had me shovel the soot out of the smoke stack, something that hadn't been done in many years, if ever, and he didn't warn me that the bank of dust and debris beneath the huge furnace duct was burning. It took two weeks to get all that sulfur and coal dust out, one bucket at a time, and another week before I stopped blowing it out of my nose.

Window Cleaner

(1973 to 75, age 17 to 20) This part time and summer job satisfied a compulsive desire to get off the ground. Cleaning the windows on all the tallest buildings in Wilmington, Delaware from swing stage scaffolds and bosun’s chairs was hard work but often quite fun. It also meant working with some very colorful characters and finding myself in some interesting situations. (I could write a book!)

Fiberglass Fabricator

(1973, age 17) My good friend Ron Snyder and I were both hired at nearly the same time to fabricate duct and pipe out of woven and non-woven glass and polyester resin in the same way boats are built. It was interesting work and I enjoyed making the pipe and duct and machining the attachment flanges but the glass fibers and catalyzed resin was irritating, even injurious. Eventually I had chemical burns, itched all the time and my breath smelled like resin so I had to quit.

Casual Laborer

(1974, age 18) General Foods had a distribution hub in Newark, Delaware. I worked there one or two nights a week unloading trailers and rail cars of their loads of Tang, pudding, cereal and dog food while I attended the University of Delaware. My roommate worked there with me and he and I sometimes did silly things to each other with the products. One hot summer night as I was unloading a freight car Roy jumped me from behind with bags of pudding. The first bag he hurled at me as I turned to face him hit my forehead and burst open. As I wiped the powder from my eyes he continued to pelt me with pudding packages until my sweat soaked body was covered. It was so funny I nearly wet myself, which would have been the final, perhaps hard to identify ingredient for a very weird recipe.

Nude Model

(1974, age 18) Originally, I enrolled in college in Civil Engineering but I switched to Fine Arts in my sophomore year which led to the job of modeling for the figure drawing class. When I first got the job I thought it would be pretty easy and would help in my artistic pursuits but as the time approached to actually do it I got very nervous. I didn’t like the first class at all and I wasn’t the only one who was uncomfortable. Most of the people in the class had very little experience concentrating on naked strangers. After a couple weeks I relaxed and although I never really enjoyed doing it I did eventually stop being embarrassed.

Fitness Instructor

(1975, age 20) At the European Health Spa on the Kirkwood Highway near Delaware Park. I liked setting people up with exercise programs. One customer, an elderly man who had been very suddenly stricken with severe arthritis was so grateful for what exercising at the club had done for him he wept as he thanked me for how I’d helped.

Assistant Construction Superintendent

(1975 to 1977, age 19 to 21)


(1977, age 22) I worked at two different shops; Vet’s Welding, which was a miscellaneous metals shop (stairs, walkways, ladders and rails) and Hellmark Steel which fabricated structural steel.

Door to Door Sales, Painter

(1977, age 22)

Mason Tender

(1978, age 22) Two other young men and I mixed “mud” and helped Italian stone masons in other ways as they maintained the brick, block, mortar and stone structures and statues on the very large AI DuPont estate in the country just north of Wilmington, Delaware. Two of the three masons in the crew were Italian Americans but John, whose advise on women included, “Rob, everya now and againa you gatta hit ‘em”, was from Italy.

Designer / Draftsman/Surveyor

(1978 to ‘80, age 22 to 24)

Jumpmaster and Demonstration Skydiver

(1977 to ‘80, age 21 to 24) Proficiency in skydiving is very difficult. Achieving and maintaining a skill level adequate for any level of competition requires a significant commitment. It takes dedication to earn any United State Parachute Association rating too. I got my C license, which was required to become a Jumpmaster, as soon as I qualified. With that rating, which I earned during my second year in the sport, I could make money supervising students as they made their way through the required progression.


(1979, age 23)

Machinist / Airship Rigger / Project Manager

(1980 to 1985, age 24 to 29)

TV News Stringer

(1983 to 1985, age 27 to 29) In 1983 I had to take a pay cut at my full time job working on the Cyclocrane so I contacted the television stations in Portland, Oregon to offer my services as a news stringer. I had provided them with video on the Cyclocrane so they knew me and that I could provide useable footage. I was on the coast and seventy miles from Portland and that was a good location for a stringer. The fact that I was a pilot was another advantage. There were a number of times the tape wouldn't have made it before the deadline if I hadn't flown it to Portland International. A couple times I took risks to get it there that I shouldn't have.

Assistant Helicopter Production Manager

(1985, age 29) After the Cyclocrane project I went to work briefly for Robinson Helicopter in Torrance, California. Their only product then was the R22, a two place helicopter used mostly as a trainer.

QC Engineer , Project Engineer

(1985 to 1989, age 29 to 33) Quality Control Engineer and then Project Engineer on Kite Balloon systems for the Air Force and Coast Guard

Airship Production Manager

(1989, age 33) Airship (Blimp) production manager

Project Engineer, Design Engineer

(1989 to ‘96, age 33 to 41) Design and Project Engineer on aerospace inflatables and commercial products


(1996 to 2005, age 40 to 49) Event vIdeographer, documentary and commercial producer, editor, writer, multi-media and applications producer / programmer

Construction Manager

(1996, age 40) Commercial Construction Manager

Tower Climber

(2005, age 49) Tower Climber

Commercial Building Restoration Mechanic, Operations Manager

(2005 to ‘07, age 49 to 51) The tower climbing job was a part time position that was taken for two reasons, first to provide income to supplement what I was making in my video business and also to just get outside and out of the office. My buddy Gabe, who owned the company that I worked for when I was cleaning windows back in college heard that I was working on the towers and asked me to be his Operations Manager. The company had transitioned out of window cleaning and into building facade maintenance and restoration. That is a pretty interesting form of contracting and the pay would be good so I did it. I spent the first six months actually working on the scaffolds and lifts like all the others so that I would really know the job and then I started running the jobs as the company’s Operations Manager.

Field Engineer, Kite Balloon Operator

(2007 to ‘09, age 51, 52)
Back to ballooning! In September of 2006 Judi and our son, Patrick and Pat's girlfriend and I went on vacation together to Oregon. While there I met with Larry Schaible, a former Pan Am employee who was on the Sea Based Aerostat Program with me in the '80s. Larry was the curator at the Tillamook Air Museum at the time which was in the hanger where we built the Cyclocrane. Larry told me that Lockheed Martin had a program that used a system nearly identical to the one that we'd worked on before. They were setting up systems in Iraq in Afghanistan. That night at dinner we talked about it and from then on it was inevitable that I'd apply for the job and since I was very qualified I got it.

Corporate Exec. (President / CEO)

(2009 to 2012, age 54 to 56) After my hitch in the war zones concluded, for the first time in my life, I was able to get by without a full time job so I wrote a book about my experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before I finished it a crisis in a friend's life occurred and he asked for help. He needed me to take over his business so I went back to commercial building restoration, this time as the boss.

Commercial Building Restoration Consultant

(2012 to now, age 56 to ?)


(1979 to now, age 23 to ?)