Electronic-Mail Message (2017 June 10, 8:18 p.m. EDT) from Peter Ryckman, Multiple Award Winner (Including First Prize in Engineering and Best of Show !) from the 1960 Pittsburgh Regional School Science and Engineering Fair at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science ---

Mr. Walsh

I recently ran across the publication of "Lives Touched...Worlds Changed," Fifty Years of Alumni Achievements" on the internet.

I eagerly looked for my name -- and didn't find it.

Somewhat surprising. In 1960, when I was a senior in high school, I was in the Buhl Planetarium Science Fair. I won the First Award in Engineering, Best of Show, four industry awards, and the Alcoa Scholarship (open to the top Buhl winners.) I also won a Carnegie Scholarship (half tuition) when I was accepted at Carnegie Tech (later Carnegie Mellon University, as you know.) This all happened in the Spring of 1960.

I graduated from Carnegie Tech with a degree in industrial design in 1964 and worked for Emerson Electric. I then worked at Westinghouse Electric at the appliance division

 and then at the Westinghouse Corporate Design Center, one of the first corporate-wide design activities in the U.S. While at the Design Center, I was twice recognized in ID Magazine's Annual Design Review issue, the de-facto industrial design awards of excellence at the time.

In 1980, I returned to Westinghouse in a new career: executive speechwriter. During the next decade I wrote several hundred speeches for senior executives including CEOs Doug Danforth and Paul Lego. I found, somewhat to my surprise, that I loved writing and was pretty good at it. 

I'm now retired (after a two decades of writing speeches for Silicon Valley executives) and am working on my first novel. I still love writing.

I recall my Science Fair days with great affection. I grew up in a small (uninteresting) town and winning so big at Buhl in 1960 was the biggest thing that had ever happened to me. The Science Fair helped me understand that my own inner compass was, and still is, my greatest ally. I still vividly remember designing, building, and debugging my senior year Science Fair entry. It was my first big time test of perseverance. I've returned to that same well countless times in my professional lives and personal life. My Buhl experience also cemented my life-long fascination in science and technology.

I'm glad that "Lives Touched .." is out there on the internet. I'm sorry I missed the chance to be part of it.

Peter Ryckman