Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.), NASA Astronaut, as Chairman at Action Products International, Offers Insight into Computer and Hard Drive Technology of the Future
Lt. General Thomas Stafford, a retired NASA astronaut, joins Action Products as Chairman of the Board. He discusses with interviewer Kenn Kerr his experience and knowledge of the technology world, where it's headed, and why he's excited about APII
NEW YORK, March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Action Products International, Inc. (OTCPK: APII) has chosen to take Sir Isaac Newton's advice to see further, and in doing so, they too will stand on the shoulders of giants. APII's lift off will be with space pioneer and astronaut, Lieutenant General Thomas Stafford (Ret.), who was named this week as the company's Chairman of the Board. Kenn Kerr had the honor of sitting down to meet with the man former Senator and astronaut John Glenn called "an expert on everything he touched."
Lt. General Thomas Stafford (Ret.), NASA Astronaut (Former), has long been a trailblazer and has pioneered his way to the doorstep of greatness, time and time again. After graduating with honors from the US Naval Academy, he began making America great with a storied career in the military, 13 years with NASA and serving on many corporate boards. One thing is clear: General Stafford has been a busy man. So busy in fact, he earned a coveted teaching position at the Harvard School of Business while in the Air Force, and 3 days into the job, he left when NASA called asking him to join President Kennedy's charge to get to the moon within the decade.
A man can be judged by the words of his peers, and General Stafford is summed up with a string of impressive adjectives and accolades. He's been called "a visionary," "a dreamer," and it's been said, "If you want to get a job done, then Tom Stafford is the go-to guy." He's spent over 500 hours in space where he piloted the first rendezvous in space, commanded the first flight of the lunar module to the moon, performed the first rendezvous around the moon, and served as Apollo commander for the historic first meeting in space between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts. He was also instrumental in Stealth Technology being added to the U.S. combat arsenal.
How has your military background and 13 years with NASA prepared you for the Boardroom?
Throughout my Air Force career and as an astronaut, I was in research and development and then later as Deputy Chief of Staff I moved into acquisitions. I started the B-2 Stealth Bomber and the F-117A Stealth Fighter so I had to interface constantly with top management at all the big aerospace firms. As an astronaut we met all the time particularly in those days because everything was a new step that had never been done before and we were on the cutting edge of technology. I had to justify every penny of every project to Congress, so I understand financing, budgets and how to get things done. I have learned it takes more than just an idea. You have to set policy, obtain financing, and have the right management in place to succeed.
During the heart of the Cold War, you headed up the US team that joined a Russian team in space for several days on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. How were you able to pull this off with the rival Soviets when it's rare to get a group to agree on anything these days?
We used common sense, we kept it strictly professional and kept politics out of it, and it worked great. We had 6 to 8 thousand strategic warheads and a few thousand tactical nukes aimed at each other, and in spite of all that, we demonstrated to the world that two "super powers" could work together and achieve a common goal.
What piques your interest with Action Products?
The main thing is the merger with Core Wafer Systems, and what they can do to help really streamline and test the reliability of components both in semiconductors and in magnetics in hard disk drives. Core Wafer has the technology software and hardware to test those items. With 600 to 800 million hard disk drives being produced in the world this year, that's a lot of testing to be sure those are good components going into each one. We can test them with various rigors and anomalies and predict their lifetime. It's a great technical leap to me.
You've served on the board of several respected companies; including Fisher Scientific and Seagate Technologies, the largest independent disk drive maker globally. How has each experience shaped you?
This is the smallest public company I have been on. The largest had $32 billion in revenues and the smallest produced $300 million. After serving with 14 NYSE companies and one AMEX company, I have a lot of corporate governance experience to offer. With each appointment, I have taken something away from that Board, and used it to improve business on the next.
After such an amazing, high adrenaline career, what still motivates you to get involved?
I love ideas, I love improving products and I am always thinking and finding solutions. I like to know why you can do something instead of why you can't. And, after being in space the rest is a piece of cake.
General Stafford could be the icing on the cake for Action Products International to forge a strong future, and if his passion and curiosity are indicative of what's on the horizon, shareholders are in exceptional hands.
About Action Products International, Inc.
Action Products International, Inc. is the parent company of North East Expedite Logistics, a transportation company; and Core Wafer Systems, Inc., a technology leader with a propriety parallel measurement schema for physical phenomena of semiconductor structures. Additional company information can be obtained on the company website at: http://www.actionproductsinternational.com
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