Gladstone on engineering

Zachary Sanford–Staff Writer

Professor Jeff Gladstone is a new staff member at Dordt in the Engineering Department.

ZS: Tell us about yourself:
JG: “I have been practicing engineering for 32 years. I grew up in the bay area in California in the 60’s and 70’s. I graduated from Cal Poly Obispo College with Aeronautical Engineering and worked for Aero Jet (propulsion company in Sacramento, CA). I married out of college and right now both of my kids are out of college also. I attended graduate school at UC Davis. At the time, I was interested in teaching in a secular school because they always need more Christians in that environment. I have always been interested in model airplanes, and going down the list of majors [picking aeronautical engineering] wasn’t much thought other than that. I was the lead structural engineering on the solid rocket boosters [on the Atlas 5 rocket].”

ZS: How did you end up here at Dordt:
JG: “22 years at Aero Jet, a seed was planted by a friend who suggested consulting for smaller companies that don’t need a full-time person. I had gotten involved with NorthRise, and Dordt had been involved with them as well; my first trip there, President Hoekstra was there, and we got to talking. He asked if I would look into teaching at Dordt. I was interested, and after a while it was something worth looking into. About a year ago, I applied and it got serious.”

ZS: How do see teaching Engineering here at Dordt?
JG: “I like the cohesiveness world view with the secular teaching; it didn’t seem [at Dordt] like Christianity was merely tacking on to what we do professionally. It really is a challenge on the engineering side, because most of it is just getting the math right. Doing a correct technical job is what you got to do whether it’s secular or Christian. So, that really is an area in which I want to develop. I think the challenge for us engineers is that many of us aren’t entrepreneurs. We aren’t necessarily the ones leading the charge of the engineering future. It’s a engineering personality type that gets done, for whatever that happens to be.”

ZS: What are some of the things you enjoy doing outside of class?
JG: “Most of the adventure things were back in California. I live next to Lake Tahoe and have a season pass to ski, I love sailing, especially sailing in the San Francisco Bay in a club. I love the outdoors, and I have to find things here to do. I like to cycle, and wood-working… is something I’ve done over years. My perfect week is going out on the sailboat with some friends, and in fact the Great Lakes aren’t too far away. I enjoy backpacking, pheasant hunting, fishing, and love to eat fish. If there is ever a group of students who want to start an Alpine Club and drive to Colorado, I’d love to be their advisor.”

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