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Michael Bennett achieves 50 years with AEDC

  • Published
  • By Deidre Moon
  • AEDC Public Affairs

As of July 5, AEDC team member Michael Bennett has been working at Arnold Air Force Base for 50 years, ever since he graduated with his electrical engineering degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“When I graduated from UT, Arnold was one of the first places to offer me a job, and I took it,” he said.

Bennett, who is now an architect with the Technical and Management Advisory Services contractor serving the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Test Information Systems Section, started his career with AEDC as an instrumentation engineer for what was the J-5 Large Rocket Motor Test Facility. He also served as an instrument engineer in the J-4 Rocket Motor Test Facility, T-3 turbine engine test cell and the Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit.

“I then migrated into data system development and worked developing requirements and monitoring contracts for outside contractors to provide AEDC data systems,” he said. “The systems provided by outside contractors failed to meet our needs, so in the 1990s the Air Force decided to let us develop our own systems. I was assigned to a design team to develop a common data system for AEDC, which became known as EDAPS [Enterprise Data Acquisition and Processing System].”

During his time with AEDC, Bennett has also been recognized for his work, receiving the Fiscal Year 2013 fourth quarter External Customer Service Excellence award from a previous contractor.

Bennett said his most notable achievement during his tenure was being part of the team effort to create the eSTARR [Enterprise System for Test Data Acquisition, Recording and Redistribution], which was previously EDAPS.

“I have been part of the team working on eSTARR since its conception,” he said.

It’s hard not to work somewhere for 50 years, without being inspired along the way, and Bennett mentioned he’s had three mentors or colleagues who stand out.

“Initially it was Charlie Suggs, Morris Baldwin and Bob Mahrenholz, who were engineers with me at J-5,” he said. “Morris and Bob were particularly good at their jobs.”

Bennett said that he does still enjoy the work he does at Arnold because “it’s challenging.”

And when asked if he has any plans for retiring, he said, “I keep telling myself I’m going to retire, but I haven’t done anything about it yet.”