Rossman '57 visits

Aug 28, 2002

Ed Rossman '57 of Auburn, Wash., has had a long and interesting career.

Ed Rossman '57 of Auburn, Wash., has had a long and interesting career. He's grateful to his alma mater, General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) for teaching him machining skills. He's used those skills working in the transportation industry, on the first stage of Saturn V moon rockets and now for Boeing in Washington.

In fact, Rossman is one of a handful of people who can "straighten old parts" for Boeing. "They keep me around because I'm lucky at straightening parts," Rossman told a large crowd Aug. 22 during his first trip back to campus in 40 years. "Some parts are worth $3.5 million," he added.

Rossman joked with the many students in the audience, pulling out a slide rule and shaking it at them. "Know what this is?" he asked. "Yes, it's a slide rule. I got 100 percent on my slide rule test for (Math Professor Duane) McKeachie. I was always proud of that." Professor McKeachie, who attended the session, nodded and smiled.

"And what good does a slide rule do an engineer today?" Rossman asked, as students laughed. "I'll tell you ... "it's a good pointer!"

Student Alumni Council and Phi Eta Sigma invited Rossman to campus to discuss his work on the F-22 Raptor Epic -- the World's Most Advanced Aircraft. He also answered questions on research and industry.

An expert in machining and thermal processing, Rossman is an associate technical fellow with the Boeing Company. He has performed research on high-speed machining of titanium and improvements in accuracy of large parts for the past 10 years. His current work is primarily consultation and trouble shooting with machining suppliers. He has published and presented research papers on machining of difficult sections and on thermal processing of titanium.

In advising students on life in industry, he offered this: "Remember, sometimes you don't need research. Sometimes, you need a good pipefitter. Try to know the difference."

Written by Pat Mroczek
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