Project Havok: Bio

Devotion to detail and accuracy is a way of life for me. That commitment has a long history behind it, and sharing some slice of my story sets the stage for all that follows. I hope it helps to connect on a human level like we did long ago.

Every element ties into the story I’m about to tell — and my ideas for how to build on it. With the doc out of the way, all will become clear quite easily.

Thank you for taking the time to hear me out.

Richard W. Memmer

I learned early on in life that what you want gets in the way of what you see.

When I accomplished the seemingly impossible, the judges couldn’t wrap their minds around it — how one kid could pull this off. And my turnings were so accurate they assumed I used a copy crafter (which was against the rules).

They screwed me — and it was a gift that’s never stopped giving.

I was robbed of what was rightly mine, and when I didn’t get it — I found I didn’t need it. One moment of truth that set the foundation for all those that followed: My teacher didn’t need a letter or a lecture, just a look and a few choice words. He revealed something I couldn’t see, as I was blinded by my disgust in being so royally wronged.

The bigger picture is a beautiful thing — as your interests can be served in ways you wouldn’t have imagined had you gotten what you wanted.

Conventional thinking clouded the minds of those who couldn’t see that I did what couldn’t be done. Funny thing is — there were right in one sense, it was impossible:

For anyone not driven by something so deep within that it was like their life depended on it. Turned out, it did.

Workin’ all day in my daddy’s garage
Drivin’ all night chasing some mirage . . .

You have no idea

“We don’t have a category for you”

That was the attitude back then — and the same mindset I’ve been fighting ever since.

Lo and behold — that’s another ongoing gift to this day. I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of silver linings.

Would I have graduated from Purdue without the gifts I’ve been given? Probably not. My degree is in Industrial Management with a minor in Manufacturing Management. I fell into IT by seeing a problem I just had to solve. It wasn’t my job — I just don’t like things that don’t work right and I gotta find a way to fix ‘em.

As I enjoy obstacles, I can’t go wrong . . .

Central to that discovery process are finding tools available to you and collaborating with those who help in ways large and small. Everything of excellence I have ever achieved came from the welcoming of input from others.

The best idea wins — I don’t care where it comes from. Same goes for the truth.

My minor is major, as it led to ideas that further refined my out-of-the-box thinking — and how I combine conventional and unconventional tools to solve problems.

When I wrote to The Havok Journal about their article on the anniversary of Colin Powell’s speech, I had no idea they’d offer me a chance to submit a follow-up piece. As I wrote and produced the most exhaustive documentary ever done on Iraq WMD, I have a lot to say.

“And then some” . . .

Others have welcomed my work on WMD — until they realized I was taking on their side too. I don’t fit the formula — just like old times.

But The Havok Journal doesn’t roll that way.

And whad’ya know, we collaborated on some ideas to find the best way of showcasing the story. When it comes to America, it’s the same ol’ story — but told in a whole new way. Barbara Tuchman perfectly captures our country’s decline from decades of delight in the Gutter Games of Government:

Like many alternatives, however, it was psychologically impossible. Character is fate, as the Greeks believed. Germans were schooled in winning objectives by force, unschooled in adjustment. They could not bring themselves to forgo aggrandizement even at the risk of defeat.

America is “unschooled in adjustment.”

I’m not

Everything below was built by fundamental problem solving and adapting to the situation: All of which dovetails into the doc and my ideas for using folly from the past for the benefit of the future. Each principle has a place in my plan.

And just like old times — input from others would shape my vision into something far better than I could ever achieve on my own.

5 states and 2 years . . .

From the time I came up with the idea — and many unforgettable experiences along the way. But it was almost not to be . . .

I screwed up

And in the wrong hands, it’s over.

This block was not too bright, but not only did I come up with a way around the problem I created — it was a blessing in disguise.

Sometimes we do things with the best of reasons behind ’em — with rock-solid experience shaping our approach. But problems can come into play when we get too comfortable relying on our experience — then make assumptions that don’t account for complexities outside our wheelhouse.

That can happen to anybody, but if you wanna accomplish your goal — keep the door open for when things don’t go as planned. And ya gotta be willing to wonder:

Is this working? Will it ever work?

I was right on the money with my CAD/CAM approach — I just had the wrong CNC machine. You’d think a waterjet that could cut through 2 inches of solid steel would buzz right through that block.

Not so fast!

Manufacturing engineers much smarter and more experienced thought it would work too, but the blunder is all mine. I only bring up the others because of how easily the environment around you can reinforce your beliefs.

They were just making a casual observation anyway — and I should have accounted for that.

And I shouldn’t have glued up the block until the test piece was done. That was a scheduling issue and because I was bouncing between states for different equipment needs. I gambled by going with my gut — and I was wrong.

But by reassessing the situation in full, I solved the problem — and then some! A solid block was stupid in the first place — a decision driven by my vast experience in building solid furniture. That made perfect sense in that domain, but I was in new territory and didn’t adjust.

Now I was about to

By going old-school to reset the situation — and new-school to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

We will cut the [wheel] down the middle!

Openly embrace mistakes

Once you fully understand why you made them — it not only clears the way for how to fix them, but also avoids repeating them in other ways.

As a bonus, it builds character. And believe it or not, admitting mistakes and welcoming criticism just gets easier over time.

As I’ve had plenty of practice, I would know. More on Music in Motion morals as we move along. But for now — let’s get down to business: