European Spotlight: Andrew Spendlove, engineer
December 11, 2006
What does your job involve?
I’m the focus point for all coordination for EBG projects — all the military construction in the Grafenwöhr footprint. The projects include 28 company operations headquarters, roads, parking lots, landscaping, a health/medical clinic, the [military construction side of the] Netzaberg housing area. I have a reputation for teamwork and making people pull together to make things happen. Nothing gets accomplished alone.
What is the greatest engineering project in history?
It is probably the great pyramids (of Egypt). I have seen artists’ pictures of what they looked like when they were new. Every block was fitted exactly and each stone weighed half a ton to two tons. In the modern world, the Eiffel Tower was a great one. Nobody believed you could build a metal structure that high but now we build all our skyscrapers with a metal skeleton.
Who is the greatest engineer of all time?
Leonardo da Vinci. He is the greatest engineer/scientist of all time. Da Vinci detailed a way to look inside the human brain (by pouring wax into it) 200 years before it was done by anyone else. His work included coordination of muscles, flight, submersible vehicles. The only one who comes close is Albert Einstein. When Einstein presented his theory of relativity he was a patent clerk third class.
Do you have any theories of your own?
Yes, but we can’t publish those. So many people believe there are conspiracies but I think it is social dynamics that let similar people group together and others think there is a big conspiracy.
What are those diagrams on your whiteboard?
I was explaining to a colleague how a laser works. It is a chamber that excites photons to the point that they emit a laser. Another diagram (composed of four squares with the letters A, B, F and U) is a “Johari window.” A is the arena — how much you know about yourself; B is the blind spot — things others know about you that you don’t know about yourself; F is the façade — how much other people know about you; and U is the unknown — things nobody knows about you.
What will you do when EBG is over?
They have plans for us (the EBG Cell) to monitor and watch other architectural and engineering projects around here.
Title: Professional engineer and chief of the Directorate of Public Works Efficient Basing Grafenwöhr, Germany, (EBG) Cell.
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