Written by Thomas L. Nash Ph.D., (aka Tom or Doc), Professor Emeritus, The University of Akron 2019
I am a professor, geoscientist, park ranger, writer, cartographer, soccer coach, and car guy. I was born in Crown Penna, Ohio, on June 22, 1936. I grew up in both rural and city environments of northwestern Penna and Akron, Ohio, while my dad was serving in the South Pacific during WWII. By 10 years of age, I knew quickly that I really had a love of cars and the world around me. Living on a farm taught me innate mechanical skills in a way that I continue to enjoy all types of autos and airplanes. Traveling between city and farm always made me seek to see the world from new perspectives. My mom, grandmother, and great aunt made certain I understood the role of a man in work and daily living.
My upbringing emphasized hard work, self-discipline, integrity, and academic achievement. In 1961, I married my wife Janice who had similar values. She helped me raise four children and complete B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., degrees at Kent State University (we also raced cars together). We never gave up those values for ourselves or our children. We always encouraged the kids’ curiosity about the world around them and expected them to do well. All four of them did: two attorneys, a physician, and maybe best of all, a park ranger. We have eight grandchildren (one of the girls is a college soccer coach).
My father had seven interesting and successful careers in his lifetime. As of now I have had five, and I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. Some unusual points: I had tenure as a professor before having a Ph.D., (the doctoral degree involved studies at the University of Kansas, University of Minnesota and Kent State University, plus two doctoral fellowships from the U.S Department of Defense). In my first professional job as a city planner, I helped create a plan for parkland between Cleveland and Akron, which eventually became Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Years later, I drew the first base maps for the park. And even more unusual, I became a National Park Ranger in that very place! I became an NCAA Division I college and Olympic soccer coach; there are five players on the current 2019 United States National Soccer Team that I worked with at Zips soccer at the University of Akron. My time with the U. S. Naval Reserve & U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary opened even more horizons to me.
My academic specialization and interests include glacial geomorphology, soil science, weather/climate, computer mapping, bio-medico engineering computer graphics, classic auto restoration, hot rods, NASCAR/NHRA racing, the historic/cultural significance of the automobile, and history of aviation. Funded research projects have been with the Bureau of the Census, EPA, NASA, National Park Service & private corporations. I love teaching the on-line “Weather Studies” course for the American Meteorological Society.
I have a display collection of over 200 Hot Wheel diecast model cars, many representing cars that I owned, built, or raced. I have written over 80 publications in books, journals, reports, magazines, and PowerPoints on manifold topics, most with peer review.
My favorite and most useful quotes I use in my life every day are: “slow is fast” & “Git-R-Done.” Special thanks to both son Michael & Larry the Cable Guy.
My Ph. D., dissertation topic was “Coefficient of Differential: A Mathematical Calculation for Computer Graphic Portrayal of Sematic Differential Analysis of Soil Resources in Artificial Intelligence Systems.”
Now I live in Jackson, Wyoming, near my sons Tim and Michael and volunteer at Grand Teton National Park working at the headquarters facilities management division in the auto shop, SAR cache, and doing other neat stuff!
My newest endeavor is something we are calling “Tom Talks” at Legacy Lodge. A play on the famous “Ted Talks”, I am offering monthly interactive talks on various topics ranging from the weather to women who influenced my careers, the history of aviation from China 2000 BC to present time, sky spies: civil war to present time, GPS & navigation, the cultural impact of automobiles, major weather hazards for aviation and climate change confusion, just to name a few. The residents and team are enjoying learning about new topics and I am enjoying sharing my expertise with a new population.
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