In the tradition of fiction writers, my life has been a rich drama, always interesting and often rewarding, but sometimes balanced on the edge of tragedy. I graduated with honors from Georgia Tech and was awarded a full Fellowship to get my PhD in Electronic Engineering, well on my way to a career in research until life got in the way.
Getting a doctorate is all consuming, so one day I came home from class to find that my neglected wife had taken our son and left. Divorce, bleakness, and an unfinished dissertation followed. I needed a change and, as fate had it, the Vietnam War was raging and good technologists were in high demand. Not for research: for application.
I soon found myself riding in the back of military aircraft, trying to make prototype electronic intelligence (ELINT) and weapons systems work. I was also the kid in the back of the room at classified briefings attended by high officers, and, sometimes, the SECDEF himself. They called it “Special Ops.” That’s what my friends did, and some were true heroes. But Vietnam convinced me I needed a career change.
With friends investing their combat pay, I started my first company and produced the first useful automobile radar detector. We called it “The Snooper,” and it made Playboy and the legendary Cannonball Baker Race that has been the subject of several movies. You can see one in the old movie, Gumball Rally. When Nixon passed the 55 MPH speed limits, sales went ballistic.
After selling that business, I worked for large firms, most notably Tektronix. They paid me to learn new things. My last “real job” was as the (first, last, and only) business development manager for Tek’s corporate research labs. The Presidents of Sony Tektronix, Tada-san and later Kumakura-san, helped mentor me in Japanese culture and Asian ways.
I left Tek in the late 80s to form a consulting business, The Trudel Group. Clients have included Intel, Hewlett Packard, the Naval Postgraduate School, and others, including some in the Mid East. I taught classes, held seminars, and wrote two high tech books and many columns on innovation. One in ‘95 for the old Upside about “The Patent Wars” got major international attention. I soon found myself part of a band of inventors, including a quorum of Nobel Laureates and Inventor’s Hall of Fame members, petitioning Congress to preserve our Patent System. I spent five years on that, pro bono, and then gave my files to Professor Larry Lessig of Stanford who had access to more resources and legal expertise. It was time for another change.
So I started writing novels, science-based suspense. God’s House, my first, was published in 2011, Privacy Wars in 2012, Soft Target in 2013, and Raven’s Run in 2014. So far my novels are winning National Awards and getting 5-star reviews. I am thankful that my fans like them.