Getting to Know

NL: How long have you been teaching?

PH: Three years in grad school, three years at St. Louis University and 10 years at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

NL: How have you changed your style since you started teaching?

PH: As the years have passed, I find that my lectures have become more extemporaneous while still covering the required material for the day. This allows me to try new things in the classroom.

NL: What have you taught at UAA and what are you currently teaching?

PH: I teach in the Aviation Technology Division, Aviation Maintenance program. My areas are aircraft engines, fuel systems, hydraulics, welding and aerodynamics.

NL: What rewards do you personally get from teaching?

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PH: Every so often I’ll get a student who has the passion I felt when I started in the business and it reinvigorates me. Also, that ever-so-rare heartfelt “thank you” from a student.

NL: Where did you go to school? What was your major?

PH: Utah State University, Industrial Technology, Aeronautics and Arizona State University, Aeronautical Engineering Technology

NL: What drew you to this field?

PH: I enjoy the intellectual exercise of designing and analyzing mechanical systems, taking principles of nature and applying them to a useful purpose. Aircraft are the best embodiment of that exercise.

NL: What was your worst or most interesting job as a student? 

PH: (I was a) stagehand at the university theater. Those theater people are mighty interesting.

NL: What undergraduate course do you remember best? 

PH: Philosophy, the pursuit of thinking so often lacking in society.

congratulations from UPD to UAA graduates


NL: Born and raised?

PH: Born: Michigan. Raised: Everywhere else.

NL: Favorite movie(s)? 

PH: There are so many, but let’s say “Galaxy Quest.”

NL: Favorite book, poem or screenplay?

PH: Shakespearian comedies, E.A. Poe, Robert Service and yes, I’ll admit it, J.R.R. Tolkein. Oh yeah, also, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Aeronautics and Space.

NL: Favorite music or artist? 

PH: Eclectic, but if I had to choose just one, Mike Oldfield.

NL: What are your favorite past times and hobbies?

PH: There is so much to do and so little time. Hiking, backpacking, skiing, rock and ice climbing, flying, skydiving, travel, aircraft design product design…

NL: What are you most passionate about in life?

PH: Retirement.

This question we asked the professor to make up….


NL: What is missing in American education?

PH: The teaching of money, wealth and market economy. Money, in our society, has historically been approached as a “dirty” subject, something not discussed in polite circles. The nature of money, markets and the creation of wealth need to be taught at an early age in order for more people to participate in the benefits of a free market system.