I get asked the following questions from time to time: Why did you go into engineering and information technology as a career? Did you have a role model or someone you looked up to that helped you make that decision?
I absolutely had some people that I looked up to that inspired me to enter the engineering and technology space. I thought I would share a couple of them so you could be inspired as well.
One of those “mentors” was Garrett Augustus Morgan. He was born on March 4, 1877 and passed away on July 27, 1963. He is one of my heroes because he was an African American inventor and successful businessman – and he created some of the technology we still use today.
He loved to fix things and had a reputation for doing so. One of his first inventions was a liquid hair straightening agent – which he successfully marketed and sold under his company.
He is credited with inventing the gas mask, which is used today by fire departments as standard equipment. It was used by the army when it entered World War I in 1917.
He also created the predecessor to the modern-day traffic signal and patented the invention in 1922. While it wasn’t the first traffic signal device, it was the first that had 3 positions – which evolved over time into what we see today as a red, yellow, and green light traffic signal.
I’m very appreciative of his contributions and others made by African Americans that have helped make this world a better place. I’ll share more of my heroes over the next couple of posts.