They Came From Pennsylvania
How does an average guy from Altoona, PA manage to have his name on 27 US patents and 135 related foreign patents?
Well, Thomas Behe was an average student in high school. He attended Altoona Vo-Tech in the electric shop. He thought that he would be an electrician upon graduation. This was during the Vietnam war and his dad had convinced him that it would be best to enlist in the Navy as opposed to being drafted.
He spent two years on the USS John F Kennedy, which at that time was the latest and newest aircraft carrier, as an electrician. While in the Navy, his fiancee' was getting her degree and she eventually convinced him that he should take the SAT's He took them while he was still on the Kennedy.
He decided to apply to Penn Statge, but his SAT's were not good enough to get into the four year program at the main campus. He, originally, wanted to study Criminology or Phys Ed. It was, then suggested that he go to the Altoona campus for a two year degree. Eventually, he ended up majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
He graduated with an Associates Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. It ended up that Xerox was one of two companies that visited campus to recruit students to come work for them. Tom, ended up being the only one from the Mechanical Engineering group that they invited to come to their headquarters in Rochester, NY.
He was offered a job and started out as technician in 1976. Thirty-nine and a half years later, he retired as a Technical Specialist.
To read Tom's complete interview , please check out the upcoming book release They Came From Blair County due out by the end of 2020.
**Information for this article was obtained throuhg a phone interview with Thomas Behe
**All photos come from the personal collection of Thomas Behe