From an economic point of view, the high standard of living enjoyed by so many people living in Southern California today has its roots in the long period of creative expansion in the aerospace industry following the end of World War II. Companies that had ramped up their research and development for the production of military technology either continued to work on defense contracts or began to explore the commercial potential of such inventions as the laser, the satellite, and the microchip. Santa Barbaran Ken Richardson was president of Hughes Aircraft during its most successful period, and he has written a book describing his experience there that includes quotes and stories from the more than 60 interviews he conducted with other former Hughes employees.
Richardson tells the story of a company that went from the Spruce Goose to DirecTV, with stops along the way to put the Galileo probe in orbit, to develop the first laser, to design advanced missiles for the military, and to create the Surveyor lunar lander for NASA. Richardson’s book, Hughes After Howard, is out now from Sea Hill Press, and the author will be talking to America’s Coach, Bill Poett, on his Internet radio program this Sunday, August 14, from 4-5pm on blogtalkradio.com/billpoett or it can be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes on Monday, August 15.