by Mark Z.
I remember, at about five or six years old, going to Martin Marietta to see the Gemini space rocket that was built in the facility in Middle River, Maryland. My father, Tony “Z,” was the manager of the “tool room,” and they were building this huge spaceship that would take men into outer space.
Dad had started at Martin back in 1939, right out of high school. He worked his way through the ranks during World War II and the Cold War. He joked that my mother, Helen, an executive secretary for one of the major competitors, made more money than he did as a manager. He had quite the sense of humor!
I started working at Martin Marietta just after college, back in 1980. I was one of the youngsters, and there were “older” people in their 50s and 60s. At least that was my thinking at the time. They were good people who were willing to share and teach you. Sometimes they would play practical jokes on the new guys, asking for a left-handed wrench or other items that didn’t really exist.