Tom

 

I am one of the three original founding members of the PhDís. I have perhaps the most pre-PhD experience in a variety of outdoor exploits, having grown up backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing, winter and summer camping, canoeing, etc. I even did a little bit of rock climbing and scaled some high peaks in the Rockies. I scaled the Eiger in Switzerland, getting as far as the snack bar. I have always been, and continue to be, a confirmed non-fisherman.

I met the original PhDs when I started to work for the medical device company as a microbiologist in 1981. Iím happily married with two daughters. Family is most important to me and is the main source of fulfillment in my life. They share my love of the outdoors up to a point. They require running water and flush toilets, where I am perfectly happy to sleep in the mud and use the great outdoors as my lavatory.

In our early days as PhDs we didnít know ourselves by that name and we limited our activities to card playing and cheap dinners in greasy spoon restaurants. Out of a combination of boredom and a sense of adventure, we started to take bike rides and short hikes. This led to a wide variety of exploits over a period of more than 20 years. Iíve always tried to push the PhDs to try new and varied outdoor adventures. Winter yurt camping was my idea, for example. Iím also usually the one most prepared on our adventures. If the unpredictable mountain weather takes a turn, even in mid July, Iíd be able to whip out a completely appropriate ensemble. Sleet, snow, sub zero temps, no matter, whatever the conditions, Iíll have the correct item to keep me comfortable. Not only does this assist me, but it goes a long way with impressing and obligating the unprepared. When I offer to loan an extra down jacket, sleeping bag or air mattress to one of the unprepared, you should see the responses. I get a lot of mileage from this.Yep, Iím your guy, a walkin REI. Be prepared thatís my motto, whatís wrong with that?

I also take credit for recruiting the two newer members of the group. This was necessary to sustain the vitality of the organization, as the old ones original members had become set in their ways and were becoming physically infirm before their times. Fogey-ism was starting to set in. Often manifesting itself at any moment, even today! Due to an abnormal metabolism, I feel most comfortable under weather conditions normally associated with the polar ice caps. For me 50F is shorts and T-shirt weather. Iím the second option in our organization when it comes to food preparation. I can usually whip up a meal without poisoning anyone or burning down the house. I do not now, nor have I ever in the past, had any affiliation with an organization known as APICs.

I find it remarkable that the PhDs get along so well despite different political views and personality types. A recent family illness caused me to take stock of my life. I attempted, (with mixed success), to instill a sense of philanthropy in our group by encouraging participation in some fundraising activities. We were unprepared for the resulting requisite photo of three of us. The staff had prepared a foot high, five-foot long full color banner for each team. Much to our surprise, as ours unfurled in front of us it proudly proclaimed ďTEAM PhDĒ. This photo will forever be part of the organizationís history, and could even be used for future advertising for this annual event. Somewhat sacrilegious considering, but only to us. Through trying times, the PhDs have been a great source of support. In good times, theyíve made things even better by their companionship.