NEBRASKA BLUEPRINT -- October 1928
WHAT DOES IT?
By 0. J. FERGUSON:
CURRENT news carries the extremely interesting item:
"R. A. Gantt, who received his BSc. in electrical engineering in 1909, has resigned his position as general manager of the Pacifie Telephone & Telegraph Company, with headquarters in San Francisco, to accept a position with the International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation, who’s headquarters are at 67 Broad Street, New York City. Mr. Gantt will he vice-president of the Postal Telegraph & Cable, a subsidiary company of the International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation, in charge of engineering and operation.
"After his graduation, Mr. Gantt worked up to the position of district superintendent of the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company at Omaha. He was advanced to division superintendent of Minnesota, North and South Dakota of the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, with headquarters at Minneapolis, and later returned to Omaha as general superintendent of plant of the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company. In 1924 Mr. Gantt was made chief engineer of the Southern California Telephone Company, and directed the complete rehabilitation of the entire telephone plant in the rapidly developing section of Southern California. As a reward for the successful conclusion of that task. He was made general manager of the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company on January 1, 1926.
"Mr. Gantt is one of the University of Nebraska's most prominent and successful graduate engineers, and has always been active in alumni work, having been a vice-president of the Bay Region of California University of Nebraska Alumni Association."
In view of such notable achievement, a student is very likely to ask himself, "What does it?" No one who knows Mr. Gantt is surprised or has the least question as to how he did it, or why it "happened." Nevertheless, it is not always a simple or easy task to answer clearly this natural inquiry. May I attempt to show one of the contributory elements by telling a story related to me by one of his classmates?
While Gantt was in the University, he was a telephone lineman. Before his sheepskin had accumulated any dust, he was working in Omaha in the same capacity. One day when he had been in Lincoln, his return train was delayed at Ashland by flood conditions of the Platte River. In fact, the bridge was about ready to go out, and Burlington officials were there doing all they could to prevent it. It promptly occurred to Gantt that the bridge carried the transcontinental lines of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, and that the opening of these cables would destroy the service. Although he had only minor rating and little authority, he introduced himself to the Burlington division superintendent, and asked that a special train be ordered from Omaha, to carry the men and materials necessary to repair or replace the cables. Securing this co-operation, he called up the emergency department of the telephone company at Omaha and gave instructions that specified materials and a large crew of men be dispatched immediately to the station, loaded upon the special train and shipped to the scene. In a few hours, temporary parallel circuits were strung over the failing bridge span, and when, about daylight, the flood finally did destroy these spans, Gantt was waiting at the end of the bridge to chop off the old cable. The new circuits were quickly spliced in and the important lines were soon in working order.
The news of the failure of the bridge reached the telephone officials and they rushed to Ashland to see what would be needed in order to repair the damage— only to find the crew, and Gantt, still in his Sunday clothes, retiring from the completed job.
This is one incident only in the experience of an alert, active man. It is typical of many others. A perusal of the quoted news item gives the statistical background into which we might weave them. Do we need to go further in order to answer the question of our title?