Dr. L. Dale Thomas's ('81 BS ISE, '88 Ph.D. SE) fascination with space exploration can be traced back to legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong's 1969 walk on the moon. But it was Thomas's first mentor, his dad, who sparked his early interest in the field of engineering. "My father worked for General Electric in Huntsville as an engineering technician during the Apollo Program in the 60's. As a young boy, I was very fascinated with his work and knew that I wanted to be an engineer at a very young age. I remember well the Sunday evening in the summer of 1969 when I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime of 9 p.m., to watch (with the rest of the family) Neil Armstrong walk on the moon," said Thomas, now a Professor and Eminent Scholar in The University of Alabama in Huntsville's (UAH) Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Department.