Blazing Trails: Finite Element Pioneers in Milwaukee
During the late 1950s and the 1960s, Vern Overbye and John Brauer joined with four other engineers of diverse backgrounds at A.O. Smith's corporate headquarters in Milwaukee to embark on an unprecedented and unanticipated path of innovation. Each had an advanced degree and, more importantly, each had an entrepreneurial spirit. With their forward-looking, optimistic manager at Smith's Data Systems Division, Robert Y. Bodine, they built a path-breaking business in the fledgling technology of finite element analysis that is still impacting the fortunes of the companies that became their customers. Together they helped transform a rarefied aerospace technology into a design tool now used to design in a staggering variety of applications and industries.
"I will propose that Data Systems should be particularly bullish in adaptive creative technology-it simply pays, but, in fact, growth, not to say survival, depends on it."
Robert Y. Bodine, January 1978