Paul McQuaide ‘68 An Impressive Career, Then Back to the Shop

Where would you expect to find a retired engineer? Most likely in a machine shop, poring over the details of a car. That’s where Paul McQuaide ‘68 can often be found. “Since retiring on my birthday in 2007,” McQuaide said he has taken classes in metal working and auto body with high school kids.” This second occupation follows a distinguished career as an engineer with the U.S. Department of Defense, culminating as director of a government/industry team conducting target and threat system operations. During his time with the government, McQuaide was director and lead field systems engineer of the F-14 Project Office at Point Mugu in Ventura County, Calif., as well as project manager for an advanced air-to-air missile program, and a weapon thermal-protection program. McQuaide credits his education in the Engineering Department of Loyola University for preparing him to succeed and for the spiritual fortitude to accomplish his goals. “I almost left Loyola at the end of my second year,” he said. “[But] because a professor I trusted challenged me to stay, a world of opportunities opened up to me. … While these had financial benefits, they had even greater quality-of-life impacts. I had been taught the value of learning and, throughout my career, the value of continuous learning has enriched my professional and personal life.” Several of the professors at Loyola stand out in McQuaide’s memory. Robert L. Ritter taught McQuaide’s favorite course, “Introduction to Engineering Design,” and became McQuaide’s adviser. PaulMcQuaide - Paul McQuaide ‘68 An Impressive Career, Then Back to the Shop“I learned that manufacturing technology and processes needed to be an integral part of the design process,” he said. “We had a wonderful field trip to Carroll Shelby’s Mustang/ Cobra development and test facility near LAX. Carroll Shelby was in the prime of his muscle car development era, and I loved everything about automobiles.” McQuaide said Professor Joe Callinan also had a tremendous impact. “Within six months of graduation, I was working at a Navy Missile Test Center and writing flight test reports for a new supersonic aerial target being evaluated by the Navy,” McQuaide said. “I was amazed at how well Callinan’s [class] ‘Experimental Test Methods for Engineers,’ which included his book ‘A Guide to Technical Report Writing,’ had prepared me for my job.” “Now that I am retired, continuous learning remains an essential goal in life,” McQuaide said. In the second semester of his auto body class, he and the other students had to look for jobs as interns in auto body shops. “I landed a job in a shop that specializes in early Corvette and muscle car restorations,” he said. “My first project was to reassemble a 1957 Chevy Nomad station wagon. I am restoring my own 1957 Chevy in the shop and lending my business and engineering skills there, as well as to the Navy on a volunteer basis.”