Blaine R. Thornock
Associate Professor, Automotive Technology
1970 - 1999
In 1970 I applied for a vacant teaching position in the School of Technology. The Dean was Wendell Esplin and the vocational director was Howard Johnson. Wendell was a great Dean. He provided sound counsel and good leadership. The School showed good growth during the time he served. Howard Johnson was a good director. He passed away suddenly shortly after I was hired. When Joseph Bishop was hired as University President in 1975 he fired 7 deans at once, without notice. They showed up for work and they no longer had jobs. Wendell was one of them. Dale Cowgill was a faculty member in the school at the time and was installed as Wendell’s replacement.
When I was hired they had recently taken the assignment of hosting an Automotive Repair Program sponsored and funded by the Manpower Development and Training Act (MDTA) and Welfare Incentive Program (WIN). There were about 25 low income and disadvantaged young men enrolled. They were being taught in rented facilities at 1873 Stevens Ave. Ogden. I started on June 1, 1970 replacing Jay Davis. Richard Allred and I worked together and Joe McQueen joined us the next year. The program was then combined with others and became Skills Center North. Gerald Mukai was the first director and was replaced by Brent Wallis. The center was located in the old Madison school and later moved to the stockyard’s headquarters building. I had worked at the Skills Center for a couple of years when a position in Automotive Service on the main campus opened and I moved into it.
Teaching in the Automotive Department at the time were John Gaz (chair), Blaine Hartog, Bennion Tueller, Ralph Andersen and myself. In the 80’s Ross Eskelsen and I supervised the Senior Projects of the Automotive Engineering Technology program. One of the best projects was the Mini Baja. It was sponsored by The Society of Automotive Engineers. The object was to build a small one-person off-road vehicle and participate in an endurance race. The first year our entry was rather crude, but in succeeding years we were winning portions of the competition and putting Weber State’s reputation right up there with well-known engineering schools. Upon the sudden death of Eugene Meske, I was tapped to step in and run that program. That assignment was to be temporary, but after moving the program to Stevens Ave. while a new Diesel shop was being built and 10 Years in a temporary assignment, the program was moved to the Davis Vocational facility and closed at Weber. I completed my last years at Weber teaching in the Mechanical, and Manufacturing Technology programs.