Bob Wood wins inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

Robert "Bob" Wood received the Avionics Magazine inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony late last month in Chantilly, Virginia. Wood is a senior fellow and director of Head-up Guidance Systems Engineering in Wilsonville, Oregon. (Enlarge image)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (July 10, 2015) - Bob Wood, a senior fellow and director of Head-up Guidance Systems Engineering at our facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, didn’t realize he was nominated for an Avionics Magazine Excellence in Avionics Award. But when the publication’s Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Chantilly, Virginia, concluded late last month, Wood walked away with the publication’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It takes a lot of dedicated people to design and build head-up displays (HUDs),” said Wood, who was flattered to receive the award, but gave much of the credit to his team. “I could not have done anything without the help of our team or without our early customers, particularly Alaska Airlines. If they hadn’t believed in this technology, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Wood has worked on HUDs for more than 35 years. He was one of the first two engineers at the former Flight Dynamics, which became an industry leader in the development and production of commercial HUDs and was acquired by Rockwell Collins in 1999.

In 2004, Wood was named a Rockwell Collins Engineer of the Year. A year later, he became the director of Head-up Guidance Systems Engineering, and in 2014 he became our company’s first senior fellow.

Though Wood himself might have been surprised by news of the award, Carlo Tiana, a principal systems engineer for Head-up Guidance Systems in Wilsonville, said the honor was well-deserved and has been a long time in the making.

“It’s not a stretch to say that the safety record of the entire commercial aviation industry today has been directly affected by Bob’s tenacious focus in designing, deploying and continuously improving head-up display systems,” said Tiana, who nominated Wood for the award. “He really got the ball rolling on this technology.”

Woodrow Bellamy, an associate editor for Avionics Magazine, said Wood’s contributions made him the clear choice for the award, beating out seven other nominees.

“What really stood out about Bob was that throughout his career he has obtained more than 20 patents related to the field of holography, HUD and HUD guidance and enhanced vision systems,” said Bellamy. “He was one of the earliest engineers that contributed to producing HUD technology in the way that it is widely used throughout the industry today.”

Wood’s work on HUD systems has helped solidify our company’s position in the avionics industry. In fact, 80 percent of U.S. airlines that purchase Boeing 737 aircraft today select the Rockwell Collins HUD option. Despite this success, Tiana said Wood hasn’t abandoned his roots.

“Even though his role has expanded well beyond the creation of head-up displays, he’s still involved in these incredible details,” said Tiana. “He knows what thread screw is used in the packaging of a specific model, as well as what the next big pursuit is and where we’re going to sell the next thousand HUDs.”

As Wood sees it, he never stopped being an engineer.

“I’m a technical kind of guy, but you have to wear multiple hats,” said Wood. “Somebody had to be the manager and in the end that was me. The engineering side though, that’s the fun part.”

Story posted: July 10, 2015

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