For Immediate Release
May 14, 2013
Paul Laufman has traveled the world and even played a critical role in sending people into space, but coming home to his native Longview in recent months is equal to any of those experiences, he says.
Community members can join LCC students to hear the 1958 Lower Columbia College graduate speak on Space Policy and its Entrepreneurial Impact in the Pacific Northwest, and about his own career in the space industry, at the Friday, May 17, Community Conversations lecture. The talk will begin at noon, downstairs in the LCC Administration Building, Heritage Room.
An early participant in America’s space programs, Laufman was as a project engineer in the development of rocket propulsion systems for major defense and manned space programs, including the Apollo Moon Landing and the Space Shuttles. In 1995, he co-founded United Paradyne Corporation, which became the exclusive propellants and pressurants contractor for space missions and many commercial satellite launches worldwide.
The 1956 RA Long High School graduate describes himself as an average student with an early interest in rockets. He credits the hands-on teaching and relationships with his science, math and engineering instructors at LCC in preparing him for success in his engineering studies at Washington State University and his career. Dr. Harold Lang, who later served as college president, got him through tough math courses, said Laufman. He also commended Karl Poehlman, engineering, and Lawrence Staub, chemistry, as excellent teachers.
Laufman said attending LCC, then Lower Columbia Junior College, was one of the smartest decisions he made. He connected with students from other small communities and made lifelong friendships. He also met his wife, Marlene Worley of Kelso, at the college. A player on the Red Devil’s baseball team, he turned down an offer to join the Chicago Cubs to continue his education at WSU.
In March, Laufman was inducted into the RA Long Hall of Fame and he has spoken at several local schools this spring. Friday’s lecture will give community members an opportunity to hear him, as well. On Saturday, Laufman will speak at an event for the LCC Foundation where he will be honored as the LCC Alumnus of the Year.