BBN receives top honor

02.21.2013 | HMMH |

by Bob Miller

I was sent a link to an article in the February 1st edition of the Boston Business Journal the other day – “Raytheon BBN heads to White House to be honored by President Obama”.  HMMH has strong historical ties to BBN; not only did Andy Harris, Nick Miller, Carl Hanson and I all work there together for 10 years, but I had a particularly strong connection because my father, Laymon Miller, began working at BBN back in 1956.  It is he, now 94, who was largely responsible for my developing an interest in aircraft noise.  At about age 12, I accompanied him on a field trip to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort where I first experienced the impact of aircraft noise on Navy housing.  I was a Junior at Carleton when I had my first summer job at BBN helping to defend what was then The New York Port Authority against a lawsuit brought by the town of Hempstead over aircraft noise from Idlewild Airport, now Kennedy International.

Thus, it was with some degree of pride that I read that Raytheon BBN Technologies was going to be awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, which, according to the BBJ, is “the highest honor the U.S. government can give to inventors and scientists”.  It was especially noteworthy that the article cited three technologies for which BBN is known – packet switching (key to internet data transfer), the development of the ARPANET (the Department of Defense’s precursor to the internet), and “identifying flight patterns to reduce jet engine noise in residential areas”.  Ta-da!  The technology upon which HMMH was first founded.

Though HMMH has grown into much more, now 31 years later, Andy, Nick, Carl and I, as well as Chris Menge, Ted Baldwin and Dave Towers — all former BBN-ers – owe a part of our formative professional lives to the foresight of Dick Bolt, Leo Beranek, and Bob Newman and the years we all worked together.   And though others at HMMH may not realize it, all of our present careers here have been molded by a philosophy and standard of excellence that we first learned at one of this country’s most highly regarded firms.  I learned much from BBN and am personally honored to have been a part of it.