To qualify for the Member of the Year Award an individual must make significant contributions to the element14 Community. From submitting complex projects in our competitions, offering expert advice to other members or offering insightful suggestions for improving the Community, the Member of the Year is someone who makes a difference at element14.


“Renaissance Man” is a fitting description for our Member of the Year. Don is not only an engineer with a zeal for electronics and technology, but also a writer with a book in progress and a loving husband who has enjoyed travelling and photography with his wife Susan. 




Don discovered element14 Community through one of Jeri Ellsworth’s training videos. “element 14 provides an outlet where I can again provide mentoring suggestions to people and also see the new creative ideas that most of them are dealing with,” Don said. “From my posts, I think a lot of people within the community have seen that I have a tremendous breadth of technical experience in a very wide range of levels and technologies.”


Don started tinkering with electronics in high school. Unable to afford college, he earned a two-year degree in Electronics Technology. He then joined an Aerospace company, where he developed an excellent reputation as an associate engineer and programmer. With the help of his company he acquired Bachelor of Computer Engineering during seven years while working full-time and a Master of Computer Science while holding a position that required 40% travel.


Over time Don moved into Systems Engineering for Department of Defence programs during which he continued to make a name for himself as an engineer. He eventually moved into a Deputy Program Manager position, working with contracts that were worth up to 100+ million dollars a year.


Eventually, Don suffered an accident during business travel and left his job. Don is now filling his time with his second love - history. Don is writing a detailed naval history series called "World War II Sea War" with two other people.


While Don has enjoyed his work, he has also built a fulfilling personal life. He has enjoyed travelling with wife Susan in the US, Canada, and Japan and taking postcard-quality photos during these journeys.