Talk about a full life - meet John R. Dunki-Jacobs

From the Lynden Tribune:
Lynden man self-publishes electrical engineering book
With 86 years behind him, John R. Dunki-Jacobs is not ready to stop.

He ponders his diverse life in his home on Bertrand Drive west of Lynden, near a wall in his office which he calls his "wall of fame." On the wall are awards and honors given to him throughout his career as an electrical engineer.

On a table across the room is a copy of his new book, the product of 12 years of work.

The title, '*Industrial Power System Grounding Design Handbook*' might be a little intimidating. Dunki-Jacobs intends the book to fill a 30-year void as a comprehensive reference for electrical engineers and post-graduate college students and professors.

Dunki-Jacobs and his co-authors, Frank Shields and Conrad St. Pierre of New York, published the 600-page book themselves. This decision was made when they discovered that most publishers offer only a 12 percent royalty to authors. Their reasoning, he said, was that this is the industry standard.

"In my younger days," Dunki-Jacobs said, "[price-fixing] was against the law."

To self-publish the book, however, he needed to learn how to create things like an index and a table of contents since publishers usually do this themselves.

"Microsoft Word has a beautiful program for that," Dunki-Jacobs said.

The authors found a company to bind and print the book, and all that was left was sales.

"Of course, I have no sales force," Dunki-Jacobs said.

He recruited his colleagues to help, and they agreed to jump on board the sales effort.

"I think I'm getting to the point where I've sold quite a few books already," Dunki-Jacobs said.
A bit about his life:
He was born in the old Dutch East Indies during World War II.

"I grew up there," Dunki-Jacobs said. "I was there during World War II. I was a Japanese P.O.W. for three years."

He said his experience as a prisoner of war taught him to persevere even through the hardest of times.

After the war, his family moved to the Netherlands. He graduated from a technical school in Amsterdam.

He worked in Sumatra for Standard Oil Company as a powerhouse manager from 1948 to 1953, and married his wife Louise in 1950.

"Since our marriage," Dunki-Jacobs said, "I have lived at 13 addresses."

They immigrated to the United States in 1954, living in Lynn, Mass., for two years. From there he moved to Schenectady, N.Y., where he worked for General Electric for 30 years. During his time with General Electric, he traveled to places all over the world, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Venezuela and Indonesia, as well as within the U.S.
And his retirement?
He and his wife moved to Lynden in 1990, and they appreciate the atmosphere of the town.

"We enjoy every minute of it," he said.

Dunki-Jacobs' "wall of fame" includes several accolades from his long career. His most prized award came from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc. In 1996, the IEEE presented him with the Medal for Engineering Excellence, given to only one person out of the 375,000 members each year.

"I look back on that as a tremendous honor," Dunki-Jacobs said.

He is a Life-Fellow of the IEEE and the recipient of the R.H. Kaufmann Award and five General Electric Management Awards.

As he sits in his Lynden home office, Dunki-Jacobs ponders his future as an author. He has a second book in the works, and even though he officially retired in 1984, he said he is not there yet.

"I'm not ready yet to retire," he said.
I wish they made more people like that -- talk about a life well-lived! Lynden is a small agricultural town about 30 miles away -- ten miles north of Bellingham. A lot of Dutch people settled near there so there is a strong Dutch component to the towns architecture. A gorgeous little gem of a town with some nice restaurants. Our accountant's office is there.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 20, 2008 12:15 PM.

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