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   OCTOBER 2012       


world bytes
My Rudy Moment

By Terrance Malkinson

When it was released in 1993, the film, Rudy, made Daniel "Rudy” Ruettiger the inspiration for countless people around the world. In what has been hailed as one of the most influential sports movies ever made, Rudy depicts Ruettiger's true journey — against all odds — toward becoming a player on the fabled Notre Dame Football team. At the end of a screening at the White House attended by President and Mrs. Clinton as well as members of Congress and Senate, the First Lady said: “every kid in America should see this film" [Page 237, Rudy: My Story].  Rudy's true story is one of how through persistence, determination and a strong parental-instilled work ethic, dreams and great achievements can be realized. 

One of the movie's many themes focuses on our need for positive external motivation, and that children as well as adults need inspiration and positive role models that will encourage them to do their best [Page 236, Rudy: My Story].  Others, who discourage, are negative, present obstacles and in many other ways demotivate you from achieving your potential because of their own shortcomings and selfishness must not succeed in determining a mediocre life for you.

During my life it has been my honor to have many mentors who have supported my dreams.  I have also experienced the negativity of many others who were un-supportive, and in some cases unjustly punished me for pursuing what I knew internally I was capable of. Fortunately, like Rudy Ruettiger, through persistence, determination, integrity, high ethical principles and a strong work ethic, I have achieved accomplishments that I earlier thought would never be realized. This can also be your journey to personal success. You simply have to believe in yourself, and learn from and surround yourself by people who will inspire and encourage you. You will then lead a life with no regrets.

Supervisors and managers can learn from the lessons taught in the Rudy story.  People who lead solely because of their position and power, and through bullying and employing their subordinates "at will" are in the authors’ opinion not leaders.  The literature continues to be filled with advice from experts professing remarkable new ways to lead and motivate employees.  In reality, despite a changing world, the principles of effective leadership and motivation have not changed since day one.

And what was my "Rudy Moment"?  On 26 August, I completed my tenth and final Ironman Triathlon, while in the same month publishing my 460th reviewed article. Yes, by believing in myself and by surrounding myself with inspirational and motivating people, my dreams have come true. And, yes, you too can achieve achieve your dreams by surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and inspire you to pursue your maximum potential.

The film Rudy was released on 13 October 1993 by TriStar Pictures and is available on CD. Rudy was the first movie that the administration of Notre Dame allowed to be filmed on campus since Knute Rockne, All American in 1940. In 2005, Rudy was named by a panel of sports experts as one of the best 25 sports movies of the previous 25 years by ESPN, and it was ranked the 54th-most inspiring film of all time in the "America Film Institute 100 Years" series.

The book, Rudy: My Story, is published by Thomas Neilson (ISBN 978-0-8499-4839-8. 2012).

Other Bytes

Here are some of the things going on in and around the community:

  • FORTUNE magazine has published its annual listing of the “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” [166(5):137-143, 24 September  2012, www.fortune.com].  Michael Cacace et. al. provide a guide to the most vibrant sectors of  companies that, despite challenging economic times, have shown resilience.  Heading this year’s list is Vancouver’s Silver Wheaton, a precious-metals company; followed by Cirrus Logic an Austin, Texas, a manufacturer of audio chips; and in third place, Baidu, a Chinese internet-search powerhouse. The ratings methodology used to compile the list is provided at the end of the article.

  • The 24 September 2012 issue of Forbes focuses on innovation [190(5):72-94, www.forbes.com].  Two articles discuss innovation at Intuit, a leading software provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, consumers and accounting professionals [pp. 72-78]; and at Niche Pharma [pp. 80-89], a biotechnology company. A third article “The Nifty Fifty” [pp. 90-94] provides a listing of companies that are considered as leaders in innovation.

  • Jason Ankeny's article in Entrepreneur, “The Next Picture Show,” looks at an Austin-based movie theatre that is successfully redefining the cinema experience and looking at expansion into other cities [40(9):26-36, September 2012, www.entrepreneur.com].  This novel approach occurs at a time when attendance at traditional corporate-owned multiplexes is in decline. A second article in the same issue, “Youth in Revolt” [pp. 50-57], profiles revolutionary aged 30 or younger high-earning entrepreneurs.

  • Creative ways that colleges are using to finance essential infrastructure projects are described by Bob Woods in “Capital Improvement” [Community College Journal, 83(1):32-37,  August-September 2012, www.ccjournal-digital.com]. According to the article, an estimated $100B of unmet U.S. community college infrastructure needs exists. The article provides several case studies on innovative financial strategies to meet needs. An inset provides a link to government proposed spending packages that would provide dedicated funding for community college capital improvements.

  • Scientific American's October 2012 cover story [October 2012, 307(4): 54-58, www.scientificamerican.com] provides insights into the complexity of the functioning brain.  No matter how much technology develops, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to create a device that can equal the capabilities of the human brain.  In the same issue, a series of six articles provide an overview of the “State of the World’s Science” [pp.36-53].  The key message is that science is increasingly becoming a multinational activity, with international collaboration among scientists increasing.

  • “Professional Socialization for the Ph.D.: An exploration of Career and Professional Development Preparedness and Readiness for Ph.D. Candidates” [The Journal of Faculty Development,  26(2):5-23,   May 2012 ] provides the results of a research study into the career readiness and professional development needs of Ph.D. students at a large mid-western research university. Among the findings is that skill preparation is inadequate for many graduate students.

  • Former President Bill Clinton offers his view of five areas in which there has been definitive, measurable and reproducible progress that is resulting in a better world in “The Case for Optimism” [Time, 180(14):38-44, 1 October 2012, www.time.com].

  • The October 2012 issue of Inc. Magazine [www.inc.com] includes on a special report on “How Washington Can Help Entrepreneurs Restore the American Dream.”  A series of three articles “Who Really Creates the Jobs” [pp. 52-56], "The Coming Revolution in Health Care" [pp.58-65], and “What Has to Happen in November” [pp. 66-70], discuss issues important to the future of innovation.


Comments on this story may be emailed directly to Today's Engineer or submitted through our online form.


Terrance Malkinson is a communications specialist, business analyst and futurist. He is currently an international correspondent for IEEE-USA Today's Engineer, an associate editor for IEEE Canadian Review, and a member of the editorial advisory board of IEEE The Institute. He was Vice-Chair of the IEEE-USA Communications Committee (2004-2010), and editor-in-chief of IEEE-USA Today's Engineer Digest (2004-2008). He was an elected Senator of the University of Calgary and an elected Governor of the IEEE Engineering Management Society as well as an elected Administrative Committee member of the IEEE Professional Communication Society. He has been the editor of several IEEE conference proceedings, and past editor of IEEE Engineering Management. He is the author of more than 420 publications, and is an accomplished triathlete. His career path includes being an accomplished technical supervisor and medical researcher at the University of Calgary a business proposal manager for the General Electric Company, an associate for Sears Canada Inc. and research administrator with the School of Health and Public Safety/Applied Research and Innovation Services at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary Canada.

The author is grateful to the professional support of the Haskayne School of Business Library at the University of Calgary. He can be reached at todaysengineer@ieee.org.


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