b'06M I S S I O N D R I V E NHow the seeds of a revolutionary technology were sown in a steel plant.By BRYAN SALESKY Founder and CEO, Argo AII remember the first timeI saw an active steel milla hot,Throughout my childhood, I would visit what Id later understand to deafening, dangerous place to work. I mustve been around 7 or 8, walk- be the beating heart of American industry. My uncle worked at the Great ing beside my dad, who was a pipefitter at McLouth Steel in Trenton,Lakes steel plant in Ecorse, Michigan, and my stepdad was a plant engi-Michigan. On the mills occasional family days he would take my momneer at New Jersey Steel in Sayreville, and both loved to show off their and me on a tour of all the good stuff: the rolling mill, the casting ma- factories (although they never wanted me to work in one). These trips chine, and my favorite part, the massive ladles of molten steel, as red andsparked a lifelong curiosity that would eventually lead me to embark on angry as lava. a career of discovery.I can still feel the blast of heat on my face from the floor of the mill,I didnt just want to know what the machines did, or how to fix them and the shocking realization that my dad and his coworkers sweated in- if they broke. I wanted to understand how each component of the fac-side it all day long. Why did they do this? For the paycheck, certainly. Buttory connected to the resthow the work of making steel could only be also for something else. They were literally building the nation at thatachieved with order and logic. Although I didnt know it at the time, this plant, forging raw iron into steel that would be welded into skyscrapers,is when I began to think like a systems engineer.bridges, automobiles, and who knows what else. They rightly took prideThese questions would later emerge when I competed in the DARPA in working at an institution like that. Urban Challenge, where I first learned that being on a team of talented, FullBook_Mar24.indb 6 4/25/21 6:41 PM'