Life is an adventure.
The life journey of Ron Kurtus has included several diverse career directions involving science, comedy and education. The following is a summary of achievements, starting with high school.
While a junior at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ron entered in the national Westinghouse Science Talent Search with his invention of a microwave interferometer. He was the only student in the Milwaukee area to receive honors in the contest that year.
Ron attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Although he couldn't make the track team in high school, he was able gain a letter in track on the conference championship UWM team. A highlight of his track experience was when he ran in the Journal Track Meet, which featured several world-class athletes.
Ron graduated from UWM with a degree in both Physics and Mathematics. He ranked in the top 4% in the nation of all graduating seniors in math and science in the Graduate Records Examination. He continued his education with graduate work in Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in Mathematics at the University of Missouri. He also taught Mathematics at the University of Missouri.
Science and engineering
He then worked as an Electro-Optical engineer at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis, MO, where he was involved in the early space program. Later Ron worked at Ford Aerospace in Newport Beach, CA and at the Santa Barbara Research Center, where he assisted in developing the infrared radiometer used in the Mariner Mars space probe.
Ron left engineering to pursue a career in writing and entertainment. He started writing a weekly newspaper column for the Goleta (CA) Valley Sun, while working on a historical novel about the rich and famous in Montecito.
Then for 10 years, he worked as a stand-up comedian and producer of comedy shows. He performed his comedy with the likes of Tennessee Ernie Ford and Jay Leno. During this time, Ron moved from Los Angeles to Milwaukee to start the Comedy Showcase. It was the first comedy show of its type in the area and soon became the largest comedy club between New York and Los Angeles.
While doing comedy, Ron wrote a screenplay and a situation comedy television show concept, along with several episodes. He then returned to Los Angeles and tried selling his material to Hollywood producers. Although meeting with such television producers as Linda Hope—Bob Hope's daughter—and Norman Lear's co-producer, Ron was unsuccessful in his efforts to sell his scripts or ideas. In between paying entertainment jobs, he worked as a car salesman.
Ron also gave motivational speeches and seminars to groups around Los Angeles during this time. He regularly held seminars at the Pitches Prison Farm outside of Los Angeles to help the inmates turn their lives around.
After this hiatus from technical work, Ron returned to engineering and was hired by Hughes Aircraft Co. to manage the LANTIRN Signature Flight Tests, flying aircraft over simulated battle scenes, while recording infrared data for use in anti-tank missile tests.
Ron left Hughes and went to the work as a civilian for the U.S. Air Force on the top secret Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Given the equivalent rank of major, Ron became the Total Quality manager for the AF SDI programs. He was instrumental in saving the government about $30 million in development costs on SDI software.
Writing, web development and teaching
Looking for a better environment to bring up their daughter, as well as the situation of his elderly mother needing care, Ron and his wife moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1992. There he started a business doing technical writing, computer programming and web development. He also taught Physics at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and Mathematics at the Waukesha County Technical College.
School for Champions
Ron then created the highly successful School for Champions educational website that provides basic academic lessons and strategies for success, as well as encouraging positive attitudes and character. Over 500,000 lessons are accessed each month. Teachers and students from several thousand schools and colleges use the material to supplement their courses.
In the summer of 2006, Ron and his wife moved from Elm Grove, Wisconsin to Lake Oswego, Oregon. He is an avid handball player and was once ranked the number one B-player in Santa Barbara, California. He had been playing regularly at the Wauwatosa YMCA and is hoping to play in the Portland area. He also enjoys ballroom dancing with his wife. Their Golden Retriever recently passed away at age 14, so they are planning getting a new pup.