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  #1  
Old 03-01-2019, 10:00 AM
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Default Mary Roberts has retired from Estes

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  #2  
Old 03-01-2019, 11:14 AM
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Can't see facebook at work.

I'm sad to see her go. However, she's earned a great retirement.
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:50 PM
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She will be missed! I'm sure she's one of those Ellis Langford was referring to in The Rocketry Show when he was talking about long-term employees of Estes Industries that he and Bill Stine were telling "please, don't go!"

She was extremely helpful to me as I was digging through the history of the Alpha for the little affair we had about the Alpha 50th at the Museum of Flight in 2017.

I'm glad I got to see her briefly at NARAM last year.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:07 PM
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Anyone know how many years Mary has with Estes?

I met her briefly at NARAM-30 in '88 in Huntsville, which is comimg up on 31 years ago. She was not a 'new' employee even then. It seems like I recall references to her name in the NAR's Model Rocketeer magazine in the late 70s, but I could be mistaken on that point.

In any event, it would seem she has probably 35+ years at Estes, maybe even in the 40 year range.


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Old 03-01-2019, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl
Anyone know how many years Mary has with Estes?
46
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Last edited by Jerry Irvine : 03-01-2019 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl
Anyone know how many years Mary has with Estes?



Per the Facebook post, 46.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Estes Industries on Facebook
March 1, 2019
Mary Roberts announces retirement.
Long time Estes Industries employee Mary Roberts retired today. Mary began her lifelong career at Estes in March of 1973. Her first job was working for Bob Cannon in Education Services stuffing and mailing educator packs. During her remarkable 46 years at Estes, Mary had many jobs including managing “Rocketeer Communications” where she answered consumer letters (she says this was her favorite position at Estes) , editing the “Model Rocket News”, judging the “Design of the Month” contest, running the EAC (Estes Aerospace Club) to her final position as Director of Technical Services where she oversaw all of the Legal, Regulatory and Compliance aspects of the company.
It is safe to say that in Mary’s numerous roles at Estes, she touched thousands (possibly tens of thousands) of our customers lives. She is an iconic figure to many Estes customers second only to our founder Vern Estes himself!
Mary’s uncle Sanford Byer was an engine machine operator on “Mabel” the first rotary machine built by Vern Estes in the early 1960’s. Her Aunt Eleanor Williams worked for Estes as a home worker and did piece work winding parachute shroud line bundles.
For many months now, Mary has been training Chandra Serfoss to assume her responsibilities at Estes. Chandra is Mary’s daughter and will continue the tradition Mary upheld for decades of creating exceptional customer experiences for Estes customers.
It is tough to say goodbye to such a wonderful employee. All of us here at Estes wish Mary and her husband of 49 years David a wonderful retirement full of travel and enjoyment of their grandchildren.
Mary wants to offer her thanks to all the friends she made through rocketry for their kindness and assistance over the years.


Those of us who were able to take the Estes tours at NARAM also got to meet Chandra.
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:28 PM
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Mary Roberts is a "Steely-Eyed, Miniature Missile Woman" !
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Old 03-02-2019, 01:31 PM
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My Grandmother was named "Mary Roberts" and I always found that slightly amusing.

Mary helped me out one time... I had bought a "Maniac" to launch my Astrocam on top with a D motor, and of course on the first flight the rubber band shock cord popped, dropped it from altitude, and it core sampled... it had rained a few days before and the top layer of soil was damp and relatively soft, but the ground was much harder and drier underneath, which was a "perfect storm" for the core sampling rocket-- it hit the ground, penetrated about 2 inches, and then started to "accordion" the tube to dissipate the forward momentum. The tube accordion-folded for about half its length, when suddenly we heard a very loud POP! or "POW!"... When I got to the rocket, which I saw had impacted maybe 30-40 yards away and was visible the entire time, I found that the other half of the tube was completely blown out, nearly down to the fin can. Apparently, the tube penetrating the soil had very effectively "sealed off" when it core sampled-- in fact the front inch or two of the tube buried in the ground was practically unscathed. The tube had accordion-folded on impact above that point, from the ground up, which of course shortened the effective length of the tube and the air trapped within it was forced to compress. At some point, the compression of the air inside exceeded the tube's containment strength, and the tube had "blown out", opening up along one of the spiral seams and blowing outward to vent the trapped air inside the tube. I did manage to cut off the tube about 2 inches above the fin can where the seam separation stopped and the tube was undamaged... Added a stage coupler and made it into a booster for a regular Maniac.

Of course I was rather ticked at Estes and let them know about it. First flight and the rubber band snaps and demolishes the rocket! I got a new Maniac kit in the mail with a nice letter from Mary Roberts, which I really appreciated. Even got a pack of motors IIRC. I guess in retrospect, I should have been suspicious about the cord... I bought the rocket from a local electrical and crane shop that had a small storefront over in Wharton-- the owner was a model airplane and model rocket enthusiast and he kept some hobby stuff in the store front along with the chokers and cable ends and various and sundry electrical fittings of the usual business... even had a rotary display rack with rocket kits hanging on the pegs in the shops front window, which was facing west. I didn't think about it at the time, but the hang tag on the kit was sun bleached from being on the display rack in the window in the afternoon sun for who knows how long... I'd bet cash money, in hindsight, that the rubber cord got "sunburned" from too much UV streaming in from the afternoon sun and that fatally weakened it, causing it to snap. Oh well...

Never been much of a fan of the Estes rubber band shock cords anyway. From that time on, I've ALWAYS just tossed that rubber band crap into 'spare parts' bin and cut off what I needed from a good old roll of sewing elastic. MUCH sturdier and even if the rubber core fails, the webbing will prevent a separation, unless of course it's a catastrophically late high-speed ejection or something like that where NOTHING would hold up to the strain...

Later! OL J R
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