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Getting to Know: Mike Cramer

Tribune Staff • Dec 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM

This is part of a regular feature, which will normally run on Saturdays, and will appear on the pages of the Grand Haven Tribune and online at grandhaventribune.com. We’ll sit down with a local personality and ask them several questions.

This week, we’re featuring Mike Cramer, a Grand Haven Area Public Schools trustee.

What’s your current job? Aerospace engineer for the Mitre Corp. Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development.

Readers would be surprised to learn that: I ended up in West Michigan by chance because, while returning from NASA in Houston to Seattle, we were caught in a snowstorm circling Denver waiting to land and I struck up a conversation with a person who worked for Lear Siegler in Grand Rapids. They were looking for someone with my background, and we set up a dinner in Seattle. The rest is history, arrived in GR in 1979.

If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would you pick and why? President Obama. I would love to understand how he has kept himself calm and composed these last eight years under constant criticism.

What’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited? Can’t really pick just one. Coolest city, Paris; coolest boating destination, Fayette Harbor on the Garden Peninsula; coolest national park, Crater Lake in Oregon.

What are your hobbies? Boating the Great Lakes and reading, always reading — science fiction, politics and philosophy.

What’s your favorite restaurant? Anthony’s Home Port in Des Moines, just south of Seattle, Washington.

Favorite book? “Ender’s Game” series by Orson Scott Card. The books are a revealing look at human capacity to commit xenocide and what that might mean for human values, morality and the environment.

What class was the most beneficial to you? For work, optimal control theory; for life, the history of science.

Have you ever met any celebrities? I was out to dinner in Los Angeles in the early ‘70s with another couple and we were talking about “Star Trek” (both big fans) and it turned out we were sitting next to Gene Rodenberry! What a fun conversation that followed.

What’s your can’t-live-without piece of technology? Probably could live without any of them, but my iPhone sure is handy. Although electricity and flushing toilets are up there, as well!

What’s your favorite app? Can’t really say, I use a lot of them.

If you weren’t in your current position, what would you like to do? I’m not too sure, maybe that’s why I haven’t retired yet at 71.

If you could travel back in time to any certain era or event, when/where would you pick, and why? There is no time like the present, I like it here.

Who was the biggest influence on your life? Probably my mother — she valued learning, music and life, always trying to be open and caring of others.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show? “NCIS.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? When I was a young engineer with a judgmental view of persons in poor circumstances, blaming them for their entire lot, another engineer told me, “You’ll grow up someday” — meaning that he was sure my views would change as I learned more. That made me sit up and take notice, and he was right.

What do you love about West Michigan? The forested environment and Lake Michigan. Plus the cultural opportunities abound.

Do you have any pets? Our cat Diego.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Stay involved in the local community and keep producing work that makes the world a better place.

What’s your pet peeve? People who think uninformed opinions are the equal of opinions grounded in facts.

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