Oregon Tech Alumni

Thor Nielsen '70

Mechanical Engineering Technology

Thor NielsenI spent three years in the late 1960’s at Oregon Institute of Technology – I transferred in from a community college. These years were packed full of learning, new experiences and surprises.

  • I earned two Bachelor degrees – Automotive and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Was Editor of the campus newspaper.
  • Represented the school on “Tech Talks” – a local weekly TV show.
  • Started the drive to bring Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy to speak at OIT. Spent private time with RFK and his dog on the tarmac at Klamath Falls airport – a rare privilege.
  • Recruited OIT students to sell European barbed and baling wire to local ranchers and farmers for college expenses.

After graduating from OIT I decided that teaching was my passion, so I entered a master’s program at Oregon State University in Trade and Industrial Education. After graduation I was fortunate to land a position as Division Chairman in Industrial Education at a brand new community college – Rogue Community College – in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Fifteen of us in differing disciplines were hired in June with a goal of starting classes in September. We inherited an old Job Corp center so the facilities were there.

My job was to remodel two buildings to accommodate welding and auto programs. I wrote the curricula and course outlines and equipped the labs. I had about 15 full and part time employees in my division.

When classes started in September I taught for three hours a day while building a second auto shop to accommodate the second year of the program.

I took Rogue Community College students to OIT to introduce them to the school and what it had to offer.

I had never experienced such a major project in such a short period of time. It was quite a learning process and I never really got a lot of sleep.

After two years at the college I enrolled in a PhD degree program at Oregon State University. Being just shy of one quarter of courses and a dissertation, I made major career and life changes into international investing.

My father was a multi-lingual international economist who lived and studied in many different countries in Europe. He was a student at London School of Economics as well as the Sorbonne in Paris. He taught me about international investing when I was in my teens.

I married my wife Dulcimer – now 38 years later – and we sold everything that did not fit into a closet storage unit and left for England with two suitcases. My wife submitted her first book to the first publisher before we left for Europe. Within two weeks the publisher accepted her book.

We traveled globally for years, writing and investing. This type of freedom was a rare opportunity. We even got escorted out of the Paris Stock Exchange for being on the trading floor. There was so much chaos we still don’t know how we got into the wrong room.

We finally settled down for awhile and decided to start a corporation – its activities were writing newspaper columns, articles, newsletters – one pets and the other international investing – plus financial and investment consulting.

In 2007, we began traveling the USA again for the second time in 38 years in our 1968 Ford Country Squire station wagon – a one owner. We drove from Washington State across the northern states to Maine where we put the Ford – our pet – on a ship that took us to Nova Scotia. Then to New Brunswick and then back to the Maine coast where we spent the winter.

We then drove through the middle states to Nevada where we spent several years. Then we ventured again through the southern states to St. Augustine Beach, Florida, where we spent several months. The Ford has now been across the USA seven times with 410,000 miles on an engine never rebuilt. I learned a long time ago – change the oil and filter every two or three thousand miles.

Recently we left Florida and are now back on the coast of Maine. Dulcimer finished all three of her new books and we put them on Amazon eBooks: Six-guns to Satellites, Wonky – An Uncommon Pigeon and Am Vegan – Will Travel. The vegan book has pictures of the Ford.

Our future plans are to return to Europe – possibly moving there – and we continue writing and investing.

I have very fond memories of OIT and Klamath Falls where so very much happened to me at a young age. I have never regretted going there and thank my father for suggesting it.


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