I Had The Honor Of Knowing The Best
I had the opportunity to know the leaders of the company. These were real leaders! Harrison A. Storms, Jr. (widely known as "Stormy"), Vice President of North American and President of its Space and Information Systems Division, was a forceful leader in advanced design and development work and a vigorous decision-maker who got things done.
John Paup, who had worked at North American for several years before joining Sperry Rand, returned to his former employer in mid-1961 to help Storms bid on the NASA proposals and to become general manager for Apollo. Paup, in turn, picked Norman J. Ryker, Jr., as his chief designer. Ryker, who had joined the company in 1951, had been a stress analyst on the pioneer Navajo missile.
Charles H. Feltz, a company man since 1940, was a fourth major leader of North American's Apollo development team. He had worked on P-51 and B-25 aircraft during the Second World War and later on the B-45, the F-86, and the F-100. Feltz had been project leader on the X-15 rocket research aircraft, coming into close contact with NACA and then NASA leaders with whom he would work on Apollo. Feltz was considered by his peers to be one of the best manufacturing managers in the airframe business.
Charlie passed away January of 2003 after years in active retirement. He didn't have the need to be the big boss... He was the boss when he entered a room! Briefings was not his strong point as his vocabulary was quite colorful! But he could visualize a problem mentally create a plan of attack, and motivate the teams to do the impossible! He was a great leader, quick mind, and was able to boil complex issues down into manageable elements!
We will miss him. The country is going to miss people like him.
From left to right are Harrison A. Storms, president of North American's Space and Information Systems Division; John W. Paup, program manager for Apollo; and Charles "Charlie" H. Feltz, Apollo program engineer.