ACE Mentor Program by Bonna L. Nelson
I will never forget him. For me his story goes back to 2004, before we moved to Easton. Charlie and Carolyn Thornton kindly offered us accommodations and shared their thoughts on the best communities, stores, restaurants and medical personnel in the Talbot County area. My husband, John, vice president with Whiting-Turner Contracting, headquartered in Towson, MD, had ma ny commercia l const r uc t ion projects underway in the area. He was in the process of opening a new branch office for his company, and we were in the process of relocating. One night over dinner Charlie (Charles H. Thornton, PhD), a world renow ne d st r uc t u r a l eng i ne er, entrepreneur, consultant, educator and mentor, told us a bit about his early years and early inf luences. Charlieâ€™s dad was a bricklayer. Charlie worked for his dad in the summers when school was out. New York City summers were brutally hot. It seemed even more so to a young teen at a construction site, Charlie told us. Then to perform the manual labor involved in brick laying, well, as a teenager he found it difficult, and he had a newfound admiration for his dad who worked without complaint to provide for his family.
Charles H. Thornton, PhD One day, when Charlie took a break for some water and to mop his brow, he happened to notice some young men dressed in crisp khakis and blue oxford cloth, button-down shirts entering one of the air-conditioned trailers where t he management and engineers worked. He learned that they were new graduate engineers. He looked down at his dust-coated overalls. A light bulb went off. Eureka! Thatâ€™s what I want to do, he told his dad. And so he did. Eventually, with dedication and hard work, he re57
December 2015 Tidewater Times