Faith, Media & Culture

Faith, Media & Culture


“Unlimited” executive producer Harold Finch honored by alma mater

posted by John W. Kennedy

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

A life well lived. That pretty sums up the ongoing life of Harold Finch, the NASA engineer turned motivational speaker/author/entrepreneur/movie producer  — though it doesn’t quite convey his whole story. Harold, a very nice man who I met on the set of his upcoming faith-based film Unlimited, and whose book (The Three Keys That Open the Door to Great Success) I found personally inspiring, has just been honored the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from his alma mater, the University of Kansas School of Engineering.

Here’s Harold’s uplifting story (literally, considering his contribution to NASA), per KU Communications Coordinator Cody Howard:

To become a believer that every person has unlimited potential, one only has to look at the life of Harold Finch, or listen to the inspirational message on reaching for the stars that he’s delivered in hundreds of motivational speeches to thousands of young students, future engineers and business leaders over the past five decades.

 A look at Finch’s career shows remarkable expertise in various professions.  He developed a method to keep astronauts safe from the vast temperature swings in outer space and enable humans to land safely on the moon.  He served as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer conducting top-secret studies and analyses of potential enemies, including research on UFOs.  He played a key role in launching and managing a community college.  He founded two vastly different and wildly successful businesses.  He started and funded a foundation that sponsored humanitarian projects in underdeveloped countries.  He served as the inspiration – and executive producer – for a film based on his life, starring Fred Thompson.

 Finch managed all this while giving thousands of hours of his time – pro bono – to spread a message of setting lofty goals and maximizing potential – with each lecture mixing in a touch of Jayhawk pride.

 Finch graduated from the University of Kansas in 1956 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an ROTC commission as an Air Force officer.  In 1961, he earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University, and received a doctorate in education from KU in 1971.

 From 1957-61, Finch served at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  His responsibilities included developing analytical techniques for predicting the weight of foreign aircraft.  He worked on Project Blue Book, one of the systematic studies of UFOs conducted by the Air Force.

 In 1961, he went to work as an engineer with Kansas City’s Midwest Research Institute MRI.  Through his work with MRI, Finch was selected by NASA to be the project director for the Apollo Heating Program.  He developed a program that monitored and controlled vehicle temperatures while a lunar craft executed slow rolls around a longitudinal axis.  This maneuver was dubbed the Barbecue Roll, which served the same purpose as a backyard rotisserie by distributing heat loads uniformly around the vehicle. It was made famous by Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13.” Finch was the youngest person in MRI’s history to be named a principle.

 Because of his reputation as an innovator and achiever, he was recruited in 1967 to help start Johnson County Community College.  He served as the school’s first academic dean and chief administrator until 1978.

 His entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found two successful businesses.  Padgett-Thompson was a management-training firm that worked to teach engineers and other professionals skills not typically acquired in undergraduate studies.

 He later co-founded Cottage Care, Inc., which centralized certain operations for business franchisors – allowing them to focus on daily operations and customer satisfaction.  Both businesses earned the prestigious Inc. 500 award, which recognizes the nation’s fastest growing private businesses.

 Finch eventually sold both businesses and devoted his time to philanthropy and the power of positive thinking.  In 1985, he launched the Wellspring Foundation, which sponsored more than 1,200 people worldwide to work on humanitarian projects in impoverished nations during the 11 years it was in existence.  He’s given more than 750 seminars around the world promoting the virtues of integrity, honesty, excellence and the pursuit of one’s unlimited potential.

 Finch has spoken to thousands of grade school and high school students throughout Kansas, encouraging them to pursue careers in engineering and science.

 His lifetime accomplishments inspired a motion picture, Unlimited, which has a Sept. 2013 release date.  Plans include using the film on university campuses to promote honesty, integrity, excellence and the pursuit of impossible dreams.

He lives with his wife, Peggy, in Lee’s Summit, Mo. They have three children and six grandchildren.

For more on Harold, here he (via an Abundant Life Baptist Church podcast) talking about his faith and how it’s reflect in his forthcoming film Unlimited.

YouTube Preview Image

Congratulations, Howard.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11



Previous Posts

Kevin Sorbo on playing John Calvin in "Let the Lion Roar," plans for a "God's Not Dead" sequel and his support of the "Gosnell" movie
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbEEHfc9v2w[/youtube] Tacking Christianity's history of anti-Semitism. Kevin Sorbo plays the role of French theologian John Calvin in Let the Lion Roar, a new docudrama that takes o

posted 9:56:06am Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

This weekend's faith-themed films: "The Song" falls flat while "Believe Me" hits the right notes
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. Faith at the movies. The Song and Believe Me are two faith-themed movies that couldn't be more different in terms of tone -- suggesting a diversity and maturing of the overall genre that is healthy. But, IMHO, one worked

posted 6:34:13am Sep. 27, 2014 | read full post »

The "Race" is on. Authors offer "Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom and the Culture of Life"
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7awDYemJnU[/youtube] Core strength.  It's said to be key to physical fitness. And according to Jason Scott Jones and John Zmirak -- authors of The Race to Save Our Century: Five

posted 5:53:37am Sep. 25, 2014 | read full post »

"Holy Ghost" movie premiere a success + "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" Christmas movie + "Daniel Boone" on INSP
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. The Holy Ghost World Premiere Experience was a huge success. The one-time September 6th digital event—which featured a special musical appearance with Brian “Head” Welch of Korn—made it possible for anyone in the w

posted 4:48:36am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »

"Mayberry" meets "Friends" at UP's "Coffee Shop" + For Producer/Director Dave Alan Johnson "heart" beats "edge"
Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVCicgwmJjA[/youtube] Coffee Shop is a warm, tasty blend of humor and romance.  The film airs this Sunday (/9/14) @ 8:00 PM (ET) on UP TV. Synopsis (per UP): Coffee Shop is th

posted 12:48:49pm Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.