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The Patz Family: Engineering Life in Orlando

My husband would do a lot of his work that he did at the Cape at home and it would involve the beginning of computer graphics. Where people were dealing with simulators and they would make submarine simulators and airplane simulators. And they would be landing in deserts and in forests. And my husband would say to the children, “Is this the right color for a palm tree? Is this the right color for the pine tree?” “No. It should be more green.” And they would be like 4 and 5 and 6 years old at the time. And he would change a few numbers in the computer program and I think my children grew up thinking that you could write an equation or a set of numbers for everything whether it was a flower a tree an airplane….

In  this excerpt (8:33) from an oral history interview on October 31, 2011, Anna Mae Patz, mother of five, reflects on her children’s education, their contribution to our community, and the influence of her husband, research scientist and UCF Engineering Professor, Dr. Benjamin Patz, in connecting them with computers and mathematics at an early age.

As she details in this interview, her son Ben Patz went to UCF early doing dual enrollment, received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics by the time he had finished high school and entered the graduate mathematics program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the undergraduate engineering program. She shares how her two older sons, Ben and Mark, spent their high school summers working at Martin Marietta and the Underwater Naval Research Lab  on Gatlin. Ben earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering at UCF and Mark earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at UCF.

Ben and Mark Patz work together at the Orlando company Coleman Technologies founded by Jeff Coleman. Coleman Technologies was named the #1 fastest growing company in Central Florida in 2000 and recently merged with Presidio. Ben Patz, CEO of Coleman Technologies, was awarded Florida’s Entrepreneur of the Year for technology services in 2002 and the UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award.

In the family tradition of computers and engineering, Mrs. Patz’s daughter, Amy, also graduated with an engineering degree from UCF and started her career as an engineer at Lockheed Martin in Orlando. Mrs. Patz describes her older daughter Susan’s ability to write computer programs when she was in elementary school and her career choice as an educator and consultant for Lake Highland Preparatory School. Her youngest son Eric, who has a medical degree, is involved in ecology and is dedicated to preserving the flora and fauna of Central Florida. 

An Orange County Public School mathematics educator for 38 years, Anna Mae Patz says of her children’s education, “Everybody thinks because they were all so good at mathematics that I spent my time teaching them and it really was the other way around….”

Learn more about opportunities for education and success in Central Florida in this memory of Orlando family life from Anna Mae Patz.

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Dr. Benjamin Patz
Photo of Dr. Benjamin Patz, computer engineer, electrical engineer, research scientist. Dr. Benjamin Patz's scientific contributions to our area incl...
The Patz Family
Photo of the Patz Family taken at Olan Mills in Orlando, Florida. From left, Anna Mae Patz, Dr. Benjamin Patz, Donna Curly Patz,...
The Patz Family
1983  photo of the Patz Family taken at Olan Mills in Orlando, Florida. From left to right, Dr. Benjamin Patz, Ben Patz, Mark...
Anna Mae Patz
In  this excerpt  (7:51) from an oral history interview on November 15, 2011, Anna Mae Patz discusses working with Dr. Salk, moving...
Navy's Underwater Sound Reference Laboratory
Aerial photo of the Navy's Underwater Sound Reference Laboratory and description of the facility, Orlando Sentinel, February 28, 1965.   Excerpt:...
IEEE & Computer Technology in Central Florida

"Who wants to get a computer? Nobody volunteered so I was elected." So I put out a proposal to get a computer system at UCF and we got bids from Data General and Digital Equipment Corporation...

Remembering the assembly language, programming, machine code, software from the early 1970s at UCF. Dr. Benjamin Patz, worked in the Engineering and Computer Science Department at the time and recalls the department chair, Bruce Matthews, asking, "Who wants to get a computer?" Nobody volunteered so Dr. Patz took on the project. He describes the task of selecting equipment and getting good manuals for the students. He says, "You still talk to students who are using some of the same material even now."

He remembers when Dr. Simmons got an analog computer system at UCF. Then after they got the mini computer system, microcomputers started to come out and you could use an L socket to make electronic experiments. You could also build yourself a microcomputer.

Don Medoff, at Stromberg Carlson, a member of IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and  IEEE Computer Society, was a founder of the microcomputer conferences in Orlando. Dr. Patz ran the conferences for several years. 

Dr. Patz shares how through his involvement with IEEE he met Terry Greenfield at the Cape, Ben Symeko at the Naval Training Equipment Center, and other people working on interesting computer projects in this area. He outlines some of the computer challenges and solutions which they faced as well as the benefits of building your own code.

Learn more about the history of computer technology in Central Florida in  this excerpt  (below) from an oral history interview with Dr. Benjamin Patz on October 31, 2011.

Dr. Benjamin Patz's scientific contributions to our area include working in the    GENESYS    Program at Cape Canaveral, Lockheed Martin, teaching at the Naval Training Equipment Center, Rollins College, and the University of Central Florida. His students from the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at UCF recall Professor Patz as a patient teacher who spent diligent time with everyone, undergraduate or graduate. In the GENESYS Program at the Cape his students were people working at Martin Marietta and NASA. Dr. Patz says, "They had interesting problems they would discuss with you... It was a good chance to go over control systems, electromagnetic fields, the boundary value problems."




Anna Mae Patz - Part 4



Anna Mae Patz - Part 2



Anna Mae Patz - Part 3



Dr. Benjamin W. Patz - Part 9



Anna Mae Patz - Part 1



Dr. Benjamin Patz & Mrs. Patz, Education for Life

We've been married 50 years and we celebrated that this past year. The thing I admire most about him is the fact that he is as brilliant as he is and yet as humble as he is. You can ask him any question on any subject and he will explain it to you in great detail....

Educator Anna Mae Patz shares what she admires most about her husband, Dr. Benjamin Patz, in this excerpt (3:17) from an oral history interview on October 31, 2011 at their home in Orlando. She discusses his teaching attributes as a professor willing to take time to explain material and a father of five who taught their children educational knowledge and practical knowledge.

Dr. Benjamin Patz's scientific contributions to our area include working in the GENESYS Program at Cape Canaveral, Lockheed Martin, teaching at the  Naval Training Equipment Center, Rollins College, and the University of Central Florida. His students from the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at UCF recall Professor Patz as a patient teacher who spent diligent time with everyone, undergraduate or graduate.  In the GENESYS Program at the Cape his students were people working at Martin Marietta and NASA. Dr. Patz says, "They had interesting problems they would discuss with you... It was a good chance to go over control systems, electromagnetic fields, the boundary value problems."




The Patz Family: Engineering Life in Orlando

My husband would do a lot of his work that he did at the Cape at home and it would involve the beginning of computer graphics. Where people were dealing with simulators and they would make submarine simulators and airplane simulators. And they would be landing in deserts and in forests. And my husband would say to the children, "Is this the right color for a palm tree? Is this the right color for the pine tree?" "No. It should be more green." And they would be like 4 and 5 and 6 years old at the time. And he would change a few numbers in the computer program and I think my children grew up thinking that you could write an equation or a set of numbers for everything whether it was a flower a tree an airplane....

In this excerpt   from an oral history interview on October 31, 2011, Anna Mae Patz, mother of 5, reflects on her children's education, their contribution to our community, and the influence of her husband, research scientist and UCF Engineering Professor, Dr. Benjamin Patz, in connecting them with computers and mathematics at an early age.

As she details in this interview, her son Ben Patz went to UCF early doing dual enrollment, received a bachelor's degree in mathematics by the time he had finished high school and entered the graduate mathematics program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the undergraduate engineering program. She shares how her two older sons, Ben and Mark, spent their high school summers working at Martin Marietta and the Underwater Naval Research Lab on Gatlin. Ben earned a master's degree in electrical engineering at UCF and Mark earned a PhD in electrical engineering at UCF.

Ben and Mark Patz work together at the Orlando company, Coleman Technologies founded by Jeff Coleman. Coleman Technologies was named the #1 fastest growing company in Central Florida in 2000 and recently merged with Presidio. Ben Patz, CEO of Coleman Technologies, was awarded Florida's Entrepreneur of the Year for technology services in 2002 and the UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award.

In the family tradition of computers and engineering, Mrs. Patz's her younger daughter, Amy, also graduated with an engineering degree from UCF and  started her career as an engineer at Lockheed Martin in Orlando. Mrs. Patz describes her older daughter Susan's ability to write computer programs when she was in elementary school and her career choice as an educator and consultant for Lake Highland Preparatory School. Her youngest son Eric, who has a medical degree, is involved in ecology and is dedicated to preserving the flora and fauna of Central Florida. 

An Orange County Public School mathematics educator for 38 years, Anna Mae Patz says of her children's education, "Everybody thinks because they were all so good at mathematics that I spent my time teaching them and it really was the other way around...."

Learn more about opportunities for education and success in Central Florida in this memory of Orlando family life from Anna Mae Patz.




Anne Mae Patz

In the evenings they would have famous mathmaticians and scientists who would come...Linus Pauling came and he was a Nobel Prize winner and he gave discussions. And then they had Dr. Sabin...I know when I talk to my students in high school they have no idea who Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin were and what their difference in approach to finding a polio cure was. But they [Dr. Sabin and Dr. Salk] had a meeting, debate, and got into a heated argument. It was so unprofessional. They threw water at each other and everybody left the room and adjourned for a while and then came back and heard the remaining part of the debate of whose shot for polio was better the live vaccine or the dead vaccine.

Reflections on a life of teaching at Westridge, West Orange, Dr. Phillips, Valencia Community College, and University of Central Florida with mathematics educator and chemist Anna Mae Patz. She describes working with adults and kids, mature and immature. She remembers being with Dr. Salk in her first job as a chemist at the Health Department in Pittsburgh and later in her work grading for The National Board, she heard Dr. Sabin and Dr. Salk at an evening debate. She says it was very exciting to visit different cities for the Advanced Placement (AP) Board and the professional people in the field of mathematics who would come and talk to us in the evening were very, very exciting people. Learn more about the life of an Orange County educator in this interview.




Dr. Benjamin W. Patz



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