The next five professors that Raymond and Dirty Dan interviewed could have been clones of Professor Yee. Raymond was starting to despair of finding a prof to lend respectability to the project.
The seventh professor they interviewed was cut from a different bolt of cloth. Literally.
He was not wearing a suit.
He put his vented, Stetson outback hat on the table and touched the breast pocket of his sun-faded, light denim shirt to ensure that his Wiley X ballistic eyewear had not been left in the other room.
He was young and tall, lean and tanned. He had piercing blue eyes and his shirt sleeves were rolled up.
"And you are..." Raymond asked.
"Clark Radcliffe." the man answered with no additional, flowery language.
Raymond looked down at his crib sheet: Cal State, Longbeach.
Raymond hit him with his canned speech.
Clark said, "Sounds like a worthy challenge. There are some issues but nothing we can't work through." He sounded very self assured and that tweaked Raymond a little bit.
"What can you know about our issues?" Raymond pushed a little bit.
Radcliffe looked a bit surprised. "Why, I toured your work-site this morning before the interview. Can't imagine walking cold into something this significant!"
"You paid for a cab to drive over to the work-site?" Raymond asked.
"Oh, heck no. I rode my bike." Clark said.
"You have a motorcycle?" Raymond asked. Raymond like motorcycles.
"Nope, rode my mountain bike." Clark said. "Ain't like I am made of money."
Raymond snuck a quick look at the map. Clark's office was 23 miles from the meeting place, as the crow flew...and he had walked the job-site as well.
"So," Dirty Dan interjected, "what do you see as the main challenges?"
"Do you have prints?" Clark asked. Then, over the next hour he outlined the projects shortcomings and the modifications that would remediate those shortcomings: Venting, additional seismic lock-valves and third-party storage of the processing data for critical connections like swedges."
"There is one other thing, but I hesitate to mention it because it is really big and I am sure you have already considered it." Clark said.
"What is that?" Raymond asked.
"Your system is grossly undersized, especially for buildings that are going to be used for hospitality." Clark said.
Dirty Dan was shaking his head "Yes!" so emphatically Raymond was surprised he could not hear it rattle.
"How do you figure?" Raymond asked.
"Cali's air conditioning standards were designed to take the edge off the heat, not actually make people comfortable. The other issue is that people like it cooler in the evening hours and this system is slaved to solar power. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but you are going to need to double the capacity and install sub-space ice storage if you expect to meet the HVAC standards that the rest of the world has come to expect." Clark said.
Dirty Dan was still shaking his head "Yes."
Raymond looked over at Dirty Dan and asked, "Well, should we hire him?"
Dirty Dan said, "I thought you already had?"
"Why would you think that?" Raymond asked.
"Probably because he was still in the room after three minutes. You threw all those other jokers out in two minutes or less." Dirty Dan said.
Raymond shook his head. "I guess I better send the other Professors home."
Then he had a thought. "Professor Radcliffe, are there any other professors you want on your team? I would expect you to pick somebody you can work with and who will complement your strengths and weaknesses." Raymond asked.
"I think Ana Rouhani is absolutely top-notch in every aspect of project management. She would be a strong addition to any project." Clark said
without reservation. Ana Rouhani was a dumpy, forty-something woman with a reputation for swift and error-free processing of paper work.
"Ok." Raymond said. "She is in. Can you start tomorrow?"
Clark looked at his wristwatch. "Its only four in the afternoon. Why can't we start now?"
As they were walking out, Raymond asked "Why is your attitude so different from most of the other professors?"
Clark said, "My dad told me a long time ago, people will pay you to generate options. They don't pay you to issue ultimatums."
"Was your father a professor?" Raymond asked.
Clark had a hearty laugh. "Heck no. He is a pipefitter for Pacific Gas and Electric."