A Legend Dies

Emerson’s Knight was known for ferocity and remarkable streak of earnings

An executive legend of the electric motor industry passed away September 12. Charles Knight, known to many who worked with him as “Chuck”, was known for his ferocity in management and a remarkable streak of earnings for Emerson Electric.

When he was named CEO at Emerson in 1973, he became one of the youngest CEOs at any billion-dollar U.S. corporation. He went on to make Emerson into one of the largest companies in the region and kept alive its remarkable record of 43 straight years of earnings increases.

He was born Charles F. Knight in Winnetka, Ill., a Chicago suburb, in 1936. He graduated from Cornell University in 1957 and was elected to the Sphinx Head Society. He went on to earn his MBA from Cornell in 1959.

Mr. Knight’s resume reads like a white-collar Hall of Famer. He served as Chairman of Emerson from 1974 to 2004, as CEO from 1973 to 2000, then as president from 1986—1988 and again from 1995—1997. He was also director of Emerson from during his entire tenure there, plus a year tacked on to the beginning (1972—2004). He sat on the Boards of Directors of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., AT&T Inc., BP plc and Morgan Stanley. He became a director of IBM in 1993.

Knight was inducted into Junior Achievement’s U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2000. The Charles F. Knight Executive Education & Conference Center at Washington University in St. Louis is named for him, as is the Charles F. Knight Emergency & Trauma Center, which serves as the main trauma center and emergency department for the Washington University Medical Center/Barnes-Jewish Hospital complex.

He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on September 12, 2017. Electrical Apparatus sends out our thoughts to his family.

Apollo’s Guide: Peter Pantelis, 93, was electrician and winder for Apollo 11’s lunar module. 

Peter Pantelis was crucial behind the scenes to one of the most famous events of the all time. The 93-year old New Yorker, who died July 16, was one of a small handful of men selected to the assembly team for the lunar module on Apollo 11, the first spacecraft to reach the moon.

Pantelis had a history of electrical and mechanical experience, as well. He worked at transformer companies after high school in Manhattan and Westchester, NY. He organized a coil winding department at Reeves Instrument Corporation in Garden City, NY in the early 1950s. Ultimately, he earned a position at Grumman, the aircraft engineering and aerospace firm based in Bethpage, NY, where he would find his calling on the module assembly team and forge a career at the company for 35 years.

For the historic mission, Pantelis was assigned to make panels, cables, black boxes, and the like, from drawing and schematics, according to Newsday. Assigned to the module’s assembly area in Bethpage, Pantelis worked with engineers to install electronic equipment on the first space vehicle. Grumman eventually used Pantelis as an instructor in specialized electronics. He also worked on the early F14-A fighter.

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