James  Speed  Hensinger



James (Jim) Speed Hensinger retired at age 55 from senior management in a small tech firm that provided library automation services to several thousand institutions in twelve states.  Raised in Southern Indiana with Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer as a role model, Jim was an Eagle Scout with lots of outdoor and survival training.  He was a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and worked as a backpacking guide in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains of New Mexico.  He did geological field-work in the Tobacco Root Mountains of western Montana, was a spelunker and dabbled in rock climbing and rope work in pit caves.  He owned his first gun at the age of thirteen and shot on his college rifle team for four years, serving as team captain his senior year.

Before being drafted into the US Army and serving in Vietnam, he finished a BS in geology and petroleum engineering at Marietta College.  This was followed by a brief stint at Texaco in Houston with fieldwork in Matagorda Bay.  After Vietnam, he worked on an MS in geology at the University of Arizona, and completed an MS in library science while also serving as an EMT on the Pima County Mountain and Desert Search & Rescue Team, and working full-time at the local dealership as a Volkswagen mechanic.  It was in Arizona that he realized that his love for the outdoors had been seriously compromised by his experiences in Vietnam. The oil industry, his previous career objective, would have sent him to Alaska in the winter and Saudi Arabia in the summer while he just wanted to go to the mountains on the weekends.

He has managed to support himself as a silversmith, Volkswagen mechanic, landscape worker, graduate student, farm laborer, librarian, hardware store clerk, petroleum geologist, handyman, road laborer, backpacking guide, burro packer, soldier in Vietnam, night watchman in a funeral home, semi-pro fur hunter (coyote), and dishwasher.

Jim built an Altair 8800 computer from a mail order kit in 1975 while starting his newly planned career as a university science librarian.  Four years later he was head-hunted into the private sector where he created software, was an early adopter of the internet, managed a multi-million dollar budget, presented hundreds of seminars, published dozens of technical articles, wrote several non-fiction books on computing, and published dozens of recipes in popular magazines.  His personal Web page, JHensinger.org has a list of his publications, and a resume.

Jim enjoys writing, bronze sculpture, cooking, photography, antiquarian map collecting, international travel, leather work, making furniture, making stained glass, silversmithing, MacGyvering, and competitive pistol shooting.


12 March 2016 National Public Radio story about Marietta College's Petroleum Engineering program: