The Inside Stories

The behind-the-scenes faces, places, and things that have set the stage for the Olympic drama at Georgia Tech.

By John Dunn, Hoyt Coffee and Michael Terrazas
G eorgia Tech is writing a new chapter in its history this summer, playing a crucial role in the monumental production of the Centennial Summer Olympic Games.

For a few weeks, the university has surrendered its campus to an Olympic army, and has become home of the 1996 Olympic Village. It is a title that forevermore will be associated with Georgia Tech.

Many of the Institute's faculty, staff and alumni have lent their time and talents to promote the success of these Olympic Games. Many are on the staff of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and many more are simply volunteers.

We cannot recognize every one, but by profiling a few, we pay tribute to them all.

Bill Ray

The Tough Get Going

J ames W. "Bill" Ray has spent the past five years planning building construction, parking, transportation, the summer academic session and just about everything else to get Georgia Tech read y for the Olympics.

Now, he says, the tough job begins.

"As far as getting the campus ready, I really feel good," Ray says. "It's been quite a challenge to get the construction all completed on time and within the funds available." But the Gulf War veteran adds that running Georgia Tech during the Summer Game s the mother of all disruptions is something else entirely.

"It's not like the buildings where you have bricks and mortar, concrete and steel. You can develop a system for building a building. When you're dealing with so many different things as far as the operations of campus go, that's really tough."

But Ray is up to the task. A 38-year Army veteran, Maj. Gen. Ray worked with Col. William A. "Bill" Miller, Tech's director of Olympic Planning, on logistics for the armies allied against Iraq.

Ray serves as vice president for Olympic planning. He has worked directly with the Board of Regents, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) and Atlanta city officials. Ray also serves as the chairman of Tech's Senior Advisory Group, which mak es policy decisions regarding Olympic and Paralympic activity on campus.

While some have compared running the campus during the Games to running a medium-sized city, Ray says it's much different.

"In running a city, just like running Georgia Tech, you go thorough cycles, and year by year you improve things," he says. "We've never done any of this before, and so it will be like running a city that just appears. It's as complex as running a city, b ut we can't look back and see how we did it last year."

Taz Anderson

Taz's Tower

A fter the Olympic flame has cooled, another fire will burn on the Atlanta skyline for years to come - Taz Anderson's Centennial Tower.

Reaching fully 12 stories into the sky next to The Varsity, the great green obelisk bears a 16-foot flame at its apex that Anderson hopes will be a beacon for Atlanta and Tech for decades.

"My intent has been to have something in place that is memorable, something that will become part of Atlanta," says Anderson, IM '61. The former Tech football star and pro player with St. Louis and the Atlanta Falcons worked three years on planning the Centennial Tower. Helping him along were several firms with thick Tech connections - Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart and Associates; the Hardin Co.; and Stanley D. Lindsey and Associates.

The tower includes an observation deck 100 feet above its base, where a one-story visitors' center is located. Anderson, who is known for the giant peaches atop buildings north and south of downtown, says the tower will also feature advertising.

School Delay

G eorgia Tech will hold a condensed 1996 summer session on campus after the conclusion of the Summer Olympic Games, and start its fall quarter in October.

The 1996 summer session will consist of seven weeks of classes: Aug. 12 through Sept. 27, with final exams scheduled from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. The late summer session will delay the opening of fall quarter until Oct. 9. The fall quarter will end Dec. 13, with exams scheduled Dec. 14-19.

The summer session of seven weeks of classes is seven-tenths of a regular summer session. Classes, which usually meet for 50 minutes, will be extended to 75 minutes.

Cremins Coaches Olympic Hoops

W hen Team USA tips off against the world's best in basketball, Yellow Jackets head coach Bobby Cremins will be in a familiar place on the sidelines.

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lenny Wilkens, picked to skipper the 1996 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team, chose the 15-year Tech coach as one of three assistants.

"We looked at guys who had done stuff for USA Basketball, and Bobby's been very active," Wilkens says. "Plus he's local, and I like the way he works. I want guys who will roll up their sleeves."

Cremins has coached junior and select squads, and he coached for the World University Games a decade ago. He was expected to be a top candidate for the assistant spot during the 1992 Olympics, but those hopes ended when Olympics officials decided to allo w professionals on the team.

"This caught me off guard," Cremins says. "I was just thrilled. I have great respect for Lenny. The experience of representing your country, being around Lenny and the greatest players in the world, is a tremendous opportunity."

Cremins' selection to the coaching squad tops a banner year for the coach and the Jackets. Tech finished the year as regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference champions at 24-12 and a best-ever 13-3 in the conference, earning Cremins ACC Coach of the Year honors. And the Jackets earned a trip to the NCAA's Sweet 16.

Also selected as assistants were Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan and University of Minnesota head coach Clem Haskins.

Bob Harty

All the News All the Time

N o matter what time it is in Atlanta, somewhere in the world, the news media is awake. Requests for information about Georgia Tech as home of the Olympic Village have come from all over the world in all languages at all hours of the day and night.

The Olympian feat of satisfying the insatiable news appetite of the media worldwide has been the job of Robert T. Harty, Georgia Tech's director of communications.

Harty and his 29-member communications staff have made anticipating news a top priority and have worked to spot potential stories, gather information and pass along story ideas to the media.

"The news media just want to tell the story in their own way, for their own audience," Harty says. "Our job has been to help them develop their news or feature story, cut through any red tape, and provide accurate background information."

In addition to working with local and national media, Harty has endeavored to establish ties with the world media. Success can have a domino effect. After assisting a popular Brazilian magazine develop its Olympic Village story, Harty's office received a barrage of requests for assistance from other Brazilian media.

Working with the media is something Harty understands. A former chief of staff to the Wisconsin attorney general, Harty was director of policy development and media relations. That was the easy part. He also had to manage 525 lawyers and criminal investigators.

Mike Finn

Finn to Host Media at Aquatic Center

M ike Finn, Georgia Tech's associate director of athletics for communications, has been tapped for an Olympic post as venue press chief for water sports.

Finn, in his 13th year in the sports information office at Georgia Tech, will be in charge of all press operations at the new $20 million Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, site of swimming, synchronized swimming, diving and water polo competitions.

"My job will be to oversee all press operations at that site, making sure the media have a place where they can work and have access to athletes," Finn says. "I'll also be in charge of producing timely results and press releases."

Finn, in his fourth year as associate athletics director, previously served three years as assistant athletics director and six years as Tech's sports information director. During the last 12 years, the sports information office has earned nearly 100 wri ting and publication awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America, including several "Best in the Nation" citations.

Nutritional McMenu

M cDonald's will have its familiar fast-food fare at five Olympic Village restaurants, but the menu will also offer fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt and bagels in an effort to meet the nutritional needs of Olympic athletes.

The menu will be accompanied by nutrition and ingredient information presented in English, Spanish and French.

McDonald's will be on campus in the Homer Rice Center, the main dining area off of Tech Parkway, Hemphill Complex, Wenn Student Center, and north of 10th Street.

The restaurant chain said it expects to serve 500,000 free meals to athletes, trainers and coaches during the Games, and will bring in 2,500 multilingual employees to operate the restaurants around the clock. McDonald's has 15,000 restaurants in 83 countries.

The free meals are part of McDonald's deal with the Games as a national Olympic sponsor.

Perfect Pool

Perfect pool

By Jerry Schwartz

I t's a great pool. I've enjoyed it thoroughly."

The words of Australian swimming gold medalist Kieren Perkins were echoed by swimmers, divers and even public officials during a series of 1995 test events at the new Aquatic Center.

Perkins, who set eight world records and won the men's 1,500- meter gold medal at Barcelona, said he particularly appreciated theopen-air facility. Asked if changing conditions could alternately make the pool faster or slower, Perkins said. "Fast pool, slow pool - who cares? Everyone's swimming in the same pool, and this is a really good one."

Russian diver Irina Lachko said the pool reminded her of home. "I like this pool very much,'' she said, speaking through an interpreter at the Ninth Diving World Cup. "The environment is very good. It reminds me of the Moscow swimming pool, but this facility is bigger than ours."

At the official opening of the diving pool, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell said, "Largely because of the creativity of the architects, who are, themselves, graduates of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the city's magnificent skyline will be visible during the presentation of the diving competition of the 1996 Olympic Games."

And Doug Arnot, managing director of venues for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, noted the Aquatic Center is not one of the venues which will be torn down or have its function changed after the Olympics.

"This pool will obviously be host to many collegiate and international events long after the Olympics are gone," Arnot said. "You're going to see one of the most attractive international swimming facilities in the world, and certainly one of the most technologically advanced facilities that's ever been built."

Reed Draper

Savannah's Village

W hether on land or sea, Georgia Tech alumni will be among the cadre of 400 staff working with the Olympic Village at Savannah, site of the yachting venue.

Reed Draper, Mgt '92, is deputy director of the Savannah village--the Marriott Riverfront Hotel, home to 750 athletes and officials competing in the Olympic Games yachting competition.

Draper, who works for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and his staff endeavor to make the Olympic guests feel at home.

"We have about 80 different national Olympic committees here participating in yachting," Draper says, adding that the village will be a comfortable place for the athletes to relax, eat and sleep.

"We have an extensive menu to deal with all the different cultures," he says. Even before the village opened its doors on July 6, many of the athletes were already in Savannah to practicing and familiarizing themselves with the ocean course.

At sea, Pete Hart, cls '96, will see that things are ship-shape. Hart is ACOG's boat fleet coordinator for logistics. And Darren B. Pietsch, ME '91, will be on hand when the competition starts. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Pietsch, an assistant maintenance superintendent for Georgia-Pacific Co. in Brunswick, is the Coast Guard race-management liaison for the yachting event.

Olympic Village Construction

World-Class Classes

A first-of-its-kind class at Georgia Tech is teaching students temporary architecture and event management at the ultimate venue, the 1996 Olympic Games.

As home of the Olympic Village, Georgia Tech has become one giant classroom for temporary architecture. During the summer of '96, students are gaining rare experience as construction coordinators and project managers for sites within the village.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students to see first hand just what goes into the preparation of the world's largest and most prestigious sporting event," says architecture Professor Rufus Hughes. "The Olympic architecture these students are studying may be temporary, but what they learn will forever change their college and professional experience and perspective."

During the winter quarter, juniors, seniors and graduate students studied temporary architecture from circuses, festivals and past world fairs as part of the course called Event Architecture, Design and Construction.

Throughout the spring quarter, students worked with Olympic officials to oversee the final planning of temporary sites inside the Olympic Village as part of Event Construction Management.

Students who remained for the final installment, Festival Construction Oversight, actually worked on site, helping to oversee construction of temporary architecture ranging from the colorful geometric tents of the Village Festival area to the world's largest outdoor dining hall. Linda Thomas Prime, construction manager with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, believes the Georgia Tech students bring a fresh perspective to the project.

"This sort of exercise has never been tried before in an educational setting and at an event of this magnitude," Prime says.

Some course participants say they are considering temporary architecture as a career.

"The Olympics have helped shed some light on an exciting career possibility," says graduate student Sarah Adkins. "This once in a lifetime course allows us to step beyond the textbook to a profession that is hard work, fun and different every day."

Doug Hooker

Shaping Up Atlanta

W hile top athletes from around the world have been shaping up for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, alumnus Doug Hooker has been getting the city's infrastructure into world-class shape.

Hooker, Atlanta's public works commissioner, has been preparing bridges, streets and sewers for the unprecedented number of people who will be attending the Centennial Games.

Among the projects, the city is overhauling its sewer system for the first time since 1915. Hooker is supervising 14 major sewer projects costing a total of $350 million during the next three years, including construction of a $32.3 million storm sewer that will alleviate flooding problems near Georgia Tech, home of the Olympic Village.

Hooker, who received his mechanical engineering degree from Tech in 1978 and master's in technology and science policy in 1985, manages a public works staff of more than 1,600 people on a $100 million operating budget. A member of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association board of trustees, he is married to attorney (and former board member) Patrise Perkins-Hooker, a 1980 industrial management graduate.

Hooker said the department is supporting efforts for the city to look its best. "We've been helping the Corporation for Olympic Development for Atlanta with their street-scape project," he says. The project includes putting in decorative concrete pavers, new lights and planting trees.

Eric M. Giddens and Michael Larimer

Whitewater Coach

M ichael Larimer, IM '74, is one of the coaches for the U.S. Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak team. Coaching both single and two-man canoeists, Larimer, above, is joined by Eric M. Giddens, a junior majoring in biology at Tech, who contended for a spot on the Olympic kayak team. A former competitor, Larimer went to the world championships as a member of the U.S. whitewater team in 1987, and in 1992, he and his partner placed fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials - .08 seconds away from a trip to Barcelona. The team has been training on the Olympic whitewater course since the spring of 1995. "Working with some of the very best and most dedicated athletes in the world in my sport is something I really enjoy doing," he says.

Tammy Tuley

Telling the story

A s director of special programs for Georgia Tech, Tammy Tuley, Mgt '90, has been a key liaison between the Institute and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Most recently, she has helped establish the Hospitality Suite for Georgia Tech at All Saints' Episcopal Church.

A member of the communications office in External Affairs, Tuley has helped manage public relations interactions between Tech and ACOG. She has told the story of Georgia Tech's role with the Olympic Games to alumni clubs, student groups and business organizations. In 1990, Tuley was the first person hired at Georgia Tech to focus on the Olympic Games. She has given hundreds of presentations to the public, Georgia Tech organizations and ACOG volunteers.

Backstage Pitcrew

H ank Houser and Sean Greene, two Georgia Tech architecture students, are helping design a stage for all the world.

While working on their masters' degrees in architecture, Houser is an assistant designer and Greene is a staging coordinator for Bob Keene & Associates, the production design company for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Houser is helping the show's producers and designers turn their ideas into reality by drawing them to specification. He has been working with contractors and solving problems.

"This work is directly related to architecture," Houser says. "It's essentially taking what you've learned in the classroom and testing yourself to see if you can respond on your feet. Everything happens so quickly, and you have to be able to react."

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies require massive set-ups with very limited time to transform the field into a theater. "This thing moves really fast. It's like the world's biggest and fastest pit crew," says Joe Zenas, staging and props supervisor. "We have a 350- person stage crew composed of volunteers who will load the sets and run both shows from the scenic side. Several Georgia Tech students are working as crew chiefs and team leaders to help us train the volunteers."

The crew will assemble stages that are about 60 feet in diameter and about 11 feet tall. Getting the pieces together takes a lot of muscle and strong leaders to effectively communicate where everything needs to go. Then the crew has to magically disappear so the performers can take the stage.

"It's exciting just to be a part of the Olympics," Houser says. "It's even more exciting to do work that's related to what we want to do professionally."

Bill Miller

Building a Village

T he Olympic Village wasn't built in a day it took better than four years and required a Herculean effort on the part of William A. "Bill" Miller, who has been responsible for developing andmanaging more than $320 million in Olympic-related construction and renovation projects.

Miller, director of Olympic planning, is chairman of the Project Management Group, which oversees all on-site development for the Games. A 1962 civil-engineering graduate of Georgia Tech, Miller spent more than a year negotiating the contracts between Tech and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

"We've been working on it so long," Miller says, "it's good to see it all coming together. It's a great feeling." Of course, the job isn't finished yet, and the next step may itself be worthy of listing with the seven labors.

"First of all, we've got to get back to normal," he says. "We're going to work probably through the end of October, overseeing the restoration of the campus. We'll close our office down then."

Reflecting on the effort it took to mold Georgia Tech into the Olympic Village and build two sports venues, Miller says he doesn't "see any negatives. As everyone says, the biggest legacy will be the change in our ability to house students. It's going toj be a residential campus; we're going to have much more name recognition, those kinds of things.

"I think as soon as we can get things put back together, we'll look back at it as a positive experience."

Olympic Symbol

R R ichard C. Kessler, IE '68, MS IE '70, chairman of Kessler Enterprise in Atlanta, gave Georgia Tech a new look for the Olympic Village--a campanile, an 80-foot stainless steel obelisk that serves as the centerpiece for the Olympic Plaza. Surrounded by a fountain and equipped with sound and light components, the Kessler Campanile takes its place as one of the new symbols for Georgia Tech. It is made of steel plates that rotate like a corkscrew to create a spiraling form and crowned by an abstract version of the Tech Tower.

Mike McGammon, Mark Moon and Scott Adler

Can We Talk?

W hen members of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games want to know what's the buzz, Mike McGannon wants them to find out on a system that comes through loud and clear and without interference.

McGannon, EE '88, center, is ACOG's communications program manager, on loan from Motorola, the Olympics' wireless communications equipment supplier.

"My job is to run all the radio-frequency communications devices, which is the cellular phones, pagers and two way radios," McGannon explains. "It's a heck of a challenge."

McGannon is responsible for operating a network for 10,000 two-way radios, providing cellular phones that operate on BellSouth's network, and about 6,000 pagers that operate on the mobile communications network, as well as modems and secure communications devices.

Two other Georgia Tech alumni directly involved with the project are Mark Moon, IE '85, and Scott Adler, Mgt '90, both of whom are with Motorola.

Ashley Gigandet

Game Plan

S ince earning her degree in international affairs at Georgia Tech in 1994, Ashley Gigandet has been preparing to meet the world. It will soon be at her doorstep.

A specialist in the Olympic Planning Office at Georgia Tech, Gigandet is responsible for preparing the campus for the Olympic Games. Her duties include public relations with campus groups - including students, faculty and staff - and logistics planning for the 1996 summer academic quarter, which begins after the Olympic Games.

As a student, Gigandet was a President's Scholar, a Harry S. Truman Scholar and president of the undergraduate Student Government. Next fall, she will pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School.

Richard Tyler

Down to Basics

I n his role as deputy director, Richard Tyler knows the nuts and bolts of the Olympic Village at Georgia Tech. He has done everything from counting toilets to managing and negotiating contracts.

"It's been a pretty comprehensive experience," says Tyler, IM '90, a co-op student and the first employee hired for the Olympic Village. His boss was Russ Chandler, IE '67, then volunteer vice president for the Olympic Village. "I was promised the job would be everything I could imagine and more. It's been that."

Tyler assisted Chandler in the initial phases of planning the village. "My job was to learn about all of the areas of the village and to start to put the pieces of the puzzle together. For some time we had no other staff. My training in industrial engineering really helped give me an edge to manage processes and the bigger picture in integrating different components into a single system. That's become my job."

Tyler said the Olympic Village has about 30 different departments. The major organizational functions are administration, which includes personnel and finances; athlete services; logistics; and operations, which includes transportation, food services, housing and press operations.

"We have had every kind of problem you can imagine," Tyler says. "But our biggest challenge, and greatest asset, has been to establish an excellent group of people and get them working together as a team. We have a great team."

Melanie Dangerfield

Top Secret

M elanie Morton Dangerfield, IM '86, doesn't talk about her work as an assistant choreographer for the Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

"It's a top secret," Dangerfield says slyly.

Dangerfield was the featured twirler majorette at Tech as a student and is now an auxiliary coordinator with the Georgia Tech Band. She was a choreographer for the Super Bowl when it came to Atlanta, a job she is now performing as a member of the support team for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

She works directly with seven or eight different units, several thousand people in all, preparing for the ceremonies that will take place at the new Olympic Stadium. Some of the participants know her very well - a number of Georgia Tech majorettes are in one of the units she directs.

Jim Johnson amd Don Chapman

Hot Wheels

W hen 15,000 athletes, trainers and coaches from around the world descend on Georgia Tech's campus this summer, they'll have to have a way around - seventy-five electric tractors will be at their service.

Built to replace 150-horsepower gasoline or diesel-engine tractors, these electric vehicles are put together at Tug Manufacturing in Kennesaw, Ga. Tug President Don Chapman, IM '61, says the tractors, which will pull passenger trams similar to those found at amusement parks, are ready to go for this summer's Olympic Games.

"The tractor performance has exceeded specifications," Chapman says.

Jim Johnson, a 1985 civil engineering Tech grad and senior engineer at Tug, is the point man for the service team, which will support the Georgia Power Co. crew running the tractors.

"We're really looking forward to it," Johnson says. "All the tractors are built, and we'll be ready." Since Tug normally makes tractors for airport and industrial use, Johnson explains the vehicles' towing capacity was cut by 75 percent for safer transportation of human cargo. "You don't mess around with people's health and well-being."

Georgia Power, under contract with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games to provide transportation in the Village, chose the tractors for their environmentally friendly means of locomotion.

"We wanted to provide an emissions-free environment for the atheles while they're in the Olympic Village," says Laurie Swift, manager of electric transportation for Georgia Power. "We're real happy with the tractor; it's a very reliable little machine."