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One-Line Bio

Russ is a systems engineer, freelance writer. Lt Col, USAF (Ret)


Russell W. Steele - short bio - September 2005.

Russ Steele, with his wife Ellen and four daughters, moved back to Nevada County in 1980, following his retirement from the Air Force, as a Lt. Colonel. They built a home near Banner Mountain in 1982, next to property settled by his family in the 1860s.

As an Air Force Navigator and Electronics Warfare Officer, Russ flew in B-52s and FB-111s, but his most widely recognized accomplishment was the development of a concept for reprogramming aircraft computers during combat operations. This work continued when he jointed TRW and helped create a software development laboratory at McClellan AFB, which built software integration and validation tools for the Air Force A-10, C-130, B-2, and other systems.

Russ is a social scientist, with a Bachelor of Science degree (Troy State University in 1973) and Air Command and Staff College graduate. He has a strong technical background in electronics, project management, and business development. At TRW he was instrumental in starting TRW’s Advanced Transportation Systems, an effort to bring aerospace technology to the roadside. As a strategic planner, he worked on concepts for driver emergency notification systems, vehicle-to-road side communications systems and traveler information systems. He jointly holds a patent on a roadside-to-vehicle communication protocol. Russ retired from TRW in the spring of 1996.

Prior to starting The Insightworks in 1998, Russ was the President of the Nevada County Community Network, a nonprofit Internet Service Provider startup. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors. Russ has been a freelance writer for trade, computer and science magazines since 1978. He has been published in Kilobyte, Science Probe, Amateur Radio Astronomy, Satellite Times, Monitoring Times, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, The Union, and over twenty articles in Comstocks’ Business. He is waiting for Smithsonian Air & Space to publish an article on FB-111 history. He is currently working on two book projects, one exploring 50 years of innovation in Nevada County, the other a history of cobalt mining in Idaho. Cobalt: Legacy of the Blackbird Mine was published in 2009.

In addition to operating his consulting and writing business, Russ is a community service volunteer. Current volunteer activities include the Economic Resource Council and Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation. He is former Nevada County Transportation Commissioner.

Russ and Ellen have four grandchildren, who live in Roseville and Granite Bay. Russ’ hobbies include family camping, hiking, travel, life long learning, reading science journals, and web logging on the Internet.