[Namaste-dev] Re: [eagle] what is going on?

Michelle w5nyv at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 7 21:13:14 PDT 2008

This version of events is not true. I wish the best for the project, but I can't be involved in such an incredible fiction. 

AMSAT as an organization has to realize that when literally dozens of highly motivated volunteers are chased away by one particular person, that perhaps that one particular person is at fault, for reasons not necessarily visible or easily resolved. All involved have my sympathy and support. 

I have not refused to communicate with any AMSAT member or volunteer, and I let the work on Namaste speak for itself.

 -Michelle W5NYV

Potestatem obscuri lateris nescis.

----- Original Message ----
From: Bob McGwier <rwmcgwier at gmail.com>
To: Michelle <w5nyv at yahoo.com>; Bdale Garbee <bdale at gag.com>
Cc: namaste-dev <namaste-dev at amsat.org>; eagle at amsat.org; bod at amsat.org
Sent: Monday, July 7, 2008 8:06:55 PM
Subject: RE: [Namaste-dev] Re: [eagle]  what is going on?

Thank you for your positive contribution.    I do
not suffer from bipolar disorder as the armchair psychiatrists suggest.  I
have not ever had a mental illness.  
Once every two years I undergo a major, multi-day psychological
evaluation as part of my employment.  I have always and continue to pass
whatever that means and my personal records show no disorder is present to the
satisfaction of my employer and our sponsor.  I have been in a stable
marriage to the same woman since the early 1970’s and all my children
tell me they love me for whatever that is worth.
Do I get angry,  yes.  Everyone knows this, but I am
not violent, nor bipolar.  I think the last time I got into a fist fight I
was in middle school.  The last time I had a mood disorder was last year
when my brother, sister-in-law,  and niece were almost killed.  When
my favorite aunt died of cancer.  When her husband, my uncle, was almost
trampled to death by horses that she owned when he was trying to put them into
a trailer to sell them.  When my mother almost died of medical
incompetence, etc.  I sought help to get through what seemed a never
ending crisis, took antidepressants for six months and then quit them, all
under a doctor’s supervision.  I should have quit this job then
because I did AMSAT no good whatsoever for months but the thing about this kind
of crisis reaction is you cannot see out of the fog.  The fog is gone
now.  My aunt is stil dead, but while not whole, the rest of my relatives
are recovering their lives.
Matt was indeed removed as leader of the ACP.  He is a
brilliant engineer and I believe he and I will work together for years to
come.   Unlike Michelle, Matt was big enough to talk to me, I gave my
reasons, we disagreed and we have had technical discussions via email since. 
While I hope Matt continues to contribute to the technical effort that he has
been visionary on,  we need a manager to bring the pieces together. 
It will not be Matt.  He is busy and very preoccupied with multiple pieces
of work, almost all professional and very demanding of time.  He was
aggravated and clearly upset with all sorts of things in dealing with ACP,
AMSAT, etc. and I made a decision that I thought was in the best interests of
AMSAT.   I demanded that Michelle give me some oversight so I could
try to right the ship and to talk to me.  None of this has been
 As a member of the senior officers and a member of the
board of directors,  when you have a major failure in a project,  you
report it to the officers and board.  I did this.  I provided a
courtesy copy to Michelle.   She sent the privileged communication to
Matt. Both of them took exception to its contents and addressed their exception
to the same audience I did.  This was not a public message.  It was
addressed those people responsible for running this organization.  We are
attempting to come up with a plan by August and I saw all of this as a crisis
and they needed the information.  They made many corrections to my
statement, I have not defended against their statements of disagreement, hoping
we could work this out.
Michelle was asked repeatedly to talk to me on many occasions
before the real outbreak of hostilities.. I told her that if she did not talk
to me about how to proceed in the current situation,  that she was
effectively resigning since this cannot work.
That said,  Michelle is doing a very good job of building a
collaboration.  It is my OPINION that she has a real problem with any hierarchy. 
I don’t care, just so she talks to me and allows me to help her.  I
believe in her ability to do this organization but it will not be without guidance
from the senior engineering executive in an engineering organization and that
is me until I am replaced.
I realize that the people in the Eagle group are getting blind
sided by all of this.  My apologies.  Dick Jansson made this
completely clear in a note he sent to the board.
When I return from a two month deployment overseas last month,
and I was given a day to make a big decision at work,  I made the decision
knowing that my days as an AMSAT executive and director were over.  I
needed to make big time changes in my position and there were legal issues
requiring me to make a very hasty decision.  I handled it poorly.  I
freely admit I was upset at the outcome.  I was fighting but I was given
an ultimatum and I acquiesced.  I was signing an agreement that said I
would not have such involvements as AMSAT directorship and officer.  I did
not sign up to run for the board (Michelle celebrates along with Fred Parker). 
Two weeks after this,  things changed, and the right thing happened. 
I informed the board that I would stay until they chose to replace me.
From this incident forward,  I have been completely unable
to get Michelle to carry on a conversation with me about Namaste or Eagle
matters.   I asked Barry to help me get a meeting
together.   When I could not get answers to several questions (some I
subsequently learned were available online but not the major questions) at 1 PM
of the day I needed to okay a meeting so the contract could be signed to hold
the meeting by 6 PM that day, I cancelled the meeting.  As the senior
engineering executive of this organization with a busy life just like many of
you have,  I could not see spending AMSAT money or my and other executives
time on a feel good session.  Maybe there was more to it, I know that I
could not find out and my designated go to guy did not have answers.
If Michelle will talk to me, I will beg her forgiveness for any
real or perceived injustice she feels she has been subjected to and attempt to
work out a working relationship while I complete my tenure, whether that is 3
months or 30 years,  we need to make progress before August on making real
on what steps to take next.  I believe the Namaste group is ready to take
steps.  I hate sending it fall into disarray just when it arrives at a turning
point from position papers to action.  
What you have done here is beyond the pale of what anyone should
be subjected to.  However, the important thing is AMSAT and its best
interests.  I forgive it completely.  I am uninterested in how you
perceive me or what you think of me so long as you will attempt to work out a
working relationship with me, I will do it. I believe you are good person and
that you have been subjected to all sorts of wrong headed talking and thinking
at my expense and the organization’s.  I am damn easy to work with
technically.  I have the exact same technical partners I have had in some
cases for 3 decades and more for two decades. 
My phone number is 609-731-5289.  I AM the VPE and I will talk
to you and attempt to help you do a good job for this organization or you will
have removed yourself from the job.  This is your choice.  I am more
than willing to work it out. There is no other way.  We cannot have
completely autonomous groups without oversight.  If you can call an
emergency board meeting and get me fired,  you can win the day.  If you
like, I will call it for you.  I do not fear the outcome, up, down, or
sideways.  AMSAT needs me, I love AMSAT, and I will be here for as long as
I am able to be.  If the board wants me out,  I will say aye aye and
we will move on.
ARRL SDR Working Group Chair, AMSAT VP Engineering.
Member: ARRL, AMSAT, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
“Trample the slow ....  Hurdle the dead"
From:namaste-dev-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:namaste-dev-bounces at amsat.org] On
Behalf Of Michelle
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 10:10 PM
To: Bdale Garbee
Cc: namaste-dev; eagle at amsat.org
Subject: [Namaste-dev] Re: [eagle] what is going on?
Bob fired Matt Ettus on 23 June 2008. He fired me, for lack
of a better term, on 26 June 2008. 

It was unnecessarily harsh and inaccurate. It was impersonal, and

According to several AMSAT executives, Bob McGwier is mentally ill. I am told
he suffers from bipolar disorder. Despite knowing this (if this is true), AMSAT
has chosen to appoint him to Vice President of Engineering. They intend, as far
as I can tell, to keep him in this position, regardless of the result. 

While mental illness cannot and should not suffer stigma, it also is a factor
in assigning responsibility. 

I think Bob needs help and support. I also think he needs to resign, and get
help, and then return to contribute as a valued and irreplaceable technical
-Michelle W5NYV
Original Message ----
From: Bdale Garbee <bdale at gag.com>
To: AMSAT BoD <bod at amsat.org>
Cc: namaste-dev at amsat.org; AMSAT Eagle <eagle at amsat.org>; Bob McGwier
N4HY <rwmcgwier at comcast.net>
Sent: Monday, July 7, 2008 5:38:59 PM
Subject: [eagle] what is going on?

I just returned from nearly a month of travel/vacation with my family,
including 4925 miles of cross-country road-trip.  Two of the personal
highlights were my daughter Elizabeth KC0OTR passing her Extra exam in
Grand Junction, CO, and my first visit to the NRAO facility at Green
Bank, WV.

In trying to catch up on the email backlog in preparation for
re-engaging in less vacation-oriented activities, I find myself
somethere between utterly confused and completely dismayed regarding
AMSAT activities I care about.

        It seems like it has been months since I heard
about any
        activity on Eagle or the associated ride-share
opportunity other
        than what is being discussed on the namaste-dev
list.  ???
        I see references in Michelle's weekly summaries
about a meeting
        in San Diego on the weekend of 18 July, but can't
find any
        information about who is meeting and for what
purpose.  Is this
        something I should show up for?  I've tried
emailing a couple
        folks directly that I thought might be able to give
me details,
        but have had no replies.  I happen to have
that weekend open at
        the moment.
        An email from Bob McGwier to the eagle list on June
        indicated that he has resigned as VP Engineering
and does not
        intend to run for another term on the Board. 
While I'm pleased
        to see that he remains active on the namaste-dev
list, I haven't
        read anything yet indicating who is expected to
replace him?
        Who's supposedly running our Eagle and related
        projects now that Jim and Bob have both stepped
        Matt Ettus reports that he has been
"fired" and is thus no
        longer working on the ACP.  Why?  I find
it nearly inconceivable
        that AMSAT would intentionally push away someone of
his talent,
        vision, and demonstrated persistence of
contribution.  I
        sincerely hope this is a misunderstanding of some

Would someone *please* tell me what is going on?

73 - Bdale, KB0G

Via the Eagle mailing list courtesy of AMSAT-NA
Eagle at amsat.org
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