Perspectives, a featured column written by Global Aviation Vice President Peter Menza, is dedicated this month to the memory of Harry A. Merlo (March 5, 1925 – Oct. 24, 2016).

Harry A Merlo
Harry A Merlo

Last month we said goodbye to Harry A. Merlo. Evidenced by the tightly packed University of Portland Chapel, there were many who knew Harry much longer and far better than I. Regardless of how long or how well each of those in the room knew Harry, it was clear that he touched many and had significant impact on their lives.

Harry, in the vernacular, was, and will always be, a “stand-up guy.”

Born of very humble beginnings and surrounded by the hard economic times of the era, Harry figured out quickly that family, hard work, and a willingness of conviction were the cornerstones needed to further ones position in life. When thinking of those who were born of that age and had to deal with similar circumstances of harsh economic times, Harry was fortunate to have the sound and loving direction of a strong-willed mother. Harry has often credited her for his successes in life.

Harry’s persona and passion for improvement is what author Malcom Gladwell writes about in his book, Outliers. Why does one person distinguish himself amongst his peers, while another simply blends into the background? Perseverance, conviction, and the willingness to work hard to hone a skill set. Gladwell says 10,000 hours of practice is what separates the casual participant at the keyboard from the classical pianist in a concert hall. Committing the extra hours – to ones passion on the practice field or in studying subject matter at school – distinguishes the great from the average.

Clearly Harry’s success in life, as in his prosperous business ventures, speaks to his willingness to put in the time it takes to separate the great from the average.

His exemplary performance in the various positions he held throughout his professional career offers insight into his passion and conviction. Harry was ahead of the curve on the industry leading technology that eventually became industry standard.

Taking “no” for an answer was not in Harry’s lexicon. Focus and dedication on doing the right thing was of paramount importance. The results of which proved beneficial to many.

We can all learn from Harry’s example and pay tribute to a man who’s actions and philanthropy made a positive impact on both his family and community. He will be fondly remembered and his persona missed. Salute!

More from Global Aviation’s December 2016 Newsletter



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