Hartwell honored as outstanding grad

Published 2:24 am Friday, October 12, 2018

Michael Hartwell, a physicist who spent most of his career in the aerospace industry, is among the five Andalusia High School alumni being honored this week as AHS Outstanding Graduates.

Hartwell, a 1967 graduate of Woodson High School, was the first p physics major and graduate of Alabama A&M University, and completed graduate studies in physics at MIT.

At MIT, he worked on a research team with Professor Rainer Weiss, which recently was recognized for detecting ripples in the fabric of space-time, which was hailed as one of the most momentous discoveries in the field of physics and validates a final part of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

After graduation from MIT, he worked with Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, where he contributed to the design and development of the early Satellite Business System (SBS) communication satellites.

He returned to Alabama and spent 31 years in federal civilian service at Redstone Arsenal, where he rose to deputy program executive officer for the Executive Office for Missiles and Space, where he was responsible for more than 1,800 employees and more than $3.6 billion in funding.

During his civil service career, Mr. Hartwell received numerous awards to include: recognition as one of the

  1. S. Army Materiel Command’s Top Ten Outstanding Personnel (out of 70,000 employees world-wide); two Assistant Secretary of the Army Commendations; two Meritorious Civilian Service Medals; the Superior Civilian Service Medal; the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service; the Ernest A. Young Logistician of the Year, the U. S. Society of Logistics Engineers Logistician of the Year; and the Secretary of the Army’s Life-Cycle Logistician of the Year. He also received awards for support to Operations: Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and the Global War on Terrorism.

In addition, he has served in two church pastorates over the last 31 years. He served as pastor-teacher of the Indian Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Huntsville, and now serves as shepherd of the St Andrew Primitive Baptist Church in Madison, Ala. He served as treasurer of the Greater Huntsville Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship, mission director and parliamentarian for the Mallard Creek Primitive Baptist Association, and on the board of directors for Hospice of Huntsville.

He also is on the board of directors of 4Sight Inc., a 50l(c) organization that establishes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) centers to bring STEM awareness, education, and participation throughout the community.

The Andalusia High School Outstanding Graduate Award was established in 2007 by the Class of 1948 Foundation, now the Andalusia High School Scholarship Foundation. The award is designed to honor those graduates of Andalusia High School, Woodson High School and Ralph Bunche High School whose personal lives, professional accomplishments and community service exemplify the ideals of Andalusia High School.