About the Author
Patrick Livanos Lester began sailing on San Francisco Bay from a young age. He graduated from high school at sixteen and started his graduate work at twenty, receiving a research fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center. There, he found a mentor and joined a team designing a collision avoidance system and cockpit traffic display for commercial aircraft (pilots call it TCAS).
When he completed his master’s degree, Lockheed’s Space Station Program recruited him to design their neutral buoyancy program. That translates to putting flight crew members in specialized space suits in a big tank of water to simulate the weightless environment.
Later he designed flight crew training for a space shuttle flight, then moved back to NASA to manage space station flight and ground operations, with a stint at NASA HQ in Washington, D.C., working with at team recommending which science missions to be flown on the shutttle and space station for a ten-year period. During that time, he traveled to Hawaii to attend the Governor’s Conference on Space, where he met famed Pacific anthropologist Ben Finney, who encouraged him to further his education at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Finney offered to sit on his doctoral committee.
Patrick Livanos Lester
Messing about on a Boat (c. 1990s)
Back on the mainland, he was being recruited to work at NASA headquarters when he realized he really didn’t like the politics, waste, or culture of the nation’s capital. Being a lifelong sailor, the call of the tropics was a loud one. By then, he had applied to a Ph.D. program at the University of Hawaii. On St. Patrick’s day, the university accepted him to the program. The following July he put 23 boxes and a Jeep on a ship for Hawaii.
He taught sailing at the University of Hawaii and raced sailboats offshore while he pursued his education. He finished everything for his degree, but his advisor was denied tenure and returned to his native country. Patrick moved to another department at the university, and his new advisor retired shortly thereafter due to health reasons. He turned his attention to business consulting and traveled to Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. He would meet his future wife during that time and on one trip they sat at the judges’ table at the Miss Tahiti Contest. In Hawaii, he started a company and raced more yachts offshore. In fact, he did a lot of messing about on boats. He wrote his first two books in the 1990s while living in Hawaii. Life got in the way and it would be nearly twenty years before he updated the books to reflect changes in technology and locations. He served on the boards of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, the Electric Vehicle Association of Hawaii, and the Discovery Space Technology Center at Stanford.
In Hawaii, he picked up a paintbrush and followed in the artistic steps of his father and grandmother. When he moved back to California, he found another mentor in Bill Sala, an astounding surrealist painter.
He timed his return to the Silicon Valley during the dot-com era. He worked as a business development consultant to more than forty companies in the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia, including a high-end audio company based in Rio de Janeiro, designing air and space museums in the US and Japan, and a new air traffic control communications system for Reykjavik Iceland.
Patrick was an Executive Advisor to The Enterprise Network, a NASA-funded business incubator in the Silicon Valley. He served on the board of the Hayward Arts Council, and was an Associate Partner at SG Capital Partners, a Geneva-based merchant bank.
Patrick has been writing most of his life and has published short stories and twenty-three poems in Infinity Limited, a family-run literary magazine. He has published many professional articles, a few in refereed journals.
Patrick is a licensed California real estate broker, painter, sculptor, and holds a Graduate Gemologist designation from the Gemological Institute of America. He is certified in diamond, colored stone, and pearl identification and grading.
Patrick lives with his wife Kim in California and Hawaii and other places with sailboats and palm trees. He has many more Nick Thomas Adventures in the works to be published by East of Hawaii/Rhumbline Press.