Tuesday, October 26, 2021

 bill berry, jr.

Publisher and CEO, aaduna &
Member, Rockford Kingsley's Advisory Board
Edward F. Gibbons, Jr., Ph.D.

"As far as philosophical writings, I am currently focusing on essays devoted to the incredible potential that exists within each of us. Through these short essays, it is my intention to get people to take a moment or two from their busy schedule and to reflect on how they are using their talents and how much more they can be doing to better their lives as well as the lives of family, friends, colleagues and society." 



Visit aaduna's Web Site

and Read

Edward F. Gibbons, Jr.'s Essay 

Which Appeared In

 Fall 2011 Issue 








Interview With Edward F. Gibbons, Jr., Ph.D. 
bill berry, jr.
Ed Gibbons is a man of many talents: scholar, researcher, traveler, business executive, educator and writer.  At 62, he is busily pursuing several endeavors where he is making a difference in people’s lives.  Engaged and the father of a 38 year old stepdaughter, Dr. Gibbons earned his B.S. degree in Biology and Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook on Long Island, NY.  He currently residing in Copiague, NY and for many years he had two pets, Rocky, a Yorkshire terrier and Pookie, a cat.  He dislikes people who are dishonest, people who are lazy and eggs.  He likes Marilyn’s pasta sauce [Marilyn is his fiancée;] taking an idea and working hard so that it yields positive results, and the New York Yankees.  He feels his best characteristic is being loyal.  His last book read was The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick.  The last movie that he saw was “J Edgar.”   



I appreciate the fact that you are taking the time out of your hectic schedule to chat with me.  As an editorial disclaimer, I should share that I sit on your company’s Board; we have been higher education colleagues and I regard you as a friend.  Of course, that does not mean that I will not try to probe beneath your surface.  So Ed, what’s up; how is life treating you these days?
Bill, I would like to thank you for this honor to be interviewed for E-ViewPoints.  Life has been treating me well and I have been very busy – being busy is good!  In early June, Marilyn and I went to Massachusetts to attend a two-day workshop as part of the certification process to be on the Baldrige Board of Examiners for Massachusetts and New York.  Immediately after we arrived home, Lauralyn (Marilyn’s daughter and my stepdaughter) and soon-to-be husband (Ryan) flew in from Fort Bragg, North Carolina (Ryan is a Captain in the Army and works as a surgical nurse).  Lauralyn and Ryan got married on 12 June 2012 and all of the pre- and post-wedding family activities have kept me very busy. 
In addition to the above, being the president and CEO of Rockford Kingsley, Ltd. has ensured that my days have been anything but boring!  Between overseeing Rockford Kingsley’s website, developing new programs, meeting with networking groups, sales meetings, business executives and politicians I am finding a greater need to more effectively manage my time.   However, I find all of this activity to be inspiring and I look forward to each day.
Congrats to Lauralyn, Ryan. As well as the proud parents!  To say the least, multi-tasking and juggling several balls in the air appear to be an easy task for you.  Is there a specific childhood experience or is it just the manner in which you were raised that gave you the ability to handle several activities simultaneously without skipping a beat?  And what was most memorable about where you grew up?  
Thank you, Bill!  Throughout my childhood, my parents stressed the importance of hard work and to make the best use of my time.  I always had chores to do around the house and I was expected to correctly complete the chores in a timely fashion.  There was clearly no sense of entitlement in the Gibbons household!
This sense of responsibility was further instilled during my eight years attending parochial school.  I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph and they were tough!  In addition to homework every night, I had to study three hours every weekend and my parents has to sign a form attesting that I actually did study the required time.  The thought of showing up at school without doing my homework never entered my mind – the Nuns made sure of that!
As you are aware, I grew up during the Vietnam War era.  My draft number was 110, and I knew that I was going to get drafted and most likely sent to Vietnam.   So, instead of getting drafted I joined the U.S. Air Force and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  After basic training at Lakeland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and technical training at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, I spent the remainder of my active duty oversees – Karamursel, Air Force Base, Turkey and Misawa Air Force Base, Japan.   During my tour of service, I got to visit Athens and the Greek Island of Corfu, Rome, Madrid, Frankfurt, London, Istanbul and a number of other European cities.  While in Japan I skied the women’s downhill a year after the 1972 winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.  The men’s downhill was closed because it was too dangerous for recreational skiing.  I also got to enjoy the Japanese culture and cuisine.  A lasting memory I have from Japan was their sense of family and the honor of duty.  I carry those qualities with me to this day.
The sense of family and honor of duty has served you well and I suspect there are some traits from these two sensibilities that blended into your business acumen.  So, did you start your higher education prior to the Air Force or afterwards?  What prompted you to pursue an academic concentration in Biology and then Psychology?   
While I stationed in Turkey, I took correspondence and on-base courses from the University of Maryland and Wayne State University.  Because I worked in the U.S. Air Force’s Security Service, I was eligible for their “project transition” program.  In the “project transition” program I was assigned to Misawa Air Force Base’s Veterinary Clinic and it was during that time that I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  I applied to a number of universities and I decided to attend the State University of New York at Stony Brook (now known as Stony Brook University).  Because I wanted to enter into the field of veterinary medicine I selected Biology as my major.  As I was taking classes in Biology, I started to conduct behavioral research on marmosets and tamarins.  Marmosets and tamarins are New World Monkeys and are noted for their monogamous family units, giving birth to twins, and they are vertical leapers and clingers.  I immediately realized that I wanted to pursue this line of research as a career and in my senior year I conducted an independent research study, analyzed the results, and wrote a paper on my findings.  The paper was submitted to the peer-reviewed journal Primates and it was accepted for publication with me as the senior author and my advisor as the second author.  Shortly after I submitted the paper for publication, I submitted a grant application to Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society of North America to study the play behavior of chimpanzees.  The grant application was accepted and that confirmed my decision to conduct research as a career rather than pursue veterinary medicine.
Because my research advisor was in the psychology department at Stony Brook, I applied to the department’s Ph.D. psychobiology program.  I was accepted and I never regretted my decision.  My years at Stony Brook were very exciting as I conducted research at the University, at the Bronx Zoo, the National Aquarium in Baltimore (bottle-nosed dolphins), and I collaborated with colleagues across the United States; including the research department at the San Diego Zoo and staff at the American Museum of Natural History.  Between my research, organizing and chairing symposia and conferences, collaborating with scientists across the U.S., attending graduate classes, and meeting the deadlines of my Ph.D. program I was literally working 24/7 but I loved every minute of the journey.  It is this devotion to work hard and to contribute that I carry-on in my current work.
The military service enabled you to see different countries and subsequent experiences positioned you in a manner that many graduate students do not gain until they start an academic career.  Since your publishing career started with academic writing, when and how did you transition to write for a general readership and is there a particular genre that you enjoy the most?

As the onset of my scientific activities, I felt a responsibility to bring the advances in my discipline to the general public. In this regard, early in my graduate career I gave public lectures on the importance of saving endangered species and the scientific breakthroughs in the discipline of conservation biology. I gave public presentations at a number of venues; including: The American Museum of Natural History, The Long Island Horticultural Society, Sweetbriar Nature Center on Long island, Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana University, Tulane University and Stony Brook University. I also gave presentations at various libraries on Long Island. In conjunction with these public presentations and my scientific publications, I began contributing material to a variety of popular publications, including: collegiate newspapers, Life Magazine, The New York Times, and the Audubon Zoo’s At The Zoo. Over the years I have found writing for the general public to be very rewarding but somewhat challenging in that I had to explain complex scientific concepts and findings in a manner that could be understood by the lay person with little to no background in biology.
With respect to your question as to what genre I enjoy the most, I would have to say philosophical writing. Philosophical in the sense that I take an abstract idea such as creativity, relate it to a scientific concept (e.g., adaptation and evolution), and put it in a context that can be appreciated by the general public. In this regard, I draw my inspiration from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould and his monthly essay titled This View of Life that appeared in Natural History Magazine. Dr. Gould also published a number of bestsellers including: A Wonderful Life, The Panda’s Thumb and The Mismeasure of Man. Dr. Gould was an ardent baseball fan and I particularly enjoyed his book Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville.
Well you are an avid baseball fan in your own right!  Is there a baseball book looming in your future?  If not, and you decide to write one is there a theme or topic you would explore?  Furthermore, are you currently penning any philosophical writings and can you give us a tease as to what those works may be about?

While I have been a student devoted to the history of baseball, I haven’t thought about writing a baseball book.  However, if did decide to write such a book, I would examine baseball from an interdisciplinary perspective.  Specifically, it would be a historical book that examines baseball from an adaptationist and evolutionary perspective, and I would combine that analysis with the dyadic relationship between baseball and its influence on U.S. culture.  To put it another way, I would take Ken Burns’s baseball documentary and I would interface it with questions similar to those posed by Stephen Jay Gould: “why aren’t there .400 hitters,” and “are modern baseball players as good (or better or worse) than their predecessors”?  Because baseball is timeless, I find such questions to be intriguing and they remind me of the great N.Y. baseball debate during the 1950s – who was better Willie, Mickey or The Duke?
We're talkin' baseball  (Kluzewski, Campanella),
Talkin' baseball (The Man and Bobby Feller),
The Scooter, The Barber and The Newk,
They knew 'em all from Boston to Dubuque,
Especially Willie, Mickey and The Duke.
Talkin’ Baseball by Terry Cashman
As far as philosophical writings, I am currently focusing on essays devoted to the incredible potential that exists within each of us.  Through these short essays, it is my intention to get people to take a moment or two from their busy schedule and to reflect on how they are using their talents and how much more they can be doing to better their lives as well as the lives of family, friends, colleagues and society.   Each of us has an obligation to make our corner of the world a better place to live, and it is the purpose of my writings to remind people of that obligation without prescribing how they accomplish that task.
Your plate is overflowing and that is a great thing since you are multi-tasking with grace and aplomb.  As with all good conversations, one hates to say it is time to go; but it is.  It is tradition to end these talks with some advice from the writer to the RK readership, a readership that you have built up through your leadership of Rockford Kingsley.  So, please share your thoughts with your audience.    
Bill, first, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to reflect on areas of my life that seem to get lost in my hectic daily life.   Every now and then it is good to reflect on where we have been, where we are now and through these thoughts develop a road map as to where we are heading.   This interview has allowed me to engage in these reflections and has provided some clarity on the journey ahead.   This process has left me energized and for this I thank you!!

To the readership of Rockford Kingsley I would like share these notes. 
Instead of making a daily “To Do List” make an “Opportunity List”.  In every task that we engage in, there are opportunities to enhance our lives and the lives of others.  Look for these opportunities.  Even in the most mundane tasks, seek the opportunities.  The opportunities are there and your daily experiences will be richer for these opportunities.
Life is a journey filled with times of abundance and times of struggle.  Always remember that we experience most of our personal growth during the times of struggle.  Therefore, conceptualize the difficult times as opportunities for tremendous growth.  During these times keep your head up, act with integrity, and do your best!  When the difficult times end (and they will) you will have made great strides in your life’s journey.


Copyright 2015 by Rockford Kingsley Ltd.