My Family Story

The Oldershaw family has a long history of creative problem solving.

I remember my grandfather, B. Richard, as someone who could fix anything and grow anything. He’s standing in this photo, the 3rd person from the left. My grandmother, Amelia, is standing 3rd from right. They met in Berkeley in the early 1920s, when he was helping build Memorial Stadium at Cal, and she had moved from Arizona to attend Cal.

My great-grandfather, Clement D. Oldershaw (seated, 3rd from left) emigrated from London to Kern County in 1884, where he gained renown for winter crops of greenhouse vegetables – primarily tomatoes and cucumbers – which were exported to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.

At the time this photo was taken (1946), my great-uncle Chuck (standing, 2nd from right) was a rising star in chemical engineering, soon to join the faculty at Cal and invent the Oldershaw distillation column – a laboratory apparatus still in wide use today.

Vern Oldershaw, another great-uncle, was a self-taught aeronautical engineer.

Vern was a key member of the design development team for the Gossamer Condor, which won the Kremer Prize for human-powered flight. (Photo courtesy of AeroVironment, Inc.)

Using the power of the sun to grow winter crops and utilizing human energy to move an ultra-light plane  – these are examples of sustainable solutions: making use of the resources at hand to achieve new goals.

This is the commitment and creativity I bring to Step Into Sustainability.


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