Class of ’79 valedictorian’s career took off

When Regan Borg graduated from Frenship High School in 1979, he was the valedictorian, but he probably never dreamed how high his career would soar.

Borg went to Texas Tech where he attained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. On his 30th birthday, he received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University.

In between his educational pursuits, he started work at General Dynamics, a company that has since merged with Lockheed Martin.

When he first started at General Dynamics, Borg, who lives in Fort Worth, said he never expected to be working there for so long, although he is the third generation in his family to work for the company.

“The conventional wisdom back then with the aerospace industry was if you made it four years, you were doing good,” he said while at the FHS class of 1979 reunion at Embassy Suites in Lubbock last Friday night.

Borg said at the time, the industry was very cyclic, but the F-16 Fighting Falcon was always planned to be a long-term project. Its production was approved in 1976, and entered operational service with the U.S. Air Force in 1980.

“They wanted to have time to evolve” the aircraft, Borg said, adding lengthening the time the aircraft was in production would allow for stable production, would spread out the cost and would allow new technology to be included on the design.

Although the F-16 has been phased out of the U.S. Air Force, it is still being sold to about 25 other countries, Borg said. He said Lockheed Martin will continue to produce new planes through 2012.

In his first years, he tested weapons on the F-16s, a job he said he enjoyed because he got to actually climb into the cockpits of the planes and test.

Twice he traveled to Pakistan during the 1980s to upgrade software on the planes in the days before people sent such things through computer networks.

Six years into his job, he was promoted to management, but he said he misses getting to test the F-16s.

While he was still in college at Tech, he married Sheryl, a school secretary to whom he is still married. They had three children, Stephanie, Rayn and Courtney. Ryan and Courtney are now attending college at Tech, where their parents also attended, while Stephanie attended the University of Texas at Tyler.

Borg said he has gained a new hobby, trap and skeet, since his children have left the nest. If Lubbock had more places to trap and skeet, he said he would probably visit more.

“It’s just league shooting,” he said of his hobby, which involves shooting clay pigeons.

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