Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 14

From the military to mountain climbing , David Baker ’ 76 thrives on a challenge

David Baker ’ 76 not only excels when pushing himself to the max , but seeks out the opportunities to do so . Whether he is scaling the highest mountain on two different continents , traveling to Antarctica for a mammal and whale expedition , or keeping our troops safe , David thrives when testing his physical and mental limits .
From exploring the Arctic to hiking Mt . Kilimanjaro ( see p . 9 ) to photographing Mt . Kosciusko in New South Wales , Australia ( above ), David Baker understands the value of hard work and testing personal limits to lead a fulfilling life .
Having spent 24 years in the United States Air Force , David learned early in his career how to problem solve , overcome challenges , and push himself beyond his comfort zone . It was in the military where David acquired leadership skills , which would later play a crucial role in delivering intelligence that protected our troops at war .
“ As I moved up through the military ranks , I gained not only more technical experience , but also experience in leading people and managing resources . The military was a good teacher and I was lucky enough to have great supervisors , role models , and mentors .”
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When David left the military , he went into Intelligence , Surveillance , and Reconnaissance ( ISR ) for General Dynamics and was a lead engineer . The purpose of ISR is to aid in the support of rapid and sound decision-making .
BY KATY NICKETAKIS | PHOTO BY EMMA DEANS STORY & TOP PHOTO BY EMMA DEANS | BOTTOM PHOTO BY PATRICIA ERIKSON NEASC Update Keeping Campus Safe Under the leadership of Jim Trask ’80, Thornton accepts the Facility of Merit Award from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security Jim Trask ’80 returned to Thornton in the spring of 2015 in a newly created position to oversee all security issues as Director of Campus Safety. Just a year later, in July 2016, Thornton was awarded the Facility of Merit Award by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, which is a national recognition for greatness in balancing security and fan experience. The award is bestowed upon high schools, colleges, and professional organizations. Twelve facilities across America were recognized in 2016 for their leadership in safety and security issues. Thornton joins esteemed facilities on a list that includes Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan (also know as the “Big House”), The Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Lambeau Field (home of the Green Bay Packers), and Yankee Stadium. “Thornton Academy proves that we are nationally one of the most progressive and security-minded campuses,” Jim said. “TA was selected because of the protocols and policies that have been implemented over the last year. We are very proud of this accomplishment and will continue to make TA a safe and enjoyable campus in which to learn, visit, and live.” While a student at Thornton, Jim played basketball and competed in the triple and long jump for outdoor track, so his experience and love of competition is evident. He has proven to be a major asset with athletic events through: assisting with crowd management; helping monitor entrance areas and spaces where money is exchanged; monitoring access to sideline areas, locker rooms, and officiating rooms; purchasing signage to steer pedestrians away from restricted areas; and coordinating with traffic personnel and local police to secure the parking lots and perimeter areas. Director of Athletics Gary Stevens noted Jim’s “positive demeanor adds greatly to his interaction with those patrons who come to campus. It is not uncommon for him to provide transportation to a remote field or to the visitors’ bleachers at a football game for an elderly or handicapped person who needs it. During all after school practices, activities, and games, he travels around the school campus on a golf cart to check the property and to interface with coaches, advisors, and students. His presence has added a degree of comfort and peace of mind to those individuals who may work on remote fields or areas of campus. The school’s staff is certainly more attuned to the need for safety in our school and has access to an expert in the field.” Jim Trask ’80 with Senator Angus King Prior to returning to his alma mater, Jim graduated from the Maine State Police Academy in ’84 and served as a Maine State Police Detective for 20 years, including eight years on the governor’s security detail for Angus King. Jim lives in Dayton with his wife Sandy who is an elementary school teacher. His sons are all proud Thornton alumni: Robbie ’08, Steve ’10, and Cam ’12. Jim is a friendly face on campus and his office is the first door on the left when walking into the Main Building. What is his best safety advice? “Know your surroundings. Pay attention. Listen to that gut feeling if you feel something is wrong.” Thornton was honored to have Senator Angus King deliver the 2016 Commencement Speech. After reuniting with Jim Trask on that day, Senator King posted this message on Facebook: “One of my best friends from my days as governor is Jim Trask. He was part of my security detail, and we covered a lot of miles together—from Portage Lake to Kittery, in cars, trucks and yes, motorcycles—and our families have remained close ever since. 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