Military Systems Developer Among Three New SHHS Hall Inductees

Military Systems Developer Among Three New SHHS Hall Inductees
Posted on 08/22/2016
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The 2016 inductees for the South Houston HS Hall of Honor are Wayne Armstrong, Class of 1964; Dee Ann Pederson, Class of 1978; and Stewart Russell, Class of 1987.
inducteesWayne Armstrong, a former “Mr. South Houston” High School who went on to help develop some of the military’s most important weapons systems, will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor this fall along with two other esteemed graduates.

Joining Armstrong in South Houston’s 2016 alumni induction class are Dee Ann Pederson, an award-winning wildlife photographer and conservationist, and Stewart Russell, the Pasadena ISD’s chief of police.

The three new inductees represent three different decades of graduates.

Armstrong, who passed away last year, graduated from South Houston in 1964. Pederson is a member of the Class of 1978 and Russell the Class of 1987.

The new inductees will bring the number of SHHS Alumni Hall of Honor members to 79, all selected since the Hall of Honor was established in 2011.

Previously announced teacher inductees for 2016 are Patricia Bundy and Barbara Lee. Bundy chaired the business department and Lee the English department at South Houston during long teaching tenues there.

All five new inductees will be honored during Homecoming Week festivities the first week in October. A reception will be held at the high school during the annual alumni Open House gathering on Thursday, Oct. 6, beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting through the afternoon pep rally. The reception will begin around noon.

Formal induction ceremonies will be held before the kickoff of South Houston’s Homecoming Game on Saturday, Oct. 8, against Deer Park. Game time is 1 p.m. with the induction ceremony set to start between noon and 12:30 p.m.

As a young engineer, Armstrong played a key role as a member of developments team that produced the Aegis Combat System and the Vertical Launching System for the U.S. Navy. The Aegis system uses computer and radar technology to enable ships to track enemy targets and guide weapons. The system is currently employed on about 100 ships in five navies worldwide.

The Vertical Launching System enables surface ships and submarines to store and fire missiles in a cell-like vertical launch structure. Various versions of the system are now in use by more than two dozen countries around the globe.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Lamar University and an MBA from Rollins College, Armstrong served as vice president of Metric Systems Corp., where he helped design and develop the two weapons systems. He later served as president of various contracting companies, one in Turkey.

He returned to his hometown of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to take the reins of Micro Systems, Inc., a supplier of military training systems. Leading up to his retirement, he served as president of Kratos Unmanned Systems, a global supplier of unmanned jet aircraft for military training.

In his later years, he volunteered with the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Florida, serving on the group’s board and for a stint as president.

While in high school, Armstrong served as a cheerleader and was selected for the school’s highest honor – Mr. South Houston – in 1964. He died suddenly on Aug. 14, 2015.

Pederson’s wildlife photography has been chosen for display each of the past five years in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Her images have appeared in the Smithsonian’s Windland Smith Rice International Exhibition for “Nature’s Best Photography.”

Pederson continues to travel the world as a photographer, tour guide and advocate for conservation. She organizes tours to Africa, Iceland, India and other remote locations, marketing her photography and related products through her Houston-based company, Windows of Nature.

Her images have appeared in such publications as National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Expeditions, Holland American Cruises, British Airways and numerous other travel-related books.

Proceeds from the sale of her photographs, art cards and calendars have benefited numerous conservation groups, among them the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation.

Russell has served as the school district’s police chief since 2011, when he succeeded long-time chief C.L. Ellis. Russell oversees a full-service police department that employs more than four dozen officers and administrative staff.

A 1991 graduate of Sam Houston State, Russell received his police academy certification from the University of Houston and joined the Pasadena ISD force in 1992.

Seven years later, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assumed a variety of duties that included training coordinator, firearms instructor and a tactical operations instructor.

In high school, Russell studied law enforcement under George Neal, who was inducted last year into the school’s Teacher Hall of Honor.

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A senior at South Houston 1978, Dee Ann Pederson reports her oceanographer data to teacher Nathan Veatch during a field trip to Galveston.

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Pederson with guide Nickson Kassim on a recent trip to Tanzania.