How Wally Hersom, The Most Powerful Man In Bigfoot Made His Money
Wallace N. Hersom, or Wally Hersom is the man behind the scenes. He has funded the BFRO and is credited with getting the organization off the ground. According to reports, Hersom pays the salary of Matt Moneymaker, the BFRO’s director. Hersom has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars outfitting the BFRO with expensive thermal imaging cameras, video recorders, and night-vision devices.
He has sent dozens of trail cameras to the Olympic Project, a wildlife surveillance program organized by founder Derek Randles. Their purpose is to place cameras along "predatory travel routes" throughout the Olympic Mountains in order to capture Bigfoots in their natural habitat.
Hersom also funds the Bigfoot DNA Project headed by Dr. Melba Ketchum. It's not clear how long he has been funding Dr. Ketchum's project or whether the funding has stopped completely.
We would like to thank Wally Hersom for doing this short biography for us. It's a little technical in nature, but we hope you enjoy it anyway:
Wallace N. Hersom was born January 6th 1935 in Compton California. He was raised on a small family farm in Compton which was purchased by his grandfather in 1903. Mr. Hersom graduated from Compton high school in 1952. He attended California state university at Long Beach and graduated in 1957 with a major in music. His principle instrument was the clarinet.
He was drafted into the US army in 1958. He was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco and performed in the sixth army band where he was promoted to the position of concert master.
Mr. Hersom was discharged from the army in 1960. He enrolled back in school part time to continue his education to obtain a teachers credential. He also obtained a job at Ford Aeronutronics in Newport Beach, California. Mr. Hersom worked in one of the research labs. This was his first exposure to the fascinating field of electronics. He decided to change his career path and learn more about electronics. He took all the electronic courses he could at the local junior college. After working for Ford Aeronutronics, then Packard bell computer and then Wanlass electric (a small power supply company), Mr. Hersom and three of his friends decided to start a power supply company called Power Devices in 1969. Through mismanagement and underfunding this company failed after about a year.
During that year with Power Devices Mr. Hersom was able to work on an idea he had for a "off line switching power supply". He built a working prototype of a 5V 50 amp. power supply. The salient features of this design was that it was about 1/5th the size and 1/5th the weight of any conventional power supply on the market at that time. It also had an overall efficiency of 85% where conventional designs were only about 40% efficient.
The design concept was to eliminate the large 60 Hertz transformer that was used in conventional designs. This new design concept eliminated the 60 Hz transformer by producing a DC voltage directly from the line voltage by rectification and filtering.
This DC voltage could then be "chopped" at a high frequency to drive a high frequency transformer and provide isolation from the AC line. The voltage was changed to a low voltage, for example 5 volts DC. This was a common voltage that was used to power most of the electronics in computers in those days. A frequency of 20 kHz was used as the conversion frequency as this is above human hearing.
Through a chance meeting Mr. Hersom met Dr. Lawrence Y Lee, a medical doctor. When Mr. Hersom explained his idea of a new power supply concept to Dr. Lee he became very interested in it. Dr. Lee and Mr. Hersom formed a new company together called LH Research.
With Dr Lee's backing Mr. Hersom was able to work by himself on the design concept over the next year to try and make it into a viable product for manufacturing.
A larger organization was put together for manufacturing. Mr. Hersom at the time had no interest in management and became Vice President of engineering. The product was very well accepted and was getting designed into many OEMs (original equipment manufacturer). Other power supply companies were also coming out with their versions of this "off line switching power supply"-- LH Research was well known as the leader in this field.
By 1983, LH Research reached a level of over 40 million dollars in annual sales. Dr. Lee had taken over as president of the company and wanted to expand the product line and make the lower power units aimed at the now growing PC market. Mr. Hersom knew that this would be a high volume market but also knew it would be a "cut throat" market as the imports were already getting established with some good low power designs.
Mr. Hersom resigned from LH Research in 1983 and formed a new company called HC Power. Mr. Hersom hooked up with his long time friend and very talented engineer Frank W. Colver. Mr. Hersom was president and CEO and Mr. Colver was VP of engineering. The plan was to make power supplies of 500 watts and higher. The new start from scratch design was a 1000 watt 5 volt 200 amp. design. There were new design concepts and components used that made this the most state-of-the-art high power switching power supply on the market.
This design was very well accepted by engineers and was designed into a lot of "start up" companies that were called mini super computers. These companies were backed by a lot of venture capital money. The basis of these new mini super computers was to parallel thousands of PC computers in one system. These computers were the size of a desk to the size of two or three refrigerators side by side. One thing that these computers needed was a lot of 5 volt power!
By the year 1989, virtually all of these companies went out of business. What happened was the rapid development of the personal computer technology. "Moores law" had become well established (and still is) with Intel being the leader. The personal computer got so powerful and cheap that there was no place for these "mini super computers".
HC Power changed its marketing efforts and became more involved in industry (power for lasers) and medical. The cell phone industry was starting to grow so HC targeted the power requirements for the cell sites. HC power units were designed into many cell sites for Motorola and many others including Nextel. These designs had to be changed to meet these new requirements. Basically the power supplies became 48 volt battery chargers. The concept is that if AC power were lost, the cell site would run on battery power until AC power is restored-- Just like your laptop does now.
In 1995, HC Power decided to go after the telephone central station market and the Internet infrastructure. The telephone companies are hard to change. They have been using the same old power technology for the last 50 years. The Internet infrastructure companies were not so conservative and wanted to go with the switching type of power.
It is amazing how much power is used for the internet. It is estimated that 5% of our power consumption is used to drive the internet infrastructure. Most of the power is used to drive the lasers that push all the data through the fiber optics. Lasers are typically only about 5% efficient. Every 50 miles or so this power has to be boosted again because of loses.
HC Power developed a power plant that would produce 10,000 amps at 48 volts. This power plant was made up from 5000 watt modules that could be all operated in parallel. These modules could be "hot swapped". A technology developed by HC Power. If there was a failure, the module could be removed and replaced without affecting the power plant. This power plant was to never go down. The status of the power plant would be sent to a central monitoring station.
These power plants were used in locations called “pops” (This stands for "point of presence"). This is a place where all the fiber comes in and the data is processed, stored etc. A typical POPs would be a building of about 50,000 square feet and packed with electronics. This would require up to six 10,000 amp power plants. Each power plant would charge a 48 volt battery bank made up of 24 2 volt 4000 amp/hr lead acid cells. POPs were installed in every major city in the country.
HC Power rode the wave of the tech bubble. HC Power was sold to Power One, Inc (PWER on NASDAQ) on February 29, 2000. Mr. Hersom became president of the telecom power division of Power One. Mr. Hersom retired from his position with Power One in January of 2001.
In December 2007, The Baltimore Sun wrote the following piece on how Mr. Hersom got into Bigfooting: