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2007-06-25 Interview with Pat McDermott, June 25, 2007 2008OH151 LCC 010 1:46:24 CC002 Community Colleges of Kentucky Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington Community College Lexington Technical Institute Pat McDermott; interviewee Rick Smoot; interviewer Lexington Community College 2008OH151_LCC10_McDermott 1:|13(9)|24(4)|35(4)|57(7)|68(6)|81(3)|97(8)|108(1)|118(9)|128(13)|139(12)|150(13)|165(4)|180(7)|191(1)|202(1)|211(9)|221(9)|232(12)|256(7)|275(14)|286(9)|297(13)|313(9)|325(3)|341(7)|355(13)|366(12)|378(7)|388(6)|403(6)|426(4)|474(7)|488(2)|498(12)|513(6)|528(7)|546(12)|567(5)|579(6)|590(7)|630(3)|670(2)|693(7)|709(9)|726(1)|744(4)|753(11)|767(1)|778(4)|790(5)|801(4)|818(3)|829(3)|844(2)|854(10)|868(8)|890(2)|926(10)|948(10)|964(7)|989(2)|1002(10)|1022(4)|1040(13)|1054(5)|1064(2)|1075(12)|1099(4)|1117(13)|1133(7)|1146(1)|1187(4)|1204(4)|1235(12)|1252(12)|1273(12)|1295(3)|1305(8)|1334(2)|1345(5)|1358(10)|1377(8)|1389(3)|1412(4)|1445(16)|1472(3)|1494(3)|1506(4)|1544(8)|1564(3)|1593(1)|1608(8)|1633(4)|1652(11)|1682(5)|1700(8)|1716(6)|1750(12)|1774(12)|1791(2)|1810(12)|1838(8)|1865(1)|1882(1)|1902(10) audiotrans CommuColl interview SMOOT: Mr. McDermott, Pat. Will you please tell me a little bit about yourself, where you were born and raised, your family background and the schools you attended? MCDERMOTT: Uh, my name is Pat McDermott. I'm originally from Paris, Kentucky. Uh, I was born there, went to grade school, St. Mary's, and then Bourbon County High School. Um, when I got near the end of high school, um, my dad asked me, "Well, what do you want to do?" And I told him I wanted to go to college. And there was a war on in Vietnam, and there was a draft on, and I wanted a 2-S deferment. I didn't care what it was in. And he had a dental appointment that day with our dentist over in Paris, and--Jim Shipp. And Dr. Shipp, uh, was asking about me, and he says he doesn't know what--and Shipp says, "Well, does he like to work with his hands?" And, uh, Daddy said "Well, yeah." He said, "Well, there's a brand new program opening up at UK." And so he got the phone number, and, uh, we called and talked to a Dr. Stromberg. Ross Stromberg, who was a dentist who started the program here, and, uh, uh, he explained briefly what it was. I--It made no sense to me at all. I was a seventeen-year-old kid, and, uh--but, but my only question: "Will I get a 2-S deferment? Well, yeah, I'd be interested." So, we set an appointment, we came up here, we met with them, uh, we met with Dr. Stromberg in his office. At the time, uh, he was a professor of prosthodontics, uh, which is pulling to complete and partial dentures at UK dental school on the fifth floor in the teaching lab. The dental lab tech program was on that floor, room D530. I met with him there. An old crusty guy. He was from Florida originally, and, um, uh, he suggested that I go visit a lab in the area to get an idea of what they do. And so we came out to the Old Dixie Crown and Bridge Lab, which was on Nicholasville Road, uh, right before you get to Zandale on the left, up on the second floor of the Professional Arts building. About eight technicians that worked in there. Most of them ex-service people, and, uh, we went in there and, um, uh, looked around, and, of course, my dad had all kinds of question for them. Uh, what do I ask? I have no idea. You know, I'm looking around and they're waxing, you know, with your dental waxes. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: The only thing I came away from there with was the idea it's a very colorful place. And based on that and the 2-S deferment, yeah, I liked that. So --(laughs)-- I was fixed on that. SMOOT: And this was 1965? MCDERMOTT: This is in nineteen s-- this is in July of '65. Now the dates become pertinent, because I was very interested in it. Uh, now, at that time, this was a brand new program and, and the, the LTI [editor's note: Lexington Technical Institute] was a moniker that, that--nobody knew what LTI was, or --(Smoot coughs)-- what it meant or where it was, nobody knew where it was; it didn't have a home. It was in little offices here and there -- SMOOT: Mmm. MCDERMOTT: --across campus. Um, it was under the, the, uh, supreme finger of the Community College System. Dr. Stan Wall was the pre-- vice president of the CCS at the time, and, uh, so he was the big dog over top of all of it, but LTI was just--it was everywhere. There was only two programs: dental lab tech and nursing. And, uh, they, they gave us--we had to take the ACT. They wanted--preferred a minimum of seventeen, which is what I got, and, um, uh, they also gave the carving portion of the Dental Aptitude Test, which the dental students take. At that time, it was two cylinders about six inches long and about two inches in diameter of green chalk. And they gave you a straight-edge knife with instructions. We had to make certain cuts to certain dimensions and at certain angles. And then the faculty would grade these, evaluate them, for accuracy of the cuts and dimensions and angles and all that. Uh, The grading went from a minus-one through zero to a plus-nine. For aptitude, dexter-- dexterial aptitude in dentistry, dental schools, the lab program, everybody looked for a score of plus-four. I scored a minus-one. (Smoot laughs) There was a guy sitting beside me taking the k-- test, Dennis Reiser from Corydon, Indiana, and, uh, he was an Elvis freak. He was a dead-ringer for Elvis. Sideburns and guitar and everything. He was dating a girl named Sharon at the time, madly in love. He didn't even carve anything. He just took the knife and he carved Sharon and her initials all over both pieces. He turned his in. First day of class, we're both getting there. They had all this money spent on this facility, faculty, supplies, and every-- they needed warm bodies, that's how I got into this. (both laugh) Obviously, with a minus-one, I didn't qualify for anything and it got worse. We started, uh, the program-- well, actually, even before that. Uh. these dates, where they become important. Uh, I was seventeen years old; my birthday is September 2. Uh, at the time, to--as--for a male student to register as an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky, you had to be able to apply for a 2-S deferment. To apply for a 2-S deferment, you had to have a selective service number. To have that, you had to register. To register, you had to be eighteen. I was seventeen. School started like the twenty-fourth of August. UK was not going to let me in, because I couldn't apply for a, uh, two-- I couldn't register for the draft. SMOOT: All right. MCDERMOTT: And all of them, John Kemper and Dr. Stromberg had to get on the phone and I don't--they called them, we had to have affidavits signed, and I had to--and all that. I mean, it was that close. They weren't, they weren't going to let me in, and finally, somebody made enough waves move to, to, to do the deed. So I got in, applied and got my deferment. Uh, and the program back then, uh, I think there was about nine, nine, ten, maybe eleven. I think it was about nine, though, of us in the first-year class. The-- they ultimately had a capacity for twenty-four, but that first year, if, if you applied, you got in. Uh, for the program to even come into existence was, uh, a real shock, because years ago, uh, back in the 1800s, there was medicine, there were medical schools and there were physicians. Uh, certain physicians who didn't want to do the whole gambit of medical school, focused on the mouth. And so--and they were looked upon, they were looked upon by the medical profession as pseudo-mech-- uh, physicians. They were kind of like technicians to the medical profession. Um, and they focused only on diseases and, and treating, uh, m-- uh, disorders of the mouth, uh, and such. Um, as time went on, they ultimately separated themselves from medical school. They established a professional collegiate curriculum. They established a governing board, the, the American Dental Association, state and national Boards of Dentistry, exams for qualification. Basically, they established themselves as a profession. And the den--- and the dentist, then, was the supreme, w-- was the peak--the, the top of the pyramid. Um, when technicians became--came into, uh, being in dentistry, uh, for the most part, these were people who learned things, uh, through apprenticeship, through just watching somebody else that knew how to do more than he did. And you watch them, and do it a few times, and, and prac-- until he learned it. Um, there was no--the, the military first set up a training program, but again, it was more on the, on the, on the level of a, uh, um, a trait than a profession or even a semi-profession. Um, now you handle this bit of information how you want, but you have to be delicate when you word it. Uh, the dentist was the top dog. He didn't want anybody else in the business gaining professional recognition that would challenge his. There were technicians over a period of time who got so good at doing one thing--they could pull upper and lower dentures, the people who had no teeth. And they, they, they did it so much and, and so well over time, they were much better at it than the dentist. The hands-on part of that phase of, of making a denture. Uh, they began seeing people directly from the public without the p-- people going--patients going through the dentist. They were labeled as Denturist. Uh, laws existed in virtually every state in this country that make the practice of denturism illegal. That patients must go to a licensed practicing dentist, he can then send them to other paraprofessionals if he wishes. He can delegate the work, but they can't go there first. Well, when the decision was made to start the dental lab tech program at UK, there was only about five collegiate-level programs in the country. Uh, many local dentists throughout the state of Kentucky did not go for this. They did not want technicians gaining collegiate training and degree status because this raised them as a--from a trade to a semi- professional, paraprofessional. And, and generally when this happened as when dentistry rose from the ashes of medicine, um, once they set qualification standards and met those standards, there was a financial reward for that. Uh, the same thing was holding true here. They were paying the lab bills (??). They didn't want them to go out. So, there was--when, when they set that program up, it wasn't welcomed with open arms, uh, by the dental community throughout the state. SMOOT: What are the other programs, by the way, Pat? Do you remember? MCDERMOTT: Southern Illinois; was one in Carbondale, there was one up in downtown in the Bronx, somewhere in New York City. Uh, there was one out in California. Uh, but, but they were--you know, and, and, and they had similar problems of getting going because the profession of dentistry, uh, for a long time, they resisted dental hygienists getting semi-professional status and having their own licensing boards and that kind of a thing. So, at any rate, Dr. Stromberg came up from Florida and joined the faculty here and he organized this program and, and he and John Kemper, who was a lab technician graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, had only been out of school about six months. He worked in a lab in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, where he was from. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: And --(Smoot coughs)-- but John is a very brilliant man. He's very, very--if you talk to him, you'll pick that up very quickly. A very, very smart man. Um, and, uh, they approached him and, and hired him as the ins-- lab instructor --(Smoot coughs)-- uh, here for the physician. So the two of them, they wrote up the proposals, uh, Kellogg Foundation, uh, put up the grant money to get the program started and it was for an "x" period; five years, seven, whatever. And over that period of time, their financial support would dwindle and the program would begin to, uh, pay its own way and everything. Uh, one thing that was really unique about the dental lab program, uh, at UK was that it was established in the physical parameters of a college of dentistry. Now, this was crucial. Uh, many of the lectures that we got, uh, in dental anatomy, physiology, inclusion, uh, in dental material science and everything were from, uh, uh, dental professionals at the dental school. Dr. Stromberg was ----------(??) for them to come in, and do a guest lecture. And, and, UK Dental School at that time; see, it was established in 1960, at the time it was a state of the art college of dentistry in the United States, and again, all kinds of grant money was there. Well, if you follow that money trail around the country, whatever is the newest dental school, they had the best faculty, because they got the money to pay for it and they draw them. After UK had been going for ten years, uh, they started--you know, all that grant money had gone away, a brand new school opened in Georgia. They had the money. A lot of the UK faculty left and went down there. Shortly after that, Florida opened one. A lot of them; you could just watch them moving. But, uh, back then in the, in the mid-sixties, UK was the big dog in the country. So we had these faculties, as lab students, we had access to them because we were physically located in the school. Another key thing about the program was that to establish it, uh, the dental school insisted that a dentist be the director of the program, a licensed dentist, hence Dr. Stromberg. It's not that way now. It was a transition, um, in, in, um, I guess the mid- seventies--well, uh, early seventies, and, um, uh--a lab technician became the director of the program and program coordinator --------- -(??), uh, without a licensed dentist being on top of everything. And again, that was kind of a watershed mark. That wasn't done anywhere else in the country. So this program had a lot of, a lot of firsts to it, and a lot of advantages to it. Um, uh, we, uh--I was going to say, we started--um, there were--and, and another thing, and this was peculiar to LTI, both of nursing and the dental lab tech program. They attracted both traditional and non-traditional students. By that, I mean kids coming directly out of high school starting their college experience came, people who already had college degrees or had other trade or other ways of making a living and decided they wanted to get into this in a mid-life point and, and change directions came to us. It was a--it was originally designed to be a terminal degree program institute, where you go to school for a minimum period of time, two years instead of four, you would graduate with a degree and you would have the tools and qualifications to go to work the day after you walk off that stage. Four-year universities don't, don't meet those standards. Uh, it would lower the cost of going to college dramatically and it would give you marketable skills immediately. Uh, so we got into it, um, again I was underneath ----------(??)----------. I thought I was doing pretty good. Our first course was a dental waxing course, dental anatomy and everything and I went to class everyday, and, and worked my whole butt off. And after about three and half to four weeks, Dr. Stromberg called me into his office, which was the big of-- first office right outside the lab there on the fifth floor, and, uh--he always had this gravel voice--he said "McDermott, uh, I have reviewed your progress and, uh," --(clears throat)-- "I feel it's my obligation at this point to, uh, recommend that you look at something else." Well, I was floored. Uh, not so much of what he was saying, but as to how I was going to translate this to my dad, because he would not take it kindly. (both laugh). So, I thanked him for his opinion and I went back in the lab, and I went back to work. Um, thirty-seven years later, I'm still doing the same work, so obviously he was wrong. (both laugh). He was a wonderful man though, he really was. SMOOT: Now, did you tell me his first name? MCDERMOTT: Ross Stromberg. SMOOT: Ross, okay. MCDERMOTT: Um -- SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: --he was very devout set of ----------(??). SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: Uh, here I am, a Roman Catholic kid from Paris, Kentucky. We had a guy, Rick Buchanan from Toronto, Canada, parents wealthy, lived in a m-- mansion, looked like a castle. Uh, Carol Coleman from wealthy chiropractors in Des Moines, Iowa. We had about as diverse a splurge of personalities, accents, uh, background, Wall Jones, a grocer from Ashland, Kentucky. SMOOT: My hometown. MCDERMOTT: Piggly Wiggly. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: And, uh --(laughs)-- Morris Fields from Hazard, who, uh, had come down here. He went--he got into dental school. A very, uh, brilliant man. Um, ve-- technically, extremely capable, uh, technically and everything. I think right around his second year, somewhere in there, in the early part of his second year of dental school, his dad up in Hazard died, and it was a large family and, and a lot of mountain families. If you're from back there, you'd know. It's almost a clan. When, when the big dog goes, somebody else steps up to keep the family together and to keep a family operation going. And Morris was the oldest child. So, he dropped out of dental school. He went back to Hazard. I don't know what he did for a living up there, but he kept the family together and got them back up on their feet, uh, through the passing of his dad. After that --(coughs)-- hmm, excuse me--after that, he never really got the fire in him to come back to dental school. Uh, he did apply for the lab school, he was miles overqualified. He kicked it in comparison to the rest of us and was accepted and he was sitting right in there with us, uh, in class. Um, again, this diversity of people there were. David Banister from Cadiz, Kentucky, guitar player. High school kids, like me and ----------(??). Uh, Libby Beasley; her parents were dentists in, in Hopkinsville. Uh, she was a little crazy. (Smoot laughs) And, and, uh, uh, anyway, one night, i-- it was, it was kind of--it worked out to be funny. It could have been tragic. Five of us, five of the nine. We were in one car. Buchanan, the guy from Canada, had a Mustang and there were three of us in the backseat and two in the front. Dave Banister was in there with his guitar, and we were just running around the campus. Just having fun. We weren't drinking, um, but, but, uh, they--uh, Rick was kind of a wild driver. You know, he, he just, he, he assumed the road beyond-- belonged to him. So, he had this Mustang with a 289 V8 and, and --(coughs)-- we had gone out Tates Creek Road, and this is back when, when even in where New Circle--there was no New Circle Road then, uh, at least out there, but it was--Tates Creek was a two-lane country road back then. And we were coming, we were in there, David was playing his guitar, we were singing, we were having a blast. I'm sitting in the back seat with Linda and, uh, Carol. Oh hell, I was ----------(??). Dave was in the passenger seat and Rick was driving. He comes up behind this car, and it's poking, and, and we can all tell he's getting itchy and then Dave--Dave, his nickname was Dinky--Dinky told him, he says, "Rick, just take your time, we're not in a big hurry. Just calm down." He said "Nah, this son of a bitch." SMOOT: Um-hm. (laughs) MCDERMOTT: He jerks out in the left lane and floors it. That--totally just screeches. Takes off, and this is going up a hill at night. And when we get close to the top, he gets back in the lane and he passes him, but we're doing about seventy on this little country road out there. And I can see the headlights coming in the darkness from the other side. (coughs) He gets back in the line and everything, but when he tops the hill, there's another car in our lane poking. He slams on the brake. This car starts spinning. The last thing, I look out that little corner window in the backseat of the Mustang and I see the road coming straight at me and I just kind of went down. The car tumbled about five times. It crushed the top of the car down to the seat top level. By the grace of God, it shoved all of us further down. Okay? Not a single person was a hurt. The car was totaled. People were coming up, you know, police, wrecker crews, p-- pedestri-- er, uh, drivers from other cars. People were crying and praying and everything, and, and we're coming to inside there. They finally--they had to use tools to open the door and the first thing coming out was Banister's guitar. "Take this guitar, don't-- before it gets hurt." (Smoot laughs). They take that, and they look down in there, and we're all okay. So they get us out. The next day, before Kemper and Stromberg hear about it, and they think this program that they had, you know, focused their lives down to a single focus point, uh, over half of that class almost bought the, the end right there on that road that night --(Smoot clears throat)-- and so they told us, you know, "We don't have any authority to, but we're officially," --(Smoot clears throat)-- "banning you guys from running around in a car at night anymore." (Smoot laughs) "We can't, we can't handle this pressure." SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Um, we got to the end of the first year of the program and, uh, doc-- actually at the end of the first semester, around Christmas time of '65, I guess it would be, Dr. Stromberg unfortunately had a, a massive heart attack and died. And, um, John Kemper, Mr. Kemper, he ran the program that second semester --(coughs)-- uh, himself. Of course, it was just the one class. And by that point, we'd begun to have the ----------(??), the number of people who was coming down. I have a picture somewhere of us standing as a group, and I was trying to find it this morning to give you. I c-- I, I may find it yet sometime. SMOOT: I hope you do. MCDERMOTT: But, uh, it-- it'll make--we're all wear-- back then, the dental school had a dress code. All men had to wear a white shirt and that little skinny black tie from the sixties. We're all dressed like that, with white lab coats on. Um, you'd be impressed. But, uh, uh, Kemper, he, he took the--he took us through the second semester. Uh, then over the summer they hired a dentist, uh, Dr. Don Rice from Chicago. And, uh, he was with the, the dental school up there at the circle campus at IU, or UI, uh, Illinois. And uh, he came down, and, of course, the College of Dentistry hired him. He was a professor of prosthodontics, and he was also the director of the lab program. You really had to have his associations of the professional, while you were in the program. Uh, they hired a lab technician, uh, additional instructor, Don Shear, uh, from the, uh--Don had spent, he was trained by the Navy, and he spent twenty-six years' active duty in the Navy, and he worked in, uh, half-a-dozen monster naval bases, Jacksonville, Florida, San Diego, uh, uh, as a lab technician for twenty-six years and then he retired from the Navy, and then he heard about this. He came up here and applied for the job. Actually, he had an in. One of the chairmen of the Department of Prosthodontics at UKCD [editor's note: University of Kentucky College of Dentistry] back then was Dr. Davis Henderson. Henderson had been a full captain, er, a full colonel in the Army. Uh, he was the chief of the medi-- of the dental service at the Jacksonville Naval Base, and that's where he knew Don, and he recommended to Don that he come up here, and he recommended to UK that they hire him. So, he, he got--it was a good hiring. Don, uh, was one of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life, and we could write books and stories. But, uh--so we started off the second year. There was--we were down to about six, in number, and, uh, uh, we, uh, uh, we started the second year. Uh, most of the curriculum for the second year was a, a course called Applied Lab Technology. The idea was during that course, you would sit down and do hands-on, real lab work, not technique on models. Uh, the, the problem was, at that time, they had no source for the real work and --(coughs)-- they made arrangements for us to go visit, uh, labs working in Lexington here, and hopefully, you know, if those labs would let us, and we'd tell Kemper that they would, uh, let us do some real work. Must have ----- -----(??), but, you know, whatever. Um, I was selected to go on Fridays to Dixie Crater Bridge Lab (??), which was the biggest lab in Central Kentucky. Eight or nine people. Very high quality, uh, big reputation lab. I had no car. It was located out there by Zandale. Well, they give us these little bus tokens to ride the city bus and get out there. And that's how I--I used to have some of those tokens. Those tokens, I understand, are historic themselves. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: But, uh, uh, I used to ride the bus--well, the bus, by the time it made its stops, I was supposed--this was supposed to be from one to five, okay? By the time I got there, it would be three o'clock. So, I walk upstairs. I go up to the lab. Well, my day was Friday, okay? Well, I didn't know it, but on Fridays, the lab shuts down at three o'clock. They bring the scotch out and the cards. So my applied lab course, I didn't learn anything about dentistry, but I became one hell of a card player. (Smoot laughs). To this day, I can take you out of your underwear with talk. (laughs) SMOOT: I believe it. MCDERMOTT: Oh, good guys out there though. They really were. I mean, that's just the way it was, and the way it worked out. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Um, Don Shear was on the faculty then. John Kemper was pretty much running the program. Dr. Rice was a, he was a good man, but he was more of a, a front man. Uh, he didn't want to be hands-on involved too much. Uh, he, he, he put a nice face on everything. He was the dentist over top of the program -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --but he--Kemper ran the place. Yeah. And, and, Don Shear, uh, with him. I graduated in 1967. Um, made my degree. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Dr. Stan Wall--actually, John W. Oswald was the president -- SMOOT: Yep. MCDERMOTT: --of the University. SMOOT: Yep. MCDERMOTT: A good man. SMOOT: Yes, he was. MCDERMOTT: Uh, uh, Hartford was the Dean-- SMOOT: Uh-huh. MCDERMOTT: --and Voight was the director of LTI at the time. SMOOT: Yeah, Dr. Voight. MCDERMOTT: Yeah. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Uh, so this was after Wall, because this was a position that Wall had occupied first. SMOOT: Actually, I think that--I, I thought that Walt came after him. MCDERMOTT: Might have. He might have. He might have. SMOOT: Or that--that, or that Walt was vice president. MCDERMOTT: Yes, he did. He, he came after, he came after, uh, Hartford, because you're going to find out--after a while, I came back to LTI as an instructor, and Wall was the vice president -- SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: --when I was hired in. SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: So he was after Hartford. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: But, uh, I graduated. Uh, I got a job at the College of Dentistry. They have a crown and bridge lab that, uh, provides, uh, crown and bridge lab work for the dental school, the undergraduate clinics, the dental students. Uh, at that time, uh, Walt Jones, who I was in class with, he was the grocer from Pikeville. Uh, he and I were hired to go upstairs and work in the, the ceramic lab. We were the ceramic lab. Two of us. There were sixty students per class. There were two classes doing crown and bridge work. We had a hundred and twenty dentists to work for there and then the dental faculty did la-- did work as well. I'd say as many as twenty or thirty of them. So we had about a hundred and fifty and, and the two of us did this lab work. And, and, it was--it, it ranged from okay to a nightmare. (both laugh) SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: But, at least when it was a nightmare, you had job security. Whe-- I, I will never forget, uh, one of the first cases I ever did when I started work up there. You know, I knew how to do things; I knew the procedural process. I had no experience whatsoever. No hands-on knowledge, you, you know. And, uh, as time would go on, I came to really appreciate that. But, uh, Fred Meece, who is a dentist in Prestonsburg, Kentucky now. He graduated in 1965, or '67, rather. Uh, uh, he was a senior dental student then. He brought up a three unit bridge, interior front bridge, porcelain to gold. Uh, that's the first thing I ever touched as a lab technician out of the school. Uh, uh, I made it. It looked like death warmed over. And, and I did everything I could to it, and there it was. He came up and, this is one of the nicest human--past presidents of the Kentucky Dental Association. I mean, wonderful man. Uh, he looked at it, and, and he said "That looks fine. Let me just go see what the patient thinks." And he went downstairs with it. I mean, it looked like crap. I knew it looked like crap. He knew it looked like crap. But, he went downstairs; he came back up with it an hour later and said, "It looks real nice in there, but there's just a few little changes." And, so, he started writing out these changes on the prescription, and he left it. I went to work on it. And we went through this process about four or five times. Every time I touched it, it got worse --(Smoot laughs)-- and finally, Fred understood that. So that when he picked it up about that fifth time, he realized, "You know, what I have here in my hand is as good as it's going to get." (both laugh) "I think he's going to like it. I think he'll be real happy with it." He went downstairs, and he put it in. Of course, you know, when you come to a dental school, you know, it's kind of like the barber college. You're, um, you're not getting the $400 ----------(??) haircut. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: But, uh, uh, after that I realized, you know, "I've got to get better at this." Uh, the school had prepared me, uh, greatly for the process, but I needed experience. And, so, I, I started after work at five o'clock; we worked from eight to five. I'm living in Paris at the time, and driving back and forth from home. Uh, at five o'clock, I would, I'd lock the top half of the ----------(??) door, I'd lock that top half, I'd put some coffee on and I'd pull these models down and I'd start waxing them. And, and, I, I would work from five in the afternoon until ten at night, sometimes midnight, and then I'd go home. I mean, this was 5 days a week. My dad swore that I was creating an enormous family up here. (Smoot laughs) "No, I'm really working." He didn't believe it. But nonetheless, I, you know, I, I just did this work over and over and over until I could see predictable results coming from my hands. Once I had that, I knew I, I've got it. SMOOT: How long was this, Pat? MCDERMOTT: This took about six months, eight months, you know. Um, but I knew, if I don't do this, I can't work like this. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: I can't do these Meece-type, I cannot do that, I'll have to go find something else. So I've, uh--I'll give this, I was going to give it six months. It took a little longer than that. Uh, but eventually it came. And then once, once it came, I was very comfortable doing it. I'd take the work from the dentist, knowing and predicting that I could sit there and do something and get back to him and it would be good. SMOOT: Let me stop. MCDERMOTT: Okay. [Pause in recording.] SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: Now I, I worked up there, uh, with a lab enlarged as time went on. Virtually every year, uh, uh up until ----------(??) went ahead and ----------(??). Um, I worked up there from 1967 until 1973, and then I left the university and I went to work in a private dental office here in Lexington, Dr. Irvin Scrivner and Dr. Jack Taylor. And, uh, I worked there, uh--it was a very different atmosphere. Uh, it's the business world. And the business world was all about meeting deadlines and making the profits. And, I mean, good, bad or ugly, that's what the world is. Uh, so, I, I worked there for about two years and then I got the opportunity--the Lexington Technical Institute, at that time, was--this was in the mid-seventies--they were building a new building on Cooper Drive, and this was going to be the home of LTI. At this point now, the radiologic technology program existed and nuclear med may have existed. Some engineering programs existed. But again, they were all over these little closets and offices all over campus. You know, if you're going to take somebody in the car, you'd say "I'm going to drive you up to the front door of LTI." It wouldn't happen. Nobody knew where it was. (Smoot laughs) You know? And if you started on campus, I mean, we're going--I'm going to the student center, uh, to eat in the grill there, and we're talking--I'm talking to other students, and they says, "Well, what college are you in?" "I'm in LTI." "What the hell is that?" (laughs) And I'd start talking. Nobody had any idea what LTI was. Once again, it was non-traditional, and that was a real dividing line, because most of these kids on campus were seventeen to twenty-one. Kids out of high school, doing college. Um, and I was in that age group, but the, but the organization and structure I was in was different. Um, but, at any rate, uh, the, the, the--LTI was getting a building over there in the Oswald Building, named after Dr. John Oswald. A lot of people don't realize it, but the community college, it didn't actually--I don't think he started it, but boy, it exploded in growth under him. SMOOT: Well -- MCDERMOTT: Did he start it? SMOOT: He started LTI, uh, because it was not -- MCDERMOTT: It was CCS [editor's note: Community College System]. SMOOT: The Community College System was created by Bert Combs in '62. MCDERMOTT: Okay. SMOOT: Then they had a transition in the presidency from Frank Dickey to John Oswald in' 63 or '64. In sixty-- January of '64, Oswald met with the Board of Trustees at UK, and he's the one who thought up this system. The university system; the Community College System. MCDERMOTT: Um-hm. Right. SMOOT: He is the one who came up with that idea. MCDERMOTT: Well, and he brought that with him. You know where he came from? SMOOT: Yeah, California. Yeah. (clears throat) MCDERMOTT: And he was either at USC or UCLA. SMOOT: He was at the University of California, and I, I'm not--I can't remember if he was in, in Berkeley or not, but he was -- MCDERMOTT: Well, a lot of people don't realize it, but that was a huge Community College System out there. SMOOT: Oh, yeah. That's right. MCDERMOTT: Uh, UCLA is a community college. SMOOT: In sorts, yeah. MCDERMOTT: Really. I mean, it's monstrous -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --but, and he saw--you know, take the colleges out to the people. SMOOT: That's right. MCDERMOTT: So that they can stay at home and go to school. SMOOT: Yes. MCDERMOTT: They don't have to pay the room and board and, and expense-- you know, and everything. Uh, the, the pop-- the, the, the community colleges exploded in number. The, the, uh, enrollment really exploded, uh, across the state, um, but LT-- LTI was the Lexington community college. It was still called LTI, though. It had this--th-- th-- these others didn't necessarily have that, that two-year mission. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: Of terminal education. SMOOT: Yeah, they were, they were a mix of, of a junior college, which was a -- MCDERMOTT: Right. SMOOT: --prat (??) for a four-year school. MCDERMOTT: Right. You could -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --go to school there, do your freshman and sophomoreologies and then you could come to UK -- SMOOT: That's-- MCDERMOTT: --and do your major. SMOOT: Yeah. I did that. I went to -- MCDERMOTT: Yeah. SMOOT: --Ashland Community College my freshman year -- MCDERMOTT: Right. SMOOT: --and then went to Marshall and finished up there. MCDERMOTT: Right. So, uh--but that was the concept back then. Uh, so LTI was growing. They get--they got a home. They got their own very nice building. Unbelievable building for us at the time. And, and the dental lab tech program was growing because the graduates, for the most part, when they left there, uh, uh, they were very good. They were very capable. Now, bringing Don Shear in was the first step that started making more happen, because you now have a person teaching who had done this for a living for twenty-six years. He didn't--now Kemper is a wonderful man, a very smart man, but he only had six years experience. We wanted to, uh--in my second semester of my freshman year, he was supposed to get into porcelain. That's what I really wanted. I, I was geared--I wanted to learn porcelain. Kemper lectured us and lectured and lectured and lectured and, and we're looking--"When are we ever going to do this stuff?" He didn't let us do anything. We'd have another lecture tomorrow. Well, what we didn't know: he couldn't do it. He's never done it before. And the longer he could talk about it, you know-- SMOOT: Putting off the judgment, wasn't he? (laughs) MCDERMOTT: We came--we were able to come in the lab in the evenings and they had given us a key to get in and we could practice and work on our stuff at night and everything. Well, a couple of us decided we were going to go back and fire some porcelain. They had this huge furnace. It's an antique now: the Huppert furnace. Uh, but it, it had this process you had to put, uh, uh, this is a computer furnace, um--I mean, and it does everything automatically. Back then, it was a manual-type furnace. It was a horizontal entry, not a vertical. And you had to sketch the work in and then put this plug in--there's the plug there. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: You had to put that in, and then you had to put a rubber gasket on, and then close the metal door, put a bar on, tighten it down, turn the vacuum pump. I mean, it was all a manual process. Uh, we put some porcelain in there to fire, and we went through everything, but we forgot to put the plug in. (Smoot laughs) Now, the temperatures are going to go up to like close to two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. That rubber gasket didn't have a prayer. We're back there, and all of a sudden, we look, and it stinks and you smell rubber burning, and you know when plastic burns, you can the little black spicules flying off and drifting up. They're all over the ceiling, they're all over the windows back there in the back, and, and of course Kemper came in the next morning, and I mean, as soon as we saw that, we turned everything off and we left. Uh, we come in the next morning and Kemper walks in and sees that and he says, "I think it's time we start doing some porcelain." (both laugh) So, that's how we got into it. But as I say, when, when Shear came here, it marked a real turning point, because, once again, you had somebody who had done it for a living for twenty- six years -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --teaching you how to do it. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Um, really just a different approach all--different atmosphere altogether. He ,very quickly, uh--he had a friend, John Furman, who was in the Navy, in that lab down there also, um, uh, in Jacksonville. And he called John. John was about, uh, EPS (??) out of the Navy, and he says, "Get your ass up here and apply for this." You know, and Shear had already--and, and Henderson, ----------(??) also--uh, Shear had set the path and, and, you know, fertilized it and everything. All John had to do was--John had worked in a lab like for fifteen years. Exceptional hands-on technician. So, and, and about that same time, Dr.Rice left. Uh, Dr. Tom Cooper was a member of the Restorative Department staff at UK. He became the director, but, but, you know, it begins with Dr. Rice, the, the disassociation of that dentist having anything to do other than Tichelor had. Uh, Cooper was even more stunned. Tichelor, in name only, virtually had nothing to do there. SMOOT: Hmm. MCDERMOTT: Uh, they made up their own supply request. The, uh--you know, I just--and LTI was growing into a--at the same time, into a real college. Uh, it was, it was transisting from a, uh, like, uh, an elevated trade school to a, a, a professional college of sorts. You know, uh, it was being perceived as that by the community. It was being perceived as that from the rest of the Community College System, um, uh, and, and so, all of these things were happening about the same time. After a couple of years, Cooper, kind of, you know, he was--"I don't have time to fool with them anymore." And the decision was made to do a Community College System, and the College of Dentistry was comfortable with it to allow the technician to be the head of the program. So, again, this was a first. Again, this marked a growth in that professional status for semi-professional status of the lab technician in dentistry. Uh, so Kemper, who was the, uh, program coordinator, and, um, uh, he reported directly to the--at that time, they were--it was--well, in fact it was established, the health three divisions of LTI. The health division, it was engineering and business. Okay? And health division, uh, at that time, I think Ann Noffsinger was the head chairman of it -- SMOOT: Um-hm. From nursing. MCDERMOTT: --and--from nursing, uh, it rotated, and one time Furman was the division chair, um, so it moved around quite a bit and everything, but it no longer involved the direct supervision of the dentists. And, and, so it was making this transition, uh, the program was growing; uh, Don called me and said you need two additional faculty labs, uh, in the lab program and we increased the student population to twenty-four students per class, the first-year and second-year class. And it was to meet that twelve-to-one student-teacher ratio, uh, they opened up two additional faculty labs. Um, I grabbed it right away. And, um, they also went out and got Tim Argantrout (??). And, uh, Tim was a--he graduated from the program right around '71, I think. Tim was from West Virginia. Uh, he had a lab back--he had an uncle who had a lab there in West Virginia somewhere. Tim's dad was killed early, and Tim almost grew up in that lab. Hell, he was as, as good a technician when he came to the program as a lot of them were when they left the program. (laughs) But, uh, uh, he joined so there was the four of us. At that point, we had Don Shear, John Furman, Pat McDermott, and Tim Argantrout (??). I had worked about seven years at the College of Dentistry in the crown and bridge lab and two years in a private dental office lab. Tim had worked, as I said, since he was a little boy in his uncle's lab. John and Don, and you had four faculty who had approaching sixty years of experience in DT (??). Uh, we bumped up that applied lab part of the curriculum. We, we, uh, we changed that dramatically. We went out, first of all, and, and, and found sites where students could extern. Could leave our direct super-- the Applied Lab was an eight- credit hour course. That was a hump. Would be a hump today. SMOOT: Sure would. MCDERMOTT: Uh, we, we went out and found sites that used ceramic--lab at the dental school was one, the central dental lab--denture lab at the dental school was one, where we could place one or two students to work under their supervision and do a four month semester. Um, tremendous experience. Maybe some hands-on work for the clinical ----------(??). SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Uh, we, the VA hospital and then we--additionally, the kids that stayed back with us in the classroom at 5:30--we, we had the first year was over in the Oswald Building, the second year curriculum was in the dental school. It'd be 5:30. Um, we--John and I went out and approached the College of Dentistry. We, we'd take lab work from the dental schools, and it would come to the ceramic lab and then Walt would send it down to us. Uh, we got lab work from the VA dental clinic. They would send their overload of work back to us. Uh, we went out and approached Eastern State Hospital. They had a dental clinic. They started sending stuff to us. We found dental offices in town. Marvin Lutes. He'd send an extern out to him for the semester. Uh, the practical experience these kids were getting in the fourth semester was monstrous. Uh, if they stay with us and they get only the technique work--we had a requirement in crown and bridge, I think that had to be something like eighteen or twenty-two units of crowns and bridges , uh, in designated projects that we'd be evaluating them on at the end of the semester. Some of these kids that were externs were doing some pretty extensive--from eighty to a hundred units -- SMOOT: Wow. MCDERMOTT: --and, and I mean when they finished that fourth semester, they were approaching a polished technician. Their mark of ability, you know--they had people out here fighting over them, you know, and that was our goal. You know, to get these kids to that, to that point to where the, the demand for them, you know, uh--we got to get twenty-four kids, because, you know, we can put twenty-four to work out here. At the time we were getting, we were filling the classes twenty-four kids per class and then we had, uh, anywhere from, um, five to fifteen or twenty extras who didn't make the cut, who didn't meet the minimum qualifications to get in. Again, the ----------(??) was maturing, the, the lab program had, you know, we had program standards, we had admission guidelines, the admissions committee through LTI and, you know, there was the program faculty and some faculty from other programs that served on it and everything. And, uh, we, we would go through, we'd have as many as five, to fifteen, twenty kids that didn't make the cut. We would pull them in and advise them what all of the English, physics, uh, speech, all these oth-- these, these jacket courses, get those out of the way, you know, this semester and reapply for next fall and when you come in, all you've got are lab courses to deal with. And, you know, and that was a formula. It worked very, very well. Very, very well. SMOOT: What would somebody make coming out of that program to start? MCDERMOTT: At that time, back then, uh, I'm guessing, the--and, and, uh, uh, thi-- this is one of the purest examples of, uh, what you can make. It depends on what you can do. Um, most commercial laboratories hire you on a per-hour basis. They would hire you probably at minimum wage, which is five dollars an hour. They'd hire you in at seven or eight dollars an hour, and then after a month or two, they'd get an idea of what you could do. Uh, if you were really, really confident, you could buck up to ten, twelve, fifteen dollars an hour very quickly. If you weren't, you might be sitting there a while until you got the message. Get better or get worse. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: But, I mean it's private business. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: ----------(??)---------- Uh, a lot of kids--another advantage to the dental lab tech, uh, field is that you've got a lot of options. You can go to work in, in, uh, institutions like dental colleges, VA hospitals. Uh, there are very large dental clinics in the country. There's one out in Oklahoma, I used to know the name of the dentist that ran it. He'd set this thing up. He employs about twelve dentists in there himself. It's like a three-level building. SMOOT: Mmm. MCDERMOTT: It's all dentistry. And he's got three dental lab staffs. Each works--each staff--I mean, it's like ten, twelve technicians per staff unit and each one works an eight-hour day. This lab goes twenty- four hours a day, seven days a week. Never shuts down. SMOOT: Hmm. MCDERMOTT: And, uh, you know, what they do is, normally--the normal turn around time, even today for me here, is a, a two-week processing turnaround. He gets it out in three days. (Smoot laughs)Yeah, he's paying for them. You've got that lab cook-- those labs cooking -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --you know, and he's got to have the level of personnel --(coughs)-- uh, on each of those shifts that can do that because he doesn't have, he doesn't have room for remakes. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: And problems. SMOOT: Does the two weeks largely entail just the, the backup and, and the scheduling of the -- MCDERMOTT: Right. SMOOT: --actual work? MCDERMOTT: Right. SMOOT: How long is the actual work take for -- MCDERMOTT: Uh -- SMOOT: --something like that? MCDERMOTT: When I was at the dental school, uh, John, Walt and I, we did a study one time. The actual hands-on time involved in doing a crown and bridge unit, a crown, ----------(??) little crown -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --was right about five hours. SMOOT: All right. MCDERMOTT: Okay, now, take, take that into the fact--part of the process. We create a wax pattern of the crown that we want. Then we make a mold of that. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Uh, the mold material has to set up like an hour, so there's dead time there. Uh, then it goes into the burnout of an ---------- (??) and then you burn out the wax and create an, an air mold, just a, a, a negative mold in which you work, and, and that takes about an hour to an hour and a half. And then you melt the gold down increasingly and bend the mold down, put it down here ----------(??)----------. And it's that point where you cast the metal, molten metal, into the mold. Uh, of course, at that point, the torch heat is gone, so the metal starts cooling back down, going back to a solid form, and, and, and, uh, your casting is complete. Uh, it's interesting, this is a process that was first established by the Etruscans about 3000 BC, and our equipment and materials have improved dramatically, but the concept is exactly the same as it was then. SMOOT: Huh. MCDERMOTT: Just create the pattern, make the mold, uh, eliminate the, the pattern from the mold, and, uh mel-- change the form of the metal from a liquid to a solid to a liquid and then cast it. Back then they had--you had--the mold was a clay --(Smoot coughs)-- clay crucible or a clay mold down there, and a guy with a bellow was pumping like hell and melting it, and then when it was ready, this guy had a spleen. He started spleening it like this and that's how they would cast. Centrifugal force. SMOOT: Hmm. MCDERMOTT: Same idea, just better equipment -- SMOOT: Hmm. MCDERMOTT: --and material. But, the, uh, the program, it, it grew back then. I served, or, you know, and I also began, uh--started teaching there. I came in as the instructor and, you know, I, uh, I got on the tenure track and you start going through all of the--your review periodically and I went back to school. Uh, I got my bachelor's in '82, in, um, allied health education and research. SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: And, and, at that time, the, the, uh, College of Allied Health Professions, it was relatively new. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Joe Hamburg was the first dean of the school, and, and it was, it was really because it, it--what it--it was one of the first colleges at UK, four year colleges, that took kids who had this technical background of another program and associate degree curriculum and accepted most of that towards the bachelor's degree. Uh, a lot of schools prior to this thing, uh, they didn't want to talk about that. You still had to do four years over here. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: And, you know, and, geez, you know, I don't want to be a nuclear --(Smoot laughs)-- but anyway, uh, Hamburg and--they were, they were propped. What was really neat too, because a lot of the programs, uh, in the health division of LTI back then--nursing, lab tech, nuclear med, respiratory therapy, and dental lab tech, and dental hygiene. Uh, where their kids got clinical experience was in the UK Med Center. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Where you're coming into somebody else's empire now. I think Clawson was the dean of the medical school at the time. SMOOT: Kay Clawson? MCDERMOTT: And, and, you know, everybody's got their little empires, and there was one point, uh --(Smoot coughs)-- where I was teaching at, at LTI, Dr. Bill Price, William Price was the director, which was the equivalent of the president of the college -- SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: --at the time. Uh, he was running into some resistance from some of the departments over in the medical school, for his X-ray tech students and, you know, their ability to get in and use the facilities for clinical experience and, and he found out that, uh, that resistance was coming down pipeline from Clawson and it was the, you know, "This is my med school, and I want to run it the way I see fit, and no damn tinhorn from the junior college is going to come over here and tell me how to run things." SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: Well, once this got back to Price, he went straight to Hamburg, and told him, and Hamburg said "You just leave it to me. If anybody says a word to you, don't say a word back. You just call me." In one month, that whole problem went away and it never came back and who, who knows, but, we all always suspected and, and heard in some quiet discussions that Hamburg and Clawson had a meeting of the minds and Hamburg had more horsepower. SMOOT: Um-hm. (McDermott laughs) Yeah. MCDERMOTT: And he, he literally, he straightened it out, you know, and, and Price came back and, and told us, you know, "No problems, don't worry about any of it anymore." (laughs) SMOOT: That's good. MCDERMOTT: So, I mean, things were--again the acceptions of LTI into the sphere of professionalism, this strata and everything, and its programs and what its kids could do, that was the biggie. They were technically capable. They're all of these areas. Um, that they became an asset to these professional colleges and organizations around campus and out here in town. Uh, VA, the, the health clinics. Uh, uh, they became an asset to them rather than a trading level (??). So, we're proving that. So, it was growing and everything. We got--I taught there, uh, and in fact, you know, I will say, uh, the last three years I was there--I taught there for about eight years. Uh, the last three years, uh, John was promoted to division chair, who helped the ---- ------(??), and so I was promoted to program coordinator. I had come full circle. I was a student, and in my second year, Don Shear was my instructor. And then in the mid-seventies, I came back to teach there, so Don and I were peers. And after about five or six years, I became Don's supervisor. And I mean, it, it, it was just really neat the way everything worked together then. The four of us that, that taught in the program there, uh, again, we were magical. Uh, the first lecture I ever gave, we team-taught--there was two of us in every course--and they didn't let Tim or I have anything that, that either John or Don wasn't in there with us. So we had experience there with us. The first cla-- lecture I ever gave, I started out, I had the course outlined, I started reading the course outline to them, and I hadn't even gotten through the course description and my face was turning white, sweat was dripping off my nose. (Smoot laughs) Don saw it. I was getting ready to go out. He came up "Pat, Pat, why don't you let me finish this up for you?" And, and, I sat down, and I was about to pass out. Don just flew right through it. You know, just the ----------(???). Um, I kept--was enrolled in allied health and education, and was taking these classes over at the college with Betty Taylor and Gary Anglin and, and, uh, he's ----------(??) now, um, but all these classes on teaching and structural design and, uh, instructional objectives, all this stuff and everything. But then I was coming back over here and I was having trouble, and Don finally told me one day, he says, "Pat, you don't have to read this thing, just tell them how to do it and show them." And, you know, I could--I'd do everything I could but when everything else failed, I'd just look at him and say, "Look, watch what I do --" SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: "-- and I'll tell you how to do it. And then when I'm done, go do what I do." And see because I had worked as a tech, the way I would do that, it would come out. Well, you've got instant credibility right there. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: I mean, when they see you do what you say to do, and how to do it, they're going to sit down and they do it. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Well then, that, that teaching part of, of, uh, my repertoire started growing at its own rate without pressure and, and it got to the point where I felt very, very comfortable with it. Um, as it turned out, because my curriculum is this--two-plus-two program is what it was then. Uh, it was fairly new and it was still in, in flux and being developed and everything. And, so, you know, if you propose something, well, hell, they bought it. You know, they didn't have anything to put in there for you. Um, uh, it was while I had a course-- one of the courses, required courses in my curriculum, Education of Statistics, Stat 522 or something like that, but most of my education courses at 500-level, courses you get your master's -- SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: --level courses. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: What I found out after I got my bachelor's, I was within about eight credit hours, or less than that, six credit hours from a master's degree, because all of that stuff would transfer up to CNI, a master's program. And, uh--but I got promoted to associate professor with tenure already, and I'm not going to school any more. (laughs) That's it. (laughs) But, um, uh, I had, I had to have this, this Stat 522 and, uh, the guy that taught it--I, I was--I had dodged this thing, because, like I said, you can go take other stuff and you could talk to your advisor into "Yeah, but this would really be better for me, because ----------(??)." And if they bought it, they could sign off on it and, and substitute it. SMOOT: All right. MCDERMOTT: You can't do that now. Uh, but, but you could back then. Well, she wasn't buying it. (Smoot laughs) I, I tell ya, she lived on Sheryl Lane. I went over to her house one night and I tried to talk her into substituting a couple of programs for this stat course. Math was my Achilles' heel. I just couldn't get it, didn't want to get it, and just didn't want to have anything to do with it. And, uh, this stat course, I had signed up for it like four times over the five years I was going to school part-time for my bachelor's, and after about two or three weeks into it, dropped it. I'd say "To hell with it." (Smoot laughs) And. And, so finally she told me, she said, "Pat, you can just keep taking courses until you're an old man, but I'm not going to sign off for you until you take this stat class." All right. So I went and signed up for it again. The only course I had left. The only thing between me and a bachelor's. I signed up for it and, uh, I go to class the first night, and, and, uh, Tim Smith, I don't know if he's still over at the dental school or not, he worked in community health, uh, community dental health at the College of Dentistry. He was a PhD, a statistician. Brilliant man. Kind of aloof. And, and, uh, a lot of PhDs--I hope you're not one. SMOOT: I am, as a matter of fact. MCDERMOTT: Well, well then, you know what I'm talking about. SMOOT: I do. MCDERMOTT: Some PhDs are like that. SMOOT: That we sure are. (laughs) MCDERMOTT: You know, and then some have an aloofness to them. SMOOT: Yeah, I -- MCDERMOTT: And he had this. SMOOT: Yeah, I get that sometimes too. MCDERMOTT: He had this dramatically. SMOOT: You're concentrating on something else. MCDERMOTT: Right. And, and, so I signed up for the class --(Smoot laughs)--and I thought "Pat, you know you're slow, but you're not stupid. All you need is a damn D in this thing --(Smoot laughs)-- and you've got it." Surely to God I can get a D. (Smoot laughs) So I go and I really put myself into it. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: First three or four class sessions I'm right up there with them. Then he starts into something and I get so damn lost, I don't know which way is up. And, and, I started getting my ----------(??)-- --------. I thought, "Shit. I'm not doing that." So the next class, I met him after class, this was an evening class in the ----------(??) -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --and his office is in the Med Center at the Dental School. And, and he always walked back over there to close up his office and go to his car. So I says, "Uh, Dr. Smith, can I, can I--I will entertain--can I go over something with you? I just don't understand this about the ----------(??)." And uh, "Oh sure, yeah, come on, we can talk about it on the way back." So we're walking over: I can't talk about it without the damn book. So, I'm doing small talk and this stuff, we get into his office and he's, he's letting me know he has a dinner engagement that night --(Smoot laughs)-- and I had made up my mind: I'm not leaving until I know this. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Come hell or high water. And, he's behind his desk and he's trying to close stuff up. I got that book open, I got my papers out. I said "I don't under-- explain this to me." "Aw, what--look, you just blah, blah this and that." "I don't understand, what are you doing? Say it again." "Well, look you just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." "I still don't get it." "Well, hell, what's the matter? Are you stupid?" "No, I'm not stupid. Just keep saying it, say something different." And I made him sit there and go over it about eight times, and then all of a sudden, it was just like a lightning rod. I said "Well, hell, is that all there is to it?" "Well, that's what I've been telling you." "Thank you so much." (Smoot laughs) Who would have thought? I had it -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --and I have used that on my kids for years, you know. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You stay there and you make them -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --keep saying it. Sooner or later, something's going to click --(Smoot laughs)-- you know? You just use different words, approach it differently, do something, but don't leave till I get this. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: I finally got it. It was the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. I don't know if know any of that Stat. SMOOT: Not much. MCDERMOTT: But, but, uh, that's a correlated data of one kind with another to see if there's a relationship. With a damn formula this long -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --okay? It's a monstrous process. And, and, uh, he gave me an exam on it. Uh, I wound up getting an "A" out of Stat. I couldn't believe it. I think that was the only damn "A" I got in college. (Smoot laughs) But uh, uh, he gave this test and he gave all this data, and we had to compute the Pearson product RX12, the Pearson product- moment correlation coefficient. So, I got my wife, because she's in rad [radiology] tech and X-ray tech, and, and I got her computer 2i something-or-other, and I started plugging in this and I would go through the process. This test was supposed to be an hour. It took like an hou-- almost two and a half hours. And I mean, everybody was in there late. And, and I finally got to the end where I had computed RX from the formula and I turned it in. Hell, there was still half the place was still there when I left. And, and, uh, he was getting pissed that we were (both laugh) taking so long. But uh, uh, he wrote the test. But, uh, the next week, we came in and he was giving the grades out. And he says, "I've never seen this kind of a spread." The grades went a low of eight to a high of one hundred and the average, of course, you've got to have an average, you've got to have a mean -- SMOOT: (laughs) Of course. MCDERMOTT: What's the other one? A median, or something? SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You got to have all this shit. (Smoot laughs) He was giving us all that stuff. All those numbers were down around the mid, mid to upper thirties. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You know, I got to tell you: he hands me my paper, and I couldn't believe it. And the other kids, they're looking at me like, "What did you do?" (both laugh) "How did you do that?" ----------(??)-- -------- work and stuff. And, uh, so now, the kid that has dropped this thing for four--you know I'm the go-to guy for everybody in the class now. You know, I, I'm his assistant. They're all coming to me for advice. "Can you help me out with that again? Can you help?" I didn't know nothing. I just, I, I broke--made my bones on this one section, but it worked out neat. SMOOT: Apparently so. (laughs) MCDERMOTT: And so, you know, like I said, I got an A out of it. The biggest thing I learned was when you're taking classes -- [Pause in recording.] SMOOT: You were saying? MCDERMOTT: But, um, uh, the, the, is, is the, the basis in these physicians changed, um, that, that wealth of work experience in the fact that the faculty, they were directly hands-on involved with the students day in and day out. It started changing. And, a--you began to get, as I said, I'm going to call them academic people, uh, whether that's a fair adjective or not, but the, the difference is that they were people that did not, didn't have that wealth of clinical experience, okay? They had spent time doing something else. They began teaching, uh, at the same--when, when John and I were--we ran the applied lab program over in 530 in the dental school. When we approached the dental school, uh, about taking in lab work from the dental s-- clinics, the students and faculty, the first question they had was, was, uh, "Do you guarantee the work?" And John and I looked at them and said, "Yes, we guarantee you that when you get it back, it will be right." Now, hopefully, we, we can teach the students well enough that he can do it and get it to that standard. But if it isn't, we will take it over and we'll make it right by the time it gets back to you. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Now John and I, we spent many nights up there working. (laughs) Weekends. I mean, just fixing up stuff they'd screwed up. Uh, doing things that they didn't know how to do. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: So we'd we--I'd get them in on a Friday after at night or Saturday morning and, you know, I'm going to build this up for ya, but I want you to sit here and watch so, you know, you can see the process. We just did that, oh, for years. We did that. So the dental school-- I mean, that's why the work kept coming. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Because -- SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: --they knew when they got it back, it would be right. No matter who did it, you know. Well, once we left there, the people that replaced us in those conditions, they weren't willing to make that commitment. They weren't going to put their signature on the work. Well, it'll be the best the students could do. The dental school started backing up and then they wouldn't send near as much work in. It got to a point, Rick, where the VA hospital quit sending stuff. Uh, Eastern State, all these pla-- these relationships that we had built up, you know, be-- and because the technical capability of the student, you know, and, and the performance ability wasn't bad, you know, and it was reflected, and, and if you followed the trail back, it was because the work experience of the instructor wasn't there, you know. Uh, to some extent, some of the people that followed us after we left there in those teaching positions, they weren't capable of sitting down and doing this stuff and, and banging it out in a week or two. You know? And, and the, the, uh, the, uh, the places where the kids got all of that clinical experience, they just, they recognized that and they just started drying up and going away. So now the kids were back on doing technique work, you know, on ideal casts and ideal situations and, and things like this, so that the, the qual-- the performance qualities of the kids the day they walked across the stage, it was different. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: And, and this lowered, their--at the same time now, this program had been banging away for, uh, uh, ten, fifteen, twenty years. Uh, a lot of these jobs that were available here in Fayette County in central Kentucky had begun to fill up, so that now when a kid came out and, and got a job, rather than filling a job, he might be replacing somebody if he was good enough. If he wasn't, he couldn't get the job. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: And, and this began to happen, you know. I've seen that happen over the years. Uh, I've had kids when I had a lab down there on Reynolds Road, uh, after John and I split up, even before when John and I were together over on Stonewall, uh, I had kids from the program come out of an extern with me for their, their fourth semester, the applied lab -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --and I could tell they couldn't do squat. Hands-on capabilitities. They could, they could talk about it pretty good, but when it came to sitting down and letting us see what you could do, I had one kid, nice kid, he really was, and I felt bad about it, but I gave him a gold crown, a single gold crown. Now, I get--now, at that time I was getting about eighty-five dollars for a gold crown, okay? Uh, if I sit down to wax it myself, it'll take me maybe an hour to wax it, uh, invest it, make the mold, burn out, maybe another two hours, a cast, then I'll finish it down maybe a half-hour and it's done. For eighty-five bucks. He's waxing on this thing for around 4 days. And I said "John, how much do you think he's going to make on that crown? You know, can you live for a week on what that one crown's going to bring you?" He said, "What's it going to bring me?" I said, "About eighty-five bucks." "Wow, that's, that's --" "What are you doing here? You know? You've got to get this thing done in a couple of hours and then you've got to get another one done and then another one. This is how business works." SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Uh, you can't just take it and sit there with this mold. They do a partial denture, uh, partial de-framework. They work on the damn framework for weeks. For three weeks, you ought to have fifty of them done. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You know? And, and, you know, and, and, this--it--but when they would graduate, I wasn't going to put them at eighty bucks an hour. No, I want--well, show me what you can do. This started really thick in the, the early two thous-- I say, now this stuff --(coughs)- -can get testy if it comes back some place, so be careful what you do with it. Uh, whe-- when this, when this started coming back to the program over there, the applications for the students had started dropping off because the graduates, they couldn't get jobs. SMOOT: Sure. MCDERMOTT: And the jobs they could get, they couldn't make the kind of money--I mean they'd see me or John or Miles Gaines or somebody out here making good money and that's what they want to walk into -- SMOOT: Of course. MCDERMOTT: --and they don't make the equation of you've got to be able to do what we do -- SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: --to get that. If you can't, you know? SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: When they would come out of the next term with me, I'd tell them. You know, and I told them that story of when I went to work at the dental school and I came back at night and I worked, because I saw, I've got to get better. I got to be able to do what people that do this for a living do, you know. Or I'm not in this. SMOOT: Hmm. MCDERMOTT: And I'm telling them, "You've got to do the same thing. You've got to pay these dues of experience somewhere." SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: "Now for God's sake, try to find a way to do it while you're at school, because it's not costing you there." SMOOT: Sure. MCDERMOTT: "Uh, once you come to work for me, I only have to give you what you give me to turn around. You know, if you give me one crown a week, don't be looking for any big salaries out of me." (laughs). SMOOT: Right. Right. MCDERMOTT: "Because, uh, you gave me eighty-five bucks. Now, how you want me to give that back to you?" You know, and, they didn't want to hear this, and so they began getting unhappy with, uh, "Well, you just can't make a living at it and everything." And. I'm thinking "Well you can, but you know." And, and, see, a lot of other physicians out of LTI, uh, rad tech. radi-- or radiology rather, nuclear med, respiratory nursing. You can't just go out here and be a nurse. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You got to go to work for somebody. And, most of these are institutional and that, that can absorb a trainee into a learning thing until they get good enough and then, you know, they, they can absorb that. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: Laboratories can't. Most labs can't. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: When you walk in the door, you've got to be able to, to fill a need, so, and, and this wasn't happening, so the, the market of dental work of the graduates started dropping off. See, at one point, I'm guessing two to four years ago, maybe five years ago, we had some with only six kids in the class. And, you know, it's still, all of the, the financial structure of the program is still geared for twenty-four. And, at, at one point, uh, Greg, who's always the w-- at the time, was the coordinator of the program, he's the division chair now I think, isn't he? SMOOT: I think so. MCDERMOTT: ----------(??) SMOOT: Yeah, I think so. MCDERMOTT: Uh, well -- SMOOT: Actually, they're called assistant deans now. MCDERMOTT: Yeah, yeah. But, uh, I told--when it, when it--I said, "Greg, you've got to do something. You know, they're going to come up here and shut you down. They're not going to let you run the cost of twenty-four student program with six bodies in here, you know? I mean, I'm just telling you. Down the road, and it may be much closer than farther, but something is going to happen if you don't do something." And, they, they went to the wall. What we found, uh, Rick, was that back when John and Don and, and Tim and I were there, during the summertime when we had all that time off, boy, we took off, we went on these trips all over the state. We went to all these other community colleges and we took brochures and, and curriculum and all kinds of shit out there and, and we would go to the counselors at these colleges and we'd give this stuff to them, and say look, if you've got anybody that likes to work with their hands, and blah, blah this and that, um, have them give us a call. When we did that, I mean, we had hundreds of applications from all over the state and that's where we started drawing kids. SMOOT: Sure. MCDERMOTT: There were some kids from, um, um, uh, Leslie County. Isn't that where Tim Couch is from? SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: That's way back in the sticks. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Now, this kid, he's a wonderful kid but he couldn't keep up with my Schnauzer, you know, but, but, I'm telling you, we brought him in, we--they had the, what, the DRE courses, developmental -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --courses. We got him started in those. I mean, this kid was harder than most kids -- SMOOT: Well, we had a lot of those unfortunately. MCDERMOTT: I know. And again, this is again another part of nontraditional students. SMOOT: Sure. MCDERMOTT: You know? And, and you got--you devise a system that makes them work. You don't just give it to them. They got to work their way in -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --but you make them capable of at l-- of getting through it. They don't got to take cell (??). Because this kid had tremendous talent in his hands. He could sit down and do this stuff. Beautiful. If you try to talk to him very much about it, he sounded like a third grader and all. Don't ask him to write anything. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Jesus. But he could do beautiful work. So, we taught this kid and he works in a lab back in the mountains somewhere now. Very successful. Married, got a family, supporting them. This is what this stuff's about. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You know? We had one woman, uh, Rick, that came in, in the Oswald Building. It was towards the end of the school year, and people were coming in and applying for the next year and everything, and Don and I were down there in the lobby and we always go down there and he'd call if needed us for stuff. So, we're sitting down there and this woman, an oriental woman standing over and looking out in the parking toward the football stadium and she's crying. And, uh, you always kind of think "Are you going to say something or not?" You know? SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: And, uh, but, but Don, he never backs off. He was breathing hard and everything. ----------(??)---------- He walks right up, "Ma'am, is there something--is there a problem, can I help you with something?" And she starts telling him, uh, she can't get in. She's trying to get into the nursing program and, uh, uh, Pat somebody was the admissions officer back then. A girl. SMOOT: Lefler? MCDERMOTT: Yes. Pat Lefler. SMOOT: She was registrar. MCDERMOTT: Is she? SMOOT: She was. She's a professor. MCDERMOTT: Wow. Well, she was their old admissions officer back then -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --and, uh, this woman was trying to apply to get in the nursing program. Well, what's the problem? And she says, well, she's from mainland China. Now this is in the, the, uh, late seventies. Okay? She's from mainland China. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Beijing University. Okay? But she's applying to get into the lab program. Pat of-- asks her, "Have you ever been to college or have you any previous college?" "Oh yes, I have bachelor's degree in psychology from Beijing University." She says, "Well, you'll have to provide us with an official transcript." And she says, "Oh yeah, this is an admissions requirement standard." And she says, "You don't understand, it's Red China, you don't get anything out there. Nothing. You can't get anything in print from them." And she says, "You have to." And she says, "You can't. It's impossible." SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: This woman came out of the school, and this woman comes out and she got into her car, and so, Don says to her, he says, "You're from China, right?" And she says, "Yes, yes." And he says, "You grew up there?" She says, "Yes." He says, "You speak the language, you write--you can read and write Chinese?" And she says, "Yeah." He said "Look, go find you old paper, parchment paper, get a pen, sit there and write your own transcript. Write it in Chinese." (Smoot laughs) He said "Hell, there's nobody here that can read it." (Smoot laughs) And then he--she did, and she brought it in and he got that, you know that embossing thing for a notary public? SMOOT: Right, right. MCDERMOTT: Well, he went around and bogged the corner of that thing about twenty times on that day. He said, "I don't know what the hell this is. Now you take this damn thing in there." She did. Two weeks later, she was accepted. (Smoot laughs). She went through the program, and to my knowledge today, that woman is still a, a, a very successful nurse. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You know? And Don always told me, "Sometimes you've got to get out of the way to let the right thing happen." SMOOT: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. MCDERMOTT: And so, we did that with the lab kids a lot. You know, this kid Metter, Needer, Netter, Needer (??), I think was his name, from up in the mountains, I'm not kidding, this kid was dumber than a box of rocks, but, but he was a good kid and boy, he had a set of hands on him. He had hand and eye coordination and just a talent for spatial -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --uh, realities and everything. You could tell the machine is there, if you could just get him through the school, and, and, uh, we did. And, I mean, there was one day he, he was sitting in there and had his text book open, I think that he was doing ----------(??). He had it open to a page and he was sitting there looking at it, and I mean two hours later I'd come back, and he's still sitting there looking at the same page. And I said "Steve, is there, is there something, do you have a problem with something here?" He said, "Yeah, there's just a lot of stuff in this book." SMOOT: Oh boy. (both laugh) MCDERMOTT: I'm telling you, this is a kid you had to work with, but we made a lab technician out of this guy -- SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --and he's making a living at it. SMOOT: Yeah. Yeah, well. MCDERMOTT: So, the, the institute, like I say, it grew to a point to where it served, I mean we had kids coming from dental school rejects, we had kids that had bachelor's degrees in biology and couldn't get a job, you know. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: They'd come back and go through the dental lab tech, and boy, a week after graduation, they're out here working somewhere. And, and, you know, we, we had this machine going and it worked very, very well, but it really, it depended on the ability of that faculty in the program to bring these skills to those kids. SMOOT: You never wanted to go back in? MCDERMOTT: Not really. Well, I like those three, three months during the summer. Man, that was a few--(laughs)--because I don't have that now. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: But, uh, you know like I say, I've, I've tried not to look backwards. You know? Um, but the, the, the program, as I say, they lost touch with the, with the--or they didn't lose touch, but they just--the people with the hands on ability weren't there anymore. Robin's a good guy. I taught Robin. I taught--Greg was one of my students. He had hair back then. SMOOT: Um-hm. (laughs) MCDERMOTT: Uh, Art. I was, a, a, I was a program coordinator when we hired Art. SMOOT: Yeah, he was the one who suggested I talk to you. MCDERMOTT: Yeah. Um, uh, and one time we had Morris Fields. Morris was in that first class with me and Wall and, and Morris and Buchanan and that bunch. Um, Morris though, he never really panned out. See, after his father died, he just, you know, even when John and I had the lab, he kind of drifted around. He got--he lost several labs and started. And, uh, he, he wound up--any lab he worked in, after a couple of months, he got let go. Uh, he wound up working at the Kentucky Fried Chicken place down there on Stone Road in, in Nicholasville. And, and I got to feeling real bad for him at one point when John and I was really were going full bore over there in, in, uh, Stonewall. I called him and asked him if he wanted to get back into the lab tech. I didn't really have a position for him, but I kind of made one. And, uh, he came over at lunch. He'd sit there and just fall asleep in the chair. You know, and I woke him, and I says, "Morris, you have to stay awake and do some work." (laughs) "I'm kind of out on a limb here." (laughs) "I love you, but you know, sleep at home. You can't do that during the day here." SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: And, and the work he did wasn't--and, he--there was one time we would be BS-ing there and he was looking out the window of the lab. You know you can tell when somebody is--they're out there somewhere, but they're not right here. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: And, uh--(Smoot laughs)--he made a statement. "It's, it's never been the same since Dad died." And then, all of sudden, he looked over at me and he caught himself and he started BS-ing, and I thought "That's it right there. That man's life, just--it stopped when his dad passed away." SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: He just never got the power to relive. He didn't try, but you know -- SMOOT: Things like that happen. MCDERMOTT: --some--yeah. Some people -- SMOOT: I know. MCDERMOTT: --that's part of life. There's people that that happens to and you know, it's just--and it's a ----------(??)--he's a Boy Scout leader and one of the finest--I was a Boy Scout leader for several years -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --went through wood badge training and everything, and -- SMOOT: Yeah. So, that's good. All those awards. MCDERMOTT: Uh, those are my sec-- you ever do the Pinewood Derby? SMOOT: Unh-uh. Oh yeah, the little cars? MCDERMOTT: Yeah, the kids make the cars. SMOOT: Yeah. My grandfather helped me make one. Well, he really made it. I was ----------(??) -- MCDERMOTT: Tim, when, when Tim was a first year, uh, Wolf Scout, we got in the Pinewood Derby for our pack, and he took a block of wood and stuck the needles on and threw some paint on it and we put in there and he was proud as hell. Well, it's a double elimination. First race: you lose. Second race: kid says, "Well, that's it. You're out of here." I thought, "Whoa, wait a minute. What the hell is this?" SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Two runs and we're done. You know, this thing goes on for three hours. We're finished. And so, when it was over, I went down and talked with some of the guys, the dads of the cars that won the thing, I says, "Show me that car. What do you do to these things?" And this one guy, Alan Arch, a real nice guy from Nicholasville. Uh, he was a Scout leader and everything. He says, "I'll tell you how to do it, on the condition that you have to tell anybody else that asks." I said, "Do it." And he showed me that, that block of wood. He's said "There's about five things you got to do. He says, "First, you make a, a cheese slice wedge, okay? You narrow it down to the front. You've got five ounces you're allowed to have. You want the full five. Nothing less. Okay? When you cut that block down, you're down to about two ounces of the block, so you've got to make up some weight. You are able to use lead sinkers, fishing sinkers. And you want them as far back and as high in the car as you can get them, because that car, it, it's on an incline plane, okay? And the only things that propels its gravity, and that's the pull of the Earth on the body, okay? While it's on that incline, the, the, the sinkers are where all the weight is, is pulling on it and slowing down." SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Once it levels out, there's no more propulsion, okay? So you get your speed there. The long-- further back and the higher it is, the higher it is and the furthest away from the Earth is, is and the furthest back, the entire time it's coming down until that weight passes the, the straight section, it's pulling on it. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: And if you take cars--because I used to get into arguments with people about it --(Smoot laughs)-- if you take cars that have got the weights in the middle or in the trunk of a rear-weighted car, he won't be leading by much, but he will win every time. It's that last little push he gets. And then they were saying like the wheels, when you put them in, four wheels like this, uh, you can't change the tread. SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: Okay? Because a lot of people used to round them off, 'cause the more tread that's in contact with the track is friction. Okay? So the less tread that's touching, the less friction there is. Well, they won't let you round them off. If you round them, they'll disqualify you. So what, what he told me to do is turn your axles like this and then you'll run on the inside edge of the tire only. SMOOT: Mmm. MCDERMOTT: And then, take one of the tires off the track. A three- wheeler will outrun a four-wheeler any day of the week. And, and I did all these things. And the first place up there for the pack, first place in the district, I mean that's Scott County, Jessamine County and Fayette County -- SMOOT: Um-hm. MCDERMOTT: --about eight hundred cars, and we took first place two years in a row in that. (Smoot laughs) We took third place in the council. There was over a thousand cars down at the Horse Park. I had a ball. Morris was really good at this stuff, you know what I mean? Couldn't ----------(??)--he just, he just couldn't get his mind set any more for it, you know? And, and I had to let him go. I mean, that, that, all that was hard. SMOOT: I would think. MCDERMOTT: That was very, very hard, but, you know -- SMOOT: Well, you got to do what you got to do. MCDERMOTT: I, I ,I didn't have any choice, because like I said, I've learned from all this, too: it is business. You know? SMOOT: Is there anything else about the program that I should know about that you haven't touched upon, Pat -- MCDERMOTT: Well -- SMOOT: --or have we covered it pretty well you think? MCDERMOTT: --yeah, it--like I say, the, the, the curriculum, uh, was very well d-- d-- developed. Uh, if you look at the curriculum today, it is not a whole lot different than it was back then. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: --which kind of tells me it's a good curriculum. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: You know, it's, it's doing what it should do. Uh, the, the, the other half of the equation is the people have to do what they --(Smoot clears throat)-- need to do, and, and that happens whe-- you know, as people are there and as they change, you know, it changes and everything, but, but it's, it's still a sound program, but it's, it's, as I say, the ability to impart that technically ability in the kids. It's changed and that has changed dramatically. Uh, their opportunities when they get out of there. You know, and it's unfortunate, but again, that, that's part of business. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: You know? Uh, uh, uh, get a great part of, of the dental lab tech. I always thought and still do, as I say, when you come out of there, you can work for an institution. You can go to work in a private dental office for that dentist only. You can come out here and establish your own laboratory, your own business. You can go to work in an estab-- I mean you've got about five, six, or seven different options. Plus, people like me, I've done this for thirty-seven years, I am very comfortable with the materials and process that I've done for thirty-seven years. I'm the kind of guy that the dental corporations making these products wants to hire to halt their products. Because I--when I go tell somebody, "You take this porcelain and you do this to it and you handle it this way," they know that I know what I'm talking about, because I've done it -- SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: --for thirty years. SMOOT: Right. MCDERMOTT: So you've got a, a, a tremendous opportunity to work in sales. Uh, we've had, uh, graduates--Tony Tombosco (??), uh, graduated in the late seventies, worked in the research and development lab at Wickliffe's corporation over in Louisville. One of the largest dental material and equipment manufacturers in the world, and Tony, he got up to a point where he was, uh, near the top of their R&D technical staff over there. Then he got stomach cancer and died, you know. But, um --(Smoot coughs)-- see, you--th-- there's a lot of, of opportunity --(Smoot clears throat)-- you know, for what you can do and everything, but again, the bottom line is you've got to learn how to do this stuff. You've got to have something --(Smoot coughs)-- to take to whoever you're going to in this, this spectrum. Uh, you've got to be able to show them what you can do and you almost got to be able to do something that they can't. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: Or do something that they --(Smoot coughs)-- would better than they are. SMOOT: Yeah, bring something new to the table. MCDERMOTT: To, to do. SMOOT: Yeah. MCDERMOTT: You know, and, unfortunately, that's it. This guy--(Smoot coughs)-- you call this guy -- SMOOT: Can I stop here? MCDERMOTT: Yeah. SMOOT: Okay. MCDERMOTT: Yeah. SMOOT: Thanks. [End of interview.] In this interview, Pat McDermott, a one-time professor in the dental laboratory technology department at Lexington Technical Institute (LTI), discusses his tenure in the department. He outlines his time as a student in the program, followed by his experience as a practicing technician in Lexington, before elaborating on his time spent as an instructor. McDermott also details the state of the profession today, including the challenges facing graduates, the job opportunities within the realm of dental laboratory technology, and how graduates can set themselves apart from the crowd. insert here