PERSON TO PERSON

'Boss Ket,' Connery inspire Tim Jackson

Tenneco's Tim Jackson: "I like Connery so much as Bond that my firstborn son is named Sean."
Tinkering is in Tim Jackson's blood. Tenneco Inc.'s chief technology officer was born in Kettering, Ohio, a stone's throw from where General Motors engineering legend Charles "Boss Ket" Kettering grew up. Jackson was such a natural that at age 13, officials at his school hired him to change the combinations on the lockers.

"It was technical and mathematical and it was very precise," he said. "I did 1,000 lockers in three weeks."

Jackson spends all day working with engineers and dealing with complex technical issues, then relaxes by building custom motorcycles in his garage.

Name: Tim Jackson

Title: Chief technology officer, Tenneco Inc.

Age: 51

Personal life: Married, three grown children

Works: Tenneco North American Emission Control Technical Center, Grass Lake, Mich.

Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Rose- Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Ind.; master's degree in manufacturing management, General Motors Institute, Flint, Mich.

Why do you work on mechanical things in your spare time?

During the day, I am a leader of people and teams of people. It's all about communication and motivation and teamwork. When I go home, it's all about working with my hands and actually doing my own calculation or design. It takes me back to the kinds of things I did and loved as an entry-level engineer at General Motors 30 years ago.

What vehicle do you wish you designed?

The Harley-Davidson V-Rod. It captures the essence of Harley-Davidson. It allows you to ride with the best of the Japanese and German motorcycles. The car I wish I could have designed is the new Mustang. I learned to drive in a candy apple red 1966 Mustang with a pony interior.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My Harley-Davidson collection. We have eight with two more under construction.

The best film you've seen this year?

No Country for Old Men.

What's the last book you've read?

From cover to cover? A history of Harley-Davidson.

Who's your favorite character in fiction?

I'm a James Bond nut. We own all of the films going back to the beginning. Daniel Craig (the new blond Bond) is the closest to Sean Connery of any. Sean Connery was the epitome. I like Connery so much as Bond that my firstborn son is named Sean.

What was the most fun you had last year that had nothing to do with the auto industry?

Snowmobiling vacations with my family.

What gets your goat?

People whose very first words are why they can't do things and why things won't work. I don't like it when people kill innovation.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com

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