John Staehlin, 2017 Hoover Medal

Jan 9, 2018


The Hoover Medal commemorates civic and humanitarian achievements of engineers who have advanced the well-being of humankind. It is administered by a board representing five engineering organizations: ASME; the American Society of Civil Engineers; the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; and IEEE.

John Staehlin, P.E., president emeritus of Volunteers for Medical Engineering (now V-LINC) in Baltimore, Md., is honored for founding a not-for-profit volunteer organization to create special-purpose assistive devices that enable physically-disabled persons to achieve greater independence and an improved quality of life.

Mr. Staehlin has been an inventor throughout his long engineering career. He has over 400 invention disclosures and 33 patents. His early inventions were primarily for radar systems for the defense industry, including the F-16, AWACS (the airborne warning and control system) and the B-1B.

In 1982 Mr. Staehlin founded Volunteers for Medical Engineering (VME) in Baltimore. He and his co-workers at Westinghouse and Northrop Grumman developed antenna systems by day and assistive devices in the evenings and on weekends. VME grew and merged with Learning Independence Through Computers (LINC) in 2010 to form V-LINC.

Mr. Staehlin has inspired thousands of engineers, high school and college students, and friends, to create life-changing, customized devices to help people with disabilities. He remains active with V-LINC and within his retirement community, chairing regular meetings of local volunteers and designing solutions to obstacles faced by disabled children and fellow seniors.

Mr. Staehlin earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland.

Video profile produced and written by Roger Torda, ASME Public Information.

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