Drew Devitt

Examining Humanity

Drew Devitt started off in the machine-tool trades learning the art of way scraping while in high school and college. After college (history of economics) he went on to work for the family business selling a moldable bearing material that is used to create way surfaces by machine-tool builders and rebuilders.

30 years of experience selling to and working with the US machine-tool builders has given Drew an extensive experience in heavy precision machine-tool design and erection. During the late 1980s and early 1990s many machine-tool builders began to employ rolling element linear guideways, in response Drew developed innovative hydrostatic bearing systems in co-operation with MIT.

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The collaboration resulted in a number of patents, but little acceptance of hydrostatics in the machine-tool industry. Fortunately, Drew had also been developing porous air bearings. He found success selling air bearings to coordinate measuring machine manufacturers first, then the machine tool, medical, motor sports, semiconductor, Flat Panel Display Screens and now even equipment for manufacturing flexible electronics. Today, New Way Air Bearings is the world leader in air bearings sales and the number search result for “Air Bearings”.

The last several years Drew has been applying porous gas bearing technology to bearings and seals for the rotating equipment and turbo industries. He sees promise in eliminating oil from large turbines, motors, generators and compressors.

Drew holds over a dozen patents and is a regular author of technical papers and magazine features. One of his hobbies is renewable energy, having written novel articles on wind energy for Power Magazine and on energy storage in Renewable Energy World.

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My name’s Drew Devitt and I’m going to start with a short story about my father.

He was a really deep thinker and a funny guy, so there were lots of interesting conversations. He had a great collection of old books, and he gave me two of them with some ceremony. But what he really gave to me was the idea that I needed to think for myself. So, I’m going to start tonight with a topic of interest here, and that is: Can you prove that you’re human by what you’ve done for humanity? Can you justify your existence and feel good about your legacy by what you’ve done for humanity?

I say, no. Humans exist for themselves, they don’t exist for humanity. And existence exists – that’s our first gift. Our second gift is our senses, our ability to perceive existence. And our third gift is reason, our ability to divine out the logic of existence, our ability to choose our own values, our ability to choose our wants and desires. If you pick your wants and desires from a catalog published by humanity, you’ll be lost be because that catalog changes every day. It’s like building your house on sand.

We hear every day about our selfish sins, and that we owe a duty to humanity, and that we should sacrifice ourselves to humanity. But that’s not moral, and it doesn’t make sense, it’s not consistent with nature. In fact, we live in the first moral country ever on the face of the globe, because our constitution recognizes that we each have a right to our own life – to the pursuit of our own selfish happiness.

So, don’t sacrifice your happiness to duty. Don’t sacrifice your independence to unity. Don’t sacrifice your self-esteem to self-worth. There’s nothing wrong with being concerned with yourself and your family. And if you find that you’re doing something for humanity be careful, because you might be doing it because of what other people think. It’s when you do something for yourself that you’re aligned with your own purpose. That’s when you’re going to make a worthwhile impact on humanity.

So, my gift to you tonight – or our gift, if I consider my father – would be: If you’re going to do something fulfilling in your life, do it for yourself.

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